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While being the furthest thing possible from a not-for-profit organization, Zuffa remains fairly generous when it comes to offering high-level, competitive fights for free. If the strategy is to do the exact opposite of the greedy financiers who stifled boxing in the 1990s, then the strategy is working.
Wednesday's WEC event on Versus -- Zuffa's third event in eight days -- will determine the world's top featherweight fighter, a role previously held by both Urijah Faber and Norifumi "Kid" Yamamoto. Challenger Jose Aldo has TKO'd every one of his five WEC opponents, dispelling the commonly held thought that sub-155-pound athletes don't have knockout power. Champion Mike Thomas Brown is also undefeated in the promotion, having taken Faber's title in violent fashion.
Like most athletes who excel in the sport, they are not one-dimensional, and it will be interesting to see if Aldo's largely unseen ground game can answer Brown and his ferocious wrestling base. It's going to be difficult not to be entertained.
What: "WEC 44: Brown vs. Aldo," a 10-fight card hosted by the Pearl in Las Vegas.
When: Wednesday, Nov. 18, at 9 p.m. ET on Versus.
Why you should care: Because Aldo's striking is impressive enough for pixels, let alone live-action viewing; because Brown is like a mini Brock Lesnar, noticeably stronger than most everyone he fights; because seven-time junior national judo champion Manny Gamburyan and debuting Karen Darabedyan both bring doses of under-represented judo, a beautiful art with ugly consequences; and because Danny Castillo, a slept-on 8-1 performer, is going to be the underdog in a wrestling match against former Division I All-American Shane Roller.
Fight of the night: This space is not proud to point out the obvious, but it's expected that Brown-Aldo will be a rabid 25 minutes.
Hype quote of the show: "The government of Iran says I'm 37, but I'm not. … Maybe I was born in 1978, maybe 1979, maybe 1975. I don't know. I said, 'Mom, what happened?' She said, 'Oh yeah, we had another son before you and he passed away. We could not go to city [to the hospital] because we had no money and it was snowing, so we just gave his birth certificate to you. … It's very common where I come from." -- Kamal Shalorus, who claims to have no idea how old he is, to WEC.tv.