Urijah Faber’s next fight has been announced, but it’s a bout no one was expecting. ESPN yesterday announced that Faber will return to the Octagon for the UFC 175 card on July 5 in Las Vegas, NV, and his opponent will be TUF 12 veteran Alex Caceres. Yes, that’s right, Faber vs. “Bruce LeeRoy” is going down this summer. And yes, just like you, I had to do a double take when I saw this fight announcement. It’s not that the fight isn’t a good one on paper, or anything. Actually, I think it’s going to be quite a fun one, as Faber and Caceres are always involved in entertaining scraps. It’s just that I don’t think Caceres deserves this step up based on the quality of his wins. Sure, Caceres has looked awesome at 135lbs — really, awesome actually. He’s 5-1, 1 NC overall at the weight (5-3, 1 NC overall in the UFC) and he could very well be 7-0 at the weight class had the judges given him the nod over Edwin Figueroa at UFC 143 and had he not tested positive for pot after his UFC on FUEL TV 10 win over Kyung Ho Kang, a win that was later changed to a No Contest. But look who he’s beat: Sergio Pettis, who is 20 years old; Roland Delorme, a solid but unranked fighter; Motonobu Tezuka, a guy who isn’t in the UFC anymore; Damacio Page, another guy who isn’t in the UFC anymore; and Cole Escovedo, yet another guy who isn’t in the UFC anymore. Sure, technically he’s riding a five-fight unbeaten streak, but again, when you look closer it’s not as impressive as it might seem at first glance. Faber, meanwhile, has been fighting the best of the best at 135lbs ever since coming over to the UFC in 2011. He’s 6-3 overall in the Octagon with wins over Michael McDonald, Yuri Alcantara, Scott Jorgensen, Ivan Menjivar, Brian Bowles, and Eddie Wineland, with the only losses coming to UFC bantamweight champion Renan Barao (twice) and former champ Dominick Cruz. Sure, he has more losses than Caceres inside the eight-sided cage, but when you look at who they have come to it’s pretty obvious he’s taking a significant step down by fighting Caceres, who apparently was the one who called Faber out. As far as a betting line goes for the fight, Faber is going to be a big favorite here, likely in the 4-to-1 or possibly 5-to-1 range. Again, I do like Caceres’ game and respect him quite a bit, but I just don’t see what he has for Faber outside of his length, something which Faber has dealt with and conquered many times before. So I think we’re looking at a Faber win here, and it’s a victory that will likely set him up for a long-awaited trilogy match with Dominick Cruz, who hopes to return before the end of 2014.
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