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WEC 49: Varner vs. Shalorus review
by Scott Newman (MMA)
Posted on July 1, 2010, 4:02 AM

WEC 49: Varner vs. Shalorus

Edmonton, Alberta

-Your hosts are Todd Harris and Kenny Florian. Well, Iím still sort of upset that they didnít give Jens Pulver the job, but hey, KenFlo is better than Stephan Bonnar and his creepy stare at least.

Bantamweight Fight: Eddie Wineland vs Will Campuzano

Former Bantamweight champion Wineland (not like anyone would remember his reign, as it came prior to the WEC airing on Versus...) was coming into this one with a three-fight win streak, although this was his first fight on the televised card for some time. Campuzano meanwhile had last picked up a win in January over Coty Wheeler.

We begin and both men come out looking to strike, trading some leg kicks. Minute in and nobodyís landed anything significant, but these guys are moving FAST. Leg kick from Campuzano is countered nicely by a Wineland right hand. Wineland is holding his hands pretty low but Campuzano hasnít been able to capitalize yet. High kick misses for Campuzano. Left to the body from Wineland and he follows with another right hand to counter a low kick. Nice leg kick from Campuzano. Right hand from Wineland knocks Campuzano down, but he bounces up pretty quickly and doesnít look too badly stunned. Good right hand from Campuzano. Jumping kick glances off the side of Winelandís shoulder. Round ends with a little trade that knocks Campuzano down again. Round goes to Eddie Wineland, 10-9.

Second round opens with Campuzano pushing the action, but Winelandís movement is excellent and Campuzanoís finding it hard to hit him. He does manage to land a couple of jabs though. Couple of shots land for Wineland from the outside but he takes a leg kick. Crowd begin a chant of ďEDDIE!Ē as he lands a nice body kick to follow a left hand. Hard leg kick from Campuzano. Another right hand counters the next one though. Quick trade goes in favour of Wineland. Nice body kick from Campuzano though. Right to the body from Wineland. Exchange continues and with just over a minute to go Wineland stuns Campuzano badly with a big right hand and a superman punch! Campuzano staggers back and Wineland closes in, dropping him with a flurry. Campuzano tries to cover up desperately and rolls, getting back to his feet, and somehow he comes back swinging! Awesome. Jumping knee to the body lands for Campuzano as Wineland seems unable to believe it. Wineland walks him down though and both men start swinging for the fences, and again Campuzano looks hurt. Big combo from Wineland and finally a VICIOUS RIGHT TO THE BODY folds Campuzano and the ref steps in there.

First round wasnít much but the second was AWESOME and the ending was absolutely insane. Bravo to both men and hopefully this isnít the last time either guy ends up on the televised card. Hell of an opener.

Lightweight Fight: Chris Horodecki vs Danny Downes

Originally Horodecki had been set to face Ed Ratcliff here, but 9mm picked up an injury in training and so young unknown Downes stepped into the spot instead looking to make a name for himself. Personally I still think Horodecki ought to drop to 145lbs as he looks chubby at 155lbs to me. Fun fact Ė both of these guys look about fourteen years old. Poor Downes naturally gets booed out of the building as Horodecki is Canadian.

Round One and Florian makes the crack about them looking thirteen right away. They trade some punches into a clinch and Horodecki drops for a takedown, working for a single leg and eventually getting it. He lands in Downesí half-guard. Downes scrambles to his feet, but finds himself in a guillotine and Horodecki pulls guard to look for the finish. It looks tight, but Downes has an arm in and it looks like heíll be able to wait it out. Horodecki eventually gives it up and holds a front headlock as Downes works up to his knees. They wind up clinched again and Horodecki delivers some knees and foot stomps. Another takedown attempt follows as Downes defends well. Horodecki manages to complete the takedown, landing in half-guard, but Downes right away almost reverses and takes the back. Horodecki blocks that and then passes to mount, before taking the back himself to work for a rear naked choke. It looks sunk in, and then Horodecki almost turns it into an odd neck crank, but somehow Downes works free and takes Horodeckiís back for a second before landing a knee as they stand. They end up clinched again and the round ends there. 10-9 Horodecki.

