by Ricardo Mendoza – MMAWeekly.com (Photos by Scott Petersen – MMAWeekly.com)
LAS VEGAS, NEV. – World Extreme Cagefighting held its latest offering at The Joint in the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. Tonight’s card went through several changes before it was finalized as the night’s original main event was intended to be WEC Lightweight Champion “Razor” Rob McCullough defending his title for the first time against Rich Crunkilton, but injuries would eventually force both fighters off the card.
In the main event, WEC Light Heavyweight Champion Doug Marshall took on XFO Light Heavyweight Champion Justin McElfresh. From the start, McElfresh looked to use his significant reach advantage over Marshall. Marshall was ready and countered the difference in reach by incorporating low kicks to slow down his bigger opponent. McElfresh looked good in the opening minute, keeping Marshall from getting inside, but Marshall was able to overcome that by tagging McElfresh with solid punches. Just as it looked like McElfresh had weathered the storm, Marshall again got inside with punches. He rocked McElfresh with a series of right hands with one final punch finishing off McElfresh at 2:16 of the first round.
Jason “Mayhem” Miller made his much-anticipated WEC debut taking on Japanese striker Hiromitsu Miura. Miller quickly took the fight to the ground, shortly thereafter taking Miura’s back. Miller would work for the choke, but Miura showed excellent defense and prevented Miller from securing the choke. This scenario would play for the rest of the round, as Miller was unable to finish the rugged Japanese fighter.
The second round was a much different story as Miura kept the fight standing up taking full advantage, tagging Miller on several occasions with excellent punch combinations. Miller tried several times to get the fight on the ground, but Miura halted every attempt.
With the fight on the line in the last round, both fighters came out to assert themselves, but Miller landed an errant kick to Miura’s groin that would halt the action. Miura would recover and the fight continued with Miller getting a quick takedown, once again securing Miura’s back, following a banana split. Miura was able to reverse Miller, getting back to his feet and taking Miller down with a beautiful Judo throw. Miller got back up and the fighters ended the night trading blows. In a close fight, Miller was awarded the unanimous decision with all three scores being 29-28 in his favor.
Cuban national Ariel Gandulla made a successful WEC debut, beating Gary Padilla by split decision. The entire fight played out on the feet and it ended up being to Gandulla’s advantage, as he was the aggressor throughout the fight. Charging in with wild flurries, Gandulla was able to keep Padilla on his toes.
In the second round, Padilla landed an accidental knee to Gandulla’s groin that halted action for a bit. After the restart, Gandulla continued to be the aggressor for the reminder of the round.
Again in the third round, Gandulla was able to be the aggressor and land the cleaner shots, as Padilla had no answer for Gandulla’s superior striking abilities. In a last ditch effort to steal the round, Padilla would attempt a takedown, but Gandulla defended it with ease, sealing the victory.
San Diego’s Charlie Kohler took on Freestyle Academy fighter Sherron “Rob Roy” Leggett in an exciting lightweight attraction. Both fighters came out swinging to start the fight, as Kohler tagged Leggett a couple of times forcing him to pick Kohler up for a huge slam. Leggett began to land solid shots from the guard, but Kohler went for an omoplata, almost securing it before switching to an armbar. Leggett escaped and spent the rest of the round tagging Kohler with solid ground and pound.
The second round was all Leggett, as he punished Kohler keeping him pinned to the cage in a turtled position. Leggett landed some huge knees to Kohler’s body as he mixed in punches too. After offering no offense in return and Leggett punishing him at will, the referee finally halted the fight at 2:25 of the second round.
In a back and forth lightweight scrap, Texan Marcus Hicks submitted Freestyle Academy fighter Sergio Gomez at 3:20 of the second round. Gomez took the fight to the ground early, landing solid elbows as Hicks got back to his feet but was slammed by Gomez. Hicks got back to his feet and Gomez took over as he tagged Hicks with solid punches that bloodied him, shutting his right eye.
In the second round, Gomez began to tag Hicks again before taking him to the ground. Hicks would get back to his feet and reverse the tables by slamming Gomez and then securing a guillotine choke that forced Gomez to tap.
Midwest fighter Tom Speer battled Brazilian Sidney Silva. Silva would get an early takedown, but was unable to capitalize as Speer got back to his feet. Speer then picked Silva up and slammed him hard to the mat. From there, Speer stood up in guard and started to drop bombs on Silva, connecting with several devastating shots that knocked Silva out cold at 4:33 of the first round.
Former King of the Cage Flyweight Champion Manny Tapia simply was too much for Brandon Foxworth. Both fighters came out slugging, but Tapia would drop Foxworth with a wicked punch. Tapia continued his assault on the ground, but Foxworth somehow survived and got back to his feet. Tapia again dropped Foxworth and for the rest of the round punished him with brutal ground and pound.
A beaten and bloody mess, Foxworth came out swinging to start the second round, but Tapia put him on his back. Foxworth reversed and made it back to his feet, clinching with Tapia along the fence. Tapia eventually broke free and started to unload on Foxworth, who again took loads of punishment as Tapia connected with solid shots that forced the referee to stop the fight at 3:17 of the second round.
An injury halted a promising lightweight fight between Ed Ratcliff and Johnny Sampaio. Sampaio got an early takedown and passed the guard, securing a standing rear naked choke on Ratcliff, who escaped after a struggle. Just as Sampaio attempted a Judo throw, his left knee gave out and forced a halt to the fight at 1:31 into the first round with Ratcliff as the winner.
Cobra Kai fighter Eric Schambari won an uneventful decision over veteran Art Santore. Throughout the fight, Schambari took Santore to the ground, landing occasional elbows to stay busy. Santore had his moment in the second round as he was on top for the majority of the round before being reversed by Schambari. In the final round, Schambari used the same strategy as in the first two rounds to pick up the unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27).
-Eric Schambari defeated Art Santore by unanimous decision (29-28, 20-27, 30-27)
-Ed Ratcliff defeated Johnny Sampaio by TKO (Injury), 1:31 of the first round
-Manny Tapia defeated Brandon Foxworth by TKO, 3:17 of the second round
-Tom Speer defeated Sidney Silva by KO, 4:33 of the first round
-Marcus Hicks defeated Sergio Gomez with a guillotine choke, 3:20 of the second round
-Sherron Legget defeated Charlie Kohler by TKO, 2:25 of the second round
-Ariel Gandulla defeated Gary Padilla by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
-Jason Miller defeated Hiromitsu Miura by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
-Doug Marshall defeated Justin McElfresh by KO, 2:16 of the first round