by Tom Hamlin – MMAWeekly.com
Last-minute replacement Ricardo Lamas did an excellent job of baiting Bart Palaszewski into his game, winning a unanimous decision victory in his promotional debut at WEC 39 on Sunday night in Corpus Christi, Texas.
Lamas, 26, didn’t have the striking chops of his veteran opponent, but he threw single shots that prompted a forward response. Palaszewski, itching to let his hands and feet go, walked straight into the ambush, ending up on his back every time he planted with a kick or punch.
On the canvas, Lamas stood over Palaszewski and punished him with short left hands, opening a cut under the IFL veteran’s right eye in the first. He often followed with a flurry of hooks, prompting Palaszewski to look for a chance to spring back to his feet. A Kimura attempt from the bottom did little to dissuade Lamas.
Every round, Palaszewski found his way back to his feet. But by then, he was out of time.
The unanimous decision to Lamas, with three 30-27 marks, came as little surprise.
Twenty-two-year-old Brazilian Jose Aldo served a quick beatdown to newcomer Chris Mickle.
The 25-year-old Mickle was ill-equipped to deal with Aldo’s precision striking, and met a knee as he came into range slung low.
Instantly, Mickle’s face registered a look of pain as he backpedaled to the cage, where Aldo slapped him with a right high kick. In rapid decline, he covered up as Aldo caught him with a high uppercut among a flurry of punches.
The referee wisely stepped in a 1:39 to end the punishment.
The victory was Aldo’s fourth straight in the featherweight division, laying a clear path to a featherweight title contender match.
Lightweights Rob McCullough and Marcus Hicks came for a party that never started.
McCullough, who put in his first non-Huntington Beach training camp at Xtreme Couture, readied himself for a hyper-aggressive Hicks, whose style would play perfectly into his punch-heavy countering.
Hicks, however, had a different idea. Instead of charging McCullough, he inched forward for much of the fight. Content to box, he surprised the former WEC lightweight champion with an unpredictable left hand. One minute, it would loop in, and the next, it would come straight.
Eventually, the “Wrecking Ball” cornered his man against the cage. But McCullough’s takedown defense was solid, and the two stalemated against the cage. They were twice separated from the referee for failing to advance position.
McCullough realized he would not be taken down, and began to let his kicks go. In the second, he connected with a liver kick that wounded the stout lightweight. Retreating to the edge of the cage, Hicks caught several punch combinations, but snapped McCullough with another left hand that stopped the advance.
By the third, the two men had gained little ground on each other. However, McCullough showed greater ring generalship, landing several kicks to the leg and body, gunning for a high kick knockout.
When another Hicks shot failed, McCullough turned up the pressure, but was unable to put together any combinations to end the fight.
The first judge saw the bout as a draw, 29 apiece, while one gave all rounds to McCullough, 30-27. The final judge gave Hicks a round, with a 29-28 score for the former champ, giving him a majority decision victory.