Following his loss to Mike Thomas Brown at WEC 36, Urijah Faber indicated he wanted to get back in the ring soon and fight a top opponent. Hi sultimate goal…a re-match with Brown and a chance to get his title back. Faber was long the king of the featherweights, but now he has been dethroned and will have to wait and fight his way back to the position of number one contender. The WEC champ is now Mike Brown and the number one contender is Leonard Garcia. Therefore Faber needs a win to put him into conention again. There have been several different names dropped for the next opponent for the “California Kid”. First several outlets reported that Faber would take on Jose Aldo at WEC 38. However, MMAWeekly and now FiveOuncesofPain is reporting that Faber will take on former UFC lightweight champ Jens Pulver for a second time on January 25th which will air live on Versus. That card will probably be stacked. Believe it or not it is doubtful that Pulver vs. Faber II will be the headliner as it is expected that Jamie Varner will fight Donald Cerrone on this night and Carlos Condit will fight as well possibly against Brock Larsen.
I do not fully understand that matchup between Pulver and Faber as Faber looked dominant in his win over Jens Pulver. Perhaps they want to establish a competitive trilogy of fights. Perhaps they want to give Faber a solid opponent and a big name to boost him back into contention. Either way a win and he may get his title shot. The WEC featherweight division is stacked with guys like Mike Brown, Leonard Garcia, Urijah Faber, Jens Pulver, Jose Aldo, Waggney Fabiano, Josh Grispi, Cub Swanson, Hiroyuki Takaya, Diego Nunes and Akitoshi Tamura.
WEC 36 was a night full of upsets. If I was a betting man I would have been hurting from this card. If you look at my predictions you can see that. Quite honestly it was not a good night for the WEC.
Let me start with the main event and work my way down. All I can say is…wow! I did not expect that. Urijah Faber has looked unbeatable and finally somebody dethroned the featherweight king. I still think he is number 1 in the world, but what a KO. I will be interested to see how the WEC works this situation out. Will they give Urijah an instant re-match? Will Leonard Garcia get a shot? Will Faber fight a top contender like Garcia, Fabiano, Aldo or Tamura? Honestly, I think he may desere a shot, but I would not be upset if they made him win one and let Garcia get first crack at the new champ.
Mike Brown was innjured in the fight witha broken rib cage and is out a few weeks. So we will not see him defend his title for a bit.
The Sonnen vs. Filho fight stunk. It wasn’t Chael’s fault at all. What the heck was Paulo Filho doing. He looked way out of it. I suspect drugs. Filho may have been drained from the weight drop. He may not have all his personal stuff in order yet. He may have seen this as a senseless fight. I don’t know what the deal was. Sonnen won easily. I scored it 30-26…and that was being nice to Filho. Can you say Kalib Starnes?
Who expected Leonard Garcia to KO Jens Pulver. Urijah Faber couldn’t KO Pulver. Garcia made quick work of Pulver. He made it look easy. I had been a Garcia doubter, but I am believing that he could be a featehrweight champ in the WEC. He has serious knock out power and he rocked Jens.
Aaron Simpson looks like a solid middleweight prospect and he may have punched his ticked into the UFC with his one punch KO of David Avellan. He is worth a shot.
Jake Rosholt is not just a good wrestler. He is the real deal. He is a future MMA star. He looked very good and I think he will do very well in the UFC. I’d love to see him vs. C.B. Dolloway.
I also think Nissen Osterneck impressed. He looked very good and nearly finished Rosholt. The UFC may have lost some in the disappointing performance of Filho, but they may have gained in additions to their roster in the likes of Rosholt and guys like Osterneck and Simpson who emerged from WEC 36 with more respect in the fight world.
Looks like Donald Cerrone will fight Jamie Varner for the title in January. Razor Rob is done.
