The WEC’s first pay-per-view effort is in the books.
Here’s a look at whose stock notably went up and those that held or lost ground Saturday in Sacramento, Calif.
Jose Aldo: Like his game plan or not, Aldo painted a modern-day work of art on Faber’s left leg. After a rough few weeks for MMA fans, it would have been nice to see one of the sport’s sharpest athletes go for broke, but you can’t penalize Aldo for playing it cool against a former champion known for short bursts of fight-changing energy.
Benson Henderson: We’re witnessing the birth of a star in this young man. Like many, I was expecting another 25-minute war and an ultra-tight decision, but Henderson had plans of his own. The lightweight champion looked as smooth as ever on the feet and in the clinch before making his challenger cry uncle in one of the quickest guillotine taps you’ll see. Next for the champ? Another quick title defense and perhaps a slot in the top 10 rankings.
Manny Gamburyan: Who saw that coming? He looked as stiff as a robot for 90 seconds and then flat-out laid the wood to Mike Thomas Brown. Following a 3-0 start with the promotion and a “TUF” pedigree with obvious fan familiarity, could Gamburyan be next in line for Jose Aldo?
Scott Jorgensen: Recovered from a shaky first round to beat on Antonio’s Banuelos’ sinus cavities for the next 10 minutes. Jorgensen has steamrolled his last four opponents. With his trusty jab, the Boise native jumped in line with Joseph Benavidez as a worthy challenger for Dominick Cruz’s 135-pound title.
Shane Roller: Made it look incredibly easy against a quality opponent in Anthony Njokuani. The three-time All-American wrestler at Oklahoma State has now won three straight bouts in the WEC and his last two by rear-naked choke.
Chad Mendes: The undefeated prospect looked phenomenal in his slick submission catch of Anthony Morrison. Now 7-0 and the winner of two WEC bouts, it’s safe to say that Mendes is on the cusp of a big push in the featherweight division.
Anthony Pettis: This guy looks more fluid with each bout, which differs from the norm in this up-and-down sport we love. However, Pettis must improve his wrestling if he plans on competing with the upper tier of athletes at 155.
Tyler Toner: Made the most of his trip to the major leagues with an impressive and violent finish of the highly regarded Brandon Visher. How did Strikeforce let this prospect go after just one successful bout?
Urijah Faber: “The California Kid” hung tough against the best 145 pounder in the world, hands down. Faber showed a ton of heart in getting back to his feet to answer Aldo’s call. He’ll be back better than ever.
Leonard Garcia: Got hunted and beat on for three rounds, yet still left the arena with a win. It’d be hard to claim robbery in a slugfest of that magnitude, but one would like to have seen the judges recognize who was in control. Despite the decision, Garcia always comes to bang. Respect him for that.
Chan Sung Jung: Won 30-27 on all three Sherdog.com scorecards. Deserves a televised followup from his impressive WEC debut. He’ll get it, too.
Mike Thomas Brown: The man that looked unbeatable at 145 has now dropped two of his last three in shocking fashion. He was a big favorite that got a little sloppy tonight in Sactown. Brown is sure to exit the pound-for-pound rankings as a result.
Donald Cerrone: Much like Brown, Cerrone has dropped two of three. With his potential on the feet and on the floor, did this seem possible a year ago? I’d argue not. I would argue that Cerrone is still an amazing prospect, however, so don’t line up to bet against him in his next bout.
Alex Karalexis: Looked even more one dimensional than usual in an uninspiring whooping on the feet and in the guard of Pettis. It’s back to the drawing board for the gatekeeper of the WEC lightweight division.
Anthony Njokuani: Had absolutely nothing to offer Roller on the heels of three straight knockouts over respected opponents. Is 0-2 against elite grapplers in Roller and Henderson, losing both by first-round submission.