WEC 51: Aldo vs. Gamburyan review
by Scott Newman(MMA)
Posted on October 8, 2010, 6:34 AM
WEC 51: Aldo vs. Gamburyan
-Your hosts are Todd Harris and Stephan Bonnarís Creepy Stare. They talk about the main event of Aldo vs. Gamburyan, asking the question we were all wondering coming in Ė how could Manny deal with the insane skills of the Brazilian?
With both of these men coming off FOTYC-level performances in their last outing, it made sense to match them up here, particularly after Hominick made some noise about fighting Garcia earlier in the year. As far as a pick went I was going with the Machine, as his pinpoint striking style seemed tailor-made to deal with the wilder, more powerful Garcia.
Round One and Garcia begins to swing early, but doesnít land, and Hominick walks him down and begins to use his jab. Head kick misses for Garcia. Hominick continues to walk him down, and you can see the style difference right away as Garcia puts everything into every shot while Hominick is far more technical. Big leg kick from Hominick and he lands a pair of strong jabs to snap Leonardís head back. Wild left hook lands for Garcia and he follows with a pair of body kicks that Hominick blocks. Another pair of jabs put Garcia on the retreat but he fires back with a body kick. One-two glances off Hominick. Hominick lands a one-two and puts Garcia on his back foot again. Hominickís beginning to take over late on. Beautiful counter lands for the Canadian. Good leg kick from Garcia. Couple more long jabs land for Hominick to seal the round on my scorecard. Hominick 10-9.
Round Two and Garcia comes out swinging for the fences, but Hominick counters and pops him with a couple of straight punches. Hominick seems to be the aggressor here too, constantly walking Garcia down. Left hook to the body lands for Hominick. Good right from Hominick but Garcia comes in swinging with a flurry that Hominick avoids and counters with a right that lands. Stiff jab from Hominick clearly hurts Garcia and has him touching his eye. Couple of nice low kicks from Garcia. Big uppercut misses though. More jabs from Hominick and it looks like he has the timing down a little more too as heís blocking a lot of Garciaís shots. Beautiful counter left hook staggers Garcia slightly. One-two follows as Hominick begins to push the pace. Garcia is looking a bit tired now. Right hook and a jab land for Hominick. Good left hook follows. Garcia still swinging but he looks out of gas. Hominick is beginning to pick him apart. Good body shot from Leonard though. Seconds to go and Hominick continues to land jabs, but Garcia fires back with a strong right hand just before the buzzer. 10-9 Hominick again.
Round Three and Garcia opens with a flurry, but Hominick avoids the majority of it and soon settles back into his stalking rhythm, jabbing away. Big head kick misses for Garcia. Left to the body from Hominick and he feeds Garcia some more jabs. Lunging right hand lands for Garcia but Hominick answers with a hard combination. Leonard is looking badly marked up at this point. Garcia swings a wild flurry, but Hominick dodges and lands some more crisp shots. Heavy liver shot from Hominick. This is a perfect example of technique trumping power. Garcia continues to swing, but he gets staggered by a left counter this time and almost goes down. One minute to go and Hominick continues to pop Garcia with shots. Crowd go wild with around thirty seconds to go, really hot for the fight. More jabs from Hominick and Garcia just canít land the big haymaker. Round ends with Garcia chasing him but still eating jabs. 10-9 Hominick and a 30-27 shutout on my scorecard. Excellent fight, though.
Judges have it 29-28 Hominick, 29-28 Garcia, and 29-28 for Mark Hominick, thankfully. I honestly have no clue how you could possibly score that fight for Leonard Garcia. I mean the first was close I guess, but Hominick clearly took the second and third unless you reward swinging haymakers and missing over actually landing crisp punches. Bizarre judging, honestly. Really good fight though as Hominick used his great technical striking to pick Garcia apart, and itís nice to see him doing well again in his proper weight class. Great opener.
Well, after the Korean Zombieís star-making performance against Leonard Garcia in April I expected the WEC to match him with a bigger-name opponent than TUF veteran Roop, who, while dangerous, has all the personality of a wooden chair. I, like the WEC brass I guess, was hoping this would be a showcase fight for the Korean. Massive reach advantage for Roop though as heís 6í1Ē, which is ridiculous for a 145lber.
