WEC 39: Brown vs. Garcia review
by Scott Newman(MMA)
Posted on June 28, 2009, 12:01 PM
WEC 39: Brown vs. Garcia
Corpus Christi, Texas
-Your hosts are Todd Harris and Jens Pulver. Original co-main event here was Carlos Condit defending his Welterweight Title against Brock Larson (again), but Larson got injured during training and rather than find a replacement, Zuffa scrapped the fight and the 170lbs division, moving all the top talent (Condit, Larson and a handful of others) to the UFC. Probably the right decision if Iím honest given how thin the division was at the time and with WEC bringing in the Flyweight division thereís even less room.
Former champion against former title challenger in the opening bout then. These two are both solid fighters but to me a match like this tells a different story, and that is that WEC either need to bulk up their Lightweight division by borrowing some guys from UFC or signing dudes from Japan, or they need to drop it altogether and send these two and Varner and Cerrone to the UFC to sink or swim because really outside of those four, who do they have? Well, Benson Henderson and Shane Roller I guess but theyíre unproven too.
Round One and they tentatively circle to begin, both men respecting the otherís power. Finally Hicks throws a one-two and comes forward into a clinch. They muscle along the fence, exchanging strikes inside, but little happens and the ref calls the separation. Nice overhand left lands for Hicks in a brief exchange. Another one causes McCullough to grin, meaning it landed and he felt it. Crowd are getting impatient now as little happens. Hicks shoots for a takedown, but Rob blocks it into a clinch. Ref breaks them again and they exchange with little landing. Leg kick for McCullough connects and the round ends shortly after. Terrible opening round.
Round Two, and they meet in the middle of the cage and paw with some short punches. Low kick by McCullough but Hicks counters and decks him with a left hand, then secures the guillotine as they go to the ground! Razor Rob looks to be in trouble now as Hicks wants to finish, but McCullough works his head free and lands some punches from the top. Hicks escapes to his feet and lands another left hook. Low kick lands low for Razor Rob and the ref calls time to let Hicks recover. They restart and its more tentative striking, before McCullough lands a kick to the body and then clinches, landing a couple of knees to the midsection too. Crowd boo again before Razor breaks the clinch with a one-two and almost scores with a head kick that Hicks just about blocks. Knee to the body for McCullough but Hicks clinches again. They break quickly and Hicks blocks another high kick. Big flurry lands for McCullough before Hicks comes back with a right hook. High kick and flurry of knees and punches look to have Hicks hurt, but he backs up and recovers. McCullough continues to push the action to close the round out.
Into the third and final round. They circle around and literally NOTHING happens for almost the first two minutes. McCullough begins to land some kicks from the outside, but Hicks is doing practically nothing here. Crowd are getting angry with this and rightfully so. Razor Rob continues to land kicks and I have no idea why Hicks isnít even trying anything. Crowd are just disgusted. Ref even warns them that heíll stop the fight and declare a No Contest if they donít do anything. Finally Hicks throws a combo and tries to clinch, but McCullough breaks off and gets on his bike. With less than a minute to go they exchange some more strikes, but nothing lands clean and the fight peters out. Atrocious stuff.
How to score this rubbish? Well, Iíd give Hicks the first round, the second was close because Hicks came closer to a finish and dropped McCullough, but Razor did more damage. The third goes to Razor because he at least tried to engage, so frankly fuck Hicks and Iím scoring it 29-28 for McCullough. Judges have it 29-29, 30-27 and 29-28 giving Rob McCullough the win by majority decision. Awful fight and let us never talk about it again.
-Todd Harris joins Bantamweight champ Miguel Torres to talk about his upcoming title defense in his hometown of Chicago against Japanís Takeya Mizugaki. His gameplan is to knock Mizugaki out, and heís willing to fight all challengers. Dude is an animal.
Like his previous fight, Aldo was faced with an unknown journeyman as I guess WEC couldnít get anyone else to take a fight with the guy. Mickleís claim to fame was having almost 40 fights on his record, although with 11 losses and no big wins I donít think that was ever going to get him past a killer like Aldo.
We get underway and Aldo misses a high kick in the opening seconds. Again, like his last fight, heís on another level to his opponent in terms of speed. Mickle tries to throw some strikes out but heís leaning with his chin out which does not bode well. Nasty low kick lands for Aldo and he follows with a stiff jab. Big knee to the body hurts Mickle badly and he backs up into the cage with Aldo closing him down. Head kick glances off Mickle and then Aldo OPENS UP with a wild flurry, nailing Mickle over and over with Mickle basically crumbling, still on his feet but covering up and the ref stops it there.
