Aldo batters Faber, retains title
Report by Anthony Springer, Jr.
Photos by Joe Cordova
From the beginning, WEC featherweight champion Jose Aldo set out to make a statement.
First, the 23-year-old phenom requested a fight with Urijah Faber in the challenger’s hometown of Sacramento. When Aldo walked to the ring at the packed Arco Arena, he did so to Jay-Z’s “Run This Town,” a clear shot at the “The California Kid.”
What happened over the course of the 25-minute bout was no mere statement; it was an exclamation point-- Jose Aldo Jr. is here to stay.
Aldo battered Faber for the better part of five rounds to retain his title via unanimous decision. Though both men are known for their speed and power, Aldo was able to keep Faber missing and off balance. The Brazilian carefully picked his shots damaging Faber’s left leg with a series of unchecked kicks that left the face of the WEC promotion barely able to stand.
Faber connected on several front kicks but was never able to land his feared right cross. Each power punch coming from the hometown hero found nothing but air as the crafty Aldo circled away from danger.
The challenger walked and bounced with a noticeable limp midway thru the fight. Rounds four and five saw Faber struggle to stand after each additional kick, before finally crumbling to the canvas under the pressure. Aldo nearly finished the fight in the fourth, pummeling Faber with punches and elbows in the crucifix position. The resilient Faber lasted more than a minute with Aldo pounding away at his face and went into the final round a beaten and broken man.
Sensing victory, Aldo’s corner instructed their champion to keep the fight standing for the final five-minute stanza.
As with the previous 20-minutes, Aldo continued to pick at Faber, including another series of devastating leg kicks. Unable to mount an offense, Faber was a sitting duck and made it thru the final frame courtesy of his toughness and Aldo’s cautiousness.
The judges scored the bout 49-45, 49-45 and 50-45
Henderson overwhelms Cerrone
The sequel to one of the best fights of 2009 is never supposed to end like this.
In the rematch to their spectacular first meeting, Benson Henderson choked out Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone at 1:57 in the opening round.
A notoriously slow starter, Cerrone never had an opportunity to work his offense. Henderson pushed the pace from the opening bell, nullifying his opponent’s height and reach advantages. When the pair tied up, Henderson used superior wrestling skills to pin Cerrone against the cage and deliver a series of knees to the thigh and face of the “Cowboy.” As Cerrone attempted to break free, Henderson sunk in a tight guillotine choke. Unable to break the hold, Cerrone was forced to tap, ending the highly anticipated rematch.
Gamburyan flattens Brown, moves into title contention
Manny Gamburyan made his bid for the next featherweight title shot in a major way with a first round knockout of former champion Mike Brown.
It took the former Ultimate Fighter alum just 2:22 to put down the American Top Team Fighter. Brown brought a height and reach advantage to the cage that was of no use when the two men closed the distance.
Gamburyan ended Brown’s night with a short counter right. Brown’s legs buckled from the punch and Gamburyan immediately followed him to the mat. Several unanswered punches sent the referee diving to Brown’s aid.
The win extends Gamburyan’s unbeaten WEC to three. Brown is now 1-2 in his last three bouts.
In a classic grappler vs. striker bout, Shane Roller defeated Anthony Njokuani with a rear naked choke at 3:07 of the first round. Roller wanted no parts of Njokuani’s stand up and immediately took the fight to the ground. Njokuani looked like a fish out of water as Roller put on a ground clinic.
Scott Jorgensen avenged a razor thin split decision loss, defeating Antonio Banuelos via unanimous decision in the opening contest on the main card. Though the fight went to the judges, there was no doubt that the Jorgensen would emerge victorious. Jorgensen out struck and outworked Banuelos over the course of the 15-minute fight. All three judges scored the bout 29-28.
Leonard Garcia defeated Chan Sung Jung via split decision, 29-28, 28-29, 29-28. The men also earned Fight of the Night honors.
Anthony Pettis defeated Alex Karalexis with a triangle choke at 1:35 in round two.
Brad Pickett bested Demetrious Johnson via unanimous decision. The judges scored the bout 30-27, 30-27, and 29-28
Chad Mendes stopped Anthony Morrison with a guillotine choke at 2:13 in the first round.
Takeya Mizugaki continued his climb back to the top of the bantamweight division, defeating Rani Yahya by unanimous decision. The judges scored the bout 29-28, 30-27, and 29-28.
Tyler Toner needed just 2:36 in the first round to put down Brandon Visher by TKO.