Event: WEC 48: Aldo vs. Faber
Date: Saturday, April 24, 2010, at 9 p.m. ET on Spike, 10 p.m. ET on PPV
Jose Aldo vs. Urijah Faber
Luke Thomas: I don't see this as a brutal first round stoppage. Faber is trying to serve two masters: wild engagement mixed with accuracy on his strikes. His newfound focus on accuracy hasn't changed his game, but it'll keep him in the fight for much longer than some expect. That being said, he's going to get tagged. Over and over. Eventually his fast and loose style is going to be exploited by Aldo, whose ability to pinpoint strikes (punches or knees) with reflexive speed is unparalleled. Faber won't go quietly, but he'll go. Brutally. Aldo by TKO.
Kid Nate: Aldo is just too much for Faber on the feet, but if anyone can get the fight to the ground it's the California Kid. Nevertheless, I think Aldo will survive off his back easier than Faber will on his feet. It'll be bad news for the WEC, but Aldo by KO.
Brent Brookhouse: I don't know, I just don't see how everyone is so ready to write off Faber. He's certainly not a pushover and he is very experienced. I don't think that Faber wins this but I don't think he gets blown out in a round either. Look for both guys to have decent moments through the first two rounds and Aldo to catch him in the third. Jose Aldo by KO, round 3.
Michael Rome: I am expecting this to be exciting, but one sided. It's hard for me to shake the feeling that we've anointed Aldo too quickly. Down in these divisions it's really unclear who the best fighters are; it was just a year or so ago that everyone thought Torres was the king at 135, and now he looks like he's middle of the pack. That being said, I think Aldo has more weapons and will win via KO. Aldo via KO, round 2.
Mike Fagan: I think this will end up as an absolute curbstomping. Maybe I'm drinking the Aldo Kool-Aid hard, but Faber's going to have to expose some flaw we haven't seen from the champ. Jose Aldo TKO, round 2.
Nick Thomas: Faber is fast but Aldo is faster. Aldo will end this on the feet. Aldo by TKO.
Chris Nelson: Somewhat flummoxed by this fight. I don't believe it'll be a carbon copy of Aldo-Brown, since a 100% Faber brings all sorts of wrestling-related problems to the table. At the same time, the "California Kid" has also proven himself succeptible to hard, accurate shots, and Aldo's got those in spades. And despite the fact that we haven't seen him there often, Aldo's no slouch off his back, either. In the end, I think this goes the way everyone's expecting, but it won't be a cakewalk. Aldo via TKO, round three.
Leland Roling: Aldo is way too explosive and accurate in his attacks on the feet, and I think Faber knows it. His gameplan will rely heavily on whether he can bring this fight to the ground, and Aldo showed that he's tough to take down in the Brown fight. I think Faber will eat way too many punches for his efforts. Jose Aldo via TKO, Round 2.
Ben Henderson vs. Donald Cerrone
Luke Thomas: A battle of durability. Two fighters who are very, very difficult to put away. Still, the one with more resiliency in the face of attack is Henderson. I'll side with him. Henderson by decision.
Kid Nate: Henderson escaped certain defeat several times in their last bout. Normally in a rematch of such a close fight, I'll pick the man I think is the better athlete. But in this case, their skill sets are so asymmetrical that it's hard to decide who is the better athlete. My fall backs are who has the better camp and who is younger? Cerrone definitely has the better camp -- Greg Jackson -- but Henderson is younger. Hmmm, coin toss says Henderson by decision.
Brent Brookhouse: I'm not a huge fan of either guy but they both put on an exciting show the last time out. Cerrone has the better chance to finish, Henderson has the better chance to outwork en route to a decision. It's not an easy call but I have to go with Henderson to take another close decision win over Cerrone. Ben Henderson by decision.
Michael Rome: Loved their first fight, but I don't see Henderson surviving so many scares again. Going to go with Cerrone via submission, round 3.
Mike Fagan: Something rubs me the wrong way about Henderson every time I go to pick a fight. Then he gets into the cage and wins somehow. Cerrone should be a cinch if he's shored up his takedown defense, but I have a feelilng he hasn't. Benson Henderson by submission.
Nick Thomas: Henderon will take down Cerrone at will but I think Cerrone can lock onto something this time around before the end of the 5th round. Cerrone by submission
Chris Nelson: I must confess that neither of these guys (plus Jamie Varner) particularly excite nor intrigue me. I guess it's kind of entertaining to watch Henderson get caught in submissions over and over, then have to pretzel his way out of them, but I think Cerrone gives him the "tap or snap" ultimatum this time out. Cerrone via submission, round two.
Leland Roling: Cerrone really needs to show some improvement in his ability to keep Henderson in his guard. I doubt Cerrone has improved his takedown defense as he did sink multiple submissions in their last encounter. He really needs to limit Henderson's ability to stand up out of guard and rain down punches. Cerrone should be better standing, and I think he'll start strong in this fight if his camp is accurate in his improvements. Donald Cerrone via decision.
Mike Brown vs. Manny Gamburyan
Luke Thomas: I think Brown is going to smash him. Brown via TKO.
