WEC 51: The Rundown

Although this event hasn't gotten much media coverage, it's almost PPV worthy in its depth of quality matchups and fighters. The WEC is sort of seen as the little brother to the UFC, but in my opinion is often much more bankable for high paced action. Don't let the price tag fool you, this should be one of the premier MMA events you see this year.

Leonard Garcia vs. Mark Hominick

Kicking off the main card is a fight between two guys who will absolutely just stand in the center of the cage until one goes down. Garcia is coming off his 'win' in his epic battle with Chan Sung-Jung aka 'the Korean Zonbie,' and Hominick is riding high on a three fight win streak. The two make for an interesting style matchup because -- while both are strikers -- they have two completely different approaches to it. Garcia is more akin to a Chris Leben-esque type brawler, looking to draw fighters into a slugfest and edging them out with his power. Hominick, fighting out of Shawn Tompkins' camp, has a pretty predictable fighting style (all of his fighters do). Showcasing a patented one-two-kick a la Ernesto Hoost, Hominick is going to use crisp Dutch-style kickboxing to try to survive the onslaught. His lack of head movement is going to be a major problem for him, and look like a juicy target to someone so unorthodox like Garcia. If Hominick can avoid getting Jens Pulvered in the first round he should be able to take the fight. If you hear someone screaming "Move your head!" it's me.

Chan Sung Jung vs. George Roop

Ah, the Korean Zombie returns. The judges seemed to think he lost his fight with Leonard Garcia, but it may have actually been the biggest win of his career. His plight has endeared him to countless new admirers and helped him establish a vivrant new fanbase here in the States. The two guys are pretty well rounded, so where the fight ends up is anyone's guess. It's going to be damn near impossible for Jung to top his last performance, but he's shown what he can bring to a fight time after time in shows like Sengoku and Deep. Roop is likely going to avoid another brawl like Jung famously had with Garcia, but shouldn't stack up too well with Jung. I think Jung takes this.

Miguel Torres vs. Charlie Valencia

If you had told me 18 months ago that Miguel Torres would be fighting for his job after dropping two straight I would have called you crazy. As alarmist as it may sound, I think that is exactly the case here. The mulleted wonder needs a win badly. Going 0-3 in an organization like the WEC is just not tolerated, so I expect to see the best out of Miguel Torres on Thursday night. Charlie Valencia has never been able to win against top talent, but the man hasn't lost since 2008 and is riding a three fight win streak in the WEC. Even so, I think this is a win for Torres. After fighting guys like Brian Bowles and Joseph Benavidez, Valencia is a step down in competition. If Torres loses this expect his imminent release.  

Donald Cerrone vs. Jamie Varner

There has been so much bad blood between these two that their actual fight cannot possibly live up to all its hype. From uttered death threats to mispronounced names, this fight has been covered in the media far more than even the main event between Aldo and Gamburyan. Varner is going to use his wrestling to get Cerrone on his back, where I imagine he will end up spending a fair amount of time. This fight hinges on Cerrone's ability to recover in the scramble, getting back to his feet where he has a better chance at winning this fight. Cerrone needs to avoid Varner's power shots by using his reach to score points and steal rounds. If Cerrone lets himself be continually taken down he is going to lose this fight. I like Cerrone's ground game off his back, but I'm not sure he's going to be able to pull off a Ben Henderson and choke out Varner.

Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo vs. Manny Gamburyan

This fight hasn't gotten a ton of media coverage for a reason - Manny Gamburyan. In addition to striking out in the UFC, many consider his KO victory over former Champ Mike Brown -- the reason he's fighting for the title in the first place --  to be a fluke. Gamburyan just doesn't make for a compelling opponent for Aldo, which is why Zuffa didn't try to sell this event on PPV. Looking back at Aldo's past opponents like Urijah Faber and Mike Brown, I don't see how Gamburyan's skill set matches up well with the Champ. Both Gamburyan's judo and wrestling will mean trying to fight inside and up close with Aldo, but I'm not sure Manny has what it takes to deal with his size and strength. Aldo threw Mike Brown around like a rag doll. Striking-wise, Gamburyan's chances look even grimmer. Between flying knee KO's and making Urijah Faber's leg look like the freaking Grimace, there's a reason many fans are putting Aldo's striking on par with Anderson Silva. With talk swirling about Aldo being competitive with some of the UFC's elite lightweight fighters, I just don't see how a guy who couldn't hack it at the bottom of the pack is going to fare with him. I wish Manny the best in all his future endeavours. 
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