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Tag: Urijah Faber

Faber Outslugs Pulver in Five-Round Classic at WEC 34; Torres Also Retains Belt

Jens Pulver Urijah Faber WEC MMA

Those left with a bad taste in their mouth from the multiple fiascos of Saturday’s EliteXC show got a palate-cleansing burst of brilliant MMA last night, as WEC 34 in Sacramento featured arguably the two greatest bouts in the organization’s history.

In the featherweight championship match, Urijah Faber solidified his status as one of the best fighters in the world, wearing Jens Pulver down with explosive striking combos and showcasing his scary conditioning during the first 25-minute match of his career. Faber came out hard in his usual style, landing a couple of big punches and knees in the clinch. Though Faber slipped to the mat while attempting a kick, Pulver couldn’t capitalize on the ground and was kicked off. The fight was halted briefly when Pulver was poked in the eye, but Lil’ Evil refused to take recovery time. Pulver took Faber’s back briefly against the cage, and ate a spinning backfist for his efforts.

The second round began with another brief stoppage as Faber accidentally kicked Pulver in the groin following a punch combo. Faber dominated the next couple minutes, taking Pulver down, throwing some big elbows, then landing a vicious punch combination when Faber scrambled to his feet. Pulver looked rocked, but fired back with his own punches, including a sharp uppercut that shook Faber. Faber answered with a takedown attempt, but Pulver sprawled and nearly secured a front choke. Faber escaped and punished Pulver with punches until the bell sounded. Pulver seemed gassed at this point, and clearly frustrated that he was being outboxed.

The third round was probably the most exciting of the match, starting with a sharp head kick from Pulver. After Pulver sprawled on a takedown, Faber was able to take Pulver’s back and slam him to the ground, but Pulver bounced up and began a thrilling striking exchange ending with a devastating body kick that put Faber in serious trouble. Faber shot for a takedown but landed with Pulver on top of him and dropping elbows. Faber reversed the position and landed a couple elbows of his own before the fighters were stood up; Pulver was very slow in getting to his feet.

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WEC 34: Faber vs. Pulver — Fight Card Rundown

Urijah Faber Jeff Curran WEC
(Urijah Faber: Never a dull moment.)

Though EliteXC’s CBS show is grabbing most of the attention for this weekend, WEC is putting on its biggest event to date on Sunday at Sacramento’s ARCO Arena, headlined by the monumental featherweight championship match between Urijah Faber and Jens Pulver, and also featuring Miguel Torres, “Razor” Rob McCullough, Jeff Curran, Chase Beebe, and Charlie Valencia. If you get Versus, you can watch the action live starting at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT. — and judging from recent WEC shows, missing it wouldn’t be in your best interest. Let’s take a look at the four main card fights…

Urijah Faber [champion] vs. Jens Pulver (featherweight title fight)
Don’t let his beautiful anaconda choke of Cub Swanson at WEC 31 fool you — Jens Pulver is still a stand-up banger, and his greatest advantage over the California Kid is his dynamite-loaded striking. Faber will probably try to trade shots for a while, but he’ll eventually employ his superior wrestling to get the fight to the mat and look for a submission or ground-and-pound TKO. If Faber can neutralize Pulver’s boxing and avoid getting caught early, the hometown boy’s relentless aggression and inventiveness will win the day. Prediction: Faber via 3rd-round submission.

Miguel Torres [champion] vs. Yoshiro Maeda (bantamweight title fight)
Miguel Torres owns one of the most impressive records in MMA (33-1, 21 wins via submission), but he didn’t start getting name-checked as one of the best fighters in the world until he tore through Chase Beebe in February to win WEC’s bantamweight title. Torres has never been stopped, and he avenged his sole loss to Ryan Ackerman in 2003 by submitting him two years later. Known more as a striker, Maeda is a seasoned veteran of Pancrase and DEEP, and made his impressive U.S. debut at WEC 32 when he delivered a knockout body-kick to Charlie Valencia midway through the first round. It’ll be a tough test for Torres, but he’s looked incredibly impressive in his last few matches, and he’s got enough momentum to defend his belt. Prediction: Torres extends his streak of five-straight submission victories to six, and does it in the second round.

