Without a doubt, Faber was on track for another impressive win. His hands were faster than Brown's. He wasn't out-muscled in the clinch. But one mistake -- a move he might have pulled off in the gym, but never in a title fight -- cost him his belt.
It wasn't the usual sequence of events for MMA. Brown drove in for a takedown but could not get in close enough to cinch Faber's legs. A subsequent punch flurry drove Faber backwards, and in a move reminiscent of a pro wrestler, he bounced off the cage and offered his right elbow, spinning towards Brown.
Not suckered by the flashy move, Brown made a counter-offer, plastering Faber with a right hand that took the champ off his feet.
Faber rolled to his stomach, where several unanswered punches gave ref TroyWaugh no choice but to stop the fight.
As gracious in defeat as in victory, Faber mouthed apologies to the camera.
"I made a mistake, he capitalized on it," Faber explained afterwards. "Congratulations to Mike Brown, he deserves it."
Brown, near tears as the belt was strapped to his waist, thanked his trainers and teammates at American Top Team.
"I don't have a lot of knockouts on my record, but I hit (expletive) hard, dude," he said.
With the win, Brown could move on to face Leonard Garcia, who also had an impressive TKO victory on the card.
Urijah Faber vs. Mike BrownR1 -- Faber attempts a couple of kicks and lands a few punches before they clinch and then reset. Brown lands a right hand to the temple of Faber before they clinch, where Brown starts landing with some good dirty boxing and knees. They clinch and separate and Brown lands a hard left to Faber, drops him with a right to the chin, follows him to the mat and continues to hammer down punches until the referee halts the bout. Mike Brown shocks the world, upsetting Urijah Faber.
Mike Brown def. Urijah Faber by TKO (Strikes) at 2:23, R1
Paulo Filho vs. Chael SonnenFilho, who weighed in seven pounds over the 185-pound limit, receives a steady stream of boos from the crowd upon his introduction.
R1 -- Filho goes for the takedown right away, but Sonnen's sprawls out. Back standing, Sonnen drops Filho with a short left hook, but stands up in his guard instead of dropping down in his guard. Sonnen drops a few punches from standing and then drops down in half-guard, putting a couple of shots down on Filho before standing back up, Filho still on his back. Sonnen grabs Filho's left leg and stomps on his right ankle, but doesn't go down into guard, Filho making no attempt to stand.
MMAWeekly scores the round 10-9 for Sonnen.
R2 -- They dance around the center of the cage, Filho looking to kick, Sonnen to strike. Filho goes for the takedown, but lands on his back with Sonnen in guard. Sonnen stands up, forcing Filho to stand. He lands a strong leg kick on Filho, who falls to the ground, but Sonnen makes him stand again. Filho misses with the head kick, Sonnen lands the leg kick, and Filho jumps guard. They hit the mat, but Sonnen immediately stands it back up. Sonnen dances around the outskirts of Filho's reach, pot-shotting him, refusing to go to the ground. Filho shoot, Sonnen sprawls out, and Filho falls to his back, wanting to stay on the ground. Sonnen again makes him stand.
MMAWeekly scores the round 10-9 for Sonnen.
R3 -- They dance around the center of the ring and Filho again falls to his back, trying to bait Sonnen into his guard. Sonnen again makes Filho return to standing. They again dance around the center with Sonnen pawing out shots at Filho, while Filho can't seem to think of anything to do but stand and take the shots. The crowd is getting pretty restless at this point, chanting expletives. Filho is doing nothing to engage, while Sonnen keeps moving in throwing punches, nothing that is doing a lot of damage, but probably winning him the fight.
MMAWeekly scores the round 10-9 for Sonnen and the fight 30-27 for Sonnen.
Chael Sonnen def. Paulo Filho by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27), R3
Jens Pulver vs. Leonard GarciaR1 -- Garcia seems to be trying to stay away from the hands of Pulver, circling away and trying to sneak in for quick shots and then get back out. It works as he gets in, backs out, and then back in, and lands a boxing combination hurting Pulver. He follows with several more hard shots, crumpling Pulver to the canvas.
Leonard Garcia def. Jens Pulver by TKO (Strikes) at 1:12, R1
Jake Rosholt vs. Nissen OsterneckR1 -- Osterneck charges in and starts landing right hands, but Rosholt immediately scoops him up and takes him down and starts working from side control. He lands a couple of before taking the back, but Osterneck gets out. Standing again, Osterneck starts unloading with punch combinations. Rosholt has no answer except to clinch. They start trading again and Rosholt gets Osterneck down in a scramble and start landing punches from side control, before then dropping some heavy knees. Rosholt stands up and starts dropping shots from standing in the guard, again drops to side control and re-ups his ground and pound attack. Osterneck gives up his back, Rosholt mounts and does some serious damage with his ground and pound just before the round closes.