Second round opens with a trade of knees right away, lighting up the crowd. Downes comes forward swinging wildly and puts Horodecki on the back foot, but he answers with a spinning kick to the body and then they openly trade into a clinch. Downes is really pushing it now. Good right hand from Horodecki but Downes chases forward swinging again, only to walk into the spinning kick a second time. Good body kick from Horodecki and Downes looks slowed down now. Left head kick follows. Horodecki is landing cleanly now and he clocks him with a hard right hand. Into the clinch and Horodecki works him over with uppercuts as Downes tries to answer. They end up against the cage before breaking into another trade, and then Horodecki grabs a bodylock and forces him back into the fence. Takedown attempt from Horodecki again and he brings Downes to the ground in full guard. Downes manages to scramble back to his feet, but Horodecki grabs a front headlock and keeps him against the cage. They break off and Horodecki continues to land combinations, then clinches again. Good right hand from Horodecki to break off and he follows with another hard combo. Downes is game though and keeps firing back even if he canít seem to land. Round ends with Horodecki continuing his assault. Horodecki 10-9 and this is his fight to lose.

Third and final round and Downes comes out chasing again, swinging for the bleachers, but Horodecki lands the spinning kick to the body again and follows with a trip takedown. He lands in half-guard and then passes, takes the back, and slaps on the rear naked choke for the tapout.

Fun little fight. Downes was game but really he looked out of his league here as Horodecki came in looking extremely well-prepared and sharp, putting on an excellent performance to dispatch of the newcomer. Downes probably did enough to earn himself another WEC opportunity though. Hopefully Horodecki now decides to cut to 145lbs as I think he could do some serious damage there, and hey, 10lbs isnít much to lose!

-Craig Hummer interviews Anthony Pettis about his upcoming fight with Shane Roller in August. Thatís a pretty interesting fight actually. Pettis gives props to Danny Downes for taking his fight on such short notice (Pettis was in his corner) and then says the toughest thing about fighting is dieting down to make 155lbs.

Featherweight Fight: Josh Grispi vs LC Davis

Grispi had shot to fame as a possible title contender at 145lbs with wins over Mark Hominick, Micah Miller and Jens Pulver in 2008 and early 2009, but had been out of action for over a year with various injuries. This was his chance to throw himself right back into the mix as Davis had entrenched himself within the top ten of the division thanks to wins over Deividas Taurosevicius and Javi Vazquez (although the latter wasnít without controversy) and made for a tough opponent for ĎThe Flukeí.

First round begins and they circle with Grispi missing a high kick. Davis throws out some punches but doesnít really land although he backs Grispi up a little. Good leg kick from Grispi. Body kick lands too. Davis continues to push forward but he takes a couple more kicks from the Fluke, including a front kick to the body. Davis shoots in and gets a big takedown....but lands right in a guillotine and Grispi quickly pulls guard and tightens it up and DAVIS GOES OUT!~! We then get a SICKENING VISUAL as the ref pulls Grispi off and Davisís body flops over like a CORPSE, complete with his eyes wide open and rolled back like the Undertaker. Jesus, the guy looks genuinely dead. Thankfully he comes round quickly, as youíd expect.

Big, big win for Grispi, particularly when you consider that A) heís only 21 years old and B) heíd been out for a year with injuries. This guy has all the talent in the world and is clearly a top contender at 145lbs. Iíd probably match him with Mike Brown next I think, that is, assuming the next title shot goes to Manvel Gamburyan. Fight didnít go long but the submission finish was one of the best in recent memory.

Featherweight Fight: Erik Koch vs Bendy Casimir

Prelim taped from earlier in the night. I was hoping theyíd show Renan Baraoís debut as Iíve heard good things about him, but I guess his fight went three rounds so bleh. French fighter Casimir actually has a win over Andre Winner on his record, but he got blown out in his WEC debut thanks to a sick flying knee from Ricardo Lamas. Koch meanwhile is another guy Iíve heard good things about, although he lost his last fight to fellow hot prospect Chad Mendes. Referee Yves Lavigne actually gives pre-fight instructions in both English and French, which is pretty cool.

Opening round and Koch throws out some jabs before landing a heavy leg kick. Takedown attempt from Casimir and he gets a single leg, but Koch defends well and they wind up clinched along the fence. Good knee to the body from Koch before Casimir botches a hip throw and winds up on his back in half-guard. Casimir looks to work for a sweep, but he takes an elbow and it looks like Koch is setting up for a DíArce, but he gives it up. Casimir works back to a butterfly guard before Koch passes back to half-guard. Good reversal from Casimir puts him on top in the guard, but out of nowhere Koch throws his legs up into a triangle choke! Casimir looks in deep trouble and stands up, but Koch grabs the leg to pull him down and tightens it up, pulling down the head to force the tapout.

Well, for three minutes that was a pretty awesome grappling exchange outside of the botched throw. Beautiful transition into the triangle from Koch, too. Good showing from him and I could see him developing into a contender at 145lbs. Maybe a good future opponent for LC Davis or Deividas Taurosevicius?

