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WEC 48: Aldo vs. Faber review
by Scott Newman (MMA)
Posted on May 29, 2010, 12:51 PM

WEC 48: Aldo vs. Faber

04/24/10
Sacramento, California


-Just a pointer to start with, even though this was technically WEC 48, it was billed as a UFC show in all but the name, with the original PPV titled ‘UFC presents WEC: Aldo vs. Faber’. I guess Zuffa wanted to make it as much like a UFC show as possible and with that they bought in Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan on announcing too. Things did get a little stranger though as Dana somehow swung things to get the prelim bouts shown for free on Spike TV and part of the deal I guess was that they wouldn’t mention the WEC (because it airs on a different channel – Versus) on the broadcast. So in the end we got a bit of an odd ‘brandless’ show just titled ‘Aldo vs. Faber’. I would go into more detail but it confuses even me so hey.

-Your hosts, as I mentioned beforehand, are Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan.

Lightweight Fight: Alex Karalexis vs Anthony Pettis

This one was shown on Spike TV, but my DVD version has the Spike portion included which is a bonus. Pettis, if you remember, scored that sick head kick knockout on the previous WEC show in March while Karalexis hadn’t fought in over a year although he had won last time out. If anything, no offense to him, you have to wonder if Zuffa keep Alex around because of his TUF fame at this point. Still, he seems like a nice guy so it’s no big deal. Pre-fight they show a pretty nasty weigh-in staredown between the two – looks like we’ve got some bad blood.

Round One begins and Pettis circles on the outside while Karalexis throws out some jabs, looking to close him down. Suddenly a jumping left kick from Pettis lands flush and stuns Karalexis, but on wobbly legs he manages to get a clinch and forces him into the fence. Alex looks to drop for a takedown, going for a single leg, but Pettis defends well and escapes. Karalexis looks recovered now though. Right kick from Pettis misses and Karalexis grabs hold of it and takes him down, dropping some punches into the guard as Pettis looks to swivel his hips to escape. Pettis turns his back and turtles, and takes a couple of hard shots before escaping to his feet. They clinch against the cage before Karalexis backs out. Combo misses for Pettis but he follows with a nice leg kick. Jumping left kick almost lands again but Karalexis just about deflects it. Another hard leg kick from Pettis. And another one and now Karalexis looks like he’s hurting from them. Single leg attempt from Alex with about a minute remaining, but Pettis stuffs it and they wind up clinched along the fence again. Big knee misses and Karalexis just about avoids a high kick on the way out. Good low kick from Karalexis, answered by Pettis. Pettis begins to take over with the leg kicks now, putting Karalexis on wobbly legs, but Alex closes in and goes for a slam. Pettis avoids and the round ends in the clinch. 10-9 Pettis.

2nd round and Karalexis comes out swinging for the fences, then gets a slam to guard. Pettis looks active from his back though, and works up to his feet quickly. Right hook breaks for Alex. Low kick lands hard for Pettis as he comes forward and then Karalexis shoots and gets him down again. Pettis looks for the rubber guard this time, and then looks to transition into a triangle, but Karalexis slips out. He looks to drop some punches down into the guard, but leaves himself open and this time Pettis locks up the triangle and forces the tapout.

Pettis looked very good against a solid veteran fighter there and I think he’s a prospect to watch in the WEC. Good fight.

Featherweight Fight: Chad Mendes vs Anthony Morrison

Urijah Faber teammate Mendes had a lot of hype around him coming into the WEC as he’s another guy with a pretty awesome amateur wrestling background (give it five years and those guys will be dime-a-dozen in MMA!) and this seemed like a gimme fight for him as Morrison had primarily been brought in to lose to Mike Brown a couple of shows back and didn’t seem that great a fighter overall.

Fight begins and they circle before Mendes lands a low kick. Flurry attempt from Mendes and he closes the distance, but Morrison breaks with a one-two. Good left hook from Morrison. Double jab lands for Morrison. Very quick shot from Mendes and he gets Morrison down despite a decent sprawl from him. He lands in half-guard and then Morrison looks to scramble to his feet, but leaves his head out and Mendes clamps on a guillotine and pulls guard, squeezing for the tapout.

