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WEC 41: Brown vs. Faber 2 review
by Scott Newman (MMA)
Posted on July 6, 2009, 6:52 AM

WEC 41: Brown vs. Faber 2

Sacramento, California

-Your hosts are Todd Harris and Kenny Florian. No word on where Frank Mir is but Kennyís a perfectly acceptable replacement. They discuss the big fight between Mike Brown and Urijah Faber, and then run down the rest of the card, with Cerrone-Krause, Aldo-Swanson and Pulver-Grispi.

Featherweight Fight: Josh Grispi vs Jens Pulver

Despite his heartbreaking second loss to Urijah Faber being Jensís third on the bounce and fifth in six fights, he decided to soldier on rather than retire and was matched with another up-and-comer here in Grispi, who was already 12-1 at this stage with wins over Mark Hominick and Micah Miller, making his nickname of ĎThe Flukeí a bit of a joke really. General consensus from many, myself included, was that this was probably the last chance saloon for Lilí Evil. Absolutely huge crowd reaction for Pulver and rightfully so, how can you not love this guy? Grispi, it must be noted, looks to have a huge size advantage based on the staredown.

Round One begins and Grispi swings some haymakers, before Jens shoots for a takedown. Grispi gets a guillotine on the way down though and itís tight, and sure enough Pulver has to tap. Aw, shit.

Post-fight the crowd are just deflated and Grispi barely even looks happy with the win. Grispi basically tells the crowd heíd boo him if he was watching the fight, and this seems to turn the crowd around a little. And then Pulver gets a monstrous pop and cuts one of the most emotional promos I can ever remember in MMA, basically in tears, saying that he started here in Sacramento and he mightíve just ended in the same place he started, although he wonít outright confirm retirement.

What can you say really? Loss was obviously heartbreaking again, but honestly Iím not sure whether Pulver is truly done. Perhaps he needs an extended break, but itís not like heís being viciously KOd each and every time out Ė he got caught in submissions in his last two losses and he doesnít come off as punch-drunk like a Mark Coleman. If this is the end for Pulver then for me he goes down as one of the all-time greats, a true pioneer of the sport, and heíll always be one of my favourite fighters, but I really donít think heís done just yet.

-Craig Hummer joins Brian Bowles and WEC Bantamweight Champ Miguel Torres for an interview, Bowles saying that heís nearly healed from his injury and he thinks he matches up well with Torres. Torres basically says Bowles is the better wrestler so he can pick his own poison, and then he refuses to make a pick for Faber-Brown in the main event.

Lightweight Fight: Donald Cerrone vs James Krause

WEC newcomer Krause was bringing in an unbeaten 10-0 record, but hadnít really faced anyone of note in those ten wins and after the controversial loss to Jamie Varner, it was thought that Cerrone would be looking to send a message in this one.

Fight begins and Cerrone stalks forward and lands a body kick right away. Krause gets a takedown but almost finds himself caught in a triangle, and then Cerrone quickly gets back to his feet. Takedown from Krause into Cerroneís butterfly guard, and the Cowboy goes from a triangle to an oma plata attempt. Krause stands to work his way free and they come back to standing where Krause takes him down again. Cerrone goes right into another oma plata and uses it to sweep into top position, with Krause in guard. Cerrone works to pass, landing some short strikes from the top, but Krause looks for a triangle choke. Cerrone steps over the top to escape, but Krause uses a leglock attempt to sweep and escape to his feet. Takedown attempt from Krause is stuffed, but he smartly puts a hand on the mat to avoid a knee strike and backs out. They exchange strikes briefly before Krause shoots for a takedown again. Cerrone blocks it and then locks up a standing guillotine, cranking on the neck, and then he delivers a big knee strike. Krause comes forward, but gets dropped with a straight right and Cerrone quickly hops onto him and takes his back. Krause is in deep trouble as Cerrone gets both hooks in and lands some punches, before working to flatten him out. 30 seconds to go, but Krause gives up his neck and Cerrone secures a rear naked choke for the tapout.

Good little fight but Cerrone took over towards the end of the round as Krause began to tire out, and he did well to put the newcomer away before the round ended to be fair. Good win for Cerrone although Krause was slightly overmatched if Iím honest.

Bantamweight Fight: Antonio Banuelos vs Scott Jorgensen

With the first two fights going so quickly they decide to show a prelim now, with Bantamweights Banuelos and Jorgensen throwing down. Banuelosís last WEC appearance had been a close decision loss to Manny Tapia, while Jorgensen Ė he of the patchy skin condition Ė had taken out his opponent with a quick guillotine at WEC 38. Banuelos at 5í3Ē might be the shortest MMA fighter Iíve ever seen.