Mike Thomas Brown ded. Urijah Faber via TKO in round 1
Chael Sonnen def. Paulo Filho via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 20-27)
Leonard Garcia def. Jens Pulver via TKO in Round 1
Jake Rosholt def. Nissen Osterneck via TKO in Round 2
Donald Cerrone def. Rob McCullough via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-27)
Aaron Simpson def. David Avellan via KO in Round 1
Jose Aldo def. Jonathan Brookings via TKO in Round 3
Carmelo Marrero def. Steve Steinbess via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Danny Castillo def. Rafael Dias via TKO In Round 2
Rani Yayha def. Yoshiro Maeda via submission (guillotine choke) in Round 1
This is a great fight with a great story line. The two guys fought for the title last December and the fight ended in controversy. Sonnen was winning the fight and suddenly Filho locked in an armbar. Viewers could see the armbar was tight, Sonnen grimaced and even let out a scream. The referre called a stop to the fight, but Sonnen thought it was unwarranted because he never tapped. There was a lot of controversy concerning the stoppage, but Sonnen’s arm would have been broken if it wasn’t stopped. This fight is a whole new fight. Sonnen is no longer a huge underdog, although he probably is the underdog. Filho is coming off of some serious personal issues including depression and drug rehab. The fight vey well may be determined by Filho’s mental state. Sonnen is no push over, he is a great wrestler with solid ground and pound skills. He will have had a good training camp and plenty of time to prepare. Filho ought to be ready to go. Hopefully, he is back in the swing of things and has his problems straightened out. Following this fight both Filho and Sonnen should fight in the UFC with the WEC folding their middleweight divison along with their light heavyweight divison. The two guys should contend for the belt right away win or lose here. Filho has said he will not fight his good friend Anderson Silva and Anderson said the same. Saddly, it looks like we will neve rsee the #1 vs. the #2 middleweights in the world. Filho will be a solid competitor in the UFC. I think a Sonnen vs. Silva match would be very interesting, but for Sonnen to get that match he has to win here. This fight is hard to pick because Sonnen is improving so much and we do not know what Filho we will see. My prediction may be risky, but I will pick Filho to win. Why? Because Filho is still the number 2 middleweight in the world. I think that Filho will win by submission in round 2.
Urijah Faber vs. Mike Brown
This is another interesting fight that many are excited to see. Some people think that Mike Brown could be a serious threat to Urijah Faber. Faber very well could be Zuffa’s most dominant champion, and that is saying something when you consider guys like Anderson Silva, Georges St. Pierre, and B.J. Penn have nearly cleaned out their respective divisons. The reality is that Mike Brown is a big featherweight, he is very experienced and he is very well rounded. He has fought in the UFC and many other places and has some good wins over guys like Jeff Curran and Yves Edwards. Brown has good submissions, having won 11 of his 19 wins by submission, however he also seems suseptible to submissions. All four of his wins he lost by submission. Faber has also shown improvement. His fight against Pulver showed incredible boxing skill. In the end I think Faber is too well rounded. I believe Brown could be a good fight, but Faber is the best featherweight in the world. In the end I think Faber will hit him hard a few times. I do not know if Brown can endure what Jens Pulver did for 5 rounds. If it goes to the ground Faber is comofrtable there and not to mention crafty. Either way I pick Urijah Faber to win by a rear naked choke after a few hard hits in round 3.
Leonard Garcia vs. Jens Pulver
Both Pulver and Garcia enter the WEC featherweight divison via the UFC’s lightweight divison. Pulver debuted in the WEC by winning quickly and easily over Cub Swanson. That win earned him a shot at featherweight champ Urijah Faber. While Faber dominated Jens, I gained respect for Pulver as he showed true toughness in that fight. Garcia debuted with an impressive KO win over highly touted and top ten featherweight Hiroyuki Takaya. Therefore, this makes a good fight. Garcia may be a good fit at 145 lbs. Pulver is certainly a good fit here. The winner of this fight would certainly be once again at the top of the heap along with the winner of December 3rd’s featherweight clash between IFL champ Waggney Fabiano and Japanese fighter Akitoshi Tamaura and the winner of the Josh Grispi vs. Diego Nunes fight. I do not know what the difference will be in this fight, but I will base my pick on the experience. Pulver is very experienced. He has fought better competiton and beaten better guys. On paper Pulver has the far better resume. I know that may not be the best way to pick a fight, but I think Pulver’s toughness will out last Garcia and Jens will win by unanimous decision.