MMAWeekly scores the round 10-9 for Rosholt.
R2 -- Rosholt goes for the takedown right away but nearly gets caught in an armlock before getting out and back to his feet. Rosholt again drops down and gets to side control, but is having difficulty mounting much offense this time as Osterneck is defending well. They work out and up to their feet and Osterneck starts firing away landing knees, punches, and kicks, rocking Rosholt before again getting taken down. Rosholt immediately moves to mount and starts punching away. Osterneck gives up his back and Rosholt keeps the blows raining down to get the referee stoppage.
Jake Rosholt def. Nissen Osterneck by TKO (Strikes) at 3:48, R2
Rob McCullough vs. Donald CerroneR1 -- They start off with some one-for-one exchanges before McCullough drops Cerrone to a knee with a straight right. Cerrone pops right back up and clinches before they separate and start trading blow for blow again. Another right hand sends Cowboy to the mat, but he pops right back up again, but McCullough is starting to land with more frequency both with his punches and leg kicks. Just as McCullough gains momentum Cowboy stops it with a straight right that sends McCullough to the canvas. Cowboy immediately mounts and unleashes a ground and pound assault, brutalizing McCullough's face with punches and forearms. McCullough turns, nearly giving up his back, but works into Cowboy's guard. They get up and the referee has McCullough's cut checked, they are allowed to continue but McCullough's face is a crimson mask. Cowboy drops McCullough again, he gets up and eats a knee and gets dropped with another right hand. Cowboy follows him down, but McCullough rides out the round.... WOW!!!!
MMAWeekly scores the round 10-9 for Cerrone.
R2 -- They pick up right where they left off, exchanging kicks and punches. Cowboy drops McCullough again with a right-left combo, then takes his back on the mat, but McCullough again turns into Cowboy's guard, nearly caught in a triangle choke. Cowboy catches an arm, has the armbar secured, but McCullough finds a way out. Amazing fight! Back up on the feet, they start trading blows again. The rest of the round plays out with them exchanging, nearly blow-for-blow, but Cerrone slightly edging ahead as the round wears on.
MMAWeekly scores the round 10-9 for Cerrone.
R3 -- Again McCullough and Cerrone start trying to knock each other's head off, but then Cowboy shoots in and gets the double-leg takedown, but they quickly get back up to the feet and start the striking routine. Midway through the round, Cowboy scores with a jumping knee to the chin and starts to land with more frequency though he can't seem to find McCullough's button. McCullough finds a fire inside and starts firing back hard again, but Cowboy seems to have a little more gas in the tank. Cowboy scores again with the jumping knee with 30 seconds left and then follows with another takedown. They stand and finish the fight in a flurry, with McCullough rocked, back to the cage.
MAMWeekly scores the round 10-9 for Cerrone and the fight 30-27 for Cerrone.
Donald Cerrone def. Rob McCullough by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28, 30-27), R3
David Avellan vs. Aaron Simpson R1 -- Simpson comes out firing, dropping Avellan with a big overhand right, follows with a couple more shots for good measure before the referee steps in and waves it off.
Aaron Simpson def. David Avellan by KO (Punch) at 0:18, R1
Jose Aldo vs. Jonathan Brookins R1 -- Brookins easily has the size and reach advantage, but Aldo starts off doing a good job with crisp boxing technique and some brutal leg kicks. He appears to be much faster than Brookins. Aldo is being very effective with several kicks to the inside of Brookins' right thigh, and then starts lighting him up with boxing combinations.
MMAWeekly scores the round 10-9 for Aldo.
R2 -- Aldo finally comes from the outside with a kick to Brookins' right leg and sends him to one knee, but he bounces right back up. Aldo continues to stalk the taller fighter and keeps rocking him with his boxing. Brookins tries for the takedown, but Aldo fends him off and starts attacking the leg again. Brookins is now noticeably feeling the effects of the leg attack.
MMAWeekly scores the round 10-9 for Aldo.
R3 -- Aldo continued his leg assault before landing a straight right that dropped Brookins and his mop of hair to the mat. Aldo was relentless then, following up with several more strikes before the referee stopped the fight, handing the Tito Ortiz protégé a loss.
