World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) tonight (Nov. 18) tied a ribbon on its second to last event of 2009 with WEC 44: "Brown vs. Aldo" from "The Pearl" at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada.
And another champion has been dethroned.
Two-time defending WEC featherweight title holder Mike Thomas Brown headlined the card, squaring off against feared Brazilian striker, Jose "Junior" Aldo, a man many people thought would be the champion's stiffest challenge to date.
They were right.
Aldo dominated the super tough and experienced American Top Team (ATT) product en route to a decisive second round technical knockout victory. He devastated Brown with his ridiculous Muay Thai and surprisingly had no trouble fending off any of the ex champ's attempts to negate that advantage with takedowns and clinching.
Brown has had success with his power punching in the past, too, dropping Leonard Garcia and Urijah Faber in previous title fights. However, Aldo had no problem dealing with and avoiding that power in this fight.
In fact, he even took a few of those power punches right on the chin and walked right through them.The Brazilian won the first round handily and had Brown cut, confused and frustrated coming out for round two. And once Aldo smelled blood, he went for the kill, hurting Brown with a barrage of strikes followed by a takedown and some fight-ending ground and pound.
"Junior" certainly opened a lot of eyes with this performance. And, in the process, the WEC may have just unleashed the next dominating mixed martial arts champion -- this fight was eerily similar to when Anderson Silva introduced himself to the mainstream MMA world with his first dominating win over Rich Franklin.
It may be a little too early to refer to Jose Aldo as the 145-pound version of "The Spider," but he's certainly off to a good start.
Bring on the challengers.
In the co-main event, former UFC lightweights Manny "The Pitbull" Gamburyan and Leonard "Bad Boy" Garcia went at it for three full rounds with Gamburyan earning the unanimous decision victory.
"The Pitbull" used his patented wrestling attack and some competitive striking to control most of the fight. Garcia defended the takedowns well for the most part, but in the end there really wasn't an answer for Manny's relentless attack.
"Bad Boy" was a little tentative trying to get off his power striking because he had to respect Gamburyan's takedown ability, which proved to be the difference in the fight as Gamburyan keeps his perfect WEC record (2-0) intact.
Team Takedown member Shane Roller overcame a strong performance from the surging Danny Castillo to steal a late round submission win. Roller was on the defense for most of the night, getting chased by the bigger, more aggressive Castillo, but his strong wrestling pedigree allowed him to gain a dominate position late in round three that led to the fight-ending rear naked choke.
The loss was a big one for Castillo's chances at earning a title shot, but for Roller, he now believes he has taken over that number one contender status. I'm not so sure his performance tonight was enough to claim that spot, but his post fight comments suggested otherwise.
Time will tell how the WEC brass handles that situation in a talented and competitive lightweight division.
Speaking of lightweight champions, the former 155 pound title holder "Razor" Rob McCullough was dealt a disappointing loss tonight by promotional newcomer Karen Darabedyan. Darabedyan decided to take his chances standing with the former champ ... a decision that worked out favorably for him.
He was the aggressor and clear winner of most of the stand up exchanges as he out-pointed McCullough on two of the three judges scorecards for a split decision win.
That's a wrap from the "The Pearl" in Las Vegas. To check out the full results for WEC 44 and our coverage of the event click here.
WEC will close out 2009 on Dec. 19 with WEC 45: "Cerrone vs. Ratcliff" from the same location in "Sin City." That card is set to feature a main event between Greg Jackson pupil Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone and hard hitting striker Ed "9MM" Ratcliff. The bout will mark the third time in 2009 that Cerrone has been featured in a main event for the WEC.
Chris "The Polish Hammer" Horodecki, Anthony Njokuani, Joseph Benavidez, Rani Yahya, Scott Jorgensen, Takeya Mizugaki, Bart "Bartimus" Palaszewski, Anthony "Showtime" Pettis, Muhsin Corbbrey and others are also slated for the card.
Make sure you keep it locked to MMAmania.com for all your WEC news and notes. The floor is now yours, Maniacs.