November 18, 2009

There's a lot of good MMA in November, but there's no better MMA matchup this month than the one that will take place Wednesday night in Las Vegas, when World Extreme Cagefighting featherweight champion Mike Brown defends his title against Jose Aldo at WEC 44 (9 p.m. ET, Versus). We've got the full preview and predictions below.

This is a fight I've been clamoring for since Brown and Aldo earned a couple of spectacular wins in June, and I'm thrilled that it's finally here. Brown is stronger than Aldo and will be able to control him if he can get his hands on him, but Aldo is one of the sport's most dynamic strikers and will have a reach advantage against the shorter, stockier Brown. I think the champion will retain his belt, but it won't be easy.

Pick: Brown

This is a great example of a fight that should make MMA fans pay closer attention to the smaller weight classes. Both Gamburyan and Garcia fought as lightweights in the UFC and earned respect from the fans for their winning attitudes and their hard-charging fighting styles, but they were simply too small to fight at 155 pounds. Now that they're in the WEC, fighting in the 145-pound class, they're going up against opponents their own size, and I think they're going to put on an excellent fight in the co-main event. Ultimately, I expect Gamburyan to pull out a win and likely earn a title shot against the Brown-Aldo winner.

Pick: Gamburyan.

Darabedyan (who trains with Gamburyan, his fellow Armenian) is a hard-punching former boxer who has impressive judo skills, but I don't think he's ready for a fighter of McCullough's class. This is McCullough's 22nd MMA fight and 10th in the WEC, and it's just Darabedyan's ninth MMA fight and first in the WEC. That experience advantage is significant, and it's why I'm going with McCullough.

Pick: McCullough.

Castillo was a good college wrestler who trains with Urijah Faber and is developing into a well-rounded martial artist, and he's won three straight fights in the WEC. I think he'll make it four in a row against Roller.

Pick: Castillo.

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