Kid Nate: Bad matchup for Manny. Brown will stuff the takedown and hurt him on the feet. Brown by TKO.
Brent Brookhouse: Yikes, this is a bad fight for Gamburyan. He's a tough guy but he's just not as good as Brown. Brown by TKO, round 2
Michael Rome: This does not look like a difficult fight on paper for Brown. He should be able to sprawl and brawl his way to a stoppage. Brown via TKO, round 1.
Mike Fagan: I guess they're setting Brown up for Aldo II or Faber III. I don't think they're going to get Shields'd here. Mike Brown by decision.
Nick Thomas: Brown has Gamburyan beat in every facet of the game as well as being bigger and stronger. Brown by decision.
Chris Nelson: Just about the worst matchup possible for Gamburyan. Brown via TKO, round one.
Leland Roling: Gamburyan has a chance if he can get a takedown and keep Brown down, but I highly doubt he'll be able to do that without eating a heavy combination of punches. Mike Brown via TKO.
Anthony Njokuani vs. Shane Roller
Luke Thomas: Roller is too aggressive for a pinpoint striker like Njokuani. Njokuani by TKO.
Kid Nate: Roller is another one of Team Takedown's wrestling thoroughbreds. So far I've been less than impressed with the schooling their guys are getting in the other facets of MMA. Njokuani is no joke. Njokuani by TKO
Brent Brookhouse: Anthony Njokuani is on the short list for my favorite guys to watch fight. He has legit power in his kicks and both hands. His right hand just crumples people. Think about all the wars Chris Horodecki has been in. He's been in some really tough slugfests in his career. Against Njokuani he RAN AWAY. Roller is a good fighter and the possibility exists that he can get the fight to the ground enough to win, but Anthony looks to have shored up his takedown defense, he is huge and strong and he has that Aldo-esque "KO at any moment" vibe. Roller's stand-up is also pretty hole-y. Anthony Njokuani by KO, round 1.
Michael Rome: Brent turned me onto Njoukani and now I'm a big fan of his. All he needs is work on defensive wrestling, because he has something rare at 155: serious power. Njoukani via TKO.
Mike Fagan: Granted, Chris Horodecki is small at 155, but Anthony Njokuani looked huge in that fight. Goddamn. This should be a good fight between guys who have lost to the two top guys in the WEC's 155. I like the Nigerian. Anthony Njokuani by TKO, round 2.
Nick Thomas: If Njokuani keeps this standing, he has a great shot of stopping Roller. Hopefully Njokuani has evolved enough to stop a takedown or two. Njokuani by TKO.
Chris Nelson: As much of a joke as its become, "explosive" really is a great adjective for Anthony Njokuani. Roller's only real chance here, as I see it, is catching an early guillotine, but I don't think Njokuani will even get close enough for that to happen. Njokuani via TKO, round two.
Leland Roling: Interesting that Roller was the favorite here by oddsmakers. I think Roller is being slept on a bit, but he's shown some awful stand-up in past fights. Njokuani could crush him pretty quickly if he can avoid the takedown. Anthony Njokuani via TKO, Round 1.
Scott Jorgensen vs. Antonio Banuelos
Luke Thomas: The two are similar fighters, but Jorgensen has been more active and tightened up his liabilties far more than the reckless Banuelos. Jorgensen by TKO.
Kid Nate: Jorgensen continues to impress. I thought he beat Banuelos the first time, this time I expect him to put an exclamation point on it. Jorgensen by TKO.
Brent Brookhouse: No doubt in my mind Jorgensen won the first fight, none in my mind that he wins this one too. But he's not letting the judges have anything to say about it this time around. Scott Jorgensen by TKO, round 2.
Michael Rome: I think Jorgensen is a good prospect, and I had him winning the first fight. He should do it again here. Scott Jorgensen via decision.
Mike Fagan: I think I had Jorgensen winning the first fight, and I see him redeeming himself here. Scott Jorgensen by decision.
Nick Thomas: An interesting rematch here. I have to go with Jorgensen, he's been a beast lately, but I don't think he can stop Banuelos. Jorgensen by decision
Chris Nelson: As pretty much everyone else has noted, Jorgensen really won the first meeting between these two. This time, I don't think he leaves it in the hands of the judges. Jorgensen via TKO, round one.
Leland Roling: Jorgensen needs to nullify Banuelos' footwork in this fight, and he's shown some better footwork and punching in his last few fights. He should be able to edge out Banuelos "once again" in this rematch. Scott Jorgensen via decision.
Preliminary Bouts (On Spike TV):
Leonard Garcia vs. Chan Sung Jung
Luke Thomas: I actually think Garcia's power won't be enough. CSJ by decision.
Kid Nate: I have some hopes for the Korean Zombie, but Garcia is fairly deep water for your first taste of the WEC. Garcia by TKO
Brent Brookhouse: I'm no Garcia fan. As much as I'd like Jung to win I just don't see it. Leonard Garcia by TKO, round 1.
Michael Rome: Leonardo Garcia is a solid gatekeeper and I see him keeping Jug out. Garcia via TKO, round 2.