Morrison was doing alright on his feet there but as soon as the fight hit the ground Mendes wasted no time in putting him away. Can’t wait to see this guy against the top fighters at 145lbs and the question in a few fights is likely to be whether he’ll end up being better than Faber himself.

-Joe Rogan conducts a satellite interview with Kimbo Slice regarding his upcoming fight against Matt Mitrione, and Kimbo comes out with a classic line, saying that it’s taken a lot of “commitmentship” for him to train. HA. Not much else to say really is there?

Featherweight Fight: Leonard Garcia vs Chan Sung Jung

Garcia was originally set to face Cub Swanson here in what seemed like a must-win for him after an odd draw with George Roop and a loss to Manny Gamburyan in his last two fights, but Cub got injured and so Chan – known as the ‘Korean Zombie’ stepped in. The Zombie was bringing in a strong reputation as an exciting guy from Japan, but the last time Garcia had faced a trumped-up Japanese based fighter (Hiroyuki Takaya) he’d smashed him, and I have to admit I could see the same thing happening here.

Fight begins and Zombie lands with a low kick early on. Zombie closes in but eats a big overhand right, but it has no effect and he keeps coming forward. Good low kick from Garcia. BIG RIGHT HAND from Garcia and suddenly the fight becomes a WILD BRAWL as they exchange crazy hooks! HOLY SHIT. Both guys just swing WILDLY like they’re trying to take the other’s head off, and then Garcia finally slows it up a bit by clinching. Zombie breaks with an elbow and then lands with a body kick and a knee, and suddenly they’re swinging again but this time it’s the Korean coming out on top as Garcia looks slowed down. Head kick from Jung and he continues to walk Garcia down. WILD COMBO drops Garcia hard and he looks in trouble as the Zombie pounces and pounds away, but Garcia locks up an armbar from the bottom! Jung has to defend and Garcia turns into an oma plata, but the Korean slips free and goes back to top position. Big punches over the top from the Zombie but Garcia manages to kick him away and stand. They continue to swing wildly and the crowd are going wild now as the Zombie lands with a high kick. Big combo from Jung has him hurt again and he comes in with some more HEAVY SHOTS but somehow Garcia eats it all up. Round finally ends and what a round it was. 10-9 for Jung based on the knockdown though as he came closer to finishing.

Round Two and the Zombie opens with a wild head kick and now they THROW DOWN AGAIN and this time Garcia rocks him badly! My play-by-play can’t keep up with this now as they swing for the fences like a Rocky fight, and insanely Garcia lands a spinning backfist then ducks one from Jung. Good lord. This is like Frye-Takayama Mark II. Garcia decides to go for a takedown now but Jung breaks off. Big overhand right from Leonard. Crowd are just DEAFENING now. I think they’re chanting “we want more!” in fact. Head kick misses for Garcia. Good leg kick from the Zombie. Zombie closes him down again and good lord are these guys putting steam into their shots. Wild trade again leads this time to Jung rolling and taking the back with both hooks in, before he switches to a body triangle. Garcia tries to roll free and manages to scramble to his feet, and once again they start swinging punches. Jesus does Garcia swing his punches wildly. Literally putting his whole body into every one. Somehow the Zombie continues to walk Leonard down and they exchange some knees and punches and now the Zombie OPENS UP with a combo that knocks Garcia’s mouthpiece out! Ref uses the slightest slowdown in action to replace it and HERE WE GO AGAIN as they brawl once more before clinching from sheer exhaustion. Quick break and Garcia throws a head kick, and then they trade to end the round. No clue how you’d score that round. I think I’d go 10-10 in fact. Just insane stuff.

Hard to believe we’re even going into Round Three with the way these guys are swinging. Good kick to begin from Jung. Couple of wild swings – what else? - miss for Garcia. Big high kick is blocked by the Zombie. Jung just does not stop coming forward though. Nice combo from Garcia and Jung fires right back, and they trade again popping the crowd. Overhand right glances off Garcia’s head. Spinning back kick misses for the Zombie. Nice right hand lands for the Korean in a trade. Big flurry from the Zombie rocks Garcia and puts him firmly on the retreat, but he fires back with a hard left hook. Nice right hand-leg kick combo from Garcia, but Jung comes in with a combo and they TRADE WILDLY with some BOMBS again! One minute to go! These guys look pretty tired now and quite rightfully so. Crowd begin a loud Garcia chant as he misses a wheel kick. Jung pushes forward with a right hook. Takedown attempt from Garcia is blocked and he turns it into a sloppy knee strike. Seconds to go and Jung continues to push forward and they brawl to the end. Incredible fight.

