Though it happens from time to time, it's rare -- too rare probably -- that I'll thank a fighter for his or her effort.
The occasion I best remember came in the immediate wake of a brutal clash between
While Brown and Faber didn't have a prayer of emerging out of the shadows cast by the best golfer and tennis player this past weekend, their labor delivered one of the grittiest, guttiest fights in a long while. And they both deserve our appreciation.
Actually, a bunch of guys do after an impressive docket of fights.
In St. Louis, for instance, welterweight
So on and so forth, just another violent, passion-filled weekend in MMA.
• Defending his WEC belt for the second time, Brown came into his fight against Faber a clear favorite among pundits, fellow fighters and fans. Though odds makers hedged some, it was expected in most quarters that Brown would find a way to retain his title.
It helped that Faber was injured, but I wouldn't chalk up Brown's latest win to the deficiencies of his challenger. The 33-year-old Brown, originally from Maine and the kind of fighter who's gone great lengths to avoid taking a nickname, possessed the tools and size to wear down "The California Kid." My sense is he would have regardless of Faber's health.
"The guy is mentally tough," Faber said Monday. "He's well-rounded and put in a lot of time. I have a lot of respect for him. I hit him with a lot of big shots and he shook it off and kept coming. He's a good champion."
Surely, he's a champion who will be tested. Featherweight has quickly emerged as one of the deepest and most competitive divisions in MMA, and competing in the WEC won't provide Brown an opportunity to relax as he goes about defending the title.
• Young Brazilian sniper
One thing Aldo has over Brown is speed, which the 15-1 Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt displayed Sunday with an eight-second double-flying-knee stoppage over
WEC lightweight champion
Meanwhile, Faber said he will take time to heal up and let other featherweights get their shot at the belt. Part of him hopes Brown can hold onto the title.
"I know for a fact I can beat him," Faber said. "I don't feel like I got beat up in that fight. I'm fine all the way around except for damage on my hands, knees and elbows, and I've got a little black eye. Other than that, I took a lot of good solid punches from him, and I had to take punches because I needed to get close to him. Obviously he's a tough fighter, but I think I have the tools to beat him and style-wise, I think I have the style to beat him, not vice-versa."
• Another fighter who walked away from his bout over the weekend with swollen hands was the irrepressible
According to CompuStrike,
In two fights, Diaz managed to best Bisping's tally by 40 percent. More important, of course, is strikes landed. And Diaz impressed, scoring with 57 percent of his shots while connecting 125 times.
• Watch out for former University of Missouri wrestler
• Also, people inside the WEC love