We get underway and the Zombie pushes forward as they exchange low kicks early on. Good front kick from Roop to create some distance. Head kick is blocked by the Zombie but he eats a jab as a counter to a low kick. Left-right lands for the Zombie. Big combo misses for Roop, but the TUF vet lands a leg kick. Couple of kicks land glancingly for Roop before the Zombie clinches, but they break off quickly. Stiff right lands for Roop. Overhand right from Chan is countered by a jab from Roop. Body kick from the Zombie. High kick from Roop almost lands but Chan takes it and forces him into the cage. They exchange in the clinch with Roop landing more before they break off. Big combo from the Zombie and they slug it out with neither man backing down. Good leg kick from Roop. Right hand and a jab land for Jung. Seconds to go and the Zombie pushes forward with a right before the buzzer. Close round to score but Iíd give a very slight advantage to Roop I think. Could go either way.
Second round and a stiff jab lands for Roop to begin. Hard body kick from Jung into the clinch but Roop spins free. Jung continues to push forward but heís holding his hands low. Head kick lands for Roop but doesnít hit flush. Big right from the Zombie leads into a trade but Roop creates some distance and backs up. Jab from Roop. Combo into a body kick follows. Crowd begin to chant ZOMBIE, right as Roop lands a jab and follows with a LEFT SWITCH KICK THAT KILLS JUNG DEAD!!! Holy FUCK.
Donít have a gif but that was an unbelievable shot. Kick caught Jung right on the chin and knocked him silly. One of the best knockouts of the year. The lesson here is that even if youíre the Korean Zombie and youíre known for taking punishment, you CANNOT drop your hands and let guys hit you because sooner or later itíll catch up with you, and it did for Jung here BIG TIME. Sick stuff and a massive win for George Roop.
-Craig Hummer catches up with Urijah Faber to talk about his drop to 135lbs and his upcoming fight with Takeya Mizugaki. Faber sounds pretty excited about cutting the weight and says heís looking forward to fighting Mizugaki. I actually like Faber to end up winning the belt at 135lbs as he was never a huge 145lber and he already has a win over the current champion Dominick Cruz. Thatís a hell of a card overall too with Grispi-Koch, Fabiano-Benavidez, Mendes-Vazquez and Wineland-Page.
Man, itís pretty wild when you think it was only a year (and a couple of months) ago that Torres was considered a genuine best P4P contender. Of course since then heís lost to both Brian Bowles and Joseph Benavidez in devastating fashion. Here he was looking to make a comeback against a solid fighter in Valencia, who had done well in his WEC run with a win over Akitoshi Tamura being the high point. As Torres had been training with GSPís Tristar team, I figured heíd find his form again and destroy Valencia here. Massive TWELVE INCH reach advantage for Torres in this one.
First round begins and Torres stalks forward as Valencia looks to stay out of range. Not much landing in the first couple of minutes or so. Good leg kick from Torres. Flurry finally lands for Torres and allows him to close the distance and force Valencia into the cage. They trade short strikes inside before breaking off. Torres uses the jab to keep Valencia at a distance, but a low kick catches him in the groin and the referee calls time to let him recover. Valencia seems fine to carry on and they restart, with Valencia dancing around a little more now. Torres still looks calm though and continues to stalk forward, looking to use the jab. Seconds to go and a BIG FLURRY suddenly drops Valencia, and heís forced to cover up for survival as Torres bombs away to end the round! Surprisingly slow round but Torres really took over at the end and almost sealed the deal there.
Second round and Valencia tries a jumping roundhouse kick that Torres blocks. Torres walks him down again though and a big right hook into a high kick hurt Valencia badly and have him staggered. Left body kick and a few punches to the midsection drop Valencia and Torres pounces and takes the back, landing some elbows. Valencia scrambles to his feet, but a BIG KNEE drops him again and Torres gets on top and quickly passes the guard into side mount. Valencia turns his back and thatís a big mistake as Torres quickly slaps on a body triangle and looks to work for the choke. Valencia defends for a few moments, but Miguel Torres on your back is pretty much guaranteed death, and sure enough the former champion locks the choke in for the tapout.
Wasnít the most exciting fight in the first round at least, but Torres looked to have regained whatever he lost against Brian Bowles and actually looked much improved I thought, not as wild in his attacks as before as he fought with a more cerebral style rather than his usual emotional style. If he can keep that up then heís definitely got the skills to regain his title at some point, as skill-wise I think heís the best guy in the weight class if he can control himself and avoid getting hit like he did against Bowles. Impressive win, at any rate.
The first Chinese fighter in Zuffa history, ĎMongolian Wolfí Zhang was bringing in a strong record of 11-0 with all finishes, and naturally the WEC brass were hoping he could pick up a win here in order to get the ball rolling for a possible promotional push into the untapped Chinese market. Initially he was to face Jason Reinhardt here, but after an eye injury, TUF flop Garza stepped in on short notice.
