by Ken Pishna – MMAWeekly.com
LAS VEGAS – Wednesday night, World Extreme Cagefighting champion Urijah Faber proved why he is considered one of, if not thee best featherweight in the world when he choked out Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt Jeff Curran in the second round.

Curran gave Faber a run for his money though. He rode Faber’s back for almost the entire first round, but it didn’t seem to bother the champ, who said after the fight, “Hey, I fight off of my back all day long. I don’t care.”

He opened up a significant cut on the bridge of Curran’s nose in the second, but it was the deep guillotine choke that had his challenger tapping out and kept the gold around his waist.

Jens Pulver wasted no time making an impact in the WEC. He likely moved himself into contention for the featherweight title when he submitted rising star Cub Swanson in just 35 seconds with an Anaconda choke.

After the fight, Pulver stated, “(Cub) brought it out of me.”

He also said that he did not want to wait for a title shot. “I don’t want to wait any more than three months. Whoever wins this tonight, let’s go.”

Now it’s up to the WEC if he will get that shot at Urijah Faber.

“He’s out! He’s out!”

Those were the words of Chael Sonnen after he slammed Paulo Filho to the mat in the opening moments of the first round. Out or not, the fight wasn’t stopped and Filho soldiered on, albeit constantly on the end of Sonnen’s right jab, straight left combinations.

But late into the second round, eating punches from his back, Filho climbed his legs up and secured Sonnen’s left arm and referee Josh Rosenthal called a halt to the bout.

Sonnen vehemently denied the stoppage, not wanting to give in. After the fight, he said that Rosenthal asked him if he wanted to quit saying, “I declared, ‘No, no, no,’ but I blame myself for putting myself in that position in the first place.”

Through his manager, Filho said that Sonnen did hurt him early on in the fight and he was in a little bit of trouble, but stated that he’s been through a lot of beatings in his life.

In the end, Filho remains the WEC middleweight titleholder.

Light heavyweight champion Doug Marshall took a new tact in defending his belt against Cuban Ariel Gandulla. Instead of the scoring the “KD” or knocked dead, he finished Gandulla with an armbar in the first minute of the first round.

In the midst of the three-fight winning streak, Marshall says he is ready to take on all comers. “Whoever (the WEC) wants, I have tons of hostility to take out on them.”

John Alessio seemed to be able to do just about whatever he wanted in his welterweight battle with Todd Moore… except finish the fight. He applied kimuras, guillotine chokes, threw devastating right hands and even landed a right knee flush to Moore’s face, but to no avail. Moore had to have a heart as big as the room to go the distance, but it was Alessio that scored the unanimous decision and edged closer to a rematch with WEC champion Carlos Condit.

In a solid middleweight match-up, Eric Schambari spent the majority of the fight trying to take Bryan Baker down. He controlled much of the pace as a result, but it was Baker that made more attempts to finish his opponent and ended up with a split decision victory in the end.

Alex Karalexis and Ed Ratcliff started and finished as a classic grappler versus striker match-up. Karalexis made a couple good guillotine attempts in the first round, but was saved by the bell at the end after being put down with a hard right.

He wouldn’t be so lucky in the second round as Ratcliff dropped him with what should have been a fight-ending left hook. After Karalexis floated to the canvas, Ratcliff started to celebrate a split second too soon as referee Steve Mazzagatti did not stop the fight. Instead, Ratcliff had to follow Karalexis to the floor and finish him off with a flurry of punishing blows.

He had to go into the second round to do it, but Hardcore Gym fighter Brian Bowles improved his record to a perfect 5-0. He dropped Marcos Galvao early in the second and seemed to have him finished with some brutal right hands while standing in the Brazilian’s guard, but Galvao somehow survived. Bowles kept stalking his prey with hard right hands and finished with a straight right that had the referee waving off the bout.

Charlie Valencia made a statement in the opening bout in a wild finish. He dropped Ian McCall with a big right hand, suplexed him, dropped him again with a barrage of punches and then treated him to a fight-ending guillotine choke to close out the fight in the first round.

-Urijah Faber def. Jeff Curran by Submission (Guillotine Choke) at 4:22, R2
-Jens Pulver def. Cub Swanson by Submission (Anaconda Choke) at 0:35, R1
-Paulo Filho def. Chael Sonnen by Verbal Submission (Armbar) at 4:55, R2
-Doug Marshall def. Ariel Gandulla by Submission (Armbar) at 0:55, R1
-John Alessio def. Todd Moore by Unanimous Decision, R3
-Bryan Baker def. Eric Schambari by Split Decision, R3
-Ed Ratcliff def. Alex Karalexis by TKO (Strikes) at 1:26, R2
-Brian Bowles def. Marcos Galvao by TKO (Strikes) at 2:09, R2
-Charlie Valencia def. Ian McCall by Submission (Guillotine Choke) at 3:19, R1