Rob McCullough vs. Donald Cerrone
The winner of this fight will almost assuridly get the next title show against champ Jamie Varner. “Razor” Rob McCullough is the former lightweight WEC champ, but he lost his title to Varner. McCullough has not looked very good in his last few fights including a split deicsion win over Kenneth Alexander. Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone looked very impressive in his debut over Danny Castillo. He is 8-0 and I believe he will be a tough match for “Razor” Rob. Cerrone has won all 8 of his fights by submission, so I am pretty sure he will want this fight on the ground. If he can get McCullough down then the fight will be over. If it stays standing, Rob could get a KO. Judging by how bad McCullough looked in his last fight I will pick Cerrone to win by a submission in round 1.
Jake Rosholt vs. Nissen Osterneck
The fight was originally supposed to be Rosholt vs. Danillo Vilefort. Vilefort withdrew due to injury and Osterneck stepped in. Both these guys are prospects. Rosholt is more than justa stand out college wrestler. He is a 3 time divison I champion out of Oklahamoa State University and a 4 time All-American wrestler. He may be one of the most decorated wrestlers to enter mixed martial arts. Rosholt began training out of Xtreme Couture and has really stepped up his game and looked impressive. He is expected to be a future contender. We most likely will see him in the UFC in 2009. I do think Osterneck poses some challenges in this fight and has great submission skills, but in the end I think Rosholt will use his wrestling to control the fight and work some ground and pound. I pick Rosholt to win this fight by TKO in round 3.
Carmello Marrero vs. Steve Steinbeiss
This fight has seemed doomed from the begining for Steinbeiss who has lost two opponents. First he was supposed to fight up and comer Mark Munoz, but Munoz withdrew tih injury. Then he was supposed to face TUF alum Alex Schouenauer who also withdrew with injury. This might be good news for Steinbeiss who wants to be one of the 205ers moved over to the UFC. Marrero is a UFC vet who went 1-2 posting losses to Wilson Gouveia and Gabriel Gonzaga, but he did score a win over Cheick Kongo. This is a tough fight to call. Marrero has good skills, but I look for Steinbeiss to win this one by decision.
Leonard Garcia has had a tough year. He has been arrested on drug chrages. Those charges have since been dropped. Garica looked great in his WEC featherweight debut against Hiroyuki Takaya and looks to get back and continue his climb into contention. A win over Jens Pulver would put him right into the number one contender spot and set up a possible fight with WEC featherweight champ Urijah Faber. Pulver has struggled of late and is coming off of a loss to Faber. Garcia today told MMAjunkie.com that he’s agreed to the bout, which could be finalized as early as this week. This should be a good fight.
WEC 36 is shaping up to be a good fight as well. It will air on VERSUS on September 10th. The card will feature a middleweight title fight with Paulo Filho and Chael Sonnen, which is a re-match of a previous fight that Sonnen feel was stopped too early. Also, Urijah Faber willr eturn and defend his belt against Mike Brown. Also, Jake Rosholt is expected to make his WEC debut on this card. The WEC is putting on some great cards lately and is doing it with relativley few big name fighters.
One question I want to know the answer to is what is next for “The California Kid” Urijah Faber following his strong performance against Jens Pulver. Faber is by far the best featherweight in the world. The question is who is he going to fight next. He has beaten some good opponents in Jeff Curran and now Jens Pulver. I think there are a couple of options for Faber.
1. He could stay in the featherweight divison of the WEC and keep defending his belt. There are still a few guys he could beat, but I do not know who can compete with him seriously. Perhaps Cub Swanson or someone else would make sense, but I don’t think it would be much of a fight. I just don’t know what else he has to prove in the featherweight divison. The only talent that can compete with him is not in the WEC.
2. He could move up to lightweight in the WEC. He is big enough to do it and I think would do well. I think he would destroy guys liek Rob McCullough or Jamei Varner.
