Josh Gross
Monday March 2nd, 2009's Josh Gross is glued to the TV set, ready to provide first-rate analysis for WEC 39, the world-cage event from American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas -- featuring Mike Thomas Brown and Leonard Garcia in the main bout.

10:53 p.m. EST -- Four months after stunning Urijah Faber to capture the World Extreme Cagefighting featherweight title, Mike Thomas Brown returns to the cage Sunday evening in Corpus Christi, Texas, as mixed martial arts' top 145-pound fighter.

Standing between Thomas and his first title defense is Leonard Garcia, a move-forward challenger who finds himself on the verge of a championship despite fighting just twice -- both wins -- at featherweight.

10:54 p.m. EST -- Though he knocked out Faber last November, Brown is not much of a striker. Only four of his 20 victories have come by way of KO or TKO, and Garcia has never been finished in 15 fights. Considering the champ hasn't been stopped in 24 fights, a decision seems probable, even if this is a five-round bout.

Brown, 33, walks into his bout against Garcia, 29, as confident as ever. That confidence could get him in trouble if he chooses to stand with Garcia, a gunslinger who can deliver shots from unconventional angles. The champ's best bet is to use his size and considerable power to grapple Garcia. Over the course of a 25-minute fight, that would seem to be his easiest and smartest path to victory.

10:56 -- A quick glance of the tale-of-the-tape reveals that Garcia owns a four-inch height advantage. He'll need to remain disciplined to really take advantage -- and that's not Garcia's style. Brown should work on the inside as much as he can. Against Faber, he showed he can handle strong grapplers in the clinch, and Garcia shouldn't be as physical as the champ.

10:59 -- Garcia looks tense and tight. A monster overhand right from Brown lands flush, dropping his challenger. Brown is swarming for the finish. He's bloodied and battered and Brown is working from back control. The finish isn't there yet, but Brown is well on his way.

11:01 -- Garcia has recovered well enough, and Brown is now working from the challenger's guard. Brown has passed, locks up an arm-triangle and induces a tap. Extremely impressive performance. Brown refused to allow Garcia to get back into the fight. Overwhelming victory for the WEC champ, who solidifies himself as the world's No. 1 fighter at 145 after choking his challenger at 1:57 of Round 1.

11:08 -- Brown won't have a shortage of challengers inside the WEC. A partial list of WEC-signed featherweights, including the champ: Mike Brown; Leonard Garcia; Urijah Faber; Jose Aldo; Josh Grispi; Cub Swanson; Waggney Fabiano; Diego Nunes; Jens Pulver; Manvel Gamburian; Fredson Paixao; Rolando Perez; Raphael Assuncao; Cole Province; Rafael Dias; Mike Budnik; John Franchi.

11:09 -- I'd like to see Brown face Wagnney Fabiano next. The former International Fight League champion could use another win, but his record and resume are definitely No.-1 contender worthy.


BROWN REIGNS: Brown pummels Garcia to retain title

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