Judges have it 29-28 Garcia, 29-28 Jung, and 29-28 for Leonard Garcia. Wow, odd decision as I definitely thought the Korean Zombie won, but you know what? I don’t think it really matters as both men came away with their stock way up and WEC has a ready-made semi-main event for the next time they decide to do a PPV in the inevitable rematch between these two. It won’t win any awards for technique but that was perhaps the wildest brawl in MMA history, well, at least since Frye-Takayama. Total must-see stuff from start to finish – even if you’re a purist you should enjoy this.

-Joe Rogan is joined by Dana White and they run down the upcoming PPV card, obviously talking up Aldo-Faber and Cerrone-Henderson II. I seriously admire these guys for doing an interview without accidentally mentioning those three letters ‘WEC’. Even the MICS just have ‘Aldo vs. Faber’ written on them.

Bantamweight Fight: Scott Jorgensen vs Antonio Banuelos

This was a rematch of an earlier fight between the two in June 2009, which saw Banuelos take a close decision win. Since then though, Jorgensen had improved a ton and had reeled off three impressive wins, and so I thought he’d be able to avenge his loss this time around.

Round One begins and they circle before Banuelos lands a good left hook. Jorgensen is pushing forward though and he shoots in, but Banuelos blocks it and they wind up clinched. Good knee to the body from Jorgensen but Banuelos breaks off. Combo from Banuelos to counter a right hand. Nice low kick from Jorgensen and then Banuelos fires back with one of his own that knocks Jorgensen down to a knee for a split-second. Jorgensen is the aggressor here but I think Banuelos has landed the better shots thus far. Good left hook lands for him again as Jorgensen steps in. Combo from Banuelos drops Jorgensen and he’s forced to pull guard to tie Banuelos up. Banuelos passes into half-guard and lands some elbows, but leaves his arm out and Jorgensen almost locks it up. Banuelos escapes though and decides to stand, and Jorgensen quickly closes the distance and clinches. Knee from Banuelos breaks off and he lands another counter. High kick narrowly misses for Jorgensen. Pace is very high here. Into the clinch again with less than a minute to go and Jorgensen hits a nice knee to the body to break. Spinning back kick to the body answers for Banuelos. Good body kick from Banuelos. Right hand into a head kick combination follows. Round ends there. 10-9 Banuelos.

Into the 2nd and Jorgensen really pushes forward now, although Banuelos clips him with the left hand counter again early on. Combos miss for both men and then Jorgensen lands a low kick and avoids a takedown. Nice body kick from Jorgensen and he’s really putting the heat on Banuelos in this round. Couple of jabs land for Jorgensen. Really nice combination follows and it looks like Banuelos might be bloody. Jorgensen continues to chase him down and land shots. Looks like Banuelos’ nose might be broken in fact according to the announcers. Good combo from Banuelos though ending with a body kick. Right hand into a head kick narrowly blocked for Jorgensen. Two minutes to go now. Jorgensen is firmly getting the better of this round. Hard right hand and left hook from Jorgensen. Head kick puts him on the retreat and Jorgensen is really pushing the pace. Stiff jab snaps Banuelos’ head back and he follows with a one-two that drops him hard. Banuelos is in trouble as Jorgensen lands some shots and looks to take the back, and damn is Banuelos bloody. Big shots from Jorgensen and he looks to get his hooks in, but Banuelos manages to hop back up to his feet and suddenly breaks off with a flurry to end the round. Total turnaround for Scott Jorgensen in that round and he takes it 10-9.

