In a measured and methodical performance, World Extreme Cagefighting featherweight champion Jose Aldo outlined his greatness in crystal clear detail.
Aldo dismissed former titleholder and promotional poster boy Urijah Faber in the WEC 48 "Aldo versus Faber" headliner on Saturday at the Arco Arena in Sacramento as he posted a unanimous decision victory in his first defense of the 145-pound crown. Scores were 49-45, 49-45 and 50-45.
The leg kick was Aldo's weapon of choice, as he exacted an insurmountable toll on Faber's base with a steady stream of strikes to his lower extremities. The Nova Uniao thoroughbred landed 10 low kicks in the second round alone, a majority of them to Faber's lead left leg. At one point, Faber had to be carried back to his corner.
On a 10-fight winning streak, Aldo nearly finished Faber in the fourth round, when he knocked down "The California Kid" with a leg kick, mounted him briefly and attached himself to the challenger's back. Faber escaped, but when the action hit the floor again, Aldo trapped him in a topside crucifix for nearly two minutes, grinding on him with punches and elbows.
Taken the distance for the first time in nearly three years, Aldo seemed content to ride out the decision. Round 5 proved largely uneventful, save for a wicked right hook to the body that left Faber visibly shaken.
Henderson finishes Cerrone in rematch
WEC lightweight champion Benson Henderson took the judges out of play in the sequel.
Henderson retained his title with surprising ease, as he submitted Donald Cerrone with a first-round guillotine choke in the co-main event and extended his streak of consecutive victories to 11. Cerrone met his demise 1 minute, 57 seconds into the opening round in a rematch of one of last year's most memorable encounters, which Henderson won by unanimous decision.
"I like the guillotine," Henderson said. "What can I say?"
Anchored at the MMA Lab in Glendale, Ariz., Henderson softened Cerrone in the clinch, as he attacked his legs and head with close-quarters knees. A takedown followed soon after, and Henderson caught Cerrone exposed in a scramble and locked in the choke. Cerrone, trapped in Henderson's guard, struggled briefly before raising the white flag, as he was finished for the first time in his career.
"My hat's off to the guy," Cerrone said. "He's a great, great, great, great fighter. I slipped, and he got it."
Gamburyan upsets Brown
"The Ultimate Fighter" Season 5 finalist Manny Gamburyan launched himself into title contention by stopping former WEC featherweight king Mike Thomas Brown on first-round strikes. The end came 2 minutes, 22 seconds into Round 1.
The 28-year-old Gamburyan, unbeaten at 145 pounds, stuck Brown with a short counter right hook, followed the dazed American Top Team standout to the ground and finished him with hammerfists from the top. Referee Jon Schorle had no choice but to intervene on Brown's behalf.
Gamburyan, an Armenian-born Gokor Chivichyan protégé, has rattled off three consecutive victories since his move to the WEC.
"I'm improving," Gamburyan said. "All I'm doing is improving."
Roller submits Njokuani
Shane Roller turned a battle between two rising lightweights into a one-sided showcase.
Roller submitted Anthony Njokuani with a first-round rear-naked choke, as the 30-year-old father of two won for the eighth time in nine fights. Njokuani, after a brief struggle on the ground, succumbed to the choke 3 minutes, 7 seconds into Round 1.
"It's fun when you get in a training camp and you train something the whole time, and you get out here and it executes," Roller said. "It feels good."
Roller took down Njokuani twice inside the first minute, mounted him briefly and secured back control. A three-time collegiate All-American wrestler at Oklahoma State University, Roller stayed patient and peppered his overmatched foe with strikes until the submission presented itself.
"I didn't want to lose position with strikes," Roller said. "I was just setting things up, waiting for the opportunity. I knew I had a lot of time left, and I finished him off."
Jorgensen avenges Banuelos defeat
This time, it was Scott Jorgensen with his hand raised.
Jorgensen weathered a first-round knockdown and hammered on Antonio Banuelos over the final 10 minutes, scoring a unanimous decision in a key bantamweight tilt. Scores were 29-28 from all three judges, as Jorgensen avenged his controversial split decision defeat to the Californian 10 months ago.
Based at the Twisted Genetiks camp in Idaho, Jorgensen recovered from a crisp counter left hook that left him on the seat of his pants less than half a minute into the bout. Banuelos found a home for his left throughout Round 1, but Jorgensen picked up his pace and slowly turned the tide of the fight in his favor.
A winner in four straight, the 27-year-old Jorgensen tagged Banuelos with a stiff jab and bloodied his nose early in the second round. He delivered knockdowns in each of the final two periods -- the first off a left-right combination, the second off a straight right hand -- and slammed the door on his opponent's fading hopes. Jorgensen nearly finished it late with a rear-naked choke, but the gritty Banuelos refused to succumb to his efforts on the ground.
Brian Knapp is a contributor to Sherdog.com.