The Weekly Wrap: June 6 -- June 12

Top Story

By Jack Encarnacao Jun 13, 2009
The Weekly Wrap walks readers through the last seven days in MMA, recapping and putting into context the week's top story, important news and notable quotes.

In what may go down as a seminal fight for the sport's 145-pound weight class, the division’s top two fighters -- World Extreme Cagefighting featherweight champion Mike Thomas Brown and Urijah Faber –- set records in an intense five-round rematch atop WEC 41 on June 7 in Sacramento, Calif.

Brown retained the title over Faber, who garnered a massive reaction from the hometown crowd at the Arco Arena. The corn-rowed WEC poster boy came out more measured than he did in his first-round loss to Brown in November, but was hampered by a broken right hand sustained in the first round. Faber tried to disguise the injury by using elbows, but Brown pushed the pace and used mostly forceful wrestling to secure the victory. All three judges gave Brown rounds two, four and five, and were split in favor of Brown in a close round three. The eventful battle marked the first time the American Top Team fighter has gone five rounds.

WEC 41, one of the standout events so far for 2009, set an attendance record for the promotion. There were 12,706 fans on hand for the show (10,110 paid), which topped the 12,682 drawn to the same building for the first Urijah Faber-Jens Pulver match at WEC 34 in June 2008. The record crowd translated into an $818,415 gate, which is also above the previous record of $738,855 for WEC 34. The Versus broadcast of the event did not set the WEC record, however, drawing a 1.1 share rating compared to the 1.4 garnered by WEC 34.

Though they were responsible for the record numbers, Faber and Brown did not appear to emerge from WEC 41 with the fattest pockets. Both earned about $26,000 each in purses and $10,000 “Fight of the Night” bonuses (the paydays only reflect numbers reported to the state athletic commission). Two other fighters on the card, Pulver and “The Ultimate Fighter” alumnus Manny Gamburyan, earned more guaranteed money, with $31,253 going to Pulver and $29,960 to Gamburyan.

Pulver may have seen his swan song on the card, as the 34-year-old lost to 20-year-old prospect Josh Grispi in 33 seconds via guillotine choke. Pulver, who suffered his fourth straight loss, received a raucous ovation in his post-fight interview, in which he hinted that he may hang it up imminently.

Jose Aldo continued to drop jaws in his 145-pound campaign, leveling Cub Swanson in eight seconds with an otherworldly flying-knee technical knockout. The blow opened a gash on Swanson’s brow and created a distinct clamoring to see Aldo challenge next for the featherweight championship. Brown said in several interviews that he thinks Aldo should be next in line for a title shot. Aldo brought home a $10,000 knockout bonus for the finish.

WEC 41 featured several other eventful outcomes. Donald Cerrone further cemented his status as top contender for Jamie Varner’s lightweight title with a competent deconstruction of the undefeated James Krause, dropping him with a left-right punch combination and applying a rear-naked choke for the first-round tapout. Varner looked on from ringside, hinting a rematch of their January title fight is on the slate, likely in the fall. Elsewhere, Seth Dikun, who trains with Thomas Denny in Covina, Calif., picked up the “Submission of the Night” bonus after leaping into a triangle position and eventually securing the choke on Rolando Perez.

The event also featured a hard-fought scrap between Antonio Banuelos and Scott Jorgenson, which Banuelos edged out via split decision. Gamburyan, cutting to 145 pounds, defeated East Coast prospect John Franchi in a slow-paced decision. The fight was not televised.
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