SAN JOSE, Calif. -- At the first note of "California Love," Urijah Faber's entrance song, the crowd inside the HP Pavilion exploded with excitement as if it was the main event. Faber is a Sacramento kid and one of the long-time faces of mixed martial arts.
But his bantamweight fight against Brian Bowles on Saturday night at UFC 139 was unlike any of his previous 30 bouts. Faber needed to prove he's still an elite fighter. Going 4-4 in his last eight bouts, with all four losses coming in title fights, have taken a little shine off the "California Kid."
Faber showed on this night that he still has the power, the speed and the heart to compete at the top level for some time to come. He landed a big right uppercut that staggered Bowles, then Faber moved in and pounded away. He eventually got into a position to sink in a guillotine choke on the grounded Bowles (10-2), who submitted 1:27 into the second round.
Faber (26-5) is expected to get the next title shot against UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz some time in 2012.
"Dominick you can run, but you can't hide, boy," Faber said. "Throw some gel in that widow's peak and let's go."