Round One begins and Garza misses a high kick as both men push forward. They clinch up and exchange some knees, but Zhang drags him down to the ground in guard. Garza sits up and almost leaves himself open for a guillotine, and Zhang tries to lock it up before Garza slips free. Garza goes for an armbar, but Zhang avoids and looks to drop a couple of elbows. Garza remains active from his back, but Zhang pulls out and drops a right hand before slipping into half-guard. He manages to lock up the guillotine again, and this time he rolls through into guard to secure it and Garza taps out!
Well, questionable opposition but even so, the word on Zhang was that he was a kickboxer with some good takedowns and his weakness was the submissions, so to catch a choke like that was very impressive. Should be interesting to see what they do with this guy next, thatís for sure.
Well, letís be frank Ė if it werenít for Rampage vs. Rashad and Sonnen vs. Silva, this probably wouldíve been THE grudge match of 2010, as both men had been sniping at one another since their initial January 2009 title match that saw Varner ahead on the scorecards when the fight was stopped due to an illegal knee from Cerrone, meaning Varner retained his WEC Lightweight Title on a technical decision. Since then both men had lost to Ben Henderson (Cerrone twice) but that hadnít tempered the rivalry at all, as Cerrone came out with two of the most controversial soundbites of the year, wishing death on Varner before labelling him a homosexual. Iím a Cerrone fan for the way he fights in the cage, but as a person he seems like a bit of an idiot while Varner in my opinion gets a bad rap, so for that reason I was pulling for Jamie here. Crowd on the other hand are firmly behind the Cowboy, booing Varner out of the building.
Fight begins and Cerrone charges right out of the gates into the clinch. They muscle for position with Varner landing a couple of elbows, but Cowboy comes back with a big knee that stuns the former champion and follows with a flying knee! Varner grabs him and slams him down, but Cerrone pops right back up and charges in again as Varnerís mouthpiece goes flying! They clinch and Cerrone breaks with a knee, and Herb Dean quickly calls time to give the mouthpiece back. They restart and Cowboy pushes forward and lands with a body kick. Varner dances round on the outside and doesnít look fully recovered, but then he lands a left hook. Cerrone looks for the takedown and almost gets him down, but Varner blocks it and breaks with a combo. They circle before Cerrone charges in with a left hand and a leg kick. Good takedown from Cowboy and he manages to hold Varner down for a moment and land a right before Varner explodes to his feet in the clinch. Big knee to the midsection from Cerrone, answered by a flurry from Varner on the way out. Crowd begin a loud chant for the Cowboy. Good left hook from Varner. Varner continues to circle around and takes a couple of low kicks and some punches too. Brief clinch is broken and Cerrone narrowly misses a head kick. Counter left hand buckles Varnerís knees badly and forces him to shoot, but Cowboy stuffs it and gets back to his feet where he lands some more big shots in a wild trade before taking a right hand on the buzzer! Awesome round, but 10-9 Cerrone for sure.
Round Two gets underway and Cerrone lands a long left hand and a leg kick. Right hand follows down the pipe. Announcers mention it although I didnít see it, but apparently Varner tried to touch gloves after the first round but Cerrone flipped him off. Good leg kick from Cerrone. Left hook to the body from Varner but he eats another left hand counter. Beautiful takedown from Cerrone and he puts Varner on his back before passing into side mount. Varner scrambles, but ends up on the wrong end of north/south, but he shows some tremendous strength to reverse to his feet. Varner circles out as they reach the halfway point of the fight. Left hook misses for Varner and Cerrone counters with a big knee to the midsection. Good low kick from Cowboy. Nice combination follows, ending with a left that lands flush. Varnerís cut over the left eye now. Wild swing misses for Cerrone and almost leaves him open for a counter. Takedown attempt from Cerrone but Varner avoids it. Varner lunges forward with punches but Cerrone backs up and then lands a combo ending with another leg kick. Looked like Varner checked that one though. Single leg from Varner but Cerrone spins free and taunts him to a big pop. Combination from Cerrone lands to finish the round. 10-9 Cerrone.
Round Three and they actually touch gloves! Both men push forward and exchange strikes. Big swing from Varner but Cerrone shoots and lands a knee when Varner stuffs the takedown. Big left high kick clocks Varner cleanly and wobbles him. His face is looking bad. Takedown attempt from Cowboy is avoided, but it forces Varner to retreat. Big right connects for Varner to counter a low kick. Another one follows but Cerrone walks through it and lands a knee to make Varner pay. Varner continues to come forward and heís really swinging now. This is a hell of a fight. Another trade follows before Cerrone hits a takedown and puts Varner in guard again. So surprising to see Cerrone taking him down like that. Blood is pouring out of Varnerís face and Cerrone lands with some short elbows from the top. Into half-guard but Varner looks to escape and scrambles towards the cage, which he uses to reverse to his feet. One minute to go and Cerrone looks to take him down again, but Varner avoids this time. Varner pushes forward but Cerrone avoids the attack. Seconds remaining and they trade low kicks. Left kick from Cowboy and they trade on the buzzer. Buzzer sounds and they high five, before Cerrone shoves Varner away and then Varner responds with a harder shove and Herb Dean has to step in. Jesus, bury the hatchet! I have this 30-27 for Cowboy.
