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WEC 36: Faber vs. Brown review
by Scott Newman (MMA)
Posted on June 16, 2009, 6:46 AM

WEC 36: Faber vs. Brown

Hollywood, Florida

-As I mentioned in the previous WEC review, this show was originally scheduled for early September, but Zuffa ended up postponing it due to the threat of Hurricane Ike over Florida and it was rescheduled for November.

-The other big news coming into this show was that itíd be the final WEC show to feature Light-Heavyweights and Middleweights, as those divisions were being scrapped in favour of the promotion concentrating on the lighter weights, including bringing in a Flyweight (125lbs) division in 2009. This was a great decision by Zuffa as really, those two divisions were horribly thin in the WEC thanks to the majority of the talent being signed with UFC or elsewhere, and the likes of Sonnen, Filho, etc clearly had more of a future in fighting in the UFC. The other plus of course was that the promotion could feature the lighter fighters more predominantly, and we wouldnít end up with another Mike Brown situation where a guy is on an untelevised prelim on one show and then in the main event in the next.

-Your hosts are Todd Harris and Frank Mir.

Middleweight Fight: Jake Rosholt vs Nissen Osterneck

Oklahoma State wrestling champion Rosholt Ė along with fellow Oklahoma State wrestlers Johny Hendricks (170lbs) and Shane Roller (155lbs) Ė formed Team Takedown back in 2007 in a unique situation, as it was the first time that amateur wrestling champions going into MMA had a proper management team right away and had their training and so forth all paid for. As with all top wrestlers entering MMA the expectations were high for all three, although they were still largely inexperienced when they signed with the WEC, Rosholt being just 4-0 at this stage. Osterneck, his opponent, was largely unknown, although he was 5-0 and the word on him was that his game was pretty well rounded.

Rosholt looks like such a hick here with his long shaggy hair, Christ. They get underway and Osterneck tags Rosholt with a combo right away. Rosholt looks for the takedown, charging Osterneck into the cage, and he works a double leg slam down to side control. Rosholt tries to land some knees and then hammer fists the side of the head as Osterneck rolls, before taking the back for a second. Osterneck manages to roll free and gets to guard, looking to lock up an armbar, but Rosholt powers out of it and then Osterneck manages to escape to his feet. Rosholt lands a knee, but eats some more punches from Osterneck who is clearly the better striker. Osterneck comes in swinging and then lands some heavy uppercuts inside as Rosholt tries to grab him for another takedown. Rosholt has a serious chin as he just ate some nasty shots there. He manages to force Osterneck into the fence but Osterneck breaks with a right hook. Rosholt manages to get a double underhook into a takedown and then slugs away as Osterneck turtles up, before using an over/under to knee the body. Ref steps in claiming Rosholt kneed the head, but it hit the shoulder. They restart and Rosholt tries to mount, but Osterneck goes for an armbar. Jake pulls out and stands over him, avoiding some upkicks before attempting a stomp to the body. Osterneck uses the opportunity to grab the leg and go for a kneebar, but Rosholt punches his way free. Rosholt gets into side mount and lands a big shot, and Osterneck is looking exhausted now. Rosholt takes his back and flattens him out, landing punches, but Osterneck manages to roll to half-guard to survive right before the round ends.

Second round and Osterneck lands with a hard leg kick and a one-two. Rosholt looks for the takedown and gets it, but Osterneck rolls for a kimura as they hit the ground. He switches off to an armbar now but Rosholt does well to pull it free. Rosholt stands over the guard again before going into it, and Osterneck tries an oma plata but Rosholt escapes and forces Osterneck onto his back again. Rosholt passes to side mount and Osterneck tries a reversal, but Rosholtís control is awesome and he forces Osterneck onto his back once more. Short punches land for Jake but the fight slows up and the crowd get restless. Osterneck manages to escape to his feet and lands some wild punches, tagging Rosholt cleanly, but somehow Rosholt stays standing and Osterneck is just exhausted now, slipping on a high kick and then missing a spinning backfist, and Rosholt tackles him to the ground. Full mount for Rosholt and he opens up with punches, and then Osterneck gives his back and takes more punishment for the stoppage. Punches didnít look that devastating but Osterneck was just gassed and had no way out of the position.

Fight was fun to watch if very, very sloppy. Rosholtís stand-up looked atrocious as Osterneck was landing power shots at will, but Rosholtís chin withstood the punishment and somehow he kept coming forward. His takedowns and control on the ground looked fantastic, but it was pretty clear that heís got a long way to go before heís the finished article. Hopefully heíll be brought along slowly in the UFC rather than being thrown to the wolves right away, although heís already lost to Dan Miller there due to his inexperience more than anything.

-We get a quick rundown of the contenders in the Bantamweight division, listing Manny Tapia, Brian Bowles, Will Ribeiro, Jeff Curran and Yoshiro Maeda.

