Brown defends, defeats Faber again
Report by Brady Crytzer
Photos courtesy of Josh Hodges, UFC
In front of a nearly sold out Arco Arena in Sacramento, WEC featherweight champion Mike Brown successfully defended his title in a highly anticipated rematch with “The California Kid” Urijah Faber via unanimous decision.
In a sport where nothing is guaranteed and anything can happen, Sunday night’s WEC featherweight title bout was fraught with pre-fight comparisons.
Exactly one year ago, World Extreme Cagefighting hosted its largest event ever when the then reigning 145 lb. champion Urijah Faber defended his crown against MMA pioneer Jens “Lil’ Evil” Pulver.
It was billed as the “biggest fight in featherweight history.”
They weren’t kidding.
A year later, as Faber prepared to regain his coveted crown from the no-nonsense titleholder Mike Brown, the WEC offered the “biggest fight in featherweight history” once again.
They were more serious than ever. As the men faced off in the cage, the crowd exuded a tangible energy.
After some missed kicks, Brown closed the distance and muscled Faber into the cage. Following a separation Faber came alive with quick and unorthodox strikes. The champion quickly clinched with his opponent and took him to the mat where he began to land heavy punches from the top position. After a slick escape back to the feet, Faber rocked Brown with a snapping right hand. With the title holder still feeling the effects, Faber initiated a wrestling match that finished off the round.
After trading high kicks Brown pushed the challenger into the cage and landed a hard uppercut combination. The champion quickly assumed side control continued his ground n’ pound attack. Round two saw Faber begin to tire under the high pressure attack of Brown. In a flash, “The California Kid” reversed the position and escaped to his feet.
Brown began the third period by taking Faber to the mat with a powerful front headlock. After some punches, the very fast Faber once again escaped to his feet. Moving well Faber began to find his range with jumping knees and liver punches. Brown showed good awareness by countering a slow kick from the challenger with a heavy right hand that connected cleanly.
Faber appeared tentative throughout the fourth round, due partly to what would later be attributed to a broken right hand. Brown used a thumping jab to establish a much slower pace than the previous rounds. After a short combination by the champion, the exasperated Faber winced in a very public display of pain.
The final round saw the men exchanging blows on the feet until Brown once again wrestled Faber to the mat. A scramble allowed the fighters to stand up and Faber nearly secured a guillotine. Despite the effort, the botched choke attempt allowed Brown to slam “The California Kid” onto his head. With just over a minute left in the fight, Faber nearly caught Brown in a tight choke.
The fight ended with Brown once again bullying Faber around the cage. Judges’ scorecards read 49-46 twice and 48-47.
Brown, a man of few words, was gracious in victory.
“The guy is tough, man,” Brown said. “I just couldn’t get my gloves on his head. It looked like he damaged his hands a little bit.What else do you want me to say?”
Despite the great adversity that he faced, Faber was in good spirits following the grueling war.
“My weapons were gone,” Faber said. “I was all elbows at that point. I can’t wait to get another shot at this title. I’ll be back.”
Aldo Shocks, Impresses Sacramento
In one of the most incredible performances of the year, featherweight hopeful Jose Aldo knocked out Cub Swanson in stunning fashion with simultaneous jumping knees just 8 seconds into the first round.
Widely regarded as the future of the featherweight division, Aldo did not seem to be affected by the pressure of fighting in an unofficial number one contender bout.
Swanson, who touched gloves with a smile on his face, would not be smiling for long as Aldo leapt through the air and blasted him in the face with a two near simultaneous knees. Swanson crumpled to a heap and blood flowed onto the cage floor.
The fight was waved off immediately and Swanson sat up to reveal two cuts, one above and one below, his left eye. With this win Jose Aldo, Jr. establishes himself as the number one contender for the featherweight crown.
Cerrone Batters Krause
Donald “The Cowboy” Cerrone made quick work of a debuting James Krause by submitting him in the first round with a rear naked choke.
Krause started quickly by taking Cerrone to the mat. Working off of his back, “The Cowboy” displayed his tremendous submissions abilities by going for multiple omoplata shoulder locks.
Once back on the feet, Cerrone continued to impress by locking in a tight standing guillotine followed by a hard knee to the face.
After the fighters separated Cerrone dropped Krause with a hard right cross. With Krause badly hurt Cerrone locked in a rear naked choke to force the tap at 4:38.
20 Year Old Grispi Finishes Pulver
MMA legend Jens Pulver may have had his last hurrah as he was quickly submitted by the 20 year old John Grispi in the first round.
Following some off balanced kicks, Pulver was caught in a very tight guillotine choke at tapped out just :33 seconds into the round. With this victory, Grispi advances to 13-1 while Pulver falls to 22-12-1.
“I don’t really have a gameplan when I fight,” Grispi said. “I just go into the cage and let what’s gonna happen happen.”
Pulver, while his future MMA career remains uncertain, was gracious for the support from the fans in Sacramento.
Lightweight Anthony Pettis displayed nearly his entire jiu jitsu arsenal en route to submitting Mike Campbell in just 1:49. Pettis used his incredible speed and power to trap his opponent in a guillotine choke, armbar, and triangle choke before finally catching his opponent for the finish. After a slip by Campbell, Pettis locked in a slick triangle choke that forced the tap at 1:49.
Frank Gomez finished Noah Thomas late in the second period with a tight arm triangle at 3:12. After splitting Thomas open with an elbow at the end of round one, Gomez turned up the heat with vicious ground n pound and secured the choke at 3:12.
Bantamweight Seth Dikun submitted Rolando Perez with a tight triangle choke at 2:30 of the first round. Though Perez dropped Dikun early with a right hand, the Florida native held on to cinch in the hold and improve to 7-3. Perez falls to 4-3.
Bantamweight Rafael Rebello used slick jiu jitsu to hand Kyle Dietz his first professional loss via rear naked choke at 2:55 of the first round.
Antonio Banuelos scored a three round split decision over Scott Jorgenson in a spirited 135 lb. battle.