Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Bantamweight bruisers Urijah Faber and Ricky Simon will throw down this Saturday (July 13, 2019) at UFC Fight Night 155 from inside Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, Calif., this Saturday (July 13, 2019) from inside Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California.
It’s been two years since Faber last stepped into the cage, a successful “retirement” bout in front of his home crowd in Sacramento. It’s always risky to see an older fighter return to combat, but Faber has at least been active in the gym, taking a more hands-on role at Team Alpha Male. UFC did not hand Faber a softball in his return. Simon is undefeated in three trips to the Octagon and 14 years younger than his veteran foe. It’s a big opportunity for Simon, a chance to play spoiler and build his name.
Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each man:
Key Wins: Dominick Cruz (WEC 26), Raphael Assuncao (WEC 46), Michael McDonald (UFC on FOX 9), Eddie Wineland (UFC 128), Frankie Saenz (UFC 194)
Key Losses: Renan Barao (UFC 149, UFC 169), Jose Aldo (WEC 48), Dominick Cruz (UFC 199, UFC 132), Jimmie Rivera (UFC 203)
Keys to Victory: Faber’s heavy right hand and crushing submission game carried him to World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) gold, and his strengths never really changed. Even late in his career, Faber was faster and better conditioned than most of his opponents.
Simon is undoubtedly a tough customer, but he’s not exactly the type of opponent who Faber historically has struggled with. Simon generally wins fights via wrestling, and Faber rarely loses to opponents who engage him in wrestling exchanges.
Last time out, Simon did show patience and smarts to strictly kickbox with Rani Yahya. However, Yahya was able to land hard shots as a result, and Faber is a much more formidable striker than the Brazilian. If “The California Kid” mixes up his takedown entries and punches, it will really force Simon to wrestle, otherwise he’ll be too limited to keep away from Faber’s right.
Key Wins: Rani Yahya (UFC 234), Montel Jackson (UFC 227), Merab Dvalishvili (UFC Fight Night 128)
Key Losses: Anderson dos Santos (Titan FC 37)
Keys to Victory: Simon is a fireplug of a wrestler. Compact and powerful, he throws a mean left hook but tends to find his best success by bowling opponents over with the double leg.
If there is a fight that Simon should watch and take inspiration from, it’s definitely Jimmie Rivera’s win opposite Faber. The rest of the men that defeated Faber had longer builds and games, whereas Rivera has a similar body type and more imitable style for the Washington-native.
In short, that means committing to the low kick and counter punches, a pair of strategies fairly proven to work. If his left leg is destabilized, Faber loses a lot of his signature explosiveness — that burst that makes his takedowns and right hand so threatening. Without those weapons, it will be much easier for Simon to counter and generally deal with Faber’s offense.
Bottom Line: It should be a very fun fight.
I honestly don’t know what the consequences are for Urijah Faber. Does the Californian plan on taking another fight, win or lose? It’s not particularly clear. Realistically, he’s no longer in the title hunt anyway, so this fight is more about the chance to entertain his friends and family while collecting another paycheck.
The stakes are significantly higher for Simon, who’s doing his best to separate himself from the pack of talented prospect at 135 pounds. Three wins is a great start, but defeating a legendary name like “The California Kid” will go a long way in raising his stock and getting him high-level fights in the future.
At UFC Fight Night 155, Urijah Faber and Ricky Simon will go to war in the co-main event. Which man will have his hand raised?