Featherweight Fight: Leonard Garcia vs Jens Pulver

This is basically pushed as a possible #1 Contenderís fight as obviously they wanted to end up with the Pulver-Faber rematch after the first one did good numbers on Versus and was such a great fight. Garcia though was the dark horse of the division, as heíd knocked out top ranked Hiroyuki Takaya in February before being put on the shelf due to the weird situation that saw him investigated by the FBI as part of a drug smuggling ring! Personally I actually liked Garcia in the upset in this one.
Round One starts and these dudes are SWINGING right away although neither lands. High kick from Garcia is blocked. Pulver closes him down but a wild right hook hurts the former UFC champ. Garcia follows up with some WILD HOOKS that rock Jens badly and a big right drops him to the ground! Garcia OPENS UP with some absolute haymakers, literally swinging them from his waist, and the ref calls it there. WOW.

Never expected it to go down like that in a million years even if I picked Garcia. Jens got caught with a power shot early on and then Garcia just never let up, hitting him with some absolutely brutal shots to finish it off. As a fan of Garciaís this was great because a lot of people called him a fluke after the Takaya KO and this shut them up, but as a long time fan of Jens it was disappointing to see him go down this way, especially after taking tons of shots against Urijah Faber without being stopped. Post-fight Garcia names himself the #1 Contender and challenges the winner of the main event for a title match.

Middleweight Fight: Aaron Simpson vs David Avellan

This was a prelim taped earlier in the night, with the 2-0 Avellan taking on Arizona Combat Sportsí Simpson, a decorated wrestler who had trained with Ryan Bader, CB Dollaway and Cain Velasquez at Arizona State.

First round begins and both men press with punches before Simpson FOLDS HIM IN HALF WITH A BRUTAL RIGHT HAND!~! Holy God.

Whole fight was literally one punch. Simpson didnít show a thing outside of some seriously crushing power, but who cares when you can hit like that? We know he has a good wrestling game and honestly if it werenít for his age (heís already 34 and very inexperienced) Iíd say this guy could develop into a serious contender at Middleweight. Unbelievable knockout for the ĎA-Trainí.

WEC World Middleweight Title: Chael Sonnen vs Paulo Filho

This was supposed to be a rematch for the WEC Middleweight Title after their first fight ended in controversy when the referee stopped it on a supposed verbal submission that Sonnen denied. Originally set for Marchís WEC 33, it got postponed then when Filho was put into rehab for a ďsubstance problemĒ. The word from Filhoís camp was that he was over his problems coming into this one, but that went out of the window when incredibly, he came in NINE POUNDS over the limit at the weigh-in, 192lbs instead of 185lbs, before finally making 189lbs in a second attempt. Of course that rendered the fight a three round, non-title match and robbed Sonnen of the chance of winning the belt. Shitty stuff indeed from the Brazilian.

Filho gets booed out of the building upon entrance and sure enough he looks in awful shape, like a totally different guy to the one who was jacked to the gills in PRIDE.

We begin and they circle off before Filho shoots on a single leg. Sonnen defends by sprawling out for like a minute and then finally stands free. Filho is slow to get to his feet, and eats some punches, including a left hook that drops him to the canvas. Sonnen enters the Brazilianís guard and then stands free and kicks at the legs, while holding one of Filhoís ankles. Fans begin to boo as Sonnen continues to hold the ankle and then goes down into the half-guard, before backing out again. Filho kicks at Sonnenís knees from the crab position while Chael stands over him, and then Filho tries a leglock that Sonnen easily avoids. They go back to kicking one anotherís legs, and then Sonnen avoids another leglock and itís back to the same. Why the ref hasnít stood Filho yet I donít know. Sonnen just stands over him and kicks the legs, and the round ends with more of the same. Atrocious stuff.

Second round, and Sonnen lands some punches from distance as Filho tries leg kicks. Filho inexplicably drops his hands and taunts Chael at one point, but Sonnen doesnít capitalize. Filho shoots for a takedown but Sonnen easily stuffs it into the clinch, and then trips Filho down to the guard. He stays there momentarily before standing and waving Filho up to a big pop. Another takedown is easily avoided and Filho is forced to his feet. Sonnen circles out and works some jabs, before Filho clinches and jumps to guard. Sonnen slams him down, but then backs up and forces him to his feet again. Sonnen keeps jabbing but the damage being done is minimal, and then Filho tries another takedown but Chael easily sprawls and avoids it. Sonnen continues to punch from the outside to finish the round, blocking a head kick, and as the horn sounds Filho starts blowing his nose like a cokehead. This is one of the worst fights Iíve ever seen.

Third and final round Ė thank God this isnít a five round fight! Ė and Sonnen jabs away again while Filho just looks out of it now, not even throwing feeler strikes back. Awful takedown attempt is easily avoided and Filho drops to his back to the disgust of the crowd. Sonnen grabs the ankle again and kicks at the leg as Harris mentions Filho apparently talking to himself now. Christ. Mir is awesome on commentary here saying if Sonnen drops into Filhoís guard and gets armbarred heíll get in the cage and tap him himself after the fight! Ha! Sonnen finally lets Filho up though and continues to land weak punches. Filho is touching his nose during the fight now, this is just awful. Crowd are absolutely disgusted. With about a minute to go Filho isnít even looking at Sonnen, just advancing forward as if Chael is standing in front him when in reality heís circled off. Big ďBULLSHIT!Ē chant erupts as Filho is looking off into the crowd now. Fight finally comes to an end with Sonnen just landing weak-ass punches.

