Urijah Faber, the decorated former WEC champ who’s been a top fighter forever, was supposed to defeat upstart Frankie Saenz. It was supposed to be easier, though.

From the beginning of the bout to the very end, Saenz matched Faber in terms of speed, striking, wrestling and resilience, often landing inside leg-kicks and counters while flitting in and out of Faber’s grasp.

He was a tough nut to crack, and only once or twice did “The California Kid” really have him in danger.

One such sequence came with a lightning-like knee that Faber landed in the second, one that sent Saenz into defense-mode against the cage. And yet somehow, someway Saenz recovered enough to turn the tables and put Faber on his back.

That was ultimately the story of the bout – Faber dishing out pain and Saenz hurting right back.

The unanimous decision went to Faber when the dust settled, but damn it wasn’t easy.