It's always said that a champion is not a champion until they defend the title. That's what WEC featherweight champion Mike Brown did decisively on Sunday night with a first round destruction of top contender, Leonard Garcia.
As the bout opened, it was obvious that the defending champion had no fear of trading strikes with Garcia, who always seems to come out aggressive in all of his fights. During a brief exchange between the two featherweights, it was Brown who landed a big overhand right that sent Garcia crashing to the mat.
The American Top Team fighter rushed to the canvas to continue his assault on Garcia, who could only scramble and try to pull guard to stay away from the onslaught of Brown.
Brown threw a nasty elbow strike from Garcia's guard that opened a gash on the Texan's head, and soon after, the champion was taking the challenger's back.
Trying to sink in a rear naked choke, Brown eventually gave up on the hold as Garcia turned and he was back in the guard again, only to soon pass into full mount.
Instead of throwing shots down on his opponent, Brown opted to lock on a head and arm choke from full mount and while Garcia struggled to get out for a moment, the hold was obviously tight and he was forced to tap out.
"I just stuck to my gameplan. I do what I do every fight, I swing for the fences every shot, try to put him down, keep my hands up, I do my thing," said Brown after the fight was over. "Leonard's a world class fighter, that's just how the game is, one guy's got to win, one guy's got to lose, it's unfortunate cause he's a great guy. It was my night and he'll be back."
With the win, Brown solidified his place as the reigning and defending champion at 145 pounds, while also quieting any critics that thought his win over Urijah Faber last year was some sort of fluke. Brown will have a second opportunity to prove that point as it seems all but a give that the "California Kid" will be his next opponent.
"Urijah was a great champion, and I would love to fight Urijah again," Brown stated to the crowd. "That's what the fans love, Urijah's the man so let's do it again buddy."
Brown will now take some time to celebrate back home in Florida, before getting ready for a likely summertime showdown with former champion Faber.
Main Card Bouts:-Mike Brown def. Leonard Garcia by submission (arm triangle choke) at 1:57, R1 -Ricardo Lamas def. Bart Palaszewski by unanimous decision (30-27 on all scorecards) at 5:00, R3 -Jose Aldo def. Chris Mickle by TKO (punches) at 1:39, R1 -Rob McCullough def. Marcus Hicks by majority decision (29-29, 30-27, 29-28) at 5:00, R3
Preliminary Bouts:-Danny Castillo def. Phil Cardella by split decision (30-27, 28-29, 29-28) at 5:00, R3 -Damacio Page def. Marcos Galvao by KO at 0:18, R1 -Johny Hendricks def. Alex Serdyukov by unanimous decision at 5:00, R3 -Kenji Osawa def. Rafael Rebello by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 27-30) at 5:00, R3 -Alex Karalexis def. Greg McIntyre by TKO (strikes) at 4:19, R1 -John Franchi def. Mike Budnik by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28) at 5:00, R3 -Mike Pierce def. Justin Haskins by TKO at 3:39, R3
MORE WEC 39
GROSS: Live blog of Brown vs. Garcia