Round One begins and Banuelos TAGS Jorgensen with a combo in the first trade. They exchange into the clinch and muscle for position, and Banuelos manages to force Jorgensen to his back in the guard. Body punches from Banuelos and he pins Jorgensen into the cage, before Jorgensen turns his back and works back to his feet. Banuelos stays on him like glue, before they break out of the clinch. Banuelos comes wading back in and clinches, keeping a torrid pace up, before he breaks with a one-two. Good low kick from Banuelos and heís the busier striker, as Jorgensen is visibly wincing like he caught one in the eye or something. Jorgensen gets tagged by a left hand, but this time he fires back with a combo and backs Banuelos up with an uppercut. Banuelos clinches again, forcing him into the cage, before they break off and Jorgensen throws a high kick and then shoots. Banuelos sprawls to avoid, but eats an uppercut and Jorgensen shoots again, ending up clinched before they break again. Banuelos continues to throw punches in bunches, landing glancing combos as Jorgensen canít seem to get going. They clinch with thirty seconds to go and Banuelos breaks with a combo just before the buzzer. Banuelos 10-9.

Second round and Jorgensen looks to be the aggressor now, stalking forward as they exchange strikes from the outside. Banuelos clips him with another combo, backing him up, and Jorgensen works his way into the clinch. Banuelos drops for a takedown, but Jorgensen uses a front facelock to block it and they continue to pummel for position. Banuelos breaks with a combo and Jorgensen continues to push forward, avoiding a combo to get to the clinch again. Break off and they trade big combos but neither guy looks badly hurt. Uppercut lands inside for Jorgensen and they clinch up again, before breaking off. Jorgensen is stalking forward, but heís eating counters coming in although Banuelos has clearly slowed down now. Nice combo from Jorgensen, but Banuelos answers with a one-two and a body kick. Jorgensen continues to push forward, but takes a couple more counters as the round ends. Hard round to call, but Iíd lean to Banuelos.

Third and final round now and they exchange a swift flurry right away. Nice combo from Jorgensen but Banuelos gets a takedown, only to get caught in a guillotine. Banuelos manages to spin out and they come back to their feet, but Jorgensen is the clear aggressor now and heís coming forward and landing far more than he was earlier. Big overhand right lands for Banuelos but Jorgensen keeps coming like the Terminator. Exchange continues and neither man is landing cleanly, but Jorgensen is using his reach more and is getting the better of it. Big knee narrowly misses for Jorgensen but he easily stuffs a takedown attempt. Big knee lands for Jorgensen but Banuelos takes it and then lands an overhand right. Both men are landing some big shots here and they have good chins. Banuelos drops for a takedown but Jorgensen uses a front headlock to switch and take the back. He actually gets the rear naked choke, but doesnít have his hooks in and Banuelos quickly slips free. Antonio stands in a rear waistlock and avoids a suplex, but a single leg from Jorgensen takes him back down. Jorgensen lands some shots and then goes for an anaconda choke, but he canít get it and the fight ends just after. Third round was all Jorgensen but I think Banuelos takes the fight 29-28 overall.

Judges officially score it 29-28 Banuelos, 29-28 Jorgensen, and 29-28 for Banuelos to take the split decision. Definitely a close fight and it was a good one too as both men took some heavy shots and kept on coming, and the pace stayed pretty high throughout.

Featherweight Fight: Jose Aldo vs Cub Swanson

Word was that this would be Brazilian sensation Aldoís last test before gaining a title opportunity, as heíd ripped through all four of his previous opponents with frightening ease. Swanson, attempting to play the spoiler, had upset Japanese fighter Hiroyuki Takaya in December and was looking for another stunning win in this one to get himself back into title contention.

First round begins and Aldo EXPLODES AT HIM WITH A FLYING KNEE!~! Swanson folds up and Aldo finishes him off with punches, holy shit. 8 seconds!

Replay shows Aldo actually landed TWO knees, switching it as he jumped, which is absolutely insane. Post-fight Swanson has both eyes cut to shreds, unbelievable that just two strikes could do such damage. Fastest KO in WEC history I believe and probably the knockout of the year too, absolutely incredible stuff. And we STILL havenít seen this guyís ground game! Aldo is terrifying and I cannot wait to see him fight for the title.

Featherweight Fight: Rolando Perez vs Seth Dikun

Another prelim now, with both men looking for their first WEC win after coming up short in their debuts Ė Perez to Jose Aldo, the poor bastard.

Weíre underway and they exchange some strikes, seemingly to the advantage of Dikun. Perez catches a kick and trips Dikun to the ground, but then he lets him back up. They clinch and Dikun forces him into the fence, before he leaps into the air and LOCKS UP A FLYING TRIANGLE!~! Awesome! It looks locked up tight and despite Perez hanging in there for a moment, trying to slam his way out, Dikun keeps it locked up and forces the tapout.

