It took Mike Thomas Brown roughly two minutes to win the WEC featherweight title from Urijah Faber in November, and it took him about the same amount of time Sunday to defend it against Leonard Garcia.
Garcia had the home state advantage in the WEC 39 main event, which was held at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas. A big puncher from Lubbock, Garcia’s hands were rendered useless in the opening seconds after Brown floored him with an overhand right.
With blood leaking out of Garcia’s forehead, Brown went to his back and worked on a choke. Garcia defended the submission but took more punches. Brown then moved into the mount and locked on an arm-triangle choke. This time Garcia tapped, ending his title bid at 1:57.
“No excuses. He hit me with a good shot,” Garcia said. “I tried to recover. I tried to fight for you guys. I apologize that this was my performance here tonight. I guarantee you all one thing, I will be back again.”
The win improved Brown’s record to 21-4.
“I just stuck to my game plan,” said the 33-year-old American Top Team product. “I do what I do every fight. I swing for the fences every shot, try to put him down, keep my hands up.”
Following his win, Brown was asked in the cage about a rematch with Faber.
“Urijah was a great champion,” he said. “I would love to fight Urijah again. I know that’s what the fans love. Urijah’s the man, so let’s do it again, buddy.”
Ricardo Lamas outwrestled Bart Palaszewski and punished him on the ground to win a unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).
Lamas, 26, from Chicago, took the lightweight bout on less than a week’s notice. Moreover, he entered the fight 5-0 against the 30-11 Palaszewski.
After trading kicks early in the first, Lamas caught one for a takedown. On the ground he defended a triangle and scored with heavy punches from the top.
More ground-and-pound followed in the second, which also featured Lamas moving to Palaszewski’s back on the feet and kicking him in the face. Lamas closed the period by flurrying with punches against the cage.
“I was nervous when I found out,” Lamas said of replacing Rich Crunkilton. “I came here on short notice, about five days. But when you get an opportunity like this, you have to take it, especially when you’re going up against a quality fighter like Bart.”
Jose Aldo made short work of Chris Mickle. Sherdog.com’s No. 8-ranked featherweight and widely regarded as one of the top prospects in MMA, the 22-year-old Aldo picked his shots against his much more experienced opponent. He stung Mickle with kicks, planted a knee into his chest and flurried on him with punches until the bout was stopped at 1:39 of the first.
Afterward Aldo acted as if he were going to celebrate with another sprint into the stands -- a move he’d made in January after knocking out Rolando Perez. But this time Aldo (14-1) stopped and collapsed to his knees with a sad expression, suggesting that he’d been told to stay in the cage after disposing of the opposition.
Former WEC lightweight champion Rob McCullough outpointed Marcus Hicks (30-27, 29-28, 29-29) for a majority decision.
The first round wasn’t much to see. Hicks, 33, of Dallas, punched occasionally and McCullough wanted to counter, but he seemed too worried about takedowns to let his hands go in what was a forgettable five minutes.
Early in the second, the pace picked up. Hicks landed a left for a flash knockdown and wrapped up the guillotine choke that has won him three WEC bouts. McCullough escaped, however, and hammered him on the ground before the fight went back to the feet. Standing, he hurt Hicks with a kick to the body and later with punch combinations to earn the round despite being dropped.
McCullough, 31, fighting out of Huntington Beach, Calif., moved forward in the third, which lacked the action of the second. Hicks backed up throughout, took a few kicks and punches and tried only one takedown.
In defeat, Hicks fell to 8-2. McCullough moved to 17-5.
Read about WEC's preliminary bouts here.