All three judges score it 30-27 for Sonnen but thatís not the story here. First off, I mean, Filho had been in rehab prior to this but judging by that awful performance he shouldíve stayed there. His trainers ought to be ashamed of themselves for allowing him to get into a cage fight in that kind of state. He was clearly in no condition to be fighting, and whether Zuffa pushed him into it or it was his trainers, it just sucks. I think itís pretty clear that Paulo mustíve been on some hardcore supplements in PRIDE as you donít go from being a takedown machine that is jacked to the gills at 185lbs in 2006 to this shell without some serious problems. If Filho ever wants to return to form he needs to have a long stint in rehab methinks. This wasnít exactly a great victory for Sonnen though. I mean heís faced with a dude who is basically like a zombie, an empty shell of his real self and thatís the best he can do? Some weak jabs and some sprawling? If I were Sonnen Iíd be ashamed of that performance too, win or no win. If Iím honest everyone lost here, including the fans that had to watch such garbage. Worst televised fight of 2008 and Iím including Starnes-Quarry there.

WEC World Featherweight Title: Urijah Faber vs Mike Brown

Main event was quite a unique situation actually, in that while Brown had earned his title shot by beating top contender Jeff Curran, heíd done it in an untelevised prelim which meant this main event was the first time WEC fans had seen him on the televised card! To be fair though after the Pulver fight they couldíve put anyone against Faber and it wouldíve been well anticipated. Hardcore fans were talking about how Brownís brute strength and size at 145lbs could give Faber problems, but the majority just expected Faber to run right through him like heíd done with, well, everyone else heíd faced.

Brown is surprisingly popular here but I guess they are in his home state. Guy is HUGE for 145lbs too. American Top Teamís weight cutting is insane when you look at the likes of Brown, Thiago Alves and Gleison Tibau. Faber has cut his long hair quite a bit shorter so no more cornrows. Boo!

They get underway and circle before Faber throws a body kick. Left hook and overhand right land glancingly for Faber and they clinch up. Quick break follows and Faber misses a head kick. Right hand from Brown puts the champ on the retreat and the ATT fighter forces him into the cage. Brown goes for a takedown but Faber defends and forces him back, and then lands a big knee to the body that sounds like it hurt the challenger. Brown shoves him off and Faber slips to the mat before popping back up. Brown swings wild and then gets a takedown, but Faber pops right back up and Brown clips him with a left that knocks him slightly off balance. Urijah tries to come back with a wild back elbow, but walks right into a HUGE RIGHT HAND that drops him! Brown pounces and pounds away and ITíS ALL OVER!! Unbelievable!

Huge, huge upset. Just an insane finish. Faber was clearly having some trouble with Brownís size and strength, but honestly wasnít doing a terrible job until he threw the mega-risky back elbow which left him wide open for the crushing right hand of Brown. I mean, you canít call a win like that a fluke as Brown put him away with brutal efficiency, but it was more Faberís mistake that left him open for it than anything Brown did, you know? Still, amazing win for Mike Brown and with what heís done since how can you argue with the guy?

Crowd are chanting wildly for Brown post-fight as he tells Craig Hummer that he trains with the best fighters in the world and he believes he can beat anyone. Great moment for him. Faber meanwhile gives no excuses, just says he got caught and heíll be back to go after the belt.

-They show some replays and then cut to Mike Brown being helped from the cage; apparently the big knee from Urijah actually injured his ribs quite badly. Highlight reel rolls and thatís all, folks.

Final Thoughts....

Main event was super-exciting and had a shocking finish, and Rosholt-Osterneck, Garcia-Pulver and Simpson-Avellan were for the most part good stuff too. Throw in another good-great fight and this is another awesome show from the WEC, but unfortunately youíve got the terrible Filho-Sonnen fight to deal with on this card and it just brings *everything* down. Show is worth a watch largely for the main event, but if you donít want a cure for insomnia then skip past the Filho debacle and forget it ever happened. Like, what Filho-Sonnen rematch? Didnít Filho just armbar him the first time? Ha. Thumbs in the middle.

Best Fight: Faber-Brown
Worst Fight: Filho-Sonnen

Overall Rating: ***

Coming Soon....

UFC: 94-98, Fight Nights 17-18, and TUF VIII Finale.
Pride: Shockwave 2006, 31, Bushido 12-13 and the Openweight Grand Prix.
WEC: 37-41.
King of the Cage: 23, 29, 30, 32, 33, 36, 42, 48, 52, and 58.

Until next time,

Scott Newman:

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