by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com (Photos by Greg Ashman)
If there was any doubt left as to who the top featherweight in the world is, the answer was given on Sunday night at WEC 41 as champion Mike Brown once again defended his title successfully, and for the second time defeated former champion Urijah Faber.
Brown did a great job of using his power, takedowns and elusiveness to give Faber problems in the fight, while the former champion suffered some injuries during the bout that seemed to affect him throughout.
The opening round saw Faber use his speed against Brown, as he fainted punches, and then unloaded a quick shot, only to circle away from his opponent’s power hand. Brown landed some good shots of his own, and managed to get Faber to the ground and almost take his back, but the “California Kid” did a great job of getting back to his feet.
In the second, Brown was able to use his superior grappling skills to get Faber down and keep him grounded for a large part of the five-minute session. Brown used beautiful transitions to keep Faber guessing at his attack method, moving from side control to a headlock and back again.
Both fighters came out furiously again in the third with Faber seeming to favor his right hand that looked to have been injured earlier in the fight. He started throwing elbows to compensate, severely limiting his reach. Again, the former champion used his speed to stay away from Brown’s lead hand, but he wasn’t able to land with any real power. Brown tagged Faber late in the round with a hard right hand, but Faber persevered and kept his composure.
The pace slowed a bit in the fourth round as it was confirmed after the third that Faber did indeed break his right hand earlier in the bout. It was painfully apparent during the fourth round that Faber couldn’t use his right at all, and at one point actually yelled out in pain from the injury. Brown became more aggressive in the later part of the round, chasing Faber down and hitting him with heavy shots, trying to secure the win.
Faber had a great moment in the final round as he secured a north-south choke, but his injuries prevented him from locking anything, and Brown escaped. Brown pushed the pace late in the fight, landing a couple of good takedowns, and controlling Faber’s position with his power.
After five rounds of action, WEC featherweight champion Mike Brown secured his place as the No. 1 145-pounder in the world, and possibly a spot among the best pound-for-pound fighters on the planet.
Always humble in victory, he complemented his opponent as one of the best fighters in the world, and was proud of his win on Sunday night.
“Urijah’s tough, I just couldn’t really get my gloves on his head, and he’s a world class fighter,” Brown said. “My night again, we’re the two best guys in the world. I’m happy.”
Faber confirmed the injuries to his hands and actually showed an extremely swollen right hand to the camera as he talked about his second loss to Brown.
“That happened midway through the first round,” Faber commented about the injury to his right hand. “I apologize. You know I like to go out there and bang (expletive) up, my weapons are gone, hurt both my hands and just stayed in there, I was all elbows after that. I’d love to get back in here and get another shot at this title.”
As champion, Brown only gets to celebrate for so long and that time ended as soon as No. 1 contender Jose Aldo’s name was mentioned.
“He’s awesome, I think it would be a great title fight,” Brown stated about Aldo.
The champ will now travel home to Florida with American Top Team to celebrate his second title defense victory.