This Sunday night, one of the most anticipated fights of the year will take place in Sacramento, Calif. It's the WEC Featherweight championship, and I can't wait for it.
The main card, a rematch of WEC 36 last Nov. 5, between former WEC Featherweight Champion and No. 1 contender Urijah Faber and the current Featherweight champ Mike Thomas Brown promises to be a great one.
The first fight was a short exciting bout, with Brown connecting with a right cross just as Faber attempted one of his signature elbows and then continued to ground and pound until the fight was called at 2:23 of the first round.
But what about this time around? Who has the advantage on stand-up? Who is the best on the ground? Who will win? Well, here are my breakdown and prediction for the fight.
Brown is definitely the most technically sound of the two fighters; he is more patient and doesn't have the same reckless abandon Faber has.
Faber is a bit of a freestyle fighter standing up, he doesn't stop moving back and forth, always trying to find a weakness in his opponent's armor and when he does find one he jumps on it like a bat out of hell, no fear, no hesitation.
Faber's reckless nature was what did him in during the first fight, he had his back turned to Brown and attempted a wild elbow which missed and his chin ran right into Brown's right cross, knocking him down to the ground and signalling the beginning of the end.
When clinching, Brown showed in the first fight he will not be thrown around like one of Faber's other opponents, therefore, Faber cannot rely on this tactic to take the game to the ground if he is unable to stay toe to toe with Brown.
This is a part of both fighters I wish we could have seen more of in the first fight. Both men have great wrestling skills and a fight on the ground would be very entertaining.
Brown has had 12 of his 21 professional victories come in the form of a submission, although it must be pointed out that, ironically, all his four professional losses have come via submission.
Faber is a renowned wrestler, ever since his days at UC-Davis and this has translated into the octagon, with 11 out of 22 victories via submission, a vicious ground and pound and the ability to get out of even the worst possible positions.
It will be interesting to see who has the edge if the game goes to the ground.
Brown has the advantage in this department, both standing up and on the ground, his vicious right hands have knocked down many fighters over the years including Faber, and on the ground his strength helps him impose his will over the opponent.
Faber is also a very strong fighter, but his strength comes from his ability to string combos together and use his quickness to catch opponents when they are most vulnerable.
Although most people believe Faber has a clear advantage in this department, do not count out Brown’s ability to move around the cage and always find himself in a good position in relation to his opponent.
Faber is as quick as they come, not just on his feet, but also when pinned to the ground; he is able to get himself out of some very sticky situations by using leverage and moving quickly enough for his opponent not to catch up. On foot, he is deadly once he has found his range and can move in, throw a few combos and move out, a skill that will come in handy against the more powerful Brown.
There are a couple of X-factors in this fight.
For starters, this is the first time Faber has challenged for the belt since WEC 19, March 2006, and although it may not sound like such a big deal, some fighters say that they feel some added pressure when they are attempting to win their title back.
The second factor is the location of the fight. The fact that the fight is taking place in Faber’s hometown of Sacramento, CA can either help him immensely or add that much more pressure on him. Faber is a showman; he loves the attention, so I think that fighting in his hometown, in such a big arena will make him much more eager to put on a show.
Brown, on the other hand will have to deal with a hostile crowd and the fact that he is the champion and has to defend it now for the first time against the guy that once held it.
This is a tough one; one could see Brown’s dominance over the past three years, his power and quickly go with him.
Others will see Faber, the exciting showman, and think his speed and “improv” skills will win back his belt.
This will be a quick fight, expect more of a ground game but don’t think this will go the distance, both men like to jump right in and impose their wills on their opponents.
I say Brown’s power and technique will trump Faber’s wild, unorthodox style and he wins with a TKO in the third retaining his WEC Featherweight belt.
Regardless of who wins this, really, let’s just hope this is a good one.