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WEC 36 recap: Mike Brown upsets ex-champ Urijah

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His name is Mike Brown.If you didn't know who the American Top
Team featherweight was heading into his WEC 36 main event scrap with
the world's top 145 pounder Urijah Faber, you weren't alone. But after
his shocking, first round stoppage of the seemingly invincible
"California Kid," Brown should finally be on everyone's radar."People
don't really know who I am," Brown (20-5) told us earlier this week.
"My fights have kind of gone under the radar, and nobody has really
heard of me. But I'm good."Good hardly seemed to describe what happened Wednesday night.While
Brown has faced solid competition throughout his seven-year career,
none of his previous opponents held the credentials of "The California
Kid." That never seemed to faze Brown in the months leading up to the
contest.And though known as a submission ace, Brown caught
Faber with a right hand that took the former champion directly to the
floor. Brown followed with a barrage of blows to the stunned Faber, and
the bout was halted at 2:23 of the first round."I don't have a lot of knockouts on my record, but I [expletive] hit hard," Brown said.The new champion was overwhelmed with emotion as the reality of the moment set in."It's been a long road," Brown said, fighting back tears of joy. "I love you guys."Faber, who took a 13-fight win streak into the contest, was gracious in defeat."I made a small mistake and he capitalized on it," Faber said. "Congratulations to Mike Brown. I have no excuses."The
night's co-feature between WEC middleweight champion Paulo Filho (16-1)
and challenger Chael Sonnen (21-9-1) was not short on emotion or
sub-plots.A rematch from a December 2007 bout -- that ended
with a controversial verbal submission victory for Filho -- the fight
was slated to be the final defense of the WEC's middleweight belt
before the division was consolidated with the UFC. Instead, champion
Filho missed wight by four pounds, and the bout was contested as a
non-title affair.The bout started as a carbon copy of the
first. Sonnen punished Filho on the feet, and was able to dominate the
positioning when the fight went to the ground. But different from the
first encounter, Sonnen realized the danger that the Brazilian
Jiu-Jitsu black belt presented on the floor. Sonnen patiently backed
away repeatedly, forcing Filho to stand.It wasn't the most
aesthetically pleasing strategy, and the crowd frequently voiced its
disdain. But there was little Sonnen could do against his passive
opponent. In the end, the gathered crowd was fortunate it wasn't forced
to endure an additional two rounds of the behavior from the Brazilian
champion.Sonnen earned the unanimous decision. But without the
title on the line -- and with Filho's unwillingness to engage --
closure seemed just out of reach. The UFC veteran is now 7-1 in his
past eight fights and will look to establish himself in the UFC's
middleweight division after dispatching of the WEC's title holder.For
Filho, who has battled demons with depression and substance abuse in
recent times, the fight was a blow to his reputation as one of the
middleweight division's elite fighters. Once thought of as the sole
heir-apparent to UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva's crown,
Filho's behavior before and during the fight -- as well as his
disinterested appearance after -- left numerous questions as to his
immediate future.Featherweights Leonard Garcia (12-3) and Jens
Pulver (22-10-1) were expected to bring fireworks to the cage. When the
bell rang, it was "Bad Boy" that brought the heavy ammunition.In
his first action in nearly nine months due to a career-threatening
brush with the law, Garcia entered the cage with a chip on his shoulder
and a point to prove.Pushing the pace from the start, Garcia
never gave Pulver a chance to utilize his devastating left hand.
Instead, it was two quick rights from Garcia that found their mark,
dropping the former UFC champion to a knee. Garcia wasted no time in
pouncing on his wounded opponent, and the bout was halted just 72
seconds after it began.Following the bout, Garcia flashed a wide grin while looking to the future."I
want a title shot," Garcia said. "I knocked out the legend. ...(Urijah)
Faber -- whoever has the title after tonight -- I want some.When pressed to justify his status as a No. 1 contender, Garcia chose to allow his performance to do all the talking."That fight says it all," Garcia said. "I let actions speak louder than words."For
MMA legend Pulver, the loss was his fourth in his past five bouts.
Still just 33 years old, the nine-year veteran was an obvious step
behind his explosive opponent.In the first bout of the
evening's broadcast, undefeated young middleweights Jake Rosholt (5-0)
and Nissen Osterneck (5-1) put their spotless records on the line. A
fast-paced, entertaining scrap from the opening bell, each fighter took
turns on the verge of victory.The first round saw Rosholt
utilize his all-world wrestling skills to keep Osterneck on the
defensive and on his back. When able to work free from Rosholt's grasp,
submission expert Osterneck was effective from his feet. Osterneck
rocked his opponent with combinations from the outside as well as the
clinch, but was unable to keep the fight in the standing position.After
scoring again from his feet in the second round, Osterneck was taken to
the mat and mounted. Removing Rosholt from the position proved
impossible, and the former collegiate wrestling champion unleashed a
non-stop ground-and-pound assault. Referee Troy Waugh warned Osterneck
several times to improve his position before halting the bout at 3:48
of the round.Earning his fourth TKO win in five fights, Rosholt admitted the fight did not go exactly as he had envisioned."Not at all," Rosholt said. "Nissen came out, got after me, and was kind of kicking my ass there for a little while."Rosholt acknowledged his opponents performance, and he vowed to continue improving."My hat's off to him," Rosholt said. "[Osterneck] came out and imposed his will on me, but I won."(But) I've got to keep getting better."PRELIMINARY CARD * Donald Cerrone def. Rob McCullough via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-27) * Aaron Simpson def. David Avellan via KO (punch) -- Round 1, 0:18 * Jose Aldo def. Jonathan Brookings via TKO (strikes) -- Round 3, 0:45 * Carmelo Marrero def. Steve Steinbess via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28) * Danny Castillo def. Rafael Dias via TKO (strikes) -- Round 2, 2:54 * Rani Yayha def. Yoshiro Maeda via submission (guillotine choke) -- Round 1, 3:30
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5/21/2018 12:25:43 AM UTC