Let's find out what happened at the Arco Arena in Sacramento, California.
"Everybody's talking about me retiring, and the reality is I'm one win away from you all forgetting about it," said Jens Pulver coming into the first televised fight of the night against Josh Grispi. The question was, would that win come on June 7th?
Early on, Pulver took his opponent down to the canvas and got caught in a guillotine choke for his efforts. It was tight. And Pulver tapped. That's that.
Afterwards, Grispi literally patted him on the back, feeling just how devastated Pulver was by the mistake that cost him the fight. A big win for Grispi; a huge loss for Pulver.
Josh Grispi wins by way of guillotine choke after 33 seconds. Afterwards, Pulver spoke as if it might be his last fight.
Before taking on Donald Cerrone, James Krause said, "I don't think he's been tested with his jiu jitsu at all." Of course, Cerrone didn't agree. So would Krause still be undefeated when this one was all said and done?
Krause came out and took Cerrone down quickly only to watch him get right back up. After eating a Cerrone punch, Krause took him down again. Cerrone then sunk in an omoplata, which helped him to get to his feet. Krause took him down again and found himself in the omoplata again. Krause rolled out and was left on the bottom on the canvas. Some nice ground and pound from Cerrone followed. Krause eventually used a heel hook attempt to help him get to his feet and then landed a head kick. Krause shot in for a takedown and almost got caught in a standing guillotine. Then Cerrone connected with a nice knee. Moments later, a hard left-right combination floored Krause; Cerrone followed him down to the ground, sunk in the rear naked choke, and ended the fight.
Donald Cerrone wins via rear naked choke at 4:38 of round one.
Next up was a fight between Scott Jorgensen and Antonio Banuelos.
Early on, Banuelos landed a huge uppercut that seemed to stun his opponent. Soon after, he clinched with Jorgensen and took him down. Jorgensen got up, eating a knee for his efforts. Banuelos continually connected, sometimes partially, with hooks and hard punches. Jorgensen connected with a nice right. Soon after, Jorgensen went for a couple of takedowns that were shirked by Banuelos. Though Jorgensen definitely began to turn up the temperature with his striking, nice footwork by his adversary and timely punches won out.
Banuelos took the first round.
The second round saw Banuelos continue his excellent side to side footwork and timely punching. Though Jorgensen definitely connected with some hard punches and knees, Banuelos's speed won out again throughout the stanza.
Jorgensen needs a stoppage in order to win this fight. Lots of action. Commentator Kenny Florian disagrees, believing that the fight is even going into the final round.
In the third, Jorgensen came out aggressively, connecting with some big punches and a huge knee midway through the stanza. When Banuelos went for a takedown, his opponent took his back momentarily. Eventually, Jorgensen ended up in Banuelos's guard. A couple of Jorgensen submission attempts fell by the wayside quickly in this stanza, including a guillotine choke early on.
Antonio Banuelos wins by way of split decision in a barnburner of a fight.
Next up was a bout between Jose Aldo and Cub Swanson. "Rumor has it that we're fighting for number one contendership," said Swanson coming in. Probably. So who would prevail?
Don't blink. Aldo came out with a huge flying knee to start things off that connected. The knee left Swanson on the canvas bleeding above his left eye. Aldo hit home with a few punches on his turtled-up opponent before the referee stepped in.
Jose Aldo wins via TKO after only eight seconds.
Next up was a bout between Rolando Perez and Seth Dikun. Early on, Perez caught a Dikun kick and threw him to the canvas. Dikun got up soon after and then pulled his opponent into his guard, straight into a triangle. Perez persevered for a long time, but in the end he had to tap.
Seth Dikun wins via triangle choke at 2:30 of round one.
Next up was a fight between Mike Campbell and Anthony Pettis. Early on, Campbell caught a leg and went for a takedown, only to find himself in a guillotine that he would slam his way out of. Then Campbell escaped a strong armbar attempt. Campbell then hit home with some nice ground and pound. Soon after, though, Pettis sunk in the triangle choke. And that was that.
Anthony Pettis wins via triangle choke at 1:49 of round one.