Third round and this is still anyone’s fight. Jorgensen comes out pushing the pace again and quickly reopens the bloody nose with a hard combo. Jorgensen has found his range now and he’s just eating Banuelos up with combinations. Stiff jab absolutely snaps the head back. Left hook follows to counter a Banuelos jab. Big right hand from Jorgensen but Banuelos is hanging in there and keeps firing back even if he isn’t having the success he had in the first round. Crowd incredibly sound restless – I guess the Garcia-Zombie fight spoiled them because this is a good fight. Big right hand stuns Banuelos again and drops him, and he ends up turtled on the ground with Jorgensen bombing on him again, looking to take the back. One hook in for Jorgensen and it looks like he has a choke locked up, but he doesn’t have the second hook in and Banuelos slips free. Jorgensen’s still in dominant position on the back though. More shots land for Jorgensen with one minute to go. One hook in for Jorgensen and he’s landing elbows to the side of the head now. He tries to sink the choke again, but Banuelos does a good job of defending and manages to gut it out with seconds to go, lasting to the final buzzer.

Great fight. Judges have it a unanimous decision for Scott Jorgensen, 29-28 all around. Jorgensen started off badly in the first as he kept walking into left hand counters from Banuelos, but once he found his range in the second it was his fight as he lit up Banuelos constantly with combinations and jabs particularly, busting up Banuelos’ nose badly. It’s probably time for Jorgensen to fight a top-five level contender now – maybe Miguel Torres?

Lightweight Fight: Shane Roller vs Anthony Njokuani

Both of these Lightweight contenders had reeled off some solid wins following losses to Ben Henderson, with Njokuani in particular scoring a sick highlight reel finish over Chris Horodecki last December. This seemed to be a close one on paper, with Roller’s strong wrestling and ground game against Njokuani’s explosive, lanky striking style.

We get underway and Roller keeps a low stance, pushes forward and immediately drops for a double leg. Njokuani works to block it, but Roller stays on him and drags him to the ground. Njokuani uses the cage to escape to his feet, but Roller keeps hold of him and then drives him down again. Excellent wrestling from Roller and he immediately passes the guard and gets to half-guard. Mount from Roller and it looks like he’s going for a mounted guillotine, but Njokuani flips out, only to give his back. Roller quickly slaps his hooks in and from there he looks to lock up the rear naked choke, but Njokuani manages to tuck his chin to avoid. Body triangle from Roller now and he continues to control the Nigerian and then he manages to get the arm under the neck and locks up the choke for the tapout.

Totally one-sided win for Shane Roller – I guess it would’ve been more entertaining to see Njokuani’s crazy striking but such is MMA – he couldn’t keep the fight standing and once Roller got a dominant position the Nigerian was toast. Roller showed really excellent grappling there and I could easily see him getting the next title shot in the WEC’s 155lbs division.

-Funniest moment of the show follows as the camera catches Dana White in the crowd...with none other than Strike Force Middleweight Champion – and free agent – Jake Shields. Dana mouths “he’s mine!” at the camera and his shit-eating grin is TREMENDOUS here. I love it. What I’d give to work for that guy, seriously.

Featherweight Fight: Mike Brown vs Manvel Gamburyan

Big fight here with Manny – who had dropped down from 155lbs in 2009 and had taken two wins at 145lbs, including one over contender Leonard Garcia – taking on the former champion Brown, who had dominated pretty much everyone outside of Jose Aldo at the weight. On paper the styles seemed to favour Brown heavily as he’d shown far better striking than Manny in the past and his ground game seemed strong enough to not allow Manny to take him down for ground-and-pound, but as the Anvil’s been one of my favourite guys since his wild TUF stint, I was pulling for him hugely to take an upset.

Surprisingly big crowd pop for Brown – I guess the Sacramento fans realized that he’s sort of cool when he’s not fighting Urijah Faber. First round gets underway and both men press the action, keeping their hands firmly high. Right hand misses for Brown. Combo from Manny but Brown covers up to avoid. Neither man landing anything of note yet. Uppercut misses for Gamburyan. Glancing overhand right from Manny. First slip of the night from Rogan on commentary as he says that it really helps Manny to be “fighting guys his size now in the WEC” and we get an awkward moment of silence. Left hook from Brown and he closes in, but he walks right into a SHORT RIGHT HAND from Manny that folds him! Brown goes down HARD and some hammer fists on the ground finish things! WORD!