Another fight, another squash for Aldo. Mickle had nothing for the guy and just got beaten down in quick fashion. Odd to see a standing TKO but Mickle wouldíve been hurt badly if the ref hadnít stepped in, so itís no biggie. Aldo is a frightening man.
Interesting Bantamweight clash from earlier in the night, as Nova Uniaoís Galvao had entered WEC with quite the reputation stemming from his Shooto and grappling days, but hadnít really lived up to that as he was knocked out by Brian Bowles. Greg Jackson-trained Page meanwhile was looking to bounce back from his own loss to Bowles, by guillotine choke.
First round gets started and Page clocks him with an overhand right instantly, forcing Galvao back into the cage. Series of HUGE RIGHT HANDS land flush and rock Galvaoís world, sending him CRASHING to the ground where Page SHUTS HIM DOWN with another pair of BRUTAL PUNCHES.
Terrifying knockout as Page just came out like a maniac and never let Galvao get out of the gate. Post-fight they donít show it, but Galvao was taken out on a spineboard, although he ended up being fine once they got him to the hospital. Scary stuff as he was legitimately knocked stiff. Canít blame the referee at all either as it happened so quickly. Awesome knockout for Damacio Page, probably a contender for KO of the year when 2009 finishes.
IFL veteran Palaszewski had come into the WEC with a bit of fanfare as his followers rated him one of the better Lightweights who hadnít been in the big leagues (UFC, PRIDE) yet. Heíd debuted with a win over TUF veteran Alex Karalexis at WEC 39. I forget who his original opponent was supposed to be, but I know wrestler Lamas took this fight on late notice. Huge experience difference as Lamas has been fighting professionally for about a year while Bartimus has fought all over the place and has over 40 fights on his record.
Touch of gloves to begin the first round. They circle off and Bart lands a low kick. Another chopping leg kick lands for Palaszewski. He tries a third, but this time Lamas catches it and gets a single leg to Bartís guard. Good defensive guard from Bartimus as Lamas is unable to do any real damage, and then the IFL veteran goes for a triangle/armbar combo. He canít quite lock it up though and Lamas escapes and comes down with two heavy punches. Lamas stands over him in the guard and drops some more shots, but Bart uses his legs to kick Lamas away and stand. Lamas goes right back in for a takedown and works for a single leg, but Bartimus does a good job of defending. Lamas finally manages to get him down but Bart goes right for a kimura from full guard. Lamas works his arm free and lands with some heavy ground-and-pound in a flurry, then stands over him to drop some more punches. Bart jumps to his feet with some seconds remaining, and answers a Lamas flurry with one of his own. Good opening round, 10-9 Lamas.
2nd round and Lamas opens with a superman punch-leg kick combo ala GSP! Bart begins to stalk forward looking to strike, but Lamas shoots for a takedown. Bart works to stuff it, doing a good job defensively, and he begins to land some knees to the thighs as the crowd become restless. Lamas tries a hip toss, but Palaszewski quickly pops back to his feet. Bart tries to break off, landing an uppercut, but Lamas keeps the distance tight and continues to work for the takedown, eventually transitioning to a rear waistlock. Unbelievable kick lands for Lamas to the head of Palaszewski, from the rear waistlock. Yeah, no joke! Never seen that before. He muscles Bart down and then tries to hop onto the back Diego Sanchez style, but Bart ends up turning into him. Takedown from Lamas but Bart looks to roll into a kimura, only for Lamas to slip free and take top position, landing some good shots from the top again. Couple of strong upkicks land for Palaszewski as Lamas stands over him, but heís still stuck on his back. Armbar attempt from Palaszewski but Lamas does a good job of defending, marking Bartís face up with a couple of elbows. Bart looks to roll for a kimura now, but he canít get it and Lamas continues to chop away from top position. He stands over him again, taking a couple of upkicks, and as Bart tries to explode to his feet Lamas is all over him, opening up with a big flurry! Palaszewski has quite the chin though and he manages to escape to his feet, ending the round with some strikes of his own. 10-9 Lamas but this is a hell of a fight.
Third and final round, and Bartimus is really stalking him now. Lamas lands with a right hand but Bart comes back with a pair of rights and a left kick that glances off the shoulder. Flying knee misses for Lamas and it sort of catches Bart in the groin, and the ref calls time. Bartís fine to continue and they restart, with Bart coming forward throwing combos. He isnít landing cleanly though and Lamas catches a kick and goes for the takedown. Bart works to defend, but Lamas gets a BIG SLAM to guard. Lamas holds him down with a little less action this time, but he still works from the top to attempt to pass the guard. Bart manages to retain full guard and looks to secure a guillotine, but Lamas pops out rather easily. Few short punches land for Lamas as Bart tries to escape using the cage. One minute to go and Bartimus goes for the kimura again, but Lamas is having none of it and escapes easily. Lamas continues to work from the top, but with seconds to go Palaszewski explodes to his feet, only for Lamas to keep him firmly pressed against the cage.
