WEC 37: Torres vs. Tapia Results and Recap

Shane Roller def. Mike Budnik via guillotine choke- 1:01- Round 1
Cub Swanson def. Hirouki Takaya via unanimous decision
Bart Palaszewski def. Alex Karalexis via TKO- Round 2
Diego Nunes def Cole Province by unanimous decision
Mark Munoz def. Ricardo Barros via TKO- 2:26-Round 1
Johny Hendricks def. Justin Haskins via TKO-:43 – Round 2
Joseph Benavidez def. Danny Martinez via unanimous decision
Brian Bowles def. Will Ribeiro via submission – 1:11-Round 3
Wagnney Fabiano def. Akitoshi Tamura via submission-4:48-Round 2
Miguel Torres def. Manny Tapia via TKO-3:04-Round 2.

  • Joseph Benavidez impressed and dominated Danny Martinez
  • Brian Bowles looked really good and may be in line for a title shot
  • Waggney Fabiano was very technical and eventually got his submission
  • Miguel Torres…what can I say?  Tapia looked slower and less technical.  Bottom line is Torres will be tough to beat for anyone at 135 lbs.  Who said his striking wasn’t good?  I’d put Torres against 155ers

WEC 36 Preview and Predictions

Paulo Filho vs. Chael Sonnen

This is a great fight with a great story line.  The two guys fought for the title last December and the fight ended in controversy.  Sonnen was winning the fight and suddenly Filho locked in an armbar.  Viewers could see the armbar was tight, Sonnen grimaced and even let out a scream.  The referre called a stop to the fight, but Sonnen thought it was unwarranted because he never tapped.  There was a lot of controversy concerning the stoppage, but Sonnen’s arm would have been broken if it wasn’t stopped.  This fight is a whole new fight.  Sonnen is no longer a huge underdog, although he probably is the underdog.  Filho is coming off of some serious personal issues including depression and drug rehab.  The fight vey well may be determined by Filho’s mental state.  Sonnen is no push over, he is a great wrestler with solid ground and pound skills.  He will have had a good training camp and plenty of time to prepare.  Filho ought to be ready to go.  Hopefully, he is back in the swing of things and has his problems straightened out. Following this