Post-fight Manny dedicates the fight to the memory of the Armenian Genocide, getting pretty emotional. After the show there were rumors going around that Brown had broken up with his girlfriend before this and hadn’t trained properly, but then he came out himself and debunked them so who knows really? This was a great performance from Manny though as his striking looked hugely improved even before he caught Brown with the right hand. And with the win he also freshens up the 145lbs division a bit by putting himself in line for the next title shot, as if Brown had won, obviously he’s already fought both Aldo and Faber and there’s not much money in rematches with either man. Manny’s a fresh challenger and I look forward to seeing him get his shot.

Bantamweight Fight: Brad Pickett vs Demetrious Johnson

This was a prelim taped earlier in the night, with British striker/grappler/Brad Pitt in Snatch wannabe Pickett taking on newcomer Johnson, who physically looks more like a 125lber. Still waiting to see Pickett’s entrance in the WEC – hopefully it’s as hilarious as his old Cage Rage one was.

Fight begins and they exchange a couple of strikes before Pickett stuns Johnson with a left that knocks him off balance. Johnson recovers quickly though and bounces around out of range. Pickett tries to walk him down as Johnson shows some impressive footwork, landing a right hand after catching a kick. Another kick is caught and Pickett lands the right again but Johnson bounces out of range once more. This guy is TINY, but insanely quick. Johnson closes in with a combo but Pickett ducks under and gets a nice takedown, dumping Johnson on his back in side mount. Heavy elbow lands for the Brit but it allows Johnson to recover half-guard. He gets full guard soon after and then stands, eating a couple of shots on the way out. Kick from Johnson but Pickett catches it and dumps him down again. He passes into half-guard and looks to control Johnson this time, but the newcomer uses his feet on the cage to spin to guard. Nice push-off from Johnson to his feet and he follows with a very quick combo. Pickett pushes forward, but almost takes a head kick before firing back with a superman punch. Big takedown from Pickett but Johnson bounces right back up. Flying knee from Johnson but Pickett catches it and hits a BIG SLAM into side mount. Hughes crucifix from Pickett and he looks to pound, but Johnson slips his arm free to defend himself and then slips free to his feet, ending with a flurry. Man, what a round. 10-9 Brad Pickett.

Second round and Johnson continues to dance round at a ridiculous speed as Pickett walks him down. Nice low kick from Johnson but Pickett almost catches it again. Couple more low kicks land for Johnson nicely. Flying knee misses for Pickett. Two more kicks from Johnson but Pickett grabs hold of him and dumps him on his back in side mount again. Couple of short punches and elbows from One Punch but a sick scramble allows Johnson to escape to his feet and they trade some punches. Pair of nice body kicks from Johnson but Pickett grabs him again and gets him back down in half-guard. Pickett tries to stay really tight this time, obviously making sure he keeps Johnson down, but Johnson continues to squirm from the bottom and he escapes to his feet. A slam brings him back down, but Johnson pops right back up and charges forward with a flurry ending with a low kick. Wild swings miss for both men and then they clinch and Pickett lifts him up and hits a HUGE BODYSLAM into side mount. Again he looks for the crucifix, and then takes full mount, ending the round with some elbows. 10-9 Pickett again but he’s having a hard time dealing with Johnson’s speed.

Final round now and this time Johnson comes out and shoots in, taking Pickett down into half-guard. Pickett quickly squirms though and pops back up to his feet, but Johnson uses a front headlock to land some knees. Pickett breaks free and they end up clinched, and then Pickett drops for a takedown and gets it once Johnson is forced to let go of the fence. He lands in half-guard and he looks to trap one of Johnson’s arms to deliver some shots, but Johnson keeps wriggling from the bottom and tries desperately to get loose. Johnson manages to wall-walk to his feet using the cage, but Pickett has a rear waistlock and looks for the suplex. Johnson manages to break free, and pushes forward with a superman punch and a combo before hitting a takedown of his own to the Brit’s guard. Johnson tries to pass, but Pickett uses it to explode to his feet and he tries a takedown, but Johnson hits a hip throw and they roll over and back to their feet before Pickett slams him down into side mount again. Pickett works into full mount with about a minute to go and he works the body before Johnson gets a hip escape to half-guard. Pickett manages to stay on top this time though, but only for a moment as Johnson once again explodes to his feet. Pickett looks to muscle him down again and does so, landing a knee to the body before trying to take the back, but he winds up on the bottom before hitting a reversal on the buzzer. 10-9 Pickett giving him the win 30-27 on my scorecard.

