by Ricardo Mendoza – MMAWeekly.com
LAS VEGAS – U.S. Marine Brian Stann became the new World Extreme Cagefighting light heavyweight champion on Wednesday night by knocking out former titleholder Doug Marshall in the first round.

It was apparent once the fight started that Stann’s reach would be a problem for Marshall, who had trouble landing punches. Marshall came hard with a flurry though and looked to have Stann in trouble early on, but Stann started to trade leather and caught Marshall with a solid left hook that put him on his back. Stann finished him off with strikes before the referee saved Marshall from further punishment at 1:35 of the first round.

In a middleweight contenders bout, Chael Sonnen dominated Bryan Baker, winning a lopsided decision with scores of 30-26, 30-25 and 30-25. Sonnen took Baker down right off the bat and never let up, pounding on him for the duration of the three rounds. Sonnen unloaded with elbows, cutting Baker and keeping him out of the fight.

In the final round, Sonnen continued to work Baker over with ground and pound. To his credit, Baker attempted several submissions form the bottom, but never really came close to locking one on.

Sonnen can now look forward to a rematch with WEC middleweight champion Paulo Filho, once Filho leaves rehab and is ready to fight again.

Marcus Hicks earned a third straight victory with a guillotine choke and a shot against WEC lightweight champion Jamie Varner, finishing Ed Ratcliff. Hicks stunned Ratcliff with a hook and followed it with an uppercut that dropped him. Hicks then went for his first guillotine choke, but Ratcliff narrowly escaped. Hicks continued the assault, landing crisp hooks that hurt Ratcliff, finally taking him down and locking on the fight-ending guillotine choke at 1:42 at of the first round.

“I wanted to have an exciting fight for the fans and keep my record undefeated,” said Hicks after the fight. “Hopefully this fight leads me to a title shot”.

Local fighter Steve Cantwell continued his winning ways, stopping experienced veteran Tim McKenzie at 2:13 of the first round with a rear naked choke. Cantwell came out aggressive on the feet, landing knees and kicks that stunned McKenzie and had him out of the fight. Cantwell unleashed a wicked ground and pound assault that forced McKenzie to give up his back, locking on the choke shortly thereafter.

Moving down in weight did wonders for Hiromitsu Miura as he simply overpowered Blas Avena in their welterweight showdown. Avena came out aggressive on the feet, but was soon dropped by a punch combination. Avena was able to recover, but Miura threw him on the ground like a rag doll on several occasions. Miura threw Avena down to the ground, landing a huge flurry of punches that had him hurt. Avena went for a triangle, but Miura powered out before brutally knocking Avena out with a right hand at 2:35 of the opening round.

What was turning into a great fight ended in disappointing fashion with Brock Larson defeating John Alessio by disqualification. Larson drew first blood, stunning Alessio with a punch combination and followed it up with a takedown. Alessio locked on a tight guillotine choke, but Larson escaped and began to rain down punches from the top. This is where the fight got ugly; Alessio reversed Larson and kneed him on the head as Larson was getting back up, but still had a knee on the ground. The doctor stopped the fight as it looked like Larson may have had a broken jaw, giving him the win by disqualification at 1:50 of the first round.

A scuffle between the fighters followed and Larson stated his desire to fight Alessio again before taking on WEC welterweight champion Carlos Condit.

Coming off a loss, neither Rich Crunkilton nor Sergio Gomez wanted to make it two in a row and it showed in their three-round war. Gomez was the better man on the feet, landing crisp punching combinations, while Crunkilton took it to the ground and worked for submissions. Crunkilton nearly submitted Gomez with a tight anaconda choke in the first round, but Gomez escaped and fought on.

The rest of the fight would play out the same; Crunkilton would take the fight to the ground and work for submissions, mixing in strikes. Once the fight would get back to the feet, Gomez would stun Crunkilton with punches, but was unable to take full advantage. Crunkilton dominated the fight with takedowns and groundwork, earning a unanimous decision with scores of 30-26, 30-27 and 29-28.

Ryan Stonitsch came out guns blazing against Alex Serdyukov, but his over aggression might have been his downfall. He wildly came out with punches, but was soon on his back. He reversed Serdyukov, but the Russian fighter quickly locked on a triangle choke from the bottom, forcing the tap at 1:35 of the first round.

In a hotly contested bantamweight scrap, Kenji Osawa drew with Chris Manuel. The first two rounds played out in identical fashion, Osawa landing crisp punching combinations and Manuel utilizing kicks to the legs, body and head. After trading on the feet, the fighters would clinch along the fence repeatedly with Osawa landing strikes and Manuel going for takedowns.

In the final round, Manuel stunned Osawa with head kicks on two occasions, but he was unable to finish it. Manuel finally secured the takedown and outworked Osawa on the ground with position and strikes, but let it go to the final bell.

Logan Clark stopped late replacement Scott Harper at 4:37 of the first round. Both fighters traded on the feet and at one point Harper thumbed himself in the eye, forcing the action to be halted. The action resumed and Harper got the fight on the ground, but was reversed by Clark, who poured on the heat with strikes, forcing the referee to stop the fight.

-Brian Stann def. Doug Marshall by TKO (Strikes) at 1:35, R1
-Chael Sonnen def. Bryan Baker by Unanimous Decision, R3
-Marcus Hicks def. Ed Ratcliff by Submission (Guillotine Choke) at 1:42, R1
-Steve Cantwell def. Tim McKenzie by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 2:13, R1
-Hiromitsu Miura def. Blas Avena by TKO (Strikes) at 2:35, R1
-Brock Larson def. John Alessio by DQ (Illegal Knee) at 1:50, R1
-Rich Crunkilton def. Sergio Gomez by Unanimous Decision, R3
-Alex Serdyukov def. Ryan Stonitsch by Submission (Triangle Choke) at 1:35, R1
-Kenji Osawa draws with Chris Manuel, R3
-Logan Clark def. Scott Harper by TKO (Strikes) at 4:37, R1