Maybe in his next fight WEC Featherweight Champion Mike Brown will get to fight in front of, at least, a neutral crowd.
In the belly of the Sacramento, CA, beast, hometown boy Urijah Faber broke his right hand during the early portion of their highly-anticipated rematch and was unable to defend the champ's aggressiveness, helping Brown score a unanimous decision victory at Arco Arena Sunday night at WEC 41.
Brown kept the pressure on Faber throughout their 25-minute match with fists, takedowns, and guillotine attempts, limiting the former titleholder's offense to fending off Brown with vicious elbow strikes and occasional choke attempts himself.
Two judges scored it 49-46, while another had it 48-47.
Faber did come close to catching Brown in a weak moment with less than two minutes to go in the fifth round, securing a choke that Brown took a few extra seconds to sneak out of.
The quiet crowd sprang back to life, but soon went silent when Brown escaped and put the pressure back on Faber. Brown controlled the middle of the cage nearly the entire fight, leaving Faber to use his speed to attempt to make some sort of offensive impact.
For Brown, the next likely challenger is Jose Aldo—he won the eight-second flying knee victory over Cub Swanson earlier in the night—probably in late-September or October.
Faber's future will depend on how badly damaged his hand is, but the WEC has to be careful with who his next opponent is. Faber is still marketable, but needs a few big victories to justify making Brown/Faber III a reality.
In other action:
Josh Grispi def. Jens Pulver via submission (guillotine choke) at :33 of first round
Jens Pulver went in for the takedown and got caught in a guillotine for a very quick loss. Pulver waved his hand off as if to say he was done with fighting. Grispi was waiting for some post-victory acknowledgment and looked mortified at the realization of what he had just done. Pulver was eventually very complimentary post-fight.
Grispi has a pretty thick Mass accent—the kind people mock and usually very badly. Post-fight, Pulver said that he started his career in Sacramento and that, likely, that's where it would end.
As the crowd was just going nuts for this, the WEC post-fight interviewer just kept talking and talking about how Pulver essentially shouldn't quit, nearly ruining the moment. Where was the director saying, "Shut up!"? The moment was Pulver accepting praise from the sold-out Arco Arena, not from a WEC lacky kissing his butt.
Donald Cerrone def. James Krause by submission (RNC) at 4:38 of the 1st round
Cerrone looked great in dominating most of the action, nearly submitting Krause several times. He was also smart in avoiding kneeing Krause in the dome as his 'four points' were on the mat.
The end came when Cerrone caught Krause with a left hook and straight right, grounding him and shortly flattening him out with punches to sink in the rear-naked choke for the win.
Lightweight Champion Jamie Varner was in attendance, a man Cerrone wants a rematch with desperately after what happened last time they fought. Apparently, the two have been sniping at each other in interviews, so perhaps this will be booked for the fall as well. That would be a great co-main event with Brown vs. Aldo.
Antonio Banuelos def. Scott Jorgensen by split decision
This was a fun fight that Banuelos unpopularly won by split decision.
Banuelos was strong early on, but Jorgenson pushed the action in the final two rounds, coming just this close to sinking in a choke and ending it not once...but twice. Jorgenson's stamina was phenomenal and he bloodied Banuelos' left eye, likely on one of the many knees he connected with.
So, why didn't he win? I have no idea and folks in attendance didn't like it either.
Jose Aldo def. Cub Swanson by KO at :08 of the first round
Well, so much for that build up. Aldo connected with a no-doubt flying knee that dropped Swanson with the ref calling it after Aldo hit a few glancing blows. Swanson's left eye was messed up pretty good.
Between this and Saturday's Strikeforce show, there have been a lot of weird quick endings lately. Aldo is a fun guy to watch, but could stand to learn English to really get over with the crowd, Lyoto Machida-style.
Seth Dikun def. Rolando Perez via submission (triangle) at 2:30 of the first round
Pretty straight forward stuff here as Dikun caught Perez in a triangle, which he did last in for a minute.
Eventually, the pressure was too much and he tapped.
Anthony Pettis def. Mike Campbell via submission (triangle) at 1:49 of the first round
You got the feeling, from the start, that Campbell was going to submit. Pettis almost submitted him three times early on, once almost hyper extending his arm. Campbell did ground and pound with bad intentions, but kept falling into submissions.
Eventually, Pettis locked in a triangle and even though Campbell tried to last, he tapped. Pettis looked great here.
- Faber was rocking the braids once again and like a star, got a hot female cop as part of his entourage walking him down to the ring. Life is grand when you're the king of Sac-Town.
- Brown and Faber couldn't have been more polar opposites. Birthplaces, (Maine to California) entrance music, ("Simple Man" to "California Love") and facial hair (grizzled beard to clean shaven).
- Like in the Miguel Torres fight from March, I thought the WEC announcers (Todd something and UFC's Kenny Florian) were favoring Faber quite a bit, almost making excuses for him. I was surprised, especially when it came to Florian who did a solid job throughout. Mike Brown can be a star too, guys.
- It seemed like Faber kept grabbing the cage throughout the fight, but wasn't called on it that often. Anyone else notice that?
- I don't know how much money it would take for me to watch Fanarchy, but it would probably be a lot.
- Due to the quick Aldo KO, there was a long time between that and the main event. While the two fights they showed were good, perhaps for a big match like this with a lot of mainstream fans watching, maybe a countdown clock to the Brown/Faber match would have been in order. The time lapse just seemed to drag.
- Next event is Aug. 9 with Miguel Torres defending his title against Brian Bowles, who is a Mark Wahlberg-look alike.
Josh Nason—josh [at] ropesringandcage [dot com]—has published MMA, wrestling, and boxing blog Ropes, Ring and Cage.com since 2007. He has been a contributor to Fight Magazine since January 2009 and Bleacher Report since 2008.