South Florida has long been home to some of the largest and most respected mixed martial arts fight teams in the nation. Though the region is rich in talent, theres yet to be a high-profile bout held here. That is, until Wednesday nights WEC Championship Battle between the World Featherweight Champion Urijah California Kid Faber and the relatively unknown local contender, Mike Thomas Brown.
Just who is this Mike Brown, besides the man playing David to Fabers Goliath (even if they both weigh in at 145 pounds)? The Maine native and college wrestler began fighting in Massachusetts in 2001. After some bouts in Japan and in the UFC, he left New England for the sunnier climes of South Florida, signing on with the well-respected fighting group American Top Team. This past June, he defeated seasoned fighter Jeff Curran by unanimous decision. The victory earned him a title shot against Faber, who nearly every sports pundit is favoring. But thats not deterring Brown at all. They chalk it up like Im [Fabers] next victim, but I like that, Brown says. The pressure is on him to win. Im just going to go out and do my thing and see what happens.
Although hes only a purple belt in Brazilian jujitsu, Brown boasts brutally fast submissions and transitions. As for his strategy, he plans to impose his game on Faber, not the other way around. Im going to push forward and dominate the takedowns and strike hard, he says. I dont look to score points with strikes; I look to do damage and get on top.
The fight promises to be one for the ages, with a card featuring the likes of Paulo Filho, Chael Sonnen, and yes Jens Pulver. Be there when the first bell rings at 6 p.m. at Hard Rock Live. Tickets start at $50.
Wed., Sept. 10, 2008