Pretty wild fight and on any other card (as in, one not including Garcia-Zombie) it’s probably Fight of the Night. Judges have it a unanimous decision for Brad Pickett, 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28. The difference seemed to be Pickett’s size and strength, as although Johnson was a lot faster (which is crazy as Pickett is VERY fast too) he was also a lot smaller and was just unable to really harm Pickett with his strikes nor could he stop the big takedowns of the Brit. Hopefully we’ll see Pickett against a top ten contender at 135lbs next time out and as for Johnson, I hope WEC introduce the 125lbs division soon as he could be a star there I think. Hell of a fun fight.

WEC World Lightweight Title: Ben Henderson vs Donald Cerrone

After their first crazy fight in 2009 there was bound to be a rematch between these two at some point and of course WEC wasted no time in putting it together when Henderson took the title from Jamie Varner back in January. Despite Henderson surprising me pretty much every time he steps into the cage, I was picking Cerrone to win as I thought he’d won the first fight and expected him to start a bit faster this time around.

We get underway and both men look pretty tentative. Low kick from Cowboy but Henderson grabs hold of it and looks for the takedown. Cerrone defends well and they end up on their feet in a clinch, with Bendo pushing him into the cage. Waistlock from Henderson and he lands some knees to the legs and then goes to the head as well. Cerrone looks calm though and turns into him, only to be tripped to the ground. Henderson lands practically in the mount and lands some shots, and then as Cerrone looks to scramble free, he leaves his head out and Bendo quickly snatches up a guillotine and pulls guard for the tapout! Damn.

Fight went a LOT quicker than the first one and obviously it was nowhere near as good, but hey, at least we got a climactic ending this time instead of more questions. For me this should be the catalyst to move the 155lbs division to the UFC and introduce the 125lbers to WEC, as Henderson’s now beaten Cerrone and Varner, and the next contender is Shane Roller who he’s already beaten, and behind him there’s Njokuani who Henderson’s beaten as well. Talk about clearing out a division. It’s time for him to step up and fight contenders like Tyson Griffin, Jim Miller, Gleison Tibau, et al rather than rematch the same guys or knock off prospects or journeymen. Same goes for Varner, Roller, Njokuani and Cerrone to be fair.

Featherweight Fight: Brandon Visher vs Tyler Toner

Don’t know much about either of these guys to be honest, although Visher had picked up a win in an exciting fight with Courtney Buck at WEC 45 in December. His nickname is also ‘The Viper’ which was cool before Randy Orton ruined it. Toner according to his Wiki page was supposed to fight Visher at WEC 45 actually, but got pulled by the Nevada SAC due to bad eyesight. I guess Cali is more lax on such things.

First round begins and Toner opens with a leg kick. Visher throws a right hand and a low kick but doesn’t really land clean, and Toner answers with a leg kick of his own. Good right hand from Visher. They continue to exchange some strikes before Visher blocks a head kick. Visher steps in, but gets clipped by a right and tries to clinch, but Toner breaks with a knee. More leg kicks follow from Toner. Visher comes in swinging with an overhand right but doesn’t land it cleanly. Front kick from Toner and he follows with a big left-right combo that drops Visher like a ton of bricks. Visher sits up and looks out of it, and Toner hits him with some solid elbows to the side of the head to prompt the stoppage.

Nothing fight really although it wasn’t bad or anything. Really nice finish for Toner, however, and I guess the vision problems ended up being non-existent as he had no problem finding Visher to punch and elbow!

-They air the Mendes vs. Morrison fight again here but obviously we’ve been over that earlier so no point in doing it again.

WEC World Featherweight Title: Jose Aldo Jr. vs Urijah Faber

First things first – for a debut PPV the WEC couldn’t have got a bigger fight to put on than this, with the hometown hero and the promotion’s biggest draw in Faber taking on the apparently unstoppable wrecking machine of the division in new champion Aldo. Coming in the smart money was on the Brazilian, particularly after seeing him smack Mike Brown around just a few months after Brown had pretty much done the same to Faber. But, this is MMA and styles make fights and I actually thought Faber matched better with Aldo than Brown did, as Brown’s game is all about power whereas Faber is a speed merchant and loves to scramble, and Aldo had yet to fight anyone near as quick as him. Still, I couldn’t bring myself to pick against a guy who had shown such sick striking despite all of his training partners saying he’s better on the ground (!) and so I took Aldo to win. Regardless, I was anticipating this one just as much as any other fight thus far in 2010.