3. He could move up to lightweight in the UFC. He has said he would like to avenge his loss to Tyson Griffin, and Tyson is in the UFC. That would be an interesting fight, which I suspect will be a reality sooner than later. I would like to see how Faber would stack up against other UFC lightweights. I think he would do just fine. I think he could plow through the Roger Huerta’s of the UFC, but some guys would be tough for him. A B.J. Penn fight would be a smash hit and huge draw from a marketing stand point, but that isn’t likely yet as Penn will probably next fight the Florian vs. Huerta winner and then move up to fight St. Pierre if he still has the belt. I don’t know the logistics of how it would work, but I look for the Faber vs. Griffin fight to happen and I suspect Faber would have to move up to 155 for one fight at least. Perhaps by the end of the year the UFC will plan a interpromotional fight card with the WEC. How would you like to see fights like…Georges St. Pierre vs. Carlos Condit, Brian Stann vs. Jackson/Liddell/Wanderlei, Faber vs. Tyson Griffin, Paulo Filho vs. Anderson Silva ??
4. He could do some inter promotional fights with other featherweights. Perhaps a fight with Kid Yamamoto or another top featherweight.
Faber is young and still has a lot of fight in him. I don’t know who else he will fight. To me Faber defending his belt against some other WEC opponent would be a let down from the huge Pulver fight. Perhaps a Faber vs. Pulver II is possible, but Faber was so dominant that I cannot see the logic behind that.
·I thought that the show as a whole was very good.In fact, I feel that it was a stark contrast to EliteXC on CBS Saturday.The WEC card had little show and focused on the fights.The fights were great and well worth watching.All I can say is what a difference a day makes.
·I thought the show started off a little slow.The Rob McCullough fight was nothing special.I really expected to see him come out and look for a knock out, but he didn’t at all.In fact, I believe that the fight could have been judged for Alexander.
·Honestly, I don’t have much to say about the first three fights because they were slightly disappointing
·However, when Miguel Torres and Yoshiro Maeda fought I was impressed.That was an incredible fight.It was technical, it had great striking, and it was action packed.I was thrilled with that fight.I predicted Torres to win that fight and I sure didn’t expect Maeda to be such a game opponent.He has some great striking and one heck of a chin.That eye sure did look messed up that caused the fight to be stopped! Miguel Torres proved that he is the best bantamweight around and one of the best pounds for pound fighters in the world.There will not be anyone who beats Torres at 135 any time soon.I loved seeing the display of class in defeat from Maeda when he raised the hand in the air of the victorious Miguel Torres.
·All I can about the Faber vs. Pulver fight is wow! Perhaps that will be the fight of the year! It was a five round war.I have always thought Faber was good and dominant at 145, but now I think he is the most dominant champion around.His name should be thrown around with Anderson Silva.Jens Pulver was tougher than I expected.He took an absolute beating and withstood it.He would get rocked then just grin and press forward.Urijah Faber showed he can do more than just ground and pound someone, he has awesome stand up and a powerful right hand, that I cannot believe did not knockout Pulver.Jens Pulver showed some serious determination.Also, how about how classy those guys handled themselves throughout the whole process.They never trash talked, they had nothing but good to say about each other.All I can say is Urijah Faber is dominant at Featherweight.He is a top 5 pound for pound guy in the world.I have no idea how he is only 145.The question for everyone will be: what is next for Faber?I don’t see the logic in staying at featherweight in the WEC, he will just keep winning.He has mentioned the possibility of moving up to avenge his loss to Tyson Griffin.Urijah Faber dominated the fight, but hats off to Pulver for his enduring a beating.The guy’s right eye side of his face looked like E.T. when the fight was over.I scored the fight 50-45, but it was a great fight and Pulver did well against the champ.One thing is I don’t fully understand why Pulver didn’t utilize that powerful left hand more often.It shows how awesome Urijah is.I became a Faber fan last night.The California Kid is an awesome fighter, well rounded and dominant at his size.
What a great show. I wish it would make it on television. Some good commentary here. Kenny Florian is a pretty good T.V. personality. He could stick with the UFC for a while and maybe take Rogan’s job.