Featherweight Fight: Mark Hominick vs Yves Jabouin

Two Canadian fighters here, and two really sharp strikers, so on paper this looked set to be a really exciting fight. Hominick was looking to follow up his win earlier in the year over Bryan Caraway, while Jabouin hadnít fought since a tough loss to Raphael Assuncao in October í09. Pre-fight video package sees Hominick explain that this fight is ďeight years in the makingĒ; while Jabouin decides that itís for the unofficial WEC Canadian Title. Ha!

Round One and they trade with strikes right away, pushing the pace from the first second. Jabouin throwing more kicks while Hominick looks to use his hands more. These guys are pretty much going strike-for-strike here. Jabouin getting the better of it by a hair using the body kicks and low kicks. Good right hand from Hominick though. Spinning crescent kick from Jabouin misses by inches. Nice one-two from Hominick. Jabouin literally hasnít stopped striking for one second yet. Pair of good right hands land for Hominick. Right hand into a spinning backfist lands for Yves as the striking exchange continues. Jumping spin kick narrowly misses for Jabouin. This is a pretty wild round. Both men landing some excellent strikes. Spinning backfist glances off the top of Hominickís head. This is hard to keep up with. Beautiful combo ending with a left to the body from Hominick. Spin kick misses for Jabouin and thatís the round. That was AWESOME.

2nd round begins where the first left off as they exchange right away, both men firing off with combinations. Spinning elbow lands for Yves! Hominick answers back with a right hand. Left hook to the body from Hominick followed by a right hand. Jabouin looks a little slowed down now, understandable considering the first round, and suddenly Hominick lands a pair of left hooks to the liver that drop him! Yves ends up in a crouching position, covering up as Hominick looks for the finish, but somehow he survives and gets back to his feet! Hominick steps off and then looks to continue the onslaught, but Yves catches him with a spinning elbow! Hominick takes it and gets the back for a second before going to town with more shots...but out of nowhere Jabouin fires back with a BIG RIGHT HAND that DROPS HOMINICK LIKE A TON OF BRICKS! Holy SHIT! Now Jabouin tries to capitalize by punching into the guard, as Hominick throws his legs up and looks for a triangle! Yves defends, but Hominick uses his legs to sweep to mount, where he bombs away with shots for the stoppage!

WOW. Unbelievable fight. Total FOTYC and is it any surprise which promotion it comes from? Both men came out and put on a striking clinic, throwing a ridiculous amount of shots at one another at an absolutely insane pace, and the finish was equally jaw-dropping, as it looked like Hominick would take it before Jabouin came back from nowhere before Hominick came back from *that* to steal the win. Absolutely must-see stuff.

Lightweight Fight: Karen Darabedyan vs Will Kerr

This was a prelim taped earlier. Armenian Darabedyan was looking to bounce back from a disappointing submission loss at the hands of Bart Palaszewski, while Kerr had been knocked out by main eventer Kamal Shalorus in his last WEC outing.

Round One and Kerr rushes in with a flurry and gets the clinch. Darabedyan works some knees to the body from inside before reversing position and getting a takedown to guard. Darabedyan postures up to drop some punches, but suddenly Kerr throws his legs up out of nowhere and locks up an armbar, extending it for the tapout.

Damn. I had Darabedyan pegged as a sure-fire future title contender when he came into the WEC with a win over Rob McCullough, but heís lost two fights in a row now to the same armbar from the bottom. Guess he needs to work on defending that one. Credit to Kerr for an impressive win, though.

Lightweight Fight: Jamie Varner vs Kamal Shalorus

Ha, were WEC looking to turn Jamie Varner babyface with this one or something? Dude gets booed everywhere he goes, but to be fair who would cheer an Iranian wrestler like Shalorus over him? I kid, I kid. With Varner coming off a solid title reign, this was Shalorusí chance to break into the title picture as, if he could beat the former champ, he was likely in line for a shot at Ben Henderson. Personally though I couldnít see it as Varnerís boxing is really underrated and I figured he had enough of a wrestling game to stop Shalorus from pulling a lay-n-pray special.

We begin and Varner quickly presses forward with a double jab and a right hand. Shalorus takes the center of the cage, and delivers a pair of leg kicks. Overhand right misses for Varner but he lands with a clipping left. Good leg kick from Varner. Nice right hand from Varner and he ducks out of the way of a Shalorus haymaker. Beautiful combo lands for the former champion. Good combo again but this time Shalorus lands a right hand of his own. Right hand from Varner snaps Shalorusí head back. Looks like the double jab-right hand combo is working for Varner. Hard leg kick lands for the Iranian though. Varner answers with one of his own. Straight right stumbles Shalorus. Varner is winning this fight with his speed, movement and straight punches. Big right hand hurts Shalorus bad and he staggers back and takes another one. Heís on jelly legs. Both men swing some wild punches and now Kamal looks recovered as he tells Varner to bring it on. Single leg attempt from Shalorus is shrugged off by Varner. Good body kick from the Iranian. Another one leads to a HEAVY TRADE and Iím surprised neither guy went down there. Seconds to go in the round but Varner stays on the outside. Good round for Jamie Varner, 10-9.

