José Aldo ruins Urijah Faber's dream

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

José Aldo rules

By Mark Billingsley

José Aldo removed Urijah Faber's dreams through his left leg Saturday night, leaving a gaping hole where his hopes of recapturing his World Extreme Cagefighting featherweight title once resided.

Aldo put on a mixed martial arts clinic at Arco Arena, dominating local favorite Faber in front of an announced sellout crowd of 14,144 and the WEC's first pay-per-view audience. The younger and much quicker Brazilian chopped away at Faber's left leg from the opening round until the end of the fifth, and it proved to be the difference as he retained his title with a unanimous decision and sent Faber to an area hospital by ambulance with his left leg splinted and covered in ice.

"Kicks to the leg are always part of my strategy," Aldo said. "But once I started landing them, I kept it up. Every time a fighter has to go to the hospital, it is unfortunate. On one part, I am happy I won. On another, I am sad to see my opponent go to the hospital."

Faber changed to a left-handed stance to lessen his left leg's exposure, but he could not get off any punches with power. He tried several times for a takedown, but Aldo's quickness proved to be too much for Faber.

The fifth and final round was a sad sight as Faber whiffed on several takedown attempts, fell to the mat and basically quit, waiting for referee Herb Dean to restart on their feet. But without strong legs, maneuvering back to his feet proved to be difficult.

Anna Xu of Seattle weeps after the WEC Featherweight tile fight between Urijah Faber and Jos Aldo at Arco Arena on Saturday Xu is a big fan of Faber's and traveled from Seattle for this event. Faber lost the fight by unanimous decision.

Any future title shot for Faber might be remote, as he has lost three of his past five fights to fall to 23-4 overall. Aldo improved to 17-1.

Ben Henderson defended his lightweight belt with an impressive victory over Donald Cerrone by using a guillotine choke at the 1:57 mark of the first round.

The duo fought in 2009 in what was voted as WEC's Fight of the Year. Henderson won that five-rounder in a unanimous, yet controversial decision. But there was no doubt who the better mixed-martial artist was Saturday night. Henderson (12-1) stalked Cerrone, tied him up on the fence, pummeled him with a few knees and then took it to the ground, where his jiujitsu skills were too much for Cerrone (11-3).

Sacramento featherweight Chad "Money" Mendes got the fans on their feet in an early fight by submitting Anthony "Cheesesteak" Morrison with a guillotine choke at 2:13 of the first round. Mendes (7-0) took the fight on two weeks notice. He last fought March 6 in Columbus, Ohio, and beat Erik Koch by unanimous decision.

"I was on my fishing boat and had just popped my first (beer) when my manager called with the offer," Mendes said. "I poured it out and got into the gym the next day."

Featherweight Mike Brown was knocked out by Manny Gamburyan with 2:22 left in the first round. It was the second consecutive loss for Brown (23-6), who took Faber's title belt and then relinquished it to Aldo in November.

Gamburyan (13-5) knocked Brown down with a wicked right hand and pounced on him with three brutal shots before referee Jon Schorle of El Dorado Hills stopped the fight. Brown got up and protested the stoppage until he saw a replay that showed his arms by his sides.

In earlier featherweight bouts, Tyler Toner (11-1) scored a first-round technical knockout over Brandon Visher (13-1), and Leonard Garcia improved to 18-5-1 with a split decision against Chan Sung Jung (10-2).

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