"I can't wait to get in there, end the speculation, end the reign of Mike Brown, get my belt back," said Urijah Faber coming into his highly anticipated fight against Mike Brown. The last time these two mixed it up, it was Brown who stood victorious. Would Faber recapture the magic or would Brown once again prove that he was the man?
Early on, both fighters were cautious. Faber landed a high kick after more than a minute had gone by. At around the 3:20 mark, he connected with a nice combination. Brown came forward aggressively afterwards missing with punches and looking for the takedown. Faber tried for a guillotine, but it fell by the wayside. Brown took Faber's back on the canvas, but Faber got up. Still with his back in a standing position, Brown landed several knees to the face. Then Faber turned to face him in the clinch and connected with some knees of his own. Brown followed with a big overhand right. Brown's left eye is puffy. Faber landed a nice body kick. Both fighters traded right hands, with Faber's seeming harder. That said, Brown ended up in a position to get the Anaconda Choke on the ground but Faber rolled out. Then Brown moved to side control, but Faber forced the north-south position. Then Brown began looking for the guillotine. When it failed, Brown connected with punches on the way up.
That was a good, close round. It could've gone either way.
Early in the second, Brown landed a nice uppercut. Faber connected with a solid body kick. Later, Brown connected with a big right hand, took Faber down, and ended up with side control. Brown connected with some hard, pointed elbows to Faber's ribs. After several position changes, Faber got to his feet with Brown still on his back. Brown took him down again after connecting with some strikes. Faber tried a guillotine, but he never had the leverage for it; thus, Brown took his back again. Faber pulled a nice reversal and the two ended up on their feet. Faber landed a nice front kick to the face. Soon after, he connected with a knee. The two traded lefts with some space inbetween. Brown then took his opponent down again. Faber got up and ate some punches for his effort. Then the bell.
That round definitely went to Brown based on ground control.
Early on in the third, Faber landed a nice standing elbow. Brown went for the guillotine on the ground to no avail. Then he took the back of a turtled-up Faber. Brown continued to land punches on the ground until Faber got up again. Faber then landed a nice knee to the head, and followed it with an elbow and knee. Brown connected with a hard right hand to the head. Then he connected with a terrific body punch. Brown clinched with his opponent and tried for a takedown. Faber turned him over on the canvas, but Brown ended up looking for a leglock that never came that close. The two got to their feet and Faber connected again. Brown then landed a big right hand. Faber connected with an elbow. Brown again connected with a big right hand. The two clinched; both are beginning to look tired.
That was a close round. It probably went Brown's way.
Early on, Faber landed a nice front kick to the face. Brown clinched with him and connected with several short right uppercuts. Both guys traded shots. All fight long, Faber has looked quicker while Brown has hit harder. Faber hasn't used his right hand in awhile, perhaps indicating that he hurt it in the second round. For the rest of the stanza, Brown connected with tons of punches on Faber. Though Faber had his moments in spots, it definitely was not enough to win the stanza. Brown is leading going into the final round. Faber should need a stoppage for victory.
Faber came out active, connecting with some shots. But then Brown took him down again. Faber got to his feet and landed some elbows there. After some striking, Faber looked for a standing guillotine, forcing Brown to pick him up and slam him to the canvas. Faber got up again. Faber connected with some strikes, but then Brown took him down again. Faber got up again and landed a few knees. From there, Faber caught Brown in a choke. It was deep, but Faber did not have his hands locked up and Brown got out. With a little less than 30 seconds left, Brown took him down. Faber landed a big elbow. Soon after, came the bell.
Mike Brown should win this fight. That said, Faber's right hand appeared injured and that was a great battle. Both guys deserve props.
The judges agree. Mike Brown wins via unanimous decision.
In the end, WEC 41 was a fun night of fights. Lots of stoppages. The battles between Antonio Banuelos and Scott Jorgensen and Urijah Faber and Mike Brown were excellent. Now there is no question: Mike Brown is the true champion, even if everyone would've probably liked to see Faber fight with both hands working. Maybe someday there will be another rematch.