It’s not too often that the “little” guys get the top billing on a UFC card, but that’s the case for Saturday night’s UFC 132 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas when the headline fight is a bantamweight championship bout between Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber. The original featured match of UFC 132 was set to be a rematch of B.J. Penn and Jon Fitch, but both were forced to withdraw because of injuries. UFC 132 also will feature headline matchups between Tito Ortiz and Ryan Bader as well as Wanderlei Silva and Chris Leben.

Cruz (17-1) is the champion … but then again so is Faber (25-4); the latter is a former WEC featherweight king. Faber and Cruz have met before, in 2007, with Faber submitting Cruz with a one-armed guillotine choke in just 98 seconds to successfully defend his WEC featherweight title. And while Faber won his next three fights after that, he then lost three times in his next five fights, twice to Mike Thomas Brown and once to Jose Aldo. So he then moved to bantamweight (135 pounds) and has been strong in two fights in the class, beating Takeya Mizugaki by technical submission last November and then outpointing Eddie Wineland in both fighters' UFC debuts in March.

Cruz, meanwhile, only has the one loss to Faber on his resume. He hasn’t lost since becoming a bantamweight, winning the WEC title by beating Brian Bowles in March 2010 and defending the belt twice since with victories over Joseph Benavidez in August and Scotty Jorgensen in December. When the WEC was merged into the UFC roster, Cruz became the first-ever UFC bantamweight champ. Now he is regarded as a top pound-for-pound fighter.

These two simply don’t like each other. It goes back to a perceived slight before that 2007 bout.

Back then Cruz was essentially an unknown fighter and wasn’t a part of the marketing materials for the show – thus he wasn’t included on the event poster for WEC 26. And during an autograph session, Cruz laughingly signed his name over Faber’s face. Needless to say Faber then took out his revenge with the first-round victory. The fighters’ feud has only grown since and escalated when Faber beat Wineland at UFC 128 and called out Cruz from the octagon.

“I have a hard time being enemies with people,” Faber said in a lead-up media call for UFC 132. “Dominick has made it easy; he’s got an interesting combo of throwing himself pity parties and feeling sorry for himself, but also giving himself a lot of credit for little things. Can he handle another loss and be cool?”

The line at Bodog on this fight opened with Cruz as the -130 favorite and Faber at even money. However, that line has dropped to -115 on both fighters despite Cruz taking nearly 75 percent of the moneyline action. Cruz is 5-0 in his career as the Bodog favorite, while Faber is 0-1 as an underdog. A little more than 56 percent of parlays are still active on this bout.

The other top fight figures to be between middleweights Silva, the former Pride Fighting Championships titleholder, and Leben, a participant in Season 1 of “The Ultimate Fighter.” These two requested a fight and called each other out for nearly a year before UFC officials finally scheduled the co-main event of the UFC 132 card. It’s Silva’s first fight since February 2010 because of a knee injury.

Of all the main event fights on the card, Silva-Leben is drawing the most even action with Silva getting a slight edge at about 52 percent on the moneyline. He opened at -185 but has been bet up to -200. Leben opened at +155 and is now +160. Approximately 59 percent of parlays are still live on this fight.

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Desert Dog

I have followed the UFC for over 10 years, written as a handicapper, and spent my spare time as an online poker grinder. Unfortunately, I ran out of legal wagering options...Thank god for Daily Fantasy Sports and the much needed addition of MMA drafts. I offer my insight into MMA fight handicapping and fight analysis for the purpose of making some dough at DFS!

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