Entrances for this one are awesome. Faber comes out to California Love to one of the biggest pops I can ever recall hearing in MMA, on TV anyway, and that leads me into a side note, I don’t think the sound system that UFC/WEC use for their telecasts really get the pops over as well as they should. I’ve been to a couple of live UFCs and the reaction to Michael Bisping there was *deafening*, and those crowds were smaller than this one, so obviously Faber’s pop would be bigger and yet it doesn’t come across on TV if you know what I mean. Aldo makes his entrance to Jay-Z and Rihanna’s Run This Town in one of the most badass entrances I’ve ever seen, and gets booed out of the building. Seriously, this makes Anderson Silva’s heat in Cincinnati against Rich Franklin seem tame. I mean shit, a whole row in the crowd is wearing t-shirts with ‘No Way Jose’ on them.

And here we go! Faber comes out on the attack and throws some strikes, but Aldo dodges them. Good leg kick from Aldo as the crowd fire up the Faber chant. Another leg kick from Aldo and this one misses the outside leg but catches the inside one and knocks Faber off his feet for a second. Couple of shots miss for Faber and Aldo lands with a left to the body and another leg kick. Faber drives forward with a half-takedown attempt but Aldo easily shrugs him off. Right hand from Faber lands glancingly. Leg kick misses for Aldo and Faber counters with a right hand. Both men are pretty tentative here, obviously not wanting to make an error. Big knee to the body lands for Aldo. The Brazilian closes in but Faber lands with a solid front kick to the body. Superman punch glances off the side of Aldo’s head. Right to the body from Faber and he tries to rush in to land some shots, but Aldo shrugs him off and counters with a big knee to the body. About thirty seconds to go now. Spinning back kick to the body from the champion. Round ends there. Close round to call but I think Aldo landed the cleaner shots even if Faber was more of the aggressor. Aldo 10-9.

Round Two gets underway and Faber looks to rush in, but Aldo plays matador and steps out of the way. Good body kick from the Brazilian. Hard leg kick follows. Right hand and a follow-up left land for Faber but he can’t seem to find his range to land flush. Beautiful uppercut lands for Aldo as Urijah steps in. Hard leg kick from the champion. Another one lands but Faber manages to dodge a flying knee attempt. Faber drops for a takedown but then decides against it and throws a high kick that misses instead. Heavy leg kick from Aldo almost buckles Faber’s leg. Faber just can’t seem to land here and the leg kicks are hitting him over and over now. Brutal kick spins Faber all the way around and Aldo follows with another one. Another leg kick from the champ. These are the best leg kicks I’ve seen since Thiago Alves against Josh Koscheck I think, off the top of my head. Faber is limping badly on the left leg now. Another kick hurts him badly right before the round ends. 10-9 Aldo and Faber looks to be in trouble now.

Third round and Aldo is the aggressor now, pushing forward menacingly. Single leg from Faber is shrugged off and he still can’t land anything of note. Leg kick spins the challenger all the way around again and he’s clearly hurt badly at this stage. Faber is switching stances now to try to protect the leg. Combo and another leg kick have Urijah wobbled and he looks like he’s in survival mode. To his credit, Urijah comes out fighting and still swings punches, but he just can’t get anything off. Leg kick drops Faber and he scrambles to try to get a takedown, but Aldo quickly squirms to his feet. Aldo continues to land the leg kick and then follows with a head kick and a one-two combo. Faber looks hurt and covers up as the Brazilian unloads with punches, but somehow he fires right back and forces Aldo to back up. Faber is all heart, dude. Aldo closes back in though, dodging Faber’s punches and landing yet another leg kick. Brutal one causes Faber to wobble in serious pain but he’s still hanging in there. This is one of the bravest performances in MMA history. Brutal body shot lands for Aldo and then a pair of leg kicks drop the challenger. Aldo pounces and looks to finish, but the round ends before he can. 10-8 for Aldo this time. Brutal round for Faber.