Short fight but that was an awesome submission; Florian even tells us Dikun claims to be a BJJ white belt which has to be a joke as a white belt is not going to pull out a flying triangle of all things. Perez hung in there for as long as he could but the choke was too tight in the end and he had to tap.

Lightweight Fight: Anthony Pettis vs Mike Campbell

And itís time for another prelim, with former powerlifting champ Campbell dropping to 155lbs after an unsuccessful go at 170lbs that saw him lose to Danilo Villefort, taking on the unbeaten debutant Pettis.

First round begins and Campbell catches a high kick and goes for a takedown, but Pettis locks up a guillotine as the former powerlifter gets him in the air. Campbell looks in trouble and goes for a slam, freeing his head, but the moment they hit the ground Pettis transitions to an armbar. Nice! Campbell somehow manages to roll out, but almost ends up in a triangle before forcing his way out of that into side control. Campbell drops some punches from the top before Pettis gets guard back, and Campbell ends up getting too wild with punches from the top and gets caught in a tight triangle choke for the tapout.

Pettis looked awesome there, chaining submissions together like an early Nogueira fight or something. Campbell again showed tremendous strength but just didnít have the ground skill to deal with Pettis at all. Fun little fight again.

WEC World Featherweight Title: Mike Brown vs Urijah Faber

WEC were selling this as their biggest fight ever and sure enough it certainly comes off that way, total pro-wrestling booking with the former champ Faber in his hometown, looking to regain the title he lost to Brown seven months prior. Rematch was admittedly booked quickly (both men only fought one fight after their initial meeting) but then the question of whether Faber wouldíve lost had he not tried the reckless back elbow was so huge that the quick turnaround didnít really matter. On paper after seeing him butcher Leonard Garcia with a stunning mix of brute force and skill, the advantage seemed to be with Brown, but I figured Faber was faster, better in the scrambles, and had the home field advantage and so I went with my heart over my head and picked the California Kid to recapture the belt.

Crowd reactions are naturally off the charts, much bigger than the Faber-Pulver fight in Sacramento even as I guess this time thereís a clear face-heel ish divide. Faberís got his cornrows back in too which is as awesome as ever. Poor Mike Brown gets booed out of the building like heís Anderson Silva in Cincinnati or Matt Serra in Montreal or something. Honestly hearing crowd reactions like this, as much as I love WEC, these guys should be main eventing a UFC PPV for this title as opposed to earning less money on a free TV show.

Round One begins and they circle tentatively to begin. Brown gets the clinch and forces Urijah to the fence, but they break off quickly. Brown takes the center of the cage, but almost takes a big head kick from Faber who is moving around a lot more than the champ. One-two lands for Faber and the crowd absolutely erupts. Brown throws some haymakers and then shoots, but Faber looks to block with a guillotine. Brown manages to work free and gets top position, taking Faberís back, but Urijah manages to get to his feet although he takes some knees to the head from Brown. Elbow from Faber but Brown is still on him, and he looks for the takedown. Pair of knees land for Faber and he breaks off. Brown is cut around the left eye. One-two lands for Faber as heís using his speed very well, and suddenly a right hand drops Brown to a knee! Faber looks to follow with a kick, but Brown catches it and gets a takedown. Faber scrambles and ends up in a front facelock, and it looks like Brownís setting up a DíArce before letting go to take side mount. Faber turns into him and goes into the front facelock again, and this time Brown goes for a guillotine but Faber escapes to end the round. Awesome opener. Probably Faberís round actually.

Into the 2nd and Faber tries to circle on the outside, throwing some kicks. Big ĎFABERí chant as Brown closes in and lands a couple of shots before Urijah manages to circle out. Brown stalks forward, landing a big right hook before forcing Faber to the ground. The champ takes side mount and lands some elbows to the head and body, then goes into half-guard in order to prevent a scramble. Faber turtles up, but Brown remains in control as they stand, using a rear waistlock. BIG PUNCHES land from behind for the champion with Faber stuck against the cage, and then Brown gets the takedown but Faber locks up a guillotine. Brown passes to side mount to escape, but Faber gets a beautiful reversal, only for Brown to reverse that into a standing position. Theyíre clinched against the fence but Faber breaks with a combo and tries to keep his distance as Brown bulls forward. Right hand lands for Brown and he forces the clinch, getting the takedown again, but Faber pops right back up. Brown keeps a bodylock but Faber breaks with some punches, only to take another right hand from Brown before the round ends. Brown, 10-9.

