As a California guy, I'd like to say that I thought Faber could win this fight, but I'd be lying. Truth be told, I'd rather put my money on the ice in the devil's urinals.
I think Faber is a great fighter, but let me explain the dimensions of this fight the way I see them.
Faber is a decent striker. His standup is definitely respectable. I won't say that he can't knock anybody out. There are definitely guys he can stop standing up. KID Yamamoto is not one of them.
KID Yamamoto is absolutely incredible standing up. His hands are faster than anyone in the sport and, pound for pound, he hits as hard as anyone else that I can think of. His punches pop perfectly and he moves aggressively, but never losing any composure and never getting over aggressive.
Faber has good boxing and decent kickboxing, but Yamamoto uses every one of his striking weapons effectively. He uses knees and kicks as well and as freely as he uses his hands. He's explosive and he's unpredictable. Faber is good, but, unfortunately, his striking is pretty standard and, realistically, KID has fought much better strikers.
This is where Faber beats alot of his opponents. He's a very good wrestler and I think that, if he could beat KID anywhere, it would be with takedowns and ground control, but I don't think that will happen.
Yamamoto is, right now, training for the Olympics as a wrestler. I honestly believe that Yamamoto deserves that shot on the Olympic team and I don't think that Faber is an Olympic wrestler. While Faber may have the crendentials of an American wrestler, he isn't highly accomplished and Yamamoto is proving that he is.
Faber may have the wrestling skills to beat Yamamoto, but I just don't see that in looking at them on paper and from what I've seen in the ring/cage. Yamamoto manages to keep his opponents standing so he can KO them, that says alot about his wrestling, as well as his standup.
When you couple KID's wrestling ability, which may or may not be better than Faber's, you also have to remember that Urijah is going to be tentative about shooting because of how dangerous KID is. It's really hard to shoot of a guy who you know can take your head off with one shot, and you know that you probably one see that shot coming if you drop your head into it.
I think that will be a big factor in slowing Faber's takedowns, making Faber create extra distance when they are standing and making him uncomfortable with commiting to his own takedowns.
Faber has some submissions, but, in actuality, the submissions he has actually won fights with are pretty rudimentary and after watching a few of his fights, I don't think his submission game is nearly as good as it should be for a ground fighter. That isn't to say I think his ground game is bad, but I think that he should use his submissions to hake opponents more worried in his groundnpound.
I don't see Yamamoto being afraid of Faber on the ground. I see him trying to avoid letting the fight go there, but, if it does, I don't think that Faber will be dominant and, though I don't think that Yamamoto will submit Faber easily, I think that if either of them gets a submission, it will be KID, not Urijah.
I think that Yamamoto's submission game is underrated and Urijah's is overrated. While the number of submissions in their fights might say otherwise, it also has to do with their fight strategies, and Yamamoto doesn't use submissions unless he has to. If he has to with Urijah, I think he can.
This is really interesting for me, because I think that even though Faber has more fights, he's definitely fought a much lower level of competition, and I think that that is what matters. Faber has fought a handful of really dangerous opponents and none of them is anywhere near the level he'd have to be at to deal with KID. I mean, really, he's beaten Ivan Menjivar (who was DQ'd for kicking Faber while he was down) and Cole Escovedo. That's about the level of competition he's fought over the course of his career.
KID has fought legends in the lightweight division, and just martial arts in general. He beat Genki Sudo, who is much better than Faber as far as I'm concerned, and Caol Uno, who is a great fighter at 155. As well as Royler Gracie, who doesn't have an impressive record, but before entering his pseudo-retirement period had only lost to KID, Sudo and Kazushi Sakuraba (who's 35 pounds heavier).
KID takes this pretty easily, between Sudo and Uno, but also with the level of the regular guys that he has fought. The regular guys on his record are as good as the best guys Faber has fought.
This fight is really Norifumi Yamamoto all the way. He's teh best in the world at 140, I don't see that changing any time soon.
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