WEC 19: Undisputed review
by Scott Newman(MMA)
Posted on December 8, 2010, 6:54 AM
WEC 19: Undisputed
-Your hosts are Ryan Bennett and Stephen Quadros, who discuss the return of Razor Rob McCullough – on St. Patrick’s Day too! – and Gabe Ruediger’s title defense against UFC veteran Hermes Franca.
-For those wondering about the ‘Undisputed’ subtitle, it was actually referring to the co-main event of WEC Featherweight Champion Cole Escovedo facing King of the Cage Featherweight Champ Urijah Faber in a unification match. Of course as this is the HDNet version that fight (and a few others) were shown on a separate broadcast which I don’t have. How did the fight go? Faber won via a second round stoppage, and of course he would hold the WEC belt for almost three years before he was dethroned by Mike Brown.
-Ron Kruck interviews Gabe Ruediger who says he learned a lot about heart and cardio in his previous title defense against Sam Wells, the first fight of his career to go the distance. He’s promising to hurt Hermes Franca later.
Future UFC contender O’Brien was a newbie to MMA here, sporting a record of 2-0. Announcers mention that White is a Team Quest-based fighter, and he looks like a pretty imposing dude, big muscular guy covered in tattoos.
Round One begins and White pushes forward and stuffs an early takedown attempt. He follows in, but O’Brien catches him coming forward with a BIG LEFT HOOK that drops White face-first! Jake follows up but White is already out. 14 seconds. Did not expect that at all.
Pity Jake couldn’t show that sort of punching power in his UFC career, that’s for sure, as he became known as a lay-and-pray guy in his run there. Still, with a win like this it’s easy to see why he was seen as a hot prospect prior to his UFC run. Beautiful timing for the knockout.
Never heard of Wyman but Healy is the lesser known brother of UFC and Strike Force veteran Pat Healy, and physically he looks exactly the same too. No idea if they’re twins, however. Announcers explain that Wyman is a Ken Shamrock student out of the Lion’s Den. Doesn’t mean as much as it would’ve like, six or seven years before this of course.
Fight begins and Healy circles on the outside before taking a pair of low kicks. He fires back with a combo, but Wyman trips him down and immediately passes as Healy attempts a sweep. Healy gets half-guard but Wyman grabs a guillotine. Good job from Healy to escape to his feet though, and he breaks off. Another combo lands for Healy but Wyman closes the distance again and gets another takedown. This time he gets full mount, but a hip escape puts Healy back in half-guard. Healy tries a sweep, but Wyman grabs a guillotine and drops to guard. It looks tight but Healy stays calm and works his head free before standing to drop some hard punches. Wyman looks bloodied and in trouble, and he gives his back before looking to turn for a leglock. Healy keeps on landing punches though and then drops into full mount. Wyman escapes back to half-guard but he takes some more heavy punches and it looks like his nose is busted. Ax-kick and a big left hook stun Wyman badly, and as he looks to get away Healy takes his back and quickly slaps on the rear naked choke for the tapout.
Fun fight as Healy looked overmatched on the ground early, but once he took top position and went to work with the ground-and-pound it was downhill quickly for Wyman. Healy would go on to have an entertaining fight with Rob McCullough on the next WEC show but hasn’t made much noise since.
Announcers thankfully don’t try to claim Tiki is the “best fighter never to win in the UFC” which is what you normally hear about the guy. Personally I never rated him highly. Bam Bam Healy meanwhile is one of the more underrated guys out there in my opinion, especially when you consider he’s beaten Carlos Condit and Dan Hardy and pushed Chris Lytle and Josh Thomson hard in his fights with them too. No idea why he looked so bad in his one UFC appearance. This fight was shortly before the clash with Condit actually.
First round begins and Tiki comes out fast, landing a sharp combination before stuffing a takedown and landing with a high kick. They trade strikes and Healy lands with a knee, but Tiki lands another combo and stuns him. Healy comes back with a takedown attempt and drives Tiki back into the fence, but Tiki shows some good defense to avoid even on one leg. Finally Healy drops him down to the ground, but Tiki quickly fights back to his feet, giving his back in the process. He turns back into Healy, and they trade some strikes in the clinch before Tiki muscles Healy to the ground in guard. Surprising he’d do that given he was owning the stand-up. Triangle attempt from Healy, but Tiki postures out and drops some good punches from the top. Healy keeps bringing his legs up for a submission attempt, but he can’t seem to catch the UFC veteran. Good right hand lands for Tiki. Reversal brings the action back to standing, and Healy drives Tiki into the fence, but he can’t get him down and Tiki ends the round with a combo. Good round for Tiki.
2nd round and Tiki opens with a vicious leg kick that almost sends Healy down. Another one lands as Healy attempts to fire back. A third kick lands and Healy looks to be in a bit of trouble as he’s getting backed up by Tiki now. Takedown attempt from Healy but Tiki shows a tremendous sprawl and avoids it. Healy keeps trying though and forces Tiki into the fence. Tiki breaks off and lands with a vicious kick to the body, then closes into the clinch where they exchange some more strikes. Healy goes for the takedown again and this time uses an ankle pick to get him down, but Tiki quickly looks to post back up to his feet. He gives his back though and Healy looks to lock up a standing choke. He has no hooks though and ends up falling to his back with Tiki on top in the guard. Tiki works to pass and throws the legs to one side, but Healy rolls and gives his back, ending up in the turtle position. They scramble and Tiki ends up on top in guard again. Ref calls a very quick stand-up and Tiki clocks him with a kick to the head as Healy ducks for the takedown. Tiki is just eating him up standing. Big knee from the clinch almost drops Healy and he desperately goes for the takedown, finally getting him on his back with seconds to go in the round. Round ends on the ground but it’s been domination for Tiki thus far.
