It was supposed to be a battle between two of the top bantamweight fighters in the world, both having a score to settle with current UFC champion Dominick Cruz.
Brian Bowles lost his WEC bantamweight title to "The Dominator" in February of 2010, but hadn't lost since while Urijah Faber had a well-documented feud with the champ, splitting a pair of fights with him and desperately wanting to win the rubber match.
What was expected to be an evenly matched battle of former beltholders last night (November 19, 2011) on the UFC 139 main card turned into a squash match as "The California Kid" had his way with Bowles before putting him away early in the second round with his patented guillotine choke.
I'll explain what went wrong for Bowles and what went so, so right for Faber after the jump. Also, we'll speculate on what's next for both fighters.
Faber put some doubt into Bowles very early in the fight, not only using terrific movement to make the former champ miss on nearly every strike, but also using lightning quick speed and even catching some of Bowles' punches with his open hand as if to tell him, "Did you seriously think that would hit me?"
The Team Alpha Male headmaster also mixed things up very well in the fight.
Look at how effortlessly and quickly he ducked a 1-2 combination from Bowles, grabbed a double leg, lifted the former champion up, turned him sideways and dropped him on his back. The camera could barely keep up with him for Pete's sake.
Bowles attempted to fend him off with a guillotine choke, but that's simply not something that's going to scare Faber.
The only decent offense that Bowles even landed in the entire first round was a solid up kick while planted on his back and he couldn't even get away with it because he was actually countered by a huge dropping right hand from Faber.
If round one was bad for Bowles, round two would be brutal.
Faber had been looking to land his uppercut the entire first round. It definitely appeared to be part of the gameplan as Bowles leans forward during exchanges. He finally found a home for it just 25 seconds into the round.
Observe how Faber sits back on the uppercut and explodes upwards with his whole body. His hips are just as important in the power of this punch as his fist.
When it connects on the chin, it sends Bowles reeling into the fence and sets up a furious flurry of violence from "The California Kid" which would lead to the finish.
Thankfully, we've got the whole thing in gif form.
Faber originally drops Bowles with a huge knee along the fence followed by a flurry of punches but the former champion held him off temporarily with a single leg takedown attempt.
Faber opens up the pain again with a heavy knee to the body but the blow that truly took all the fight out of Bowles was the right elbow.
Watch how Faber holds Bowles' head down with his left hand and then cocks back with his right elbow like he's pulling back a bow, then dropping it square to the Georgian's temple with tremendous force.
From here, Bowles practically gives him the guillotine choke as Faber latches it on, and easily passes to mount to force a quick tap. At that point, it was obvious he had zero chance of winning the fight.
For Brian Bowles, this was the kind of loss that makes you want to reevaluate everything. He was so thoroughly dominated from start to finish in every department. He's got two choices. Learn from this defeat and continue to evolve, or let the game pass him by. This had to be a humbling experience for a fighter who's been in control of just about every professional bout he's ever competed in.
Despite how badly he was beaten, Bowles is still a top 10 bantamweight. He deserves a fight against a top fighter coming off a loss. A match against Demetrious Johnson wouldn't be a bad idea. Other possibilities include Brad Pickett and Eddie Wineland.
For Urijah Faber, this was one of the most dominant and complete performances in his career. His intensity was almost exactly as high as when he choked out Jens Pulver in his 2009 rematch when he was hungry to get his title back again. At 32 years old, he's clearly still got plenty of fight left in him. His movement was terrific, his striking continues to improve and he showcased some serious power and accuracy in his punches.
This was a performance of a man who could become the UFC bantamweight champion and he'll have another shot sometimes in 2012 as Dana White confirmed that Faber will be next in line to challenge Dominick Cruz for the title. Depending on the status of Cruz's broken hand, Faber could potentially coach against "The Dominator" on season 15 of The Ultimate Fighter as the Alpha Male fighter campaigned for the opportunity during the post-fight press conference. That would certainly be a terrific way to introduce the elite 135 pound fighters to the casual fans.
So what did you think, Maniacs?
Did Faber's dominance of Brian Bowles convince you he not only deserves another shot at the belt but that it might go differently this time? Does he still have what it takes to become champion again?
For complete UFC 139: Shogun vs. Henderson results, including blow-by-blow, fight-by-fight coverage of the entire pay-per-view (PPV) event as well as immediate post-fight reaction click here, here and here.
All gifs by Zombie Prophet via IronForgesIron.com.