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WEC 52 Preview: Urijah Faber vs. Takeya Mizugaki

Urijah Faber's path back to a world championship begins Thursday at WEC 52. <em>Photo via <a href="http://www.sherdog.com">Sherdog.com</a></em>
Urijah Faber's path back to a world championship begins Thursday at WEC 52. Photo via Sherdog.com

Former long-time featherweight champion Urijah Faber will make his bantamweight debut Thursday nught when he battles former No. 1 bantamweight contender Takeya Mizugaki at "WEC 52: Faber vs. Mizugaki." Here is MMA For Real's preview of the fight:

Urijah Faber:

Record: 23-4-0 overall, 8-3-0 WEC

Key wins: Bibiano Fernandes (KOTC: All Stars), Dominick Cruz (WEC 26), Jeff Curran (WEC 31), Jens Pulver (WEC 34)

Key losses: Mike Brown (WEC 36, WEC 41), Jose Aldo (WEC 48)

How he got here: Faber, who won the WEC featherweight title in March 2006, defended the title five times before being shocked by Mike Brown at WEC 36. Faber, the star of the WEC needed just one win to get another title shot. In his rematch with Brown, broken hands did Faber in as he dropped a unanimous decision. Once again, one win was all it took for him to get a shot at new champion Jose Aldo. At the WEC's biggest show ever, and first pay-per-view, Faber was soundly beaten and afterward signaled his intention to move to 135 pounds. Faber seemingly had a good weight cut and appears ready to go for his first adventure at bantamweight as he looks to become the UFC bantamweight champion in the future.

How he gets it done: Faber is a dynamic fighter and has the ability to finish opponents via both strikes and submissions. In the WEC, submissions have been Faber's go-to, as all six of his stoppages have come via submission (including one via tapout to strikes). For his career, Faber has one 12 times by submission, seven times by TKO, three times by decision and once via disqualification. He has never been submitted, having lost twice by TKO and twice by decision (both five-round title fights).

Did you know?: Faber has finished nearly 83 percent of his career fights.

Takeya Mizugaki:

Record: 13-4-2 overall, 2-2-0 WEC

Key wins: Jeff Curran (WEC 42), Rani Yahya (WEC 48)

Key losses: Kenji Osawa (Shooto), Miguel Torres (WEC 40), Scott Jorgensen (WEC 45)

How he got here: After spending the first 15 fights of his career in Japan fighting for Shooto and Cage Force, Takeya Mizugaki got a late call to come into the WEC to fight bantamweight champion Miguel Torres for the title. Mizugaki fought valiantly but lost a unanimous decision in a Fight of the Year candidate that put his name on the map to U.S. fans. Since, Mizugaki has has gone 2-1.

How he gets it done: Mizugaki is on the opposite end of the finishing spectrum from Faber. Only five of his 13 career wins have come by stoppage (four by KO/TKO and one by submission). The remaining eight have come by decision, including both of his WEC wins. All four of Mizugaki's WEC fights have gone to decision. Mizugaki is a capable offensive fighter, though.

Did you know?: Mizugaki was the 2005 Shooto featherweight rookie champion and won the Cage Force bantamweight tournament in 2008.

Bottom line: Forrest Lynn put it best in our WEC 52 predictions: "Faber is too physical, too experienced, too motivated." This will be a good fight, but it's tailor made for Faber to win. I'd expect either a late submission as Mizugaki fades away or a clear-cut decision win for Faber.

Who do you think's going to win? Let us know in the poll and express why in the comments section!

SBN coverage of WEC 52: Faber vs. Mizugaki