(Look, not everybody can pull off the "casual cool" look as well as Dana White. You can’t just put Reed Harris in a Nuggets jersey and expect him to not look like the world’s most uncomfortable pedophile. No offense. / Photo courtesy of the WEC 51: Weigh In Pics gallery on CombatLifestyle.com)
Zuffa may have robbed you of $45 last weekend, but they’re making it up to us with a stacked-to-death WEC card on free TV, on a damn weeknight. Gotta love it. Will Jose Aldo continue his Sherman’s March through the featherweight division, or will Manny Gamburyan let everyone know who he is, bro? Will Jamie Varner and Donald Cerrone settle their feud once and for all? Will Miguel Torres and Mike Brown return to old form? Can the Korean Zombie possibly top his last performance against Leonard Garcia? All these questions will be answered after the jump starting at 9 p.m., as we present our liveblog of WEC 51: Aldo vs. Gamburyan. If you love organized violence, give us a "hell yeah" in the comments section…
What’s up with this arena football bullshit, anyway?
No spoilers, but we might get to see Brown vs. Province and/or Mongolian Wolf vs. Garza from the undercard. Let’s just say that whatever happened in those fights didn’t take very long to happen.
Leonard Garcia vs. Mark Hominick
Hominick says he’s going to "pack a lunch," because he’s fully prepared to go three rounds with Garcia. Christ, what time does this dude eat dinner? Bruce Buffer is doing the introductions, and Herb Dean will be the third man in the cage. Ain’t no half-steppin’ tonight. And Garcia is introduced as a "Brazilian jiu-jitsu fighter." Huh. Garcia lets Hominick know that he’s touching gloves now, not later.
Round 1: Garcia throws his hands first. Hominick comes forward, stalking Garcia back to the cage. Garcia throws a couple of hard punches to brush him back.High kick Garcia. Honinick slips in a punch. Leg kick Hominick, Garcia returns one that stumbles Hominick. Hominick lands a jab that makes Garcia grin. Garcia swings some wild power punches. Hominick with that jab again. And again. Garcia with a body kick. Garcia lands a straight right, but gets tagged with a cross. Garcia misses a high kick, but lands a couple of jabs. Hominick lands a counterpunch and a jab. Garcia returns a leg kick. The round ends. It was close, but I might give it to Hominick for controlling where the fight went.
Round 2: Garcia comes out a little harder off the bell, but he’s still missing most of his punches. Man, his left hook is one of the ugliest things in all of MMA…he nearly keels over with the force of it. Hominick slips in a body punch and nails a nice Right hand. Garcia comes right back with a combo. Hominick lands the jab, and a counter-hook as Garcia comes in. Another jab. Hominick is bleeding from his left ear. Garcia misses an overhand right and gets jabbed. Garcia with a kick to the body. He lands a jab of his own. Garcia seems to be getting tired; his strikes are looking more labored. A leg kick from Bad Boy. Sharp left hook from Hominick, and a right. Hominick is too fresh for Garcia. Garcia gets in a body shot, then misses a sad looking high kick. Garcia lands a right. There’s the bell. Both guys slap five and smile at each other. I’d say it’s 2-0 Hominick.
Round 3: Back to brawling. Garcia lands a nice left hook. Hominick with a jab. Garcia throwing some hard-looking combos, but hits air. Again with the clean jab from Hominick. And again, and a short shot to the body. Garcia fires back with a right. Hominick slips in two punches. Hominick’s head movement has been great; he’s just popping out of the way of Garcia punches, and snapping in his own. Nice hook to the gut from Hominick. Another painful-looking right to the body from Hominick, and a head shot that stumbles Garcia. Leg kick Leonard. Jab from Hominick. Garcia trying his best to land his punches, but Hominick is a ghost. Jab from Hominick, body punch from Garcia. Garcia throwing wildly in the last ten seconds, but doesn’t get the knockout he wants so desperately. This one’s in the bag for Hominick.
Hominick def. Garcia via split decision (29-28 x 2, 28-29). Holy crap, a judge gave two rounds to Garcia? Ain’t that something.
Chan Sung Jung vs. George Roop
Roop wants to be the first guy to knock out the Korean Zombie. As Jung points out, that’s what they all say. Zombie says that this fight could be even better than his legendary scrap against Leonard Garcia, as long as Roop comes to fight, but Roop might not have the balls for it. Roop is four inches taller, but they have the same reach.
