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."
* 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