WEC Versus

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Jens vs. Urijah Video Hype; Randy Couture on ‘Outside the Ring’

Jens Pulver may have said that there would be no trash-talking leading up to his WEC featherweight championship match against Urijah Faber on June 1st, but Faber’s implication that Pulver has stopped evolving with the sport certainly comes close. Our favorite part: Jens punching out the cadence of his words at 1:58. This fight is going to kick so much ass…

Also: Check out this teaser clip for the upcoming first episode of Outside the Ring, hosted by Marika Taylor; for more Marika, go here.

Miss, I was born ready…

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Exclusive Interview: Jens Pulver

Jens Pulver MMA UFC WEC

"1! 4! 5!"

Such was the battle cry of Jens Pulver after his 35-second submission victory over Cub Swanson at WEC 31 last December. Though some fans wondered if Pulver’s previous two losses in the UFC (to Joe Lauzon and BJ Penn) signaled that his career was heading toward its conclusion, the sheer dominance displayed in his first match as a featherweight proved that a new chapter was just beginning. And along with his fierce reputation, the win was enough to get him an immediate shot at the WEC’s featherweight title, which has been held by Urijah Faber since March 2006.

In his four title defenses, Faber has looked absolutely unbeatable. But he’s never faced anybody as seasoned or explosive as Pulver, whose 21 career victories include seven via stoppage in 60 seconds or less. The matchup, which goes down at WEC 34 (June 1st; Sacramento, CA), is easily the biggest 145-pound MMA contest in American history, and has all the ingredients to become an all-time classic. In advance of that fight, we called Jens at his home base in Bettendorf, Iowa, to discuss "The California Kid," his legacy, video games, and how his old rival BJ Penn will do against Sean Sherk at UFC 84.

***

CAGEPOTATO.COM: Talk to me about Urijah Faber — what do you think of him as a person?
JENS PULVER: Oh, I think he’s a great person. I like Urijah, man. He comes in great shape, likes to be explosive, and he’s really inventive out there in the cage. I think he’s done a real good job taking the reigns at 145, representing it, and trying to build it up.

So you don’t see yourself having a heated personal rivalry with him, like you had with Cub Swanson and BJ Penn? We’re not going to see any trash talking?
No, there’s no bad blood, no trash talking; it’s utmost respect. We’re gonna go out there and show everybody that we don’t have to have animosity to fight our hearts out. We’re going to prove that.

How much have you been studying Faber’s past fights?
I study habits. You don’t want to get too hard into what he’s done in the past, because he may change it up for me. So I just try to study things like how willing he is to stand up and when he’s going to shoot for takedowns. I study how hard a person fights, how hard they push things, and Urijah’s pretty much shown that he doesn’t fold. He had Curran on his back for almost a whole round and never panicked. He just stayed solid and waited for his opportunity.

Have you noticed any weaknesses in his game that you’ll try to exploit?
I wouldn’t call them weaknesses at all — like I said, he’s a great champ — but I have my plusses, and that’s what I’ll be going in there to exploit. I want to end up on top, I don’t want to be working my guard too much, and I want to control the pace. If he wants to box, I definitely want to be there to counterpunch and blast him with shots if I get those opportunities. If he wants to wrestle, I’m more than willing to use my ground game. It’s always been instinctual for me to keep fights standing, but the more I’m training and having fun on the ground, I’m trying to change those instincts.

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Still Life With Faber and Watermelon

Urijah Faber With Watermelon

Tracy Lee of Combat Lifestyle has a new photo set up of Urijah Faber during one of his predictably brutal days of training, followed by a rare day off. Check it out, particularly if you’d like to see Urijah with his hair in some broke-ass cornrows, and Tracy in a bikini. (They may not be real, but they’re still fabulous…)

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Leonard Garcia: Stalking Urijah

LeoGar

By CagePotato Special Contributor Brian Knapp

“Bad Boy” wants a shot at World Extreme Cagefighting’s immovable object.

Perhaps best known for his epic bout with Roger Huerta at UFC 69 last April, Leonard Garcia (11-3, 2-0 WEC) expects to compete next at a WEC show scheduled for June 1st in Sacramento, CA. A featherweight title bout between reigning champion Urijah Faber and Jens Pulver is slated to headline the event, and the 28-year-old Texan believes he could be within arm’s reach of a shot at the winner should he continue to perform at a high level.