Third round and Brown pushes forward as Faber tries a lunging left hook to the body. Wild elbow attempt from Faber, but Brown locks up a guillotine and then pulls him to the ground, but he canít lock it up properly and Faber winds up on top as Brown tries to get the choke locked in. Brown lets go and then takes Faberís back again, landing heavy punches from behind, but Faber escapes to his feet and fires back with some punches in tight. They break off and the announcers mention that Faber might have problems with his right hand as heís throwing the elbow more. Brown keeps coming forward, but takes a right elbow and a knee. Front kicks from Faber but the champ walks through them and forces him into the cage. Brown looks for a double leg but Faber reverses and gets on top, but Brown rolls out and goes for a heel hook! Faber manages to escape though, and narrowly misses a spinning elbow as they stand. Big right hand from Brown to counter a kick, and he keeps coming forward, as Faber tries to fire back. They clinch and Faber avoids a trip takedown, but Brown forces him into the cage and keeps him there until the buzzer sounds. And weíre heading into the championship rounds! I have Brown ahead two to one at this stage, although his left eye is a mess. Faberís right hand is likely broken though which is going to be a big problem.

4th round begins with Faber throwing some kicks until Brown closes in and gets the clinch again. They break and Brown lands a big right hand that knocks Faber slightly off balance. Brown tries to wade in with punches as Faber looks to keep him at bay with kicks and a looping left hook, as his right hand is basically useless now. Good jabs from Brown and then he goes to the body with some shots too. Pace has clearly slowed now as Brown continues to stalk forward looking to close the distance. He gets to the clinch and looks for a single leg, before breaking with an elbow. They exchange punches inside and Faber lands some elbows to the head, but a right to the body from Brown backs the challenger up. Brown is basically walking through Faberís strikes now and landing shots inside. They clinch up and exchange knees, and Faber manages to avoid the takedown. Round goes to Brown and now Urijah needs to put him away to win.

Fifth and final round! Touch of gloves to begin and Faber tries to keep him at a distance again with his strikes, but Brown is finding his range now with a stiff jab. Into the clinch and Brown forces a takedown, taking the back again as Faber stands. Faber manages to break free but heís still being outlanded by Brown in the striking game. Into the clinch again and Faber looks for a standing guillotine, but Brown lifts him up and gets a slam, working into side mount. Faber gives his back again but Brown canít get the hooks in and Urijah gets to his feet. Brown continues to play the aggressor, avoiding a big elbow to get a takedown to the guard. Faber rolls and gets to his feet, but takes a couple of knees as heís pressed against the cage. Brown drops for a takedown again, but Faber gets a choke variant locked in and gets top position! He canít secure it though and has to let go, allowing Brown back to his feet in the clinch. One minute to go and Brown breaks with a combo, and now theyíre just trading blows. Brown clinches and gets another takedown, and Faber again gives his back to stand, landing an elbow as he turns into Brown. Brown drops for the takedown again, and manages to get Faber on his back as the buzzer sounds. Phenomenal fight.

I have this 48-47 for Mike Brown, but Faber has the heart of a lion and never stopped fighting for a single second, despite having clear difficulties after breaking his hand in the first. Judges score it 49-46, 49-46 and 48-47 all for Mike Brown to retain the belt. Crowd are less than enamoured with that but Brown fought a great fight and firmly deserved the decision. Post-fight Brown puts Faber over as a tough, world-class fighter, but says it was his night again, and then says heís ready to face Jose Aldo if thatís whoís next. Faber confirms that he broke his hand in the first round and then apologises to the crowd, but naturally the crowd love him anyway.

Awesome fight. Probably not quite as good as Torres-Mizugaki but the hotter crowd and better commentary made this one perhaps better to watch overall. The broken hand obviously screwed Faberís game up and itíd be interesting to see a third fight between the two, but for now Mike Brown remains the man and he displayed some incredible strength, ground work and a granite chin here. Brown-Aldo is going to be huge even if Faber still comes off as the bigger star of the two. Great, great main event to a tremendous show.

-Plug for Torres-Bowles and then a highlight reel ends our night.

Final Thoughts....

This was probably the best show of 2009 thus far, with the whole undercard basically being a litany of highlight reel finishes, particularly the sick Aldo-Swanson knockout, and then an absolutely epic main event with one of the hottest crowds I can recall in MMA to top the show off. Throw in the emotion surrounding Pulverís fight and a few excellent prelims and youíve got an all-time classic here. WEC continues to deliver, although how much longer they can keep this up without moving onto PPV to give these great fighters more exposure and more money I donít know. For now though this is an easy thumbs up. Highest recommendation.

Best Fight: Faber-Brown
Worst Fight: None really! Banuelos-Jorgensen I guess but even that was fun.

Overall Rating: ****1/2

Coming Soon....

UFC: 94-99, Fight Nights 17-18, and TUF VIII Finale.
Pride: 31.
DREAM: 1-9
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.

Until next time,

Scott Newman:

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