Sunday, March 25, 2007

WEC Report

LAS VEGAS - Carlos Condit scored an impressive victory over John Alessio in the main event of a strong World Extreme Cagefighting show Saturday night.

WEC, run by UFC’s parent company Zuffa, is built around lighter weight fighters. With fierce competition for fighters in higher weight classes, it allows the promotion to build around higher caliber fighters than most smaller MMA companies. This allows for more credible titles and better fights. These were on display this evening, as the show featured exciting action fights from top to bottom.

The show drew a sellout crowd of approximately 1,000 fans at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, including Paris Hilton and well known UFC names such as Chuck Liddell, Tito Ortiz, Randy Couture, Quinton Jackson and Dana White. The show was taped for the Versus cable network, where the promotion will debut June 3. Frank Mir interviewed fighters after their bouts, and that needs to end given how much bigger Mir was than most of the men he interviewed.

1. Brian Stann (3-0) defeated Steve Cantwell (3-1) in a 205 pound fight via TKO 41 seconds into the first round. Stann is a Marine who recently served in Iraq and dedicated to the fight to some of his fallen comrades. Stann dropped Cantwell with a right punch and threw an additional few blows before referee Josh Rosenthal stepped in. It was probably a fast stoppage, and Cantwell did complain afterwards.

2. Micah Miller (7-0) beat Jesse Moreng (8-1) in a 145 pound contest with a third round triangle. In the first round, Moreng scored a couple takedowns but Miller was very active from the bottom. Miller worked for submissions and neutralized Moreng’s attack. When standing, Miller got the better of the exchanges. In the second round, Miller scored some hard punches and knees. Moreng got a couple more takedowns, including an impressive judo throw, but was unable to capitalize. In the third round, Moreng landed some of his best punches of the fight. However, when he took it to the ground Miller secured a triangle for the tap. Miller was very impressive here. He is six feet tall, and if he fills in his frame he could cause some fighters difficulty at higher weight classes.

3. Alex Serdyukov (5-3) beat Scott Norton (7-1) in 170 pound fight via second round guillotine. Norton has a strong amateur wrestling background, and quickly took Serdyukov down. He was able to impose some effective ground and pound, but was also threatened by a triangle attempt and an armbar attempt. In the second round, Serdyukov sunk in a guillotine for the tap out.

4. Charlie Valencia (8-2) defeated Antonio Banuelos (13-4) in a 155 pound battle with a knockout in the first round. The two men traded punches early. Each man attempted a takedown, but the fight returned to the standing position. There, Valencia caught Banuelos with a sudden KO.

5. Cub Swanson (10-1) beat Tommy Lee (18-6) in a 145 pound fight with a first round guillotine. Swanson dismissed Lee’s skill before the fight, but was able to back up his boasts. Lee took Swanson down. Swanson went for the guillotine repeatedly and eventually sunk it in for the submission.

6. Dave Terrel (5-1) won a 170 pound bout over Tiki Ghosn (9-6) following a referee stoppage in the second round. The corners made for an interesting story here. In Tiki’s corner were Tito Ortiz, Quinton Jackson, Karo Parisyan and the Team Punishment camp. In Terrel’s corner were Ortiz rival Chuck Liddell and sometimes training partner Kendall Grove. There was a lot of trash talk from both men before the fight. Terrel went for the takedown early, but had it blocked. Tiki was effective standing with punches, kicks and knees, but Terrel also scored some blows. In the second round, Terrel rocked Tiki with a barrage of punches. He kept the pressure on and really unloaded on Tiki. Tiki still wouldn’t go down, and eventually Herb Dean stepped in to bring the contest to an end.

7. Brock Larson (20-1) beat Erik Apple (9-1) in a 170 pound attraction via first round kimura. Apple is well known in some circles for his work as an MMA commentator. Larson is a real force to be reckoned with. Larson took Apple down and landed some hard punches and elbows. Larson went for a rear naked choke attempt, but Apple escaped. Apple went for a heel hook but Larson got out. Finally, Larson applied a kimura for the tap.

8. Chase Beebe (10-1) defeated Eddie Wineland (11-5-1) to win the WEC 135 pound title via a unanimous judges’ decision. Wineland nailed Beebe with some hard punches in the first round, and came close to finishing the fight standing. Beebe recovered and scored a couple takedowns late. The second round belonged to Beebe. He took down Wineland and gained full mount. He then pounded Wineland with punches and elbows for around three full minutes. Referee Steve Mazzagatti watched the action closely and decided not to stop the contest. In the third round, Beebe took down Wineland again, and busted up Wineland’s ear badly. Wineland’s ear was a gruesome spectacle for the rest of the fight. The fight returned to the standup, where Wineland got the best of the action. Wineland sunk in a guillotine choke tight but the round ended. In the fourth round, Beebe got another takedown and grounded and pounded. In the final round, the fight remained standing but Wineland was hesitant and wasn’t able to finish the fight. The referees gave the fight to Beebe 48-47, 48-46, 48-46. I had it 48-46. This was a war, with both men showing tremendous heart.

9. Urijah Faber (18-1) retained his WEC 145 pound title with a first round guillotine choke victory over Dominic Cruz (9-1). Faber is one of the best pound for pound fighters in the world, and received a big reaction from the crowd. He wasn’t able to showcase all that much this evening, as the fight was a quick one. Faber used some unorthodox striking against Cruz to set up a takedown attempt. Following a scramble, Faber caught Cruz in a guillotine from the bottom. He then flipped over to mount position where Cruz tapped out.

10. Carlos Condit (20-4) won the WEC 170 pound title from John Alessio (18-10) with a rear naked choke 4:59 into round 2. Alessio took Condit down three times in the first round, but Condit was able to get back to his feet each time. Condit then threw hard kicks from the standing position on Alessio. In the second round, Alessio got another takedown, but Condit once again got up. From there, he threw some very hard kicks that landed on Alessio. Alessio went for a takedown but Condit used a kimura attempt to take top position. He threw some elbows, but Alessio got up. Condit landed some knees, and then went for a rear naked choke with just seconds left in the second round. Condit sunk it in and Alessio tapped at just about the last possible moment. Condit looked like a real threat in the 170 pound division here.


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