Once again WEC put on one of the best events of the year with “WEC 51: Aldo vs. Gamburyan”. It was a night of exciting fights, dominant performances, a brutal KO, and the best fighter in the world showing why he’s just that. The only thing it was missing was more Brittney Palmer.
Jose Aldo defeated Manny Gamburyan at 1:32 in Round Two to retain the WEC Featherweight title
Not many people gave Manny Gamburyan a chance coming into this fight. After all, Jose Aldo is one of the five best fighters in the world and Gamburyan is Karo Parisyan’s cousin.
After the fight, it’s easy to see why no one gave Gamburyan a chance. Even though Gamburyan survived the first round and seemed to control the pace, it just seemed like a matter of time before Aldo was ready to unleash. And unleash he did in the second round. He opened up with some chopping leg kicks and then caught Gamburyan with an uppercut, quickly took side control on his back, and landed a flurry of punches at a machine gun like pace that knocked Gamburyan unconscious.
That was all she wrote for the title hopes of Gamburyan.
Aldo is good. Scratch that. Aldo is great. Scratch that as well. Aldo is the best fighter in the world. Not in a pound for pound sense, because I don’t believe in rankings, but based on nothing but skill. You can’t take him down, and even if you could he’s a black belt in jiu-jitsu, and you can’t stand with him because his power, speed, and explosiveness is unrivaled in MMA. Did I mention that he’s only 24? For Gamburyan, there is no shame in losing to Aldo. Now he just needs to rebound, come back strong, and work his way back up the featherweight ladder.
Predicted Next Fights: Aldo vs. Grispi/Koch winner – Gamburyan vs. Diego Nunes
When Donald Cerrone vs. Jamie Varner 2 was announced, everyone expected fireworks. They rarely have boring fights, their first fight was exciting until the unfortunate ending, and their hatred just added fuel to the fire. And fireworks they delivered.
Cerrone came out like a man on a mission in this fight. The knock on him has been that he’s a slow starter. Well I guess he went two hard rounds with Greg Jackson in the locker room because he immediately pressed forward, took the fight to Varner, and established the pace. He chopped down Varner with leg kicks, rocked him with a knee, and rocked him with a left hook. The first round ended with a big flurry by both men followed by Cerrone telling Varner he’s number one and Varner, being a humble gentleman, returned the favor and told Cerrone that he’s number one. Things slowed down in the second and third rounds but they each landed their fair of clean strikes. Cerrone especially took some hard right hands but his parents blessed him with a great chin so he was able to stay on his feet and not even stumble from anything Varner threw at him. The biggest surprise in this fight was the lack of takedown attempts from Varner and the ability to actually takedown Varner. Cerrone’s wrestling has clearly improved in the past few months because he was not afraid to mix it up on the ground with Varner, who seemed surprised and frustrated by Cerrone’s ability to put him on his back. The fight ended with both men slapping hands but then Cerrone, realizing he wished death on his opponent just a few weeks ago, decided to give Varner a forearm shiver. Varner responded by rushing after Cerrone, slowing down, and giving him a light shove in the back before Herb Dean stepped between them. Credit Varner for keeping his cool in that situation. He just lost, he was disrespected leading up to the fight, and he was disrespected after the fight even though things seemed cool but instead of throwing one extra right hook, he realized being in the WEC is better than fighting on PPVs that no one orders.
Cerrone was willing to give Varner a rematch in Arizona, Varner was willing to accept, if WEC is willing to make it happen, I’m willing to watch it again. My only suggestion is that there are no round limits. Five-minute rounds and the fight can only end via KO or submission. Settle this thing once and for all.
Predict Next Fight: Varner vs. Cerrone 3
Miguel Torres defeated Charlie Valencia by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 2:25 in Round Two
This was not only a must win fight for Miguel Torres, it was a must look good performance. Charlie Valencia, despite being a tough veteran, is a career mid-level fighter. Torres not only won but he looked good.
This looked like a completely different Torres. He used his reach and jab very effectively, he never let Valencia get inside on him, and he turned it up when he needed to. The first round was rather slow until the end when Torres landed a big flurry on the ground that almost stopped the fight. He continued on with that momentum in the second round, rocking Valencia a barrage of strikes before choking him out on the ground. I don’t know if Torres is “back” but at least he’s still around. Now, despite his dominant performance, Torres was facing someone who looked like he would rather be watching Jersey Shore than participating in a cage fight.
Torres is right back in the mix at 135. Based on interviews and tweets, there seems to be some unfinished business between him and Joseph Benavidez and with Benavidez coming off a loss, why not do the rematch? Valencia will continue to be the bantamweight gatekeeper. It’s a tough job but someone has to do it.
Predicted Next Fights: Torres vs. Benavidez 2 – Valencia vs. Brad Pickett
George Roop defeated Chan Sung Jung by KO (Head Kick) at 1:30 in Round Two
Following his fight against Leonard Garcia, “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung had taken on a life of his own. He had become a cult favorite because who doesn’t love a guy that gets punched in the face a lot and keeps standing? George Roop. That’s who.
Roop fought an excellent fight. He used a lot of movement, used his length, worked a stiff jab, and avoided getting into too many wild brawls. When Jung would turn up the aggression, it seemed to rattle Roop but credit him for getting out of the way before going toe to toe with a zombie without having a chainsaw. Jung took some big punches but being who he is, never once did I think he would end up flat on his back. Then it happened. Left kick, back to the cemetery. Roop knocked Jung unconscious with a head kick and to add insult to injury, Jung knee’d himself in the forehead on the way down, causing a cut. Rule number two when battling a zombie is to always double tap. Roop’s head kick was so brutal that Jung decided to finish himself off. By the way, that thud you heard wasn’t just Roop’s foot connecting with Jung’s chin, it was also everyone jumping off the Zombie bandwagon.
Roop has had a tough go in his UFC/WEC career but this could be a turning point for him. He looked very good in victory and finished someone who WEC and fans were very high on and someone who many thought couldn’t be finished. The next fight is a big one for Jung. He’s suffered his first brutal loss and the “zombie mystique” may no longer be there.
Predicted Next Fights: Roop vs. Mark Hominick – Jung vs. Leonard Garcia 2
Mark Hominick defeated Leonard Garcia by Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Mark Hominick vs. Leonard Garcia was a classic example of technique vs. power. Even though technique should usually beat out power, that isn’t always the case. This time it was.
Hominick had his way with Garcia in this fight. He established the jab early, avoided 90% of Garcia’s wild hook with great head movement and defense, and landed a good counter left hook. The first round was close but the last two rounds were all Hominick and it showed on the face of Garcia. Like his good friend and training partner Donald Cerrone, Garcia’s parents blessed him with a great chin because Hominick hit him with some clean hard punches and Garcia just stood there and smiled. The judges once again tried to ruin a great fight by giving it to the wrong man but luckily only one judge, Joe Garcia, had the same last name as one of the fighters. My theory is that Garcia’s gameplan is to get hit in the face a lot so when it happens, the judges believe he’s following his gameplan perfectly, so they award him the fight.
Hominick is on a roll right now. He’s won four straight fights and he looks much improved with each outing. He’s potentially one fight away from a title shot. Garcia will continue to deliver exciting fights but until he changes up his style a bit and becomes more disciplined, he’ll always be in the middle of the featherweight ladder.
Predicted Next Fights: Hominick vs. Roop – Garcia vs. Jung 2