Jose Aldo def. Jonathan Brookins by TKO (Strikes) at 0:45, R3
Carmelo Marrero vs. Steve SteinbeissR1 -- Steinbeiss lands an early head kick and seems intent on keeping the fight standing, but Marrero seems just as intent to take it down and does so little more than a minute into the round. Steinbeiss works the fight up, gets taken down again and Marrero starts his ground and pound attack. Steinbeiss tries to get up, but Marrero uses his wrestling to keep him down. Steinbeiss is doing a good job of stymieing Marrero's ground and pound and searching for submissions and throwing elbows from the bottom. Marrero scores with the takedowns, but does little with them.
MMAWeekly scores the round 10-9 for Steinbeiss
R2 -- Steinbeiss starts off strong again with another head kick, Marrero immediately starts working for the takedown, and gets it. He does a little ground and pound, but being ineffective, Marrero switches to a Kimura attempt, but Steinbeiss defends and works his way to the feet. Steinbeiss lands a body kick then just misses with a hard kick to the head. Marrero appears tired in going for the takedown repeatedly, but getting shucked off by Steinbeiss, who pushes Marrero over and starts his own ground and pound attack, landing numerous elbows to the side of the head.
MMAWeekly scores the round 10-9 for Steinbeiss.
R3 -- Marrero looks exhausted starting off round three. Steinbeiss starts to pick him apart with a combination of boxing punches and leg kicks, before going high and landing a strong head kick. Marrero shoots again, but not with the same fire as early in the fight, he seems more just to be holding on, trying to survive. Steinbeiss is having a relatively easy time defending the takedowns and turning Marrero to his back. Steinbeiss brings it back to the feet where Marrero lands a solid overhand right and a roundhouse kick to the ribs, Steinbeiss clinches, but gets taken down for his efforts. Marrero starts dropping short elbows and punches on Steinbeiss before finding a guillotine choke. Steinbeiss escapes and they lock up until rounds end.
MMAWeekly scores the round 10-9 for Marrero and the fight 29-28 for Steinbeiss.
Carmelo Marrero def. Steve Steinbeiss by Split Decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29), R3
Danny Castillo vs. Rafael Dias R1 -- The fighters start off throwing heavy leather early with Dias quickly gaining the edge with nice boxing combinations and a knee to the chin. Following a judo throw from Dias, Castillo gets up and starts landing some of his effective combinations. Castillo shucks off another takedown attempt, but gets caught again with Dias' boxing. Castillo backs Dias to the cage and lands some knees to the thigh before they move out to the center of the cage and start trading boxing combos again.
MMAWeekly scores the round 10-9 for Dias.
R2 -- Dias moves in right away with a left hook to the jaw, but gets caught in a guillotine as they go down to the mat. He quickly escapes and starts a ground and pound attack. Castillo tries to wrestle out, nearly gets caught in a rear naked choke, but does manage to move out to half guard on top then quickly stands the fight back up. Castillo starts landing more effectively and drops Dias will a left uppercut, starts a ground and pound assault, and the referee wastes little time stepping in to stop the bout.
Danny Castillo def. Rafael Dias by TKO (Strikes) at 2:54, R2
Yoshiro Maeda vs. Rani Yahya R1 -- Both fighters look willing to keep it standing early before Yahya starts working for the takedown and gets caught in a guillotine choke as he puts Maeda on his back. Yahya has an arm in and patiently works his head out after more than a minute in the choke. He immediately starts to ground and pound, but Maeda gets the fight back to the feet and they clinch. Yahya secures a guillotine while standing and drops down to his back, the choke still on. Maeda tries to defend, but can't hold on and taps out.
Rani Yahya def. Yoshiro Maeda by Submission (Guillotine Choke) at 3:30, R1
-Mike Brown def. Urijah Faber by TKO (Strikes) at 2:23, R1 -Chael Sonnen def. Paulo Filho by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27), R3 -Leonard Garcia def. Jens Pulver by TKO (Strikes) at 1:12, R1 -Jake Rosholt def. Nissen Osterneck by TKO (Strikes) at 3:48, R2 -Donald Cerrone def. Rob McCullough by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-27), R3 -Aaron Simpson def. David Avellan by KO (Punch) at 0:18, R1 -Jose Aldo def. Jonathan Brookins by TKO (Strikes) at 0:45, R3 -Carmelo Marrero def. Steve Steinbeiss by Split Decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29), R3 -Danny Castillo def. Rafael Dias by TKO (Strikes) at 2:54, R2 -Rani Yahya def. Yoshiro Maeda by Submission (Guillotine Choke) at 3:30, R1