MMA News: Urijah Faber vs. Jens Pulver at WEC 38

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.

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WEC 36 Results and Thoughts

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.

Results:

  • 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
  • WEC 36 Preview and Predictions

    Paulo Filho vs. Chael Sonnen

    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.

     Quick Picks:

    David Avellan vs. Aaron Simpson

    Jose Aldo vs. Jonathan Brookins

    Danny Castillo vs. Rafael Dias

    Rani Yayha vs. Yoshiro Maeda

    MMA News: Waggney Fabiano to WEC

    Current IFL featherweight champion Waggney Fabiano is now headed to the WEC.  Fabiano is perhaps one of the most talented of the IFL fighters and he will now make his fighting home in the same divison as WEC featherweight star Urijah Faber.  Fabiano should be a great challenge for Faber and perhaps has a chance at beating him.  Waggney Fabiano has some of the best jiu jitsu in the world and if he can get Faber on the ground it could be trouble for Urijah.  In my opinion, that would be an even more compelling fight than the Faber vs. Pulver fight.  I will be interested to see how long it will be until Fabiano gets a crack at Urijah.  This is a big signing for Zuffa owned WEC. Here is waht Fabiano had to say:

    Faber is the best of the world now. To beat him, I think you have to be in a good shape. He’s an expert fighter and he has a good gas, it’s complicated to beat a guy like him. You have to set a good game plan and be calm and watch the elbows, because if you hits you can chane a whole fight

     Some people boast about Affliction’s ability to sign the IFL stars, but Zuffa has done a good job and many former IFL fighters are in either the UFC or the WEC.  So far Zuffa has picked up: Reese Andy, Andre Gusmao, Mike Massenzio, Matt Horwich, Dan Miller, Jim Miller, Jake Rosholt, Danillo Vilefort, Rory Markham, and Brad Blackburn.  I believe that Fabiano is the best signing of the bunch, and even bigger than the likes of Affliction signees Vladimir Matyushenko, Roy Nelson, Jay Hieron, and Chris Horodecki.  I look forward to seeing Fabiano in action in the WEC.

    What’s Next For Carlos Condit?

    Carlos Condit is coming off of a great win over a tough challenger in Hirumitsu Miura at WEC 35.  Most people cosndier Condit a top ten welterweight in the world and some rank him as a top 5.  He has the distinction, along with Jake Shields of being the best welterweights outside the UFC.  The UFC clearly has a monopoly of fighters in the welterweight divison and the light heavyweight divison.  If someone wants to fight the best guys and prove themselves in that way, the UFC is the place for 170 and 205 lb fighters.  Kevin Iole at Yahoo! Sports poses the interesting thought in his blog about what is next for Condit.  Here is what Condit had to say:

    There are a lot of tough guys – a lot of them, believe me – but you just have to fight whoever they tell you to fight, I’m proud to be the WEC champion and whoever I fight, whenever I fight, wherever I fight, I’ll do it as the WEC champion.

    In the WEC Condit holds wins over Miura, Carlo Prater, John Alessio, Brock Larson and Kyle Jensen.  Who else is there to fight in the WEC?  Larson probably regained number 1 contender status with his defeat of Carlo Prater, but why give him the re-match?  Condit admitetd he would like to avenge loses to Jake Shields, Pat Healy, and Satoru Kitaoka.  Perhaps the WEC could work one of those fights out.  The Jake Shields fight is unlikely because he is locked up the EliteXC, although I have to believe Shields would like to be the UFC fighting tougher talent.  They could sign one of the other guys for Condit to avenge, but what else is there?  Nothing.  No one thinks Healy or Kitaoka is an overall better fighter than Condit.  I do not know what Condit wants, but if he wants to prove himself as a top welterweight Zuffa is going to have to move him over to the UFC.  It looks like a fight between some of the WEC guys and UFC guys could take place some time.  It also had been said by Dana White that he’d like to make the WEC devoted to lighter weights and would move the WEC 185 and 205 divisons over the the UFC.  All that would give the UFC would be Brian Stann, Steven Cantwell, Mark Munoz, Paulo Filho, Chael Sonnen and Brian Bowles and maybe Steve Steinbeiss, Jake Rosholt and Shane Roller. The bottom line is that Condit should be in the big leagues and not the minors.  He should be fighting against the St. Pierres and Fitchs of the world and not the Larsons.  He can keep amassing wins in the WEC a la Urijah Faber, but until he fights St. Pierre, Fitch or Penn we will never know how good he really is.  Here is what I suspect.  I suspect Condit needs 2 or 3 more wins before he has to be moved.  I suspect a re-match with Brock Larson and I also suspect that with one more win Shane Roller could challenge him.  I guess time will tell, but I’d like to see him in the UFC.  He deserves it.  He would get more money there.  He would get better and bigegr name fights there.  He would get more focus there.  I am sure if he pushed it he could get it.  He is a star and Zuffa will give him what he wants if he asks in the right way.

    Best Pound for Pound Fighter

    Following July 19th the debate began as to who is the best pound for pound fighter in the world in Mixed Martial Arts.  Before July 19th two people were really thought of as perhaps the top guy: Fedor Emelianenko and Anderson Silva.  Following July 19th the debate gets tougher with both guys winning.  Let me begin by defining the term best pound for pound.  The best pound for pound fighter does not necessarily mean that he could beat any fighter in the world.  For example at 145 lbs, Urijah Faber would stand little chance against most heavier opponents.  The pound for pound title is for the best fighter in the world, size and weight has nothing to do with it and a fight between #1 and #2 wouldn’t necessarily settle the debate.  That is why the title best pound for pound fighter is difficult to determine and is very subjective.  Here is my list of the best pound for pound fighters. 

