WEC 51 didn't exactly live up to the hype of 'Aldo Vs. Faber,' but it wasn't devoid of some highlights.
These two did pretty much what I expected them to. Garcia came out swinging as always, and Hominick put the pressure on him, counter fighting and using technique. Hominick found a home for the jab early and often, bashing Garcia who had no answer for it. Both of these guys have some of the most predictable fighting styles in MMA, so I was a bit surprised to see neither fighter try to shake things up. Hominick never really had a reason, but I thought Garcia might have tried to use his size to bully Hominick to the ground.
I think we saw two guys near the middle of the pack head in two completely different directions last night. For Hominick, we see someone who has taken his lumps where he was weak and put some solid effort into improving into a well-rounded, solid fighter. Not just a striker. Hominick scored his fourth win in a row, his sixth win in seven fights dating back to 2007. I think he's on the cusp of being a contender. Garcia is a whole other story, and his fight with Hominick really just showed the path he's headed down. He saw himself on the wrong side of another split decision last night, and hasn't had a solid win since his TKO victory over Jens Pulver back in 2008. His utter lack of progress is shocking, and after seeing him in person a few months before his fight, I wouldn't be surprised if his fighting career isn't long for this world due to the physical toll he puts his body through to make 145.
I'm not going to try to think of some clever quip incorporating 'zombie' and 'dead' or anything like that, I'll leave that to someone with more time. Shawn Tompkins had a pretty strong night as another of his cohorts scored a big upset win. Of talk about George Roop being a rising star and contender? I'm not so sure. People said the same about Manny Gamburyan after knocking out Mike Brown, and we all know how that went. Keep your head up, Jung. But keep an eye out for those headkicks.
Torres lives to fight another day. Nothing about this win was spectacular, but he got the job done and gets to stick around with the WEC. Keep being professionally interesting.
This was fight of the night for me. Varner never really looked to be in control throughout, but he was able to do enough to keep the action going. The knowledge that Varner could have ended it at any moment with one right hand was enough to keep my eyes glued to the flatscreen and away from the coeds flaunting their fake ID's.
I wanted blood. I wanted these guys to just keep swinging until one went down in a heap. They didn't disappoint.
Varner was never able to get a takedown on Cerrone, and after three rounds of eating jabs and thai knees he finally collapsed on the ground following the final bell. The weird little shove at the end sort of spoiled an otherwise satisfying attempt at closure, but I hope these guys just put it to rest. Rubber match coming soon.
Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo vs. Manny Gamburyan
Aldo did a pretty fine job of sucking me into the black hole that is MMA missionary work. My drinking partner/classmate at the bar had been assaulted by a steady stream of 'bro, seriously, like, this guy is amazing, seriously bro, this will be over in ten seconds.' I take some of blame, but the rest goes to Aldo. Why bother with the warm-up round? Just get it over with. His fights are like hearing a long-winded judge lay out his reasoning for sentencing someone to life in prison. NIKE
Like flipping a switch, Aldo was on top of him, looking like a beaver on speed going through a log. He told Ariel Helwani before the fight that -- other than Anderson Silva -- he is the best fighter on the planet. I tend to agree with him. He needs to move upward and onward. No one in the WEC has even been able to hang, and I consider his five rounds with Faber as some kind of weird experiment in sadomasochism. Aldo is going to get lazy without being challenged and likely drop a fight to a lesser opponent, something that would be a total loss for the sport as a whole.