Story and photos by FIGHT! contributor Brian J. D’Souza.
When Brazilian featherweight Wagnney Fabiano faced World Extreme Cagefighting newcomer Mackens Semerzier at WEC 43 in Oct., few would have been surprised if it ended via triangle choke in the first round. But fans were stunned when it happened because Fabiano, a third degree black belt and 2005 Abu Dhabi Combat Club submission wrestling championship quarterfinalist, was on the wrong end of it.
The fighter tore a ligament in his knee before the originally scheduled date for the fight, Sept. 2. When the fight was pushed back one month, he healthy enough to fight until suffering a rib injury ten days before the show. Fabiano feels that he was dominating the fight until he made he mistake of standing up over Semerzier and was caught in a triangle. “By the time I picked him up, I felt [my rib injury], so I dropped him again,” Fabiano says.
But the fighter isn’t shirking responsibility. “It was my fault and I don’t want to try and give an excuse. I lost.”
Meanwhile, Fabiano’s Nova União teammate and friend Jose Aldo rose to prominence and captured the WEC Featherweight Championship from Mike Brown. “I knew he was going to win. I trained with that guy. He’s not there to play around with you,” says Fabiano. “He’s going to come to knock you out. He’s good.”
But Aldo’s win puts a teammate and friend in Fabiano’s path to a major title. The former International Fight League Featherweight Champion, Fabiano’s need to hold the WEC title haunts him. He’s dropping down to 135 lbs—the bantamweight limit—for his match with Clint Godfrey. At 34 years of age, he still has the desire to be the best. Whether or not that’s enough to make it so will be determined on Jan. 10 in Sacramento, Calif.