Thursday, May 6, 2010

WEC 48: Faber vs. Aldo (4/24/10)

1. Antonio Banuelos vs. Scott Jorgensen - 4
2. Anthony Njokuani vs. Shane Roller - 4
3. Manvel Gamburyan vs. Mike Brown - 6
4. Bonus: Brad Pickett vs. Demetrious Johnson - 6
5. Ben Henderson vs. Donald Cerrone - 5
6. Bonus: Brandon VIsher vs. Tyler Toner - 5
7. Chad Mendes vs. Anthony Johnson - 4
8. Urijah Faber vs. Jose Aldo - 6

I'm a big WEC fan and have never missed an event of theirs so naturally I was excited about their pay-per-view debut. Banuelos and Jorgensen had fought before in a grueling three-round war that Antonio won via split decision so a nice, built-in story in the opener. I'd give it "4", three rounds of solid stand-up fighting, not an all-out slugfest but quality boxing with Banuelos bleeding from the nose in the second round and Scott pushing the tempo always. A more decisive finish would have helped its score. Njokuani came into this show winning his last three fights with "KO of the Night" worthy striking so I was a bit bummed he was so easily outclassed. Props to Roller, though, and this warrants a "4" for his excellent application of his gameplan. Shane remained patient on the ground and waited until he could sink in a choke and put Anthony to sleep like Mario during the end of Super Mario Bros. 2.

No signs of Manny's gimpy leg tonight, he looked as durable as one of those old, rubber LJN WWF figures, primed for the big showdown. We got some basic boxing and then wham! -- Brown gets knocked out brutally. I mean he went down faster than WKO Mike on Negro Navarro. It was ridiculous. You'll want to see this fight for the finish. Pickett and Johnson was a scrappy fight, like if Heathcliff and Top Cat's respective gangs met in the alley and fought over the last fish skeleton. Johnson, in his WEC debut, was full of energy, but Pickett, with a broken collarbone, was able to outlast him in a close decision. A really good fight and I'd definitely like to see a rematch.

Anybody notice the odd pre-fight ritual Cerrone has of pinching his nipples? That coupled with his cowboy persona has to make him the favorite of fetishists. The last time they fought in '09 many named it the "fight of the year" but the rematch garners a "5" from me. Ben grabs him, throws some knees, then crunches him with a guillotine and really short order. Tremendous win and performance by Henderson cementing his spot but save for the impressive submission nothing else to see here. Next up, a fun undercard fight, some stand-up stuff to start with lots landing, then Tyler lands a headkick, left hook to the jaw, then mounts with some sick elbows to the side of the head for a punishing finish to a short bout.

Chad trains with Faber and comes into the fight 6-0. After a little over two minutes into the bout Mendes choked the much more experienced Anthony into submission with a brutal guillotine. Johnson had a blank look on his face post-fight like he just left an overnight Stan Brakhage marathon. Main event, Faber came out to an insanely loud ovation. First round had lots of strategizing with Aldo being the more patient fighter and landing more clean shots. As the fight progressed Sacramento boy Urijah is starting to look like the city's NBA team the Kings play and that's not a compliment. Aldo kicked at will with vicious leg kicks all of the second round, leaving Faber limping back to his corner like Bubba the Love Sponge into line at KFC for a second Double Down sandwich. Jose, who'd been fighting a measured fight, really opened up in the third round and started laying an ass beating on Faber who ate all sorts of shots. Rogan says Faber is "outclassed" and I couldn't agree more watching he hobble and skip around the ring like a wounded animal. Fourth round saw Aldo secure side mount, pin Faber's arms like a big brother would do, and just wail on his face with shots and elbows for nearly two minutes. The finish was disappointing, it appeared Aldo could have clearly finished him at will, but basically stood around the fifth around and just let the time run out. Overall, it warrants a "6" for Aldo's performance that proves he's one of the best in the world, but I can't go higher on it with the lack of back-and-forth. Overall, a very good first effort for WEC on PPV, better than some of the recent UFC or WWE PPV output and a consistently enjoyable show.

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