To the scorecards and all three judges have it 30-27 for Donald Cerrone. Post-fight he says Varner has asked for a rematch in Arizona and heíll definitely take that as the rivalry has in no way ended. Ha. Cowboy then says he doesnít care about title shots, he just wants to fight. Varner then says the fans can boo all they want, but the better man won tonight and he admits Cerroneís improved a lot. More classy than Cerroneís interview, thatís for sure.
Well, that was a war. Not quite a FOTYC like the announcers are trying to sell it but it wasnít far off as they put everything into it and never slowed down for a second. Varner tried, but I think Cerrone always took their rivalry a little more seriously and he came in with supreme motivation, had clearly worked on his wrestling, and basically outclassed Varner in all areas. No idea who they could match either man up with next so hey, a rematch sounds good to me!
This one had been set up when Gamburyan shockingly knocked out former champion Mike Brown in April, but even though a win of that magnitude would normally make for a really interesting title challenge, letís be honest Ė nobody outside of Manny and his close family truly believed heíd beat Aldo here. The champion had looked like a force of nature at 145lbs since his arrival in 2008, beating Ė no, destroying the likes of Alexandre Franca Nogueira, Cub Swanson, Brown and Urijah Faber to claim his spot as the top 145lbs fighter in the world. Donít get me wrong - I love Manny Ė but I fully expected another vicious beating in this one.
We begin and Aldo takes the center of the cage as Manny circles around before swinging a heavy one-two that backs the champion up. Aldo shows no effect though and quickly reclaims the center. Left knee to the body lands for Aldo. Few punches miss from Manny and Aldo fires back with a hard leg kick. Another leg kick lands for the champion as Manny looks to be struggling a little with the range. Big combo from Manny is blocked by Aldo. Crowd begin to get a bit restless as Gamburyan continues to throw big shots but canít land cleanly. Hard jab and a nasty low kick hurt the challenger. Another leg kick lands and they look to be taking their toll now. Right hand from Manny coming forward but then he claims an eye poke and tries to take a time out. Herb Dean refuses and makes him continue, but the round ends soon after anyway as Manny dives on a single leg. Close round but itís probably a 10-9 for Jose Aldo.
2nd round and Manny pushes forward with a low kick and a takedown attempt, but Aldo shrugs it off easily. Leg kick misses for the champ and Manny tries to taunt him. Left hand into a leg kick lands for Aldo. They circle off and a big uppercut narrowly misses for Aldo. Short right hand wobbles Mannyís legs slightly and he steps off, and Aldo follows with a right uppercut that lands on the button and drops him face-first! Gamburyan desperately looks for a leg, but Aldo spins over to the back and lands some VICIOUS piston-like punches with terrifying accuracy to put Manny away. Good lord.
Replay shows the uppercut landed with picture-perfect accuracy, right on the button, and the punches he landed to finish things off were absolutely pinpoint to the jaw and temples.
Domination again for Jose Aldo and the scariest thing to me is that like Anderson Silva before him, he seems to be seeing things at a different speed to everyone else and that not only allows him to dodge his opponentís offense, but it enables him to land with surgical accuracy from angles where thatíd normally be impossible. I wonít call him the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world simply because, no offense meant, but I donít think Faber, Brown, Gamburyan and Swanson are as good opponents as say, Fitch, Hughes, Alves and Penn (GSP is #1 for me) but heís certainly the best 145lber in the world. In fact the only man I could see giving him problems is Marlon Sandro...and heís Aldoís training partner. A move to 155lbs is surely in the future for this guy and from there the sky is the limit.
-We end with a plug for Faber-Mizugaki on 11/11 and Henderson/Pettis on 12/16, and thatís all folks.
Tremendous show, easily one of the best of 2010. Not only did we get a real war between Cerrone and Varner, but Jose Aldo put on another virtuoso performance against a dangerous contender, George Roop scored one of the best finishes of the year, Miguel Torres returned to form and Garcia-Hominick was a hell of a fight too. With zero bad fights on the card and the only slow ROUND being the 1st in Torres-Valencia, you canít go wrong with this one. Thumbs way up.
Best Fight: Cerrone-Varner
Worst Fight: None
Overall Rating: ****1/2
UFC: 116-119, Versus 2, Fight Night 22
King of the Cage: Various shows