Third and final round and Tiki lands a combo and stalks forward. Both men press and then out of nowhere Tiki steps back and points at his arm, and referee Josh Rosenthal calls time. Doctor comes in and stops the fight and a replay shows that as Tiki brought his arm back from a left hook, his shoulder popped out of the socket. Damn. Horrible luck for Tiki who was absolutely dominating the fight up to that point. I mean, that’s one of the worst breaks (sorry for the pun) I’ve ever seen in MMA. Entertaining fight up until the ending which was gross.
McCullough is really playing up on his Irish heritage here, given that it’s St. Patrick’s Day, and he comes out with a full bagpipe band. This was WEC cult favourite Olaf’s return to the cage following about a year on the shelf after he suffered a hip injury in his previous fight, a rematch of his legendary brawl with John Polakowski. The guy has to be one of the weirdest people to ever compete in MMA. At least this time he doesn’t have the odd ring announcer (I forget his name, the guy with the long hair) calling him the ‘MANSON OF MMA’.
Fight begins and Olaf stays way on the outside, circling around before charging in for a takedown. He almost takes him down and gets the back, but McCullough muscles him off and throws some kicks. Good knee from Rob as Olaf charges forward, but Olaf gets him down anyway. McCullough pops back up to his feet and they end up clinched before breaking off. They exchange some punches and Olaf actually lands a couple of decent shots. Nice counter right from McCullough but Olaf catches a kick and gets the takedown, getting the back as Rob tries to scramble away. They roll but Olaf stays on the back and gets one hook in. Razor Rob tries to stand, but finds himself suplexed back down. Reversal brings McCullough back to his feet, but Olaf gets another takedown and gets the back again as Razor tries to stand. Good elbow from Olaf and he looks to lock up the choke without any hooks in, then he lands some punches and hops onto the back! Razor Rob spins forward, but it looks like Olaf might have the choke sunk! Rob manages to shake off one hook and turns though, and they come back to their feet and break off. Takedown is stuffed by McCullough and Olaf looks tired now, lunging forward with sloppy punches. Good right hand and a low kick from Razor Rob. Seconds to go and Olaf is still swinging wildly. McCullough hurts him with a right though and stuffs a takedown on the bell. Energetic opening round.
Second round begins and Olaf comes out swinging, but eats a body kick and a CRUSHING RIGHT HAND that knock him silly! Olaf is down and out, but in a CRIMINAL refereeing job, the official just stands watching and allows Razor Rob to LEGALLY MURDER him with a pair of right hands over the top. Good lord.
Post-fight Olaf is unconscious for ages and it turns out he’d broken his jaw in a couple of places, which isn’t surprising at all. Why the ref didn’t step in when Olaf was dropped I don’t know – his mouthpiece was knocked out and he was quite blatantly out cold. This was one of the most brutal knockouts of 2006 and while he isn’t the best fighter in the world when Razor Rob lands shots like that he sure is fun to watch.
Believe it or not, Gabe was on a real tear at this stage, having avenged his only career loss to Sam Wells in his previous fight, and his string of eight impressive first-round finishes prior to that had brought him to the cusp of a move to the UFC. Franca meanwhile had seen his career skid since the UFC had temporarily sidelined the 155lbs division, having lost his previous three fights. As a fan at this point of Gabe’s, I saw this as his big chance to knock off a big-name opponent, and figured he’d somehow find a way to beat Franca before moving to the UFC later in the year.
Fight begins and Franca quickly pushes forward, backing Gabe up with a low kick and a right hand into the clinch. Gabe breaks off, but Franca comes forward again and SCORES with a HUGE OVERHAND RIGHT! He follows with another and Ruediger looks hurt, desperately trying for a takedown, but Franca uses a whizzer to throw him off and then just WINDMILLS at him with a huge combo that drops him face-first! Ruediger tries to grab a leg, but the ref’s seen enough and stops it there.
Post-fight Gabe tries to claim he was okay and was spinning to guard, but there’s no way as his mouthpiece was hanging out and he clearly had no idea where he was. Franca was never the best striker from a technical standpoint but he did have bricks in his hands and he showed that again here, knocking Ruediger into next week to take the title quickly. He would follow this with another eight wins, resurrecting his career all the way to a UFC title shot. Pretty quick main event but man, what a knockout. And of course the gif above took on a life of its own after Gabe’s weight cutting debacle during TUF 5, as Franca was replaced in the animation with a large slice of cake. Poor Gabe. Why couldn’t B have just put him back in?
-Announcers discuss the two brutal knockouts and then we run some highlights to end the show.
A trio of brutal knockouts make this one an easy recommendation, and overall it was another solid show from the WEC as we got five entertaining fights – even if Healy-Tiki ended in a horrible way which is why it wins the ‘Worst Fight’ award. There’s not much of substance here which means it’s not as good a show as WEC 17 or 18, but hey, any five-fight show where three of the five fights end with highlight reel KOs is worth a look. Thumbs up.
Best Fight: Olaf-McCullough
Worst Fight: Healy-Tiki
Overall Rating: ****
UFC: 118-123, Fight Night 22
King of the Cage: Various shows