Got to be a 30-27 for Lamas I would say although the fight was excellent. Judges all score it 30-27 for Lamas in what has to be considered an upset given Lamas took the fight on five days notice. Palaszewski never stopped working from his back and on his feet, but Lamasís takedowns were excellent, and he showed great top control and some strong ground-and-pound too. Definitely a guy to watch in the future if he can take out a guy like Bartimus on such short notice. And hey, I guess WEC *does* have some solid Lightweights outside of the crew I mentioned earlier.
Big main event here although the crowd heat isnít as loud as it would be for a big Urijah Faber fight, showing that the California Kid remains the biggest star on WECís roster. Anyhow, he had of course been dethroned by Brown in November, and for his first title defense the ATT fighter was faced with homestate hero Leonard Garcia, coming off two big knockout wins over Hiroyuki Takaya and Jens Pulver. At this stage I actually thought Brownís win over Faber was a little flukey, and I was therefore picking Garcia to take the title to set up a massive Garcia-Faber fight later in the year. Brown is such an unassuming looking guy too, hilarious that heís actually pound-for-pound one of the baddest men on the planet.
Weíre underway and the champ takes the center of the cage as Garcia circles around him. Garcia is looking to strike but suddenly Brown lands a CRUSHING RIGHT HAND that sends Leonard down like heís been shot! Jesus Christ. Brown pounces, just destroying Garcia in his guard with punches and elbows, but Garcia is crazy tough as we all know and somehow he survives the onslaught. Garcia tries to roll out and ends up on all fours, but Brown gets an over/under and keeps bombing away, before taking the back and looking for a rear naked choke! Blood all over the place as Garciaís face is cut to shreds. He manages to avoid the choke, but Brown keeps the dominant position and continues to land bombs, until Garcia battles into full guard. Brown just continues to punish him though, landing elbow after elbow, and then the champion locks up an arm triangle and slides into full mount, forcing Garcia to tap out.
Unbelievable performance from Brown to shut up the doubters, myself included. Brown just blew Garcia away with absolutely crushing power, and when you consider the punishment Leonard had endured at the hands of Roger Huerta, it becomes more frightening still. Brown killed him with that first right hand and never relented, and despite Garciaís undeniable toughness he just couldnít get himself out of the bad situation. If you donít think Mike Brown is for real after that fight you are certifiably insane. Brown is THE MAN and with that performance he becomes one of the scariest guys in the world to me as he comes off as a nice, unassuming guy but when you lock him in the cage heís a KILLER.
Post-fight Garcia admits he got caught and Brown hits insanely hard, but he promises heíll be back and naturally the Texas crowd love it. Brown meanwhile gets a solid mixed reaction, as the crowd were obviously behind Garcia, but Brown doesnít care, saying he loves this fucking game, and then realizes his slip and says DANG IT. This guy OWNS. Brown apparently welcomes a rematch with Urijah Faber, who is shown in the crowd wearing a PIMP fur lined coat nodding in approval. I fucking love WEC.
-Show ends with a plug for Torres-Mizugaki and then we roll a highlight reel. Can things get much better? Well, as long as we ignore Razor Rob that is.
The sheer existence of a stinker like McCullough-Hicks keeps this below the great WEC cards, but everything else on this show is dope, with the awesome explosive finishes in the Aldo-Mickle and Page-Galvao fights, a great technical war in Lamas-Palaszewski, and then one of the most terrifying one-sided main events in recent memory in Brown-Garcia. Take off the McCullough fight and add in a different one (Hendricks-Serdyukov from the undercard sounded good) and youíve got another classic show. As it is, itís still thumbs up because WEC in general doesnít do bad shows, but skip past the McCullough fight for the good of your health.
Best Fight: Lamas-Palaszewski
Worst Fight: McCullough-Hicks
Overall Rating: ****
UFC: 94-99, Fight Nights 17-18, and TUF VIII Finale.
Elite XC: Uprising, Renegade, Street Certified and Unfinished Business.
K1 Heroís: Final Battle 2007
King of the Cage: 23, 29, 30, 32, 33, 36, 42, 48, 52, and 58.