Round 1: Leg kick Jung. And again. They both swing right hands. Roop with a high kick. Roop jabs and Jung returns a leg kick. Jung with a nice 1-2. Roop brushes Jung back with a high kick, and lands a leg kick. Uppercut from Jung. Teep and a body kick from Roop. Jung comes in with punches and briefly clinches. They trade leg kicks. Jung lands a right. Jung with a solid body kick. Jab from Roop. Roop gets in a high kick as Jung come in to clinch. Jung tries some knees as Roop gets in some punches before they separate. Jung comes in slugging. Roop with a 1-2-kick. Leg kick Jung, and a jab. Jung is eerily calm in there. They clash with punches as the horn sounds. Tough round to call.
Round 2: Roop with a kick to the neck. Jung responds with a flurry of punches. Body kick Roop. Roop snaps a jab, and a left head kick that lands to Jung’s jaw and puts the Zombie to sleep. KO of the Night, right there. Roop does the "naptime" gesture. Jung wasn’t really protecting himself the whole fight, and he finally paid for it.
Roop def. Jung via KO (head kick), 1:30 of round 2. Am I crazy, or is Roop and his whole team wearing the new Korean Zombie shirts? Dude needs his own shirts, pronto. He’ll need a cool nickname first. "The Roop Nazi," maybe? No. Forget I even said that.
Miguel Torres vs. Charlie Valencia
Yikes. Torres is six inches taller and has an 11.5 inch reach advantage. This is Jones/Matyushenko-esque. Adam Martinez will be the third man. Damn, I haven’t seen that dude in a while. Remind me to post the clip of him and his family on Wife Swap.
Round 1: Torres has his hand way out, measuring the distance. Valencia throws a quick head quick that misses. Leg kick Valencia. Torres finally throws a punch. Valencia comes in swinging, trying to reach up to Torres’s chin. Torres’s new style is freaking me out. He’s squatting and reaching and not attacking. Torres comes in with punches just as the crowd starts to boo, and pushes Valencia against the fence. Knees in the clinch from Torres. Valencia breaks out. Valencia swings and misses again. Torres lands a low kick directly to Valencia’s balls. That would have hit the knee of any other fighter, but Valencia is tiny. Valencia comes back after a minute break. Torres trying his jab now. Valencia slips after getting tagged and Torres is all over him, trying to finish the fight with punches from the top before the round ends. He runs out of time, but clinches the round in definitive fashion.
Round 2: Valencia lands his jab. Valencia tries to shoot for a single leg and misses completely. Torres lands a punch and a kick that crumple Valencia. Valencia struggles to his feet while Torres whales on him and gets blasted with a knee to the face on the way up, which puts him right back on the mat. Torres gets on top of Valencia and starts working for a rear-naked choke when Valencia gives up his back. It’s only a matter of time. Valencia taps and Miguel Torres breaks his losing streak. Great finish from the former champ.
Torres def. Valencia via submission (rear-naked choke), 2:25 of round 2.
We get the Zhang Tie Quan vs. Pablo Garza lightweight fight from the undercard. Garza has a serious height/reach advantage. He tries to clinch up with Quan, and Quan flips him to the ground. Quan tries to set up a guillotine but loses it. Garza responds with an armbar attempt. Quan pulls out after some trouble and grabs a headlock. He rolls into a beautiful guillotine from guard and taps Garza with ease. Great debut for the Mongolian Wolf. That’s his 11th straight first-round stoppage, and he could be getting a Sub of the Night bonus for it. Quan def. Garza via submission (guillotine choke) 2:26 of round 1.
Jamie Varner vs. Donald Cerrone
Varner comes out to boos, like usual. The rematch is three rounds, as opposed to their five-round first meeting. Quick prediction: Varner will be kicked in the nuts twice and poked in the eye once. No glove tap to start it off.
Round 1: Cerrone sprints after Varner and they wind up clinched. Cerrone lands a wicked punch combo that makes Varner run away and Cerrone sails through the air with a flying knee. Varner manages to slam Cerrone down, but Cerrone gets up. Herb Dean pauses the fight because Varner’s mouthpiece pops out. Man, the look that Cerrone gives him. Cerrone clinches up again and slams a knee into Verner’s ribs. Varner gets out. Great pace so far. Leg kick Cerrone. Cerrone catches Varner coming in and takes Varner to the mat. Varner gets up and Cerrone puts a knee into his thigh. Varner brawls out of a clinch. The crowd chants "Cowboy." Varner lands a left to Cerrone’s jaw. Varner with a counter right. Cerrone returns a leg kick. Cerrone drops Varner with a punch, but Varner gets up and actually nails Cerrone with a couple of very hard punches. There’s the horn. Good God, this is a fight.
