Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone looks to have earned another shot at the WEC lightweight title on Sunday night in Sacramento, Calif., while featherweight contender Josh Grispi may have been the last fight in the storied career of an MMA legend.
Ever since losing to WEC champion Jamie Varner in January, Cerrone has been chomping at the bit to get back in the cage and earn another shot at the title. He may have just solidified that spot with a dominant first round victory over the previously undefeated James Krause at WEC 41.
Noted as a slow starter, Cerrone did give up a couple takedowns early in the fight, but he used his tremendous jiu-jitsu game to lock on two different oma plata attempts that kept Krause on the defensive. Back on the feet, Cerrone locked on a standing guillotine choke that looked like it could be a fight finisher, but he opted for a knee strike instead and the fight kept going.
Krause tried to strike with Cerrone, but the “Cowboy” made him pay for that mistake by landing a left hook followed by a straight right hand that put his opponent on the ground for the last time in the fight. Cerrone quickly followed up taking Krause’s back and locking on the fight ending rear naked choke.
It was quickly apparent after the fight that Cerrone’s attention was solely focused on WEC lightweight champion Jamie Varner, who sat cageside.
“I think he’s taking a lot away from me saying I don’t deserve to fight him, I don’t belong in the same ring with him. You’re a tough guy behind the computers and the cell phone, so we’ll see,” Cerrone said. “Hopefully, Jamie will get out of the intensive care unit and be able to fight.”
Sources have indicated to MMAWeekly.com that Varner could make his return to action as early as September for a possible show back in California, although the promotion has made no official announcement about the event.
Josh Grispi took another major step forward in the ever-expanding WEC featherweight division, as he was able to submit former UFC lightweight champion Jens Pulver in under a minute in their match-up on Sunday night.
Both fighters came out aggressive early, and Pulver quickly snatched Grispi’s legs for a takedown, but he left his head in the wrong spot and found himself on the wrong end of a guillotine choke. Grispi wrenched up on the hold, and while Pulver tried his best to pull his head out of his opponent’s vice grip, he could not and was forced to tap out.
Following the bout, Grispi, who has now won nine fights in a row, tried to talk to the crowd, who let it be known who they were rooting for in this fight.
“I’d boo me too if I was fighting Jens,” Grispi said to the crowd, who didn’t seemed pleased with the result. “I love the guy.”
An emotional Pulver spoke to the crowd as well, obviously disappointed in his performance, and reflecting on a legendary career that also started in Sacramento.
“I think I just ended in the same place I started,” Pulver said emotionally to the crowd in Sacramento. “I’m not saying I’m done yet, but it’s been incredible. Thank you for making an old man feel good. I love you guys very much.”
Grispi moves forward in a stacked 145-pound weight class, and hopefully Pulver will take time to reflect before making a major decision, but if he does retire, the sport will miss “Lil’ Evil” because there will never be another fighter like him.