    1. Anderson Silva –  Anderson is number one to me for a few reasons.  First, he has cleaned out the middleweight divison of the UFC.  There is not a middleweight that I think can beat him.  Second, he has beaten top fighters constantly.  He beat a top notch fighter in Dan Henderson and another in Rich Franklin, and he destryoed Franklin.  He beat a solid guy in Nate Marquardt.  Third, he challenges himself.  He moved up to 205 to fight James Irvin.  Irvin is not a stud a 205, but he has serious KO power.  He could have KO’d Silva, but Silva destroyed him quickly.  Fourth, Anderson is so well rounded.  His striking is legendary.  His Muay Thai is deadly.  His jiu jitsu is incredible although we don’t see much of it.  I don’t see him getting beat any time soon at 185 or 205. 

    2. Fedor Emelianenko –  I am tempted to rank Fedor 1b.  Someone could make a solid argument to him being number 1.  Fedor always impresses.  He really impressed against Sylvia.  Not just that he won, but that he won in 36 seconds.  He is no doubt the best heavyweight, but I put him second to Anderson because I do not feel he has cleaned out the divison like Anderson has.  Fedor still has several guys to beat that are top level.  I’d like to see him fight Couture, Arlovski and Barnett.  Don’t get me wrong Fedor has a great resume and has beaten great guys like Nogueira and Cro Cop.  Fedor is incredible.  As for now he is numebr 2 pound for pound and I think he has to win another and Silva has to lose to change that.

    3. B.J. Penn –  Pure talent B.J. may be up there with Anderson and Fedor.  I believe B.J. may be the guy to challenge the two above guys.  He has looked dominant since his return against Pulver, Stevenson, and Sherk.  He wants to fight St. Pierre in what would be a dream match.  B.J. is one of those guys that can fight at several divisons and he has made clear he wants the welterweight belt.  If he beats St. Pierre he has to be in the talk for number 1.  He has beaten solid welterweights before and can fight well at 170.  He has even talked about going up to 185 to challenge Anderson.  B.J.’s knock has always been his drive.  That has changed lately it seems and when on his game he can beat anyone at any weight.  B.J. made very good fighters in Sean Sherk and Joe Stevenson look bad.  I am on the Penn bandwagon right now and think that right now he can beat anyone at 155 and maybe anyone at 170. 

    4. Urijah Faber – Some people may want St. Pierre in this spot, but I have Faber.  Faber is an awesome featherweight.  He may be the best featherweight ever.  I and many still want the Yamamoto fight, but the Pulver fight was great.  Faber impressed there and moved up my rankings because of that.  I don’t see any 145 lb guy beating Faber.  His boxing is great and he is so innovative on the ground.  The category is best pound for pound fighter and I think Urijah is one of the best. 

    5. Georges St. Pierre – St. Pierre is not ranked higher because he does have a recent loss to Matt Serra.  I know he avenged that loss since then, but Serra I consider far less talented than him.  St. Pierre is the total package.  When he is on he is unstoppable, and the key is when he is on.  I don’t suspect he will lose to Jon Fitch and a matcvh with B.J. Penn is on the horizon.  St. Pierre looked great against Serra, Hughes and Koscheck lately.  He is beating top level talent at the welterweight divison.  he is a few fights away from cleaning out the divison.  If he beats Fitch, Penn, Alves and Sanchez, he may move up to 185.  St. Pierre is an awesome fighter and he has room to climb up.  I think what is so impressive about him is his desire to learn more and grow as a fighter. 

    6. Miguel Torres – A 135 pound fighter is hard to rank, however there is no doubt that Torres is the world’s best bantamweight.  His popularity is growing by leaps and bounds.  His last fight may be fight of the year.  He has sick jiu jitsu and showed he can stand and bang.  He has an incredible overall record and he sports a mullet unashamedly.  Torres is great at 135.  Many are calling for a Torres vs. Faber fight and that would be awesome as I believe Torres would be a challenge to Urijah.  I do not know if we know how good Miguel is and I do not know if we ever will.  He has to be one of the most underrated fighters in the world. 

    7. Lyoto Machida – I do not know how many people consider Machida in their pound for pound rankings, but I think it must be considered.  He is undefeated.  He dominated Tito Ortiz.  I know many people are critical of him, but right now he may be the world’s best light heavyweight.  He certainly fits the bill of being underrated.  Many people do not like him because of his style, but he keeps winning.  Some accuse him of running in fights, but he strikes and moves.  He is very effective.  If he keeps winning he needs to move up lists.  His fight with Thiago Silva at UFC 89 will tell us a lot.  Don’t sleep on Lyoto as a pound for pound top fighter. 

    8. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira – Big Nog is the UFC Heavyweight champion.  He has beaten great guys.  He takes a lickin’ and keeps on tickin’.  He has tons of talent and is very well rounded.  Most consider him the #2 or #3 heavyweight and in the midst of Couture’s desire to fight the best in Fedor he has overlooked fighting Nogueira.  In my opinion Randy should have challenged Nogueira for the belt before pulling this cry baby crap with the UFC and pouting because he wanted Fedor.  He could have foguht out his contract against Nogueira and one other guy and then left with no conflict to get the Fedor fight.  He could have fulfilled his contract with no controversy with the UFC.  His legacy is tarnished.  I think Nog would beat Randy.  He has proven himself over and over.  Nogueira is a solid fighter and I look forward to his fight with Mir and his TUF 8 coachind stint. 

    Others: Kid Yamamoto, Takanori Gomi, Paulo Filho, Forrest Griffin, Dan Henderson, Randy Couture, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua

    WEC News: Jens Pulver vs. Leonard Garcia at WEC 36

    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.