Round 2: Cerrone with a jab and leg kick. Cerrone throws a straight to the body. Varner dashes in to clinch, but Cerrone shakes out. Cerrone with a leg kick. Varner to the body, Cerrone to the head.Varner with a great body/head combo. Cerrone nails a takedown and trainsitions to side-control. Varner has his arm around Cerrone’s neck and escapes to his feet. Punch/leg kick from Cerrone. Cerrone clinches and jacks Varner with a knee to the body. Cerrone with a long jab. They clash with punches. Cerrone with a leg kick and a takedown attempt that doesn’t pan out. Sharp leg kick from Cerrone that stumbles Varner. And another. Varner shoots and Cerrone dodges. Cerrone puts his arms up in triumph. Another round in the books, and we’d mark it for Cowboy.
Round 3: Varner connects with a left hook. Cerrone with a leg kick and body kick. Cerrone tries a takedown when Varner dashes in, but can’t get it, so he settles for a knee. Cerrone lands a high kick. Cerrone shoots and Varner scrambles out of the way. Varner lands a stiff right. And another. Cerrone responds with a knee to the jaw. They trade knees in a clinch. Short hook from Cerrone. Cerrone completes another takedown when Varner tries to attack. Brilliant timing from Cerrone, all fight long. Varner’s face is running blood. Cerrone in Varner’s guard, throwing elbows. Varner scoots to the cage and gets to his feet. Cerrone tries another takedown but doesn’t get it. Straight right from Cerrone. Cerrone with two low kicks. Varner is exhausted. Body kick from Cowboy. He puts his hands on his hips as time expires. They slap hands, but then, like a classic asshole, Varner shoves Cerrone as he walks away. Y’know, just in case anybody in the audience didn’t already hate him. Herb Dean steps between them before it escalates. Anyway, a fantastic performance from Donald Cerrone.
Brief technical difficulties on my end, but Cerrone takes it unanimously, 30-27 x 3. Cowboy immediately offers Varner a rubber match in Arizona, and says their rivalry ain’t over yet. Fight of the Night, easy, and one of the best fights of the year so far.
And it’s main event time…
Jose Aldo vs. Manny Gamburyan
Aldo comes out bouncin’ and grinnin’. He really seems to like that "Run This Town" song. He’s a ball of energy in the prep-point, shaking his head and jogging in place like a hyperactive child. But he calms down once he gets in the cage and stares at his feet during the face-off.
Round 1: Gamburyan blows Aldo back with a hard hook and follow-up straight. Good for him! Aldo darts in with a fast knee to Manny’s ribs. Gamburyan with a counter-left. Aldo throws the first of his whip-like leg kicks. Manny misses with punches. Aldo with another leg kick. Gamburyan lands a right straight. A bit of a lull in the action, and the crowd shows their disapproval. Gamburyan chases. He runs in with a jab. Also responds with a leg kick that seems to hurt Gamburyan. Get used to it, bro. Another leg kick. Gamburyan throws a punch back. Aldo stops and puts his hands on his hips when Gamburyan checks his eye looking for a break. Herb Dean makes him continue. Gamburyan goes for a takedown at the bell, but Aldo stuffs it.
Round 2: Gamburyan comes out aggressive, lands a leg kick and tries a takedown, but Aldo defends. Aldo with a leg kick. Then a jab. Aldo with an uppercut. And another uppercut that catches Gamburyan while he’s shooting. Gamburyan drops to his knees, dazed, and Aldo is all over him with punches, slamming Gamburyan to the sides of the head until Gamburyan goes limp. That’s it. That’s how fast it happens.
Aldo def. Gamburyan via TKO, 1:32 of round 2.
"If it’s up to me, my reign will last forever," Aldo says. So who’s next?
As for the unaired fights…
Mike Brown def. Cole Province via TKO, 1:18 of round 1
Chris Horodecki def. Ed Ratcliff via split decision (30-27 x 2, 28-29)
Diego Nunes def. Tyler Toner via unanimous decision (29-28 x 2, 30-27)
Antonio Banuelos def. Chad George via unanimous decision (29-28 x 2, 30-27)
Demetrious Johnson def. Nick Pace via unanimous decision (30-27 x 3)