WEC 43: 10 Things I Learned Last Night
1. FIGHT OF THE YEAR
Ben Henderson and Donald Cerrone went toe-to-toe for five non-stop rounds and along with earning the respect of anyone who wasn't already in their corners as legitimate lightweights, these two probably earned Fight of the Year last night, too.
For me, it had all the things I look for: close fight, both guys putting in work on both offense and defense, close calls, and nothing but action. Add in that the lightweight strap was on the line, and this five-round war certainly has to be on everyone's list at the end of the year.
2. NOT EVERYONE AGREES WITH THE JUDGING
Sherdog's Jordan Breen called it a "bull*** decision." Josh Gross of CNNSI stated he's "getting tired of judges overlooking close sub attempts," and Zach Arnold at Fight Opinion called it a 49-46 win for Cerrone.
I scored it in Cerrone's favor as well. I agree with Gross that more weight needs to be put on submission attempts and reversals. But this is what happens when you go to the scorecards.
3. QUICK TURNAROUND FOR HENDERSON?
With Jamie Varner ringside and a title unification bout needed, early reports have the WEC looking at a mid-December card for Varner to return to the ring and take on the new interim champ.
While it's certainly dependent on a laundry list of things including medical suspensions, injuries and overall fatigue, I sign on the dotted line as quickly as I can if I'm Henderson.
The guy just proved again that he has the heart of a lion and as much stamina as the Energizer Bunny, so why not stay in fighting shape and get right back in there with a guy who is coming off nearly a full year on the sidelines?
Jamie Varner is no joke, but after spending the better part of the last year unable to train, you would assume there is going to be some ring rust there and Henderson could look to capitalize quickly.
4. CURSE? WHAT CURSE?
Scott Jorgensen said he wasn't superstitious and that he was going to push the pace against Noah Thomas. Last night, "Young Guns" did just that, dropping the former Ultimate Fighter contestant at 3:13 of the first round to lock up his seventh win and continue his climb up the bantamweight ladder.
Did I mention that Jorgensen is the first member of the K2 Interview Series to score a win? While I knew all along that spending time answering my questions certainly wasn't the reason the fighters featured in the series had been suffering losses (or having their fights canceled), it certainly is nice to mark one in the win column.
Maybe now we can start a winning streak...
5. ASSUNCAO'S ASCENT
As much as I would have loved to see the Canadian Yves Jabouin come away with a win in his WEC debut, Rafael Assuncao proved why he is one of the best featherweight fighters in the world.
By extending his win streak to six and boasting a 14-1 record overall, Assuncao is certainly on a very short list of challengers for the winner of the upcoming Mike Brown vs. Jose Aldo title fight at WEC 44 in Vegas next month.
6. ONE NAME NOT ON THAT LIST ANYMORE...
...Is Wagnney Fabiano. The Brazilian was submitted by newcomer Mackens Semerzier at the 2:14 mark of the first round.
Going into this fight, many, myself included, had Fabiano as a Top Three featherweight and sizable favorite. But "Mack da Menace" delivered the massive upset, making a lasting impression on the WEC and fight fans in the process.
Despite being way wrong on my prediction, upsets like this remind me why I love Mixed Martial Arts so much.
7. YET ANOTHER JUDGING QUESTION
Somebody needs to ask judge Ruben Carrion what fight he was watching, because there is no way in the world that Yves Jabouin earned a 30-27 score in his fight with Rafael Assuncao.
Did he get the two fighters confused?
This is certainly nowhere near as bad as the Chase Beebe/UWC incident of last weekend. Assuncao correctly came away with the win thanks to the other two judges But once again, we have a completely unimaginable score being read at the conclusion of a fight.
There is no way Jabouin even came close to 30-27. We need to fix this nonsense, quickly.
8. DAMACIO PAGE VS. MIGUEL TORRES?
With the WEC announcing that bantamweight champ Brian Bowles would first face Dominick Cruz, former champion Miguel Torres needs an opponent in the interim.
From where I'm sitting, Damacio Page fits the bill nicely.
The Greg Jackson product has won his last two fights in a combined 80 seconds. He submitted newcomer Will Campuzano in 62 last night.
The only blemish on Page's WEC record comes courtesy of the current champ and with both he and Torres clearly established at the top of the heap, having the two square off would only make sense.
9. DAVE JANSEN: MY BAD
Everyone gets one wrong from time-to-time and sometimes we completely crap the bed.
Such was the case with my lead in to the Rich Crunkilton-Dave Jansen fight. Here I was thinking the clear experience advantage held by Crunkilton would stymie the youthful exuberance and strong wrestling game Jansen.
Yeah...not so much.
It doesn't help either that I totally neglected Jansen's training with Team Quest in breaking down the fight, as if a whole gang of top level wrestlers haven't come out of Temecula and Gresham over the last 10 years of MMA.
Sorry Dave. I'll get you next time.
10. PEOPLE NEED TO BE PAYING ATTENTION TO THE WEC
I've actually known this for quite some time, but I thought I'd throw it out there today.
As great as the UFC can be, WEC shows deliver more bang for your buck than anything their big brother at Zuffa can put on and more people need to recognize that and start paying attention.
Every card offers a complete collection of exciting fights, upsets and absolute wars, yet even those who consider themselves hardcore fans often miss out on the action.
This isn't intended as an "I'm a better fan than you" expression; I just want to keep spreading the world that there is life outside of the UFC bubble and the WEC deserves your attention.
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