WEC 28 Review

This past Sunday June 3rd from The Joint in Las Vegas, World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) held it’s 28th event: its premiere live show Versus network. This monumental event in the WEC’s history is made possible, no doubt in large part, to the company being purchased by Zuffa, LLC back in December. The night featured six televised bouts with only one of those six going past the first round. The main event featured featherweight powerhouse Urijah Faber defending his belt against Chance Farrar.

The night’s fights started out with veteran welterweight fighter John Alessio taking on Alex Serdyukov. Alessio was looking to rebound from a loss he suffered at the hands of Carlos Condit at WEC 26 for the then vacant WEC welterweight title. Serdyukov on the other hand, saw this as a chance to avenge a loss to Alessio from when they first fought at WEC 23. As the fight started, the two fighters felt each other out with Alessio finding better range with his punches. Serdyukov shot in for the takedown and as he did so Alessio locked in a guillotine choke. Alessio pulled guard with the choke still in and Serdyukov tapped out at 1:17 in the first round.

The second bout of the night featured more welterweight action with Brock Larson making very short work of Kevin Knabjan. Knabjan was a last minute replacement for Carlos Condit who was suppose to defend his welterweight belt against Larson. When Condit had to pull out due to injury, Larson vowed that he would use Knabjan as an example of what Condit could expect when they finally did face off. If this fight is any indication of this than I hope Condit is training his butt off. From the start Larson (a southpaw) came out and set up a dismantling straight left punch. Knabjan, though not KO’d, clearly struggled to get composure as Larson bullied him with punches, an attempted rear naked choke, knee and more punches before the referee stopped the fight at 27 seconds of the first round.

The third fight featured light heavyweights Brian Stann against Craig Zellner. Early into the match it became very evident that the advantage in striking belonged to Stann. Zellner did his best in the stand up exchanges but had trouble landing the good shots and when he did they did little to phase the harder hitting Stann. Several times Zellner shot in for takedowns that only ended with him being punished by strikes in the clinch. The end came when in the last 20 seconds Stann began to rain down punches while in Zellner’s guard. With 10 seconds left in the first round, Stann did enough punishment to get the referee to halt the fight at 4:57.

At this time, I would like to take a moment to discuss Brian Stann. For any fighter at 205lbs who has to step into the cage with this guy, listen carefully. Don’t bother with the trash talk, it’s pointless. Just train like hell and be ready for war. Brian Stann is an active lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps. He’s been to Iraq and seen combat. He has been awarded the Silver Star, which in case you didn’t know is awarded for “gallantry in action against an enemy of the United States”. He’s seen his comrades fall in combat and carries their memories with him every time he steps into the cage. Which means what you and I call “hell” in training is probably a walk in the park compared to what he’s been through. Furthermore, Stann is a career soldier. He graduated from the Naval Academy then joined the Marines. Now bear in mind that part of a soldiers job description is to be in the best possible physical shape, so I’m guessing Brian Stann more than has the mental and physical discipline to train and fight hard. So again, if you’re fighting him get ready for war, cause while most of us use terms like “hell”, “war”, and “warrior” loosely, to Stann these words carry motivation and conviction powered by the memories of those who have fought with him.

Back to the WEC…

The next fight was a lightweight bout between The Ultimate Fighter 1 alumnus Alex Karalexis and Josh Smith. The only aired fight to go the distance, consisted mostly of Smith doing his best to defend while being dominated by Karalexis. Karalexis, who previously has fought at 185lbs and 170lbs dropped nine pounds on the day of the weigh-ins to make the 155lbs weight limit for this fight. Josh Smith fought valiantly from the bottom with up kicks and submission attempts but was just overpowered by the more physically stronger Karalexis. With 5 seconds left in the final round it appeared that referee Big John McCarthy issued a point deduction to Alex Karalexis for an illegal stomp. But this did little to change the overall verdict. The fight ended in a majority decision for Karalexis.

The fifth fight of the night was another short bout between Canadian Mark Hominick and Brazilian Rani Yahya. Hominick maybe better known by fans of the UFC for his stunning wins over Jorge Gurgel and uncrowned lightweight champ Yves Edwards. In facing Hominick, Yahya had a very interesting tactic to say the least: run in for the takedown. Not shoot in, just boldly and recklessly go for the takedown repeatedly, without setting up with a strikes or feints. Well…strangely enough…it worked. Yahya was able to clinch, then get Hominick’s back, and finally the rear naked choke. From there it was a matter of time before Hominick tapped out at 1:19 in the first round. Yahya raised his opponents hand to show respect, but it was clear Hominick was disappointed by his performance and walked away with his head down.

The main event of the evening was between seemingly unstoppable Urijah Faber (18-1) and undefeated Chance Farrer (5-0). It was very evident form Faber’s demeanor and body language that he was the champ, and he knew it. He came out confident and relatively fearless. When the two fighters finally clinched 1 minute into the round it was an all out submission wrestling clinic. Both of these fighters had strong backgrounds in wrestling, the question was who would prove superior in MMA wrestling. Early on it looked to be Farrer. He maintained top position putting Urijah on the defensive. Halfway through the round Urijah was able to reverse position and end the match with a rear naked choke improving to 19-1 by way of tap out 3:19 in round one.

The Inside Pulse
The WEC has much promise in displaying some of the lighter divisions in MMA. And as always I love that the WEC is another outlet for fighters to display their skill set. With Zuffa heading the production, the WEC is bound to become an MMA promotion known as well in the mainstream as is the IFL and BodogFight. Only time will tell of course but so far the future is looking good.