“I would say whoever the winner of that fight is…if I fight on that card and do well, I would hope I’d get a title shot shortly after,” Garcia says. “They’re talking about giving me two more fights [before I challenge the champion], which would be good for me, too, because I’m getting better and better.”

Garcia — who dropped to a more natural 145 pounds after posting a 1-2 mark in the UFC’s cutthroat lightweight division — returned to the WEC for the first time in seven years last month, and made the most of his opportunity. The charismatic former Ring of Fire lightweight champion blasted through Hiroyuki “Streetfight Bancho” Takaya — a man with victories against Hatsu Hioki and Antonio Carvalho on his resume — in just 91 seconds at WEC 32.

Spawned by Jackson’s Submission Fighting in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Garcia was believed to be on track to compete again in April. However, WEC promoters could not secure a suitable opponent willing to step into the cage with him; at least one potential challenger turned down a fight with Garcia.

“I’m glad I’m in a position where people are worried about fighting me,” he says. “But I don’t think I’ll have to worry about that too much, because in our division, there aren’t too many people who are worried about fighting anybody.”

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‘No Fear’ T-Shirts Still Exist?

Urijah Faber keeps the look alive…

UF

(Props: CombatLifestyle via BloodyElbow)

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Faber to “Burn” on ESPN

Faber

All week Jim Rome of ESPN’s “Rome is Burning” fame – infamy is more like it – has been promoting WEC featherweight champion Urijah Faber as a correspondent for his show later this week. Jim Rome may be one of those dudes that makes you wish you can’t see or hear, but he has been pushing MMA in the past few months. Dana White – and other UFC-ers – have already appeared on his show, and now Rome is employing an MMA fighter as a correspondent who isn’t in the UFC.

Although it makes me throw up a little bit in my mouth, I applaud Jim Rome and his homeboy facial hair. We know the score when it comes to the “Big Boy Media” and their treatment of MMA, so it’s cool to see this. More than I can say for the Los Angeles Times – even though we thought they were coming over to our side. The Times gave a full one sentence and 1″x 1″ picture of UFC 80 as their coverage of the event. For the record, downhill skiing received about 15% of a full page in the sports section, giving a complete rundown of recent skiing events. I just threw up in my mouth again. Efforts to reach the Los Angeles Times for comment on why UFC 80 got no respect have currently failed.

So check out “Rome is Burning” for the rest of the week to see to what extent The California Kid will be used. The show runs nationally on ESPN, Monday thru Friday at 4:30 p.m. ET/1:30 p.m. PT. To whet your appetite for Jim Rome’s abrasive brand of chat, check out the classic vid below when he interviewed Los Angeles Rams QB Jim Everett back when L.A. actually had a football team.

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Son of UFC Announcement Clusterbang

TO
(Behind every great man is a woman with three kinds of hepatitis.)

It looks like all we’re gonna do on CagePotato today is post videos and talk about UFC fight bookings. But I hear that’s a good cure for a case of the Mondays, so unless there are any objections, here’s some other notable stuff that we either overlooked earlier, or has popped up since.

— B.J. Penn/Sean Sherk will likely go down at UFC 85 on May 24th in Las Vegas. According to Penn, Sherk is “dead.”

This questionably sourced post on MMAFightline.com claims that the UFC is in talks to sign three of the biggest stars of Japanese MMA: Takanori Gomi, Hayato “Mach” Sakurai, and Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto. Marcus Davis called out Gomi after his victory at UFC 80, and getting Sakurai in the UFC’s lightweight division would give Mac Danzig an opportunity to avenge his last loss. Yamamoto fights at 143 pounds, so Zuffa would be wise to sign him to the WEC in order to set up a match with Urijah Faber; Faber wants to fight Yamamoto more than anyone else.

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Pulver Pulls in Most Cash at WEC 31; Gandulla Busted for ‘Roids

Pulver

The fighter salaries for WEC 31 were released yesterday. Here are the figures for the fighters who were on the televised card:

Urijah Faber ($40,000, including $20,000 win bonus) def. Jeff Curran ($10,000)

Jens Pulver ($60,000, including $30,000 win bonus) def. Cub Swanson ($5,000)

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