by Ricardo Mendoza – MMAWeekly.com
The WEC on Sunday night ran its second live show on Versus. Two title fights highlighted a solid card that gave the fans their money’s worth.
In the a much anticipated match-up, Carlos Condit successfully defended his WEC Welterweight Championship for the first time, submitting UFC veteran Brock Larson. Both fighters came out tentative on their feet, but Larson quickly took the fight to the ground. From the top, Larson began to rain down vicious ground and pound, but the champion kept his composure. Larson got a little over anxious from the top as he got caught in a deep armbar. Larson tried to slam his way out of it, but Condit remained composed and cinched it in even tighter to secure the submission victory at 2:21 of the first stanza.
Pride veteran Paulo Filho made his American debut as he took on UFC veteran Joe Doerksen for the vacant WEC Middleweight Championship. Doerksen from the onset wanted to keep this fight on the feet, successfully defending Filho’s attempts at getting the fight to the ground. Filho finally got it to the ground only to see Doerksen get back to his feet. From this point on, Filho changed his strategy and let his hands go. It paid off as he scored several punches that hurt Doerksen who finally was overcome by the onslaught, forcing referee John McCarthy to halt the fight at 4:07 of the first round, crowning Paulo Filho as the new WEC Middleweight Champion.
Jeff Curran made his return to the WEC after a five year hiatus, winning a decision over newcomer Stephen Ledbetter. Curran was the first to strike, dropping Ledbetter with a right hand. He was unable to capitalize as Ledbetter got back to his feet and scored a takedown. The same tale would play out for the rest of the round with Ledbetter getting another takedown following a stand-up.
The same would be true for the second round as Ledbetter desperately wanted the fight on the ground as Curran outscored him on the feet. Towards the end of the round, Curran was able to lock on a tight triangle choke, but Ledbetter managed to survive.
With the fight even going into the final round, the veteran took over as he punished Ledbetter on the feet with crisp punching combinations. Ledbetter scored a takedown late in the fight, but was caught in a reverse triangle choke for his efforts. He eventually escaped just as the fight ended. When it was all said and done, the veteran Jeff Curran won a unanimous decision.
Jamie Varner earned himself a shot at the WEC Lightweight Championship, beating Freestyle Academy lightweight Sherron “Rob Roy” Leggett. Both fighters displayed excellent wrestling skills as Varner was the first to strike, slamming Leggett on his back. Varner was unable to keep Leggett down as he worked his way back to his feet. Varner again slammed Leggett, only this time on his head. Varner seized the opportunity, but got a little over anxious and landed several illegal blows to back of Leggett’s head. He was deducted one point before the bout resumed. Varner wasted no time, landing a pair of head kicks. He then slammed Leggett once again, securing his back and finishing the fight with strikes at 4:08 of the first round.
Hiromitsu Miura tasted victory for the first time in the WEC, finishing up and coming middleweight Fernando Gonzalez in what turned out to be the fight of the night. Both fighters came out aggressive on the feet, but it would be Miura who would land the first big blow, dropping Gonzalez and following him down. From there, Miura worked his way to mount and secured a tight key lock, but Gonzalez was able to escape and reverse position jus as the round ended.
The second round would be all Miura, as the Japanese fighter was all over Gonzalez. Miura ended up mounting Gonzalez and almost locked on a side choke, but Gonzalez persevered and escaped, only to be mounted again. Miura this time got the job done and forced Gonzalez to tapout to strikes at 3:35 of the second round.
Antonio Banuelos returned to his winning ways with a rather lackluster performance against the debuting Justin Robbins. Banuelos was gun shy on the feet, not wanting to risk anything after being knocked out in his last fight. He used the same formula throughout the fight, taking Robbins down and landing occasional shots, while nullifying Robbins’ offense from the bottom. At the end of the day, Banuelos took home an easy unanimous decision.
Undefeated middleweights Logan Clark and Eric Schambari waged a three-round battle of attrition. Schambari wasted no time in getting the fight to the ground, slamming Clark from the get go. He worked some solid ground and pound from the top, while Clark was active from the bottom with strikes and several submission attempts. Clark nearly finished the fight with a triangle choke, but Schambari narrowly escaped after some struggling.
The rest of the fight would play out the same, Schambari getting an early takedown and controlling the fight with excellent ground work. In the final round, Schambari was able to mount Clark for most of the round, but was unable to finish the fight. After three rounds, Schambari took home a unanimous decision with all three judges scoring it 29-28 in his favor.
In a battle of light heavyweights, Steve Cantwell got off to a quick start as he landed a crushing left hook that spelled the end for Justin McElfresh. Cantwell followed up with a flurry of punches that dropped McElfresh, landing several shots before referee John McCarthy stopped the fight only forty seconds in.
Las Vegas native Blas Avena wasted no time in his welterweight showdown with UFC veteran Tiki. Avena quickly took Tiki down, mounting him and after some struggling was able to sink the rear naked choke at 1:01 of the first round.
The WEC also announced their next event, scheduled for September 5, again returning to the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas.