Last night at WEC 44 in Las Vegas, Jose "Junior" Aldo went from exciting prospect to King of the Featherweight Mountain. The 23-year-old Nova Uniao standout picked up his sixth-straight TKO victory in the WEC — as well as his first major title — by shutting down incumbent champion Mike Brown‘s advantages in strength and wrestling while unleashing his own fearsome finishing ability as soon as the opportunity presented itself.
The first round of their main event battle saw both men trade heavy strikes, with Aldo impressively defending Brown’s takedown efforts. Aldo found his moment early in the second frame, rattling the champ with a flying knee and punches, then shoving his off-balance opponent to the canvas when Brown came in with a left hook. Aldo quickly transitioned to back-mount on the ground, and began firing punches to the side of Brown’s head. Brown tried to roll out of danger, but found himself caught in a mousetrap-like body lock that kept him pinned on his stomach. Eventually he turtled, and "Worst Referee in the History of Fighting" Steve Mazzagatti had to step in and do his job.
WEC 44 was also a great night for Armenian fighters, as Karo‘s cuz Manny Gamburyan toughed out a unanimous decision against Leonard Garcia thanks to his takedowns and ability to avoid Garcia’s strikes, while Karen Darabedyan — a training partner of Parisyan and Gamburyan — made a promising WEC debut, scoring a split-decision over former lightweight champion Rob McCullough.
In the first fight of the televised broadcast, Iranian newcomer Kamal "Prince of Persia" Shalorus overwhelmed Will Kerr with swing-for-the-fences power-punches en route to a first-round TKO victory. It wasn’t the most graceful performance, but if Shalorus can tighten up his technique he could become a factor in the lightweight division. Full results from the event are below…
– Jose Aldo def. Mike Brown via TKO, 1:20 of round 2
– Manny Gamburyan def. Leonard Garcia via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28 x 2)
– Karen Darabedyan def. Rob McCullough via split decision (30-27 Darabedyan, 27-30 McCullough, 29-28 Darabedyan)
– Shane Roller def. Danny Castillo via submission (rear-naked choke), 3:32 of round 3
– Kamal Shalorus def. Will Kerr via TKO, 1:26 of round 1
– L.C. Davis def. Diego Nunes via unanimous decision (30-26 x 3)
– Cub Swanson def. John Franchi via submission (guillotine choke), 4:50 of round 3
– Antonio Banuelos def. Kenji Osawa via unanimous decision (29-28 x 3)
– Ricardo Lamas def. James Krause via unanimous decision (30-27 x 3)
– Frank Gomez def. Seth Dikun via unanimous decision (30-27 x 2, 29-28)