Mike Fagan: Beat up a Japanese import and a MMA vet, and all of a sudden your hot stuff. Garcia's fallen back to earth, but he should be able to take the Korean here. Leonard Garcia by TKO, round 1.
Chris Nelson: The "Korean Zombie" is a nightmare for Garcia: he's got serious power, solid sub defense and he can take a punch like nobody's business. Jung via TKO, round two.
Leland Roling: Garcia's heavy hands could put Jung down for the count, but I like Jung's well-rounded abilities. While he isn't the most technical striker in the world, he is rather aggressive, and that could pay off. Chan Sung Jung via decision.
Alex Karalexis vs. Anthony Pettis
Luke Thomas: Pettis is going to smash him. Pettis by KO.
Kid Nate: Pettis has a future in MMA. Karalexis, not so much. Pettis by submission.
Brent Brookhouse: This is a "get some exposure" situation for Pettis. Karalexis is around to put over guys like this so it's nice to see him get another chance to ply his trade. Anthony Pettis by submission, round 1.
Michael Rome: The worst part of this fight is going to be Goldberg calling a Karalexis fight. Anyway, I see Pettis winning rather easily. Pettis via submission, round 1.
Mike Fagan: I didn't like Karalexis when he was on TUF, and I don't like him as a 32 year old journeyman vs. a 23 year old prospect. Anthony Pettis by submission, round 1.
Chris Nelson: Showcase fight for "Showtime." Pettis via TKO, round one.
Leland Roling: Pettis has some good power and explosiveness while Karalexis is really a one-dimensional wrestler with some limited striking ability. I think Karalexis could score a takedown and be a threat to riding out a decision, but Pettis offers better striking to Karalexis' bad form in the stand-up game. Anthony Pettis via TKO, Round 1.
Preliminary Bouts (Non-Televised):
Brad Pickett vs. Demetrious Johnson
Luke Thomas: I don't have a lot of faith in One Punch. Johnson by TKO.
Kid Nate: Johnson will be too much for Pickett. Johnson by decision.
Brent Brookhouse: Pickett is such a weird guy to get a grip on if you're not familiar with him. "One Punch" is actually a submission threat more than a KO threat. He's just going to look small and get outmuscled here. Demetrious Johnson by decision.
Michael Rome: Demetrious JOhnson via decision.
Mike Fagan: Bleh. Always pick against English fighters. Demetrious Johnson by decision.
Chris Nelson: Pickett via submission, round one.
Leland Roling: Demetrious Johnson has a little hype among the hardest of the hardcore fans surprisingly, and he can be a real beast. Pickett isn't exactly a strong individual, and Johnson may very well dump him continuously and tire him out. But I'll go with the technician over raw power here. Brad Pickett via submission.
Chad Mendes vs. Anthony Morrison
Luke Thomas: I've said it before and I'll say it again: Morrison has so much more power than people realize. I still think he'll lose as he lacks a serious ground game, but don't be shocked if Mendes gets slept. Mendes by submission.
Kid Nate: Bad style match up for Morrison. Mendes by decision.
Brent Brookhouse: Morrison will be game, but he'll also get ground down this fight. Chad Mendes by one sided decision.
Michael Rome: Hard for me to see Morrison keeping this standing, and on the ground he doesn't have the game to win. Mendes via decision.
Mike Fagan: Mendes should succeed where his mentor fails. Chad Mendes by TKO, round 2.
Chris Nelson: Mendes via decision.
Leland Roling: Mendes' wrestling background will keep Morrison on his back eating punches. Chad Mendes via TKO, Round 2.
Takeya Mizugaki vs. Rani Yahya
Luke Thomas: Yahya has zero wrestling and zero striking. He's getting KO'd. Mizugaki by KO.
Kid Nate: Wish I could see this one as I am a fan of both. Yahya is a dangerous dangerous submission fighter, but Mizugaki should be able to fend off the threats. Mizugaki by decision.
Brent Brookhouse: I'd love to see Mizugaki get the win here, so I'll pick with my heart here. Takeya Mizugaki by decision.
Michael Rome: This should be a fun fight. Tough call, but I'm going with Yahya via submission, round 3.
Mike Fagan: A fight between two guys who have made their names by getting beat by big name guys. Rani Yahya by submission, round 2.
Chris Nelson: Mizugaki via TKO, round two.
Leland Roling: Yahya has the submission ability to be a threat, but Mizugaki can scramble well, get up off his back quickly, and punch effectively. Takeya Mizugaki via decision.
Tyler Toner vs. Brandon Visher
Luke Thomas: The shootboxing star is going to shine tomorrow night. Toner by KO.
Kid Nate: Visher by decision.
Brent Brookhouse: Let's play it safe. Brandon Visher by decision
Michael Rome: Brandon Visher via TKO.
Mike Fagan: Toner reminds me of a copy machine. Brandon Visher by decision.
Chris Nelson: Toner via decision.
Leland Roling: Toner has a real chance at the upset here. Tyler Toner via TKO, Round 2.