Second round and Varner just about misses a right head kick. Good leg kick again from Shalorus. Both men fire off with big right hands and then Kamal lands another kick. Shalorus comes forward as Varner stays on his bike, but a low kick goes awry and catches Varner in the groin. Ref calls time and allows him to recover, and then they restart. Shalorus quickly comes forward with two more leg kicks as Varner circles out. Nice combo from Varner again wobbles Shalorusí legs. The left-right combo is working beautifully for him. Another kick lands low though, and Varnerís writhing in pain. Referee Josh Rosenthal calls time again and this time takes a point from the Iranian. Varner takes his time to recover and manages to walk it off, then they restart and the crowd are actually chanting for Varner now. First time for everything I guess! Shalorus comes forward with another two leg kicks though. Big body kick from the Iranian. He continues to push the action, but a head kick and a follow-up right drop him to his knees! Big combo from Varner freezes Shalorus in his tracks, but somehow he recovers. This guyís chin is granite. Couple of stiff jabs land for Varner. Two low kicks follow. Left hand and low kick land for Kamal. Varner continues to circle out, but his movement is clearly a bit slower now due to the leg kicks. Slip off a high kick puts Varner down for a second but he pops right back up, and they trade some shots to end the round. Round goes to Jamie Varner, just about, and itís a 10-8 based on the point deduction too.

Third and final round and Iíd say Shalorus needs a stoppage. Between rounds it looks like Varner mightíve hurt his hand again though as heís flexing it. High kick is narrowly blocked by Varner in the opening seconds, but the Iranian follows with...what else? A kick to the groin. Varner goes down hard again and Iíd call a disqualification if I were the ref now. Or at least deduct another point. Ref decides to let it continue though once Varnerís recovered. Varner throws out the jab a few times but Shalorus comes back with a body kick. Good combo from Varner ending in a leg kick, and he follows with a left uppercut. Varnerís right hand is definitely jacked. Crowd begin a Varner chant again, but Shalorus lands a takedown and puts him on his back in guard. Shalorus works with some short, chopping punches as Varner holds him well in guard, and this isnít going to be enough for a finish. Looks like Shalorus has hurt his hands too as heís using palm strikes. Varner works with some solid elbows from his back and tries to scramble to his feet, but Shalorus keeps him down and moves into half-guard. Beautiful reversal from Varner brings the action back up to standing, and thereís thirty seconds to go. Varner circles out as Shalorus chases him down, and the round ends there. 10-9 Shalorus which means I have it 29-27 for Jamie Varner.

Inexplicably though, the judges have it as a Majority Draw, 29-27 Shalorus (!?), 29-27 Varner and 28-28 being the pivotal score. Total robbery; possibly the worst decision of the year. I mean, you could perhaps make a weak argument for 28-28 as Shalorus did score with a lot of leg kicks in the second round, but to give Shalorus the first round as well (29-27 would give him all three rounds) is absolutely ludicrous and the judge who made that call should be banned outright from being involved in MMA. Absolutely disgusting. Still, the fight was really exciting, and Varner did an amazing job considering he took three nasty groin kicks and broke his hand. Hopefully this showing of heart means the fans wonít see him as such a villain any more. Really fun main event anyway, even if the decision was absolutely bogus.

-Highlight reel runs and thatís all she wrote.

Final Thoughts....

WEC never seems to fail to deliver and this show was no exception, as despite the lack of the usual marquee names like Faber, Aldo, Torres, etc, we got a fantastic card from top to bottom with no bad fights and some of the most exciting wars of the year. Best of all was Hominick-Jabouin, but on other cards, Varner-Shalorus or Wineland-Campuzano could easily have walked away with Fight of the Night honours, and thatís not even mentioning the great finishes from Horodecki, Grispi, and Koch. This is probably the second-best show of the year thus far, only behind WEC 48. Thumbs way up.

Best Fight: Hominick-Jabouin
Worst Fight: Kerr-Darabedyan

Overall Rating: ****1/2

Coming Soon....

UFC: 111-115, Fight Night 21
Strike Force: Fedor vs. Werdum
King of the Cage: Various shows

Until next time,

Scott Newman:

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