Holy shit, between rounds they actually show Faber being carried to his corner to avoid walking on the left leg.

Fourth round and Aldo pushes forward and opens with – what else? – a vicious leg kick. Faber continues to throw strikes unsuccessfully, then eats another leg kick that turns him around and causes him to grab the fence to stand. Urijah switches stances, but a pair of kicks to the right leg drop him and he decides to go to his back. Aldo gets on top in half-guard and then gets full mount, then takes the back with both hooks. This guy is unbelievable. Faber does a good job of defending himself from the position though and manages to spin free to his feet, popping the crowd. Aldo closes back in though and drops him with another leg kick, then takes top position in half-guard once more. Faber’s leg looks like hell. A beaten piece of meat. Aldo passes into side mount and then takes the Hughes crucifix, where he drops some HEAVY shots, and you could probably make a case for stopping this as there’s still a minute and half to go. Elbows from Aldo bash Faber’s face and I think this would be stopped if it were in any other city than Sacramento. Faber refuses to give up though, trying to buck out, but it’s no good and he’s taking shot after shot. Somehow he survives the round, more due to the refereeing than anything else. 10-8 Jose Aldo.

Fifth round and I’m reminded of that quote about Shawn Michaels where someone said he had “more guts than brains”. Faber is my fucking hero as there is NO QUIT in him at all. Unbelievably Faber comes right out with a superman punch attempt. Aldo stays out of the way though and he’s dancing around without a care in the world. Faber tries a single leg but Aldo shows some tremendous defense and then cracks him with a right hand as he’s down. The champ demands Faber get back up, surprisingly not kicking the legs while he’s in the butt-scoot position, and the ref calls Urijah to his feet. Not much action in this round to be honest. Looks like Aldo wants to coast the final round. Half-shot from Faber comes nowhere near as he’s working on two jacked legs. Hard body shot from Aldo hurts him again but the Brazilian doesn’t really follow up. Takedown attempt from Faber misses and he drops to his back, taking a leg kick and a right hand from there. Seconds to go and Aldo lands a couple of punches from above and that’s the fight. I have this 50-43 for Jose Aldo Jr in one of the most dominant championship performances in MMA history.

Judges score it 49-45, 49-45, 50-45 for Jose Aldo in surprising scores to be honest. Stunningly one-sided fight, and really what can you say? Faber tried, by God did he try, and he never gave up for a second, but he was simply outclassed by a better fighter and took a tremendous beating that he’ll be feeling for a long, long time. As for Aldo, the guy is simply one of the best fighters on the planet, point blank. Incredible Muay Thai, and we got a glimpse of his ground game here and that looked sick too. No offense to Manny Gamburyan but I think that belt is his for as long as he wants it. Basically until he decides to move up to 155lbs.

-They air the Garcia-Zombie fight again now, obviously not wanting to let anyone who doesn’t have Spike miss out on it. So that’s NINE fights shown on the PPV part of the show now.

-Ben Henderson gets the Submission of the Night award and then we roll the highlight reel.

Final Thoughts....

There were high expectations for this show coming in basically because of how good the WEC shows normally are, and this card delivered in spades. We got nine fights on the PPV portion alone (with one extra on the Spike part) and when the worst fight is a highlight reel knockout like Toner-Visher you know you’ve got something special. Pickett-Johnson and Jorgensen-Banuelos were excellent fights, Garcia-Jung was the brawl to end all brawls and will probably go down as an all-time classic and everything else pretty much ended in explosive, highlight-reel fashion, particularly the sick knockout from Manny Gamburyan. Main event was very one-sided but the sheer heart of Faber made it engaging, and thus, in a rarity for me, I’ve gone for the full monty on the Overall Rating. Amazing show and if it doesn’t end up being the best of 2010 I’ll be hugely surprised. Highest recommendation.

Best Fight: Garcia-Jung
Worst Fight: Toner-Visher

Overall Rating: *****

Coming Soon....

UFC: 110-113, Fight Night 21, Versus 1
DREAM: 14
King of the Cage: Various shows

Until next time,

Scott Newman:
NewmanMMA@gmail.com





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