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By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
A pair of former WEC Champions will square off at UFC 139 this November, as Urijah Faber will take on Brian Bowles in a bantamweight fight on the card.
The UFC announced the fight late on Thursday, and it will take place as part of the night's main card from the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif. on November 19.
Faber will attempt to rebound from a loss to Dominick Cruz at UFC 132, his fourth title fight loss in a row dating back to 2008. The five round decision loss was also his first since dropping to the bantamweight division late last year.
Bowles enters the fight on a two fight winning streak since returning from his own loss to Cruz. The 31-year-old Bowles lost his WEC Bantamweight Title to Cruz in March of 2010, breaking both of his hands in the course of the fight. His injuries kept him out of action until March of this year, where he submitted Damacio Page at UFC on Versus 3. He followed that up with a lackluster decision win over Takeya Mizugaki at UFC 132 earlier this month.
The winner of the fight will likely get another fight with Cruz should Cruz successfully defend his belt against Demetrious Johnson at UFC on Versus 6 in October. This UFC 139 card is expected to be headlined by a Heavyweight Championship bout between Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos.
Penick's Analysis: This is a great bantamweight fight, but there's a part of me that can't help but feel a little disappointed we're not getting Faber against Miguel Torres. Still, with Faber coming ever so close to defeating Cruz in a razor-thin fight that had arguments for scores in both fighter's favor and Bowles' only loss coming to Cruz himself, these are the two best bantamweights in the division not named Cruz. Johnson is getting the title fight even though many felt he lost his last fight, but he'll still be a tough challenge, and the winner of this one will very likely get the next shot at the title. If Faber and Cruz each win their respective fights here this fall, the rubber match will be the most logical fight to make. On that same note, if Bowles can defeat Faber, he'll more than have earned his shot at the man who took the belt from him.
[Urijah Faber art by Cory Gould (c) MMATorch.com]
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Jamie Penick, editor-in-chief
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