(In Iran, a brutal kick to the balls is actually a gesture of respect. Photo courtesy of CageWriter)
It was supposed to determine the next challenger to Ben Henderson‘s lightweight title, but the main event of last night’s WEC 49 event at the Rexall Place in Edmonton only proved that 1) Jamie Varner is a magnet for illegal techniques, and 2) You don’t leave it in the hands of the judges, particularly when Sensei Cecil is on the scoring table.
Varner (16-3-1) had the edge early in his three-rounder against Iranian-born wrestling specialist Kamal Shalorus (6-0-2), using his far more technical striking attack to land punches from the outside, and clearly rocked Shalrous at one point. Instead of relying on his grappling, the Prince of Persia stood in the pocket, and focused on attacking Varner’s lead leg with heavy kicks. Despite getting the worst of the exchanges, Shalrous was happy to brawl with the former lightweight champ. Things got ugly in the second round when two of Shalrous’s low-kicks made contact with Varner’s cup. The second occurrence spurred referee Josh Rosenthal to deduct a point. After taking an extended break to collect himself, Varner continued to outstrike Shalorus, wobbling him again with a head kick and right straight. The kicks to the legs and balls were slowing Varner down, but he still seemed to be in control of the fight.
The final round opened with Shalorus landing another point-blank kick to Varner’s nuts, putting the Worm down again. Rosenthal decided that one point deduction in the fight was enough, and decided not to take another one from Shalorus, despite Varner’s protests. When the action was restarted, Shalorus managed to score a takedown after catching a kick from Varner, and worked some strikes from the top for the majority of the round. Varner escaped to his feet in the final minute, and kept his distance as the match came to a close. The scores were a surprise, to say the least. Nelson Hamilton seemed to get it right with his 29-27 tally for Varner, but local yokel Cameron Quwek had it 29-27 for Shalorus, meaning he gave all three rounds to the Iranian, minus the point deduction. Ridiculous. Putting the anti-climactic cherry on top, Cecil Peoples cast the final vote — a 28-28, making the match a split draw. Varner stormed off in disgust, and is probably icing his balls as we speak.
Elsewhere on the main card…
— Canadians Mark Hominick and Yves Jabouin turned in a wild two-rounder that ended with Hominick scoring a TKO victory. The first round was a fast-paced standup battle, with Jabouin utilizing his sharp leg and body kicks, and Hominick landing his stiff right hand whenever he could. In the second round, Hominick floored Jabouin with a left hook to the body and tried to finish the fight with punches, but Jabouin worked his way to his feet and immediately knocked Hominick down with a right hand. Jabouin followed Hominick to the mat, but it proved to be his undoing. Hominick set up a triangle from his back, used it to sweep to mount, and jack-hammered punches down to a turtling Jabouin until the fight was stopped.
— Josh Grispi put himself in line for a featherweight title shot by getting the better of fellow top contender L.C. Davis — and he made it look easy. Grispi peppered Davis early with kicks to the legs and body, and Davis responded by shooting for a takedown. Grispi wrapped up a guillotine choke on the way down, closed his guard, and cranked until Davis was asleep. Grispi is now 4-0 in the WEC, with first-round stoppages over Mark Hominick, Micah Miller, Jens Pulver, and Davis. Could a meeting with 145-pound champion Jose Aldo be next?
— Chris Horodecki had his way with late replacement Danny Downes, using his striking and grappling to control the first two rounds of the fight, before sinking in a rear-naked choke early in the third. Horodecki was warned repeatedly for fence-holding (and once for punches to the back of the head), but no points were deducted.
— Former bantamweight champ Eddie Wineland took a page from the Dominick Cruz playbook, using maddening footwork and strikes from all angles to dominate Will Campuzano. An inhumanly fast superman punch/left hook to the body/overhand right combination floored Campuzano in the second frame, and Wineland finished the fight later in the round with a devastating punch to the body.
Full WEC 49 results, and end-of-night bonus winners:
– Jaime Varner and Kamal Shalorus fight to a split draw (29-27 Shalorus, 27-29 Varner, 28-28)
– Mark Hominick def. Yves Jabouin via TKO, 3:21 of round 2; Hominick and Jabouin were both awarded $10,000 Fight of the Night bonuses
– Josh Grispi def. L.C. Davis via submission (guillotine), 2:33 of round 1; Grispi received the event’s $10,000 Submission of the Night bonus
– Chris Horodecki def. Daniel Downes via submission (rear-naked choke), 1:09 of round 3
– Eddie Wineland def. Will Campuzano via KO, 4:44 of round 2; Wineland received the event’s $10,000 Knockout of the Night bonus
– Will Kerr def. Karen Darabedyan via submission (armbar), 1:20 of round 1
– Wagnney Fabiano def. Frank Gomez via unanimous decision (30-27 x 3)
– Erik Koch def. Bendy Casimir via submission (triangle choke), 3:01 of Round 1
– Diego Nunes def. Raphael Assuncao via split decision (30-27 Nunes, 28-29 Assuncao, 29-28 Nunes)
– Chris Cariaso def. Rafael Rebello via unanimous decision (30-26, 29-29 x 2)
– Renan Barao def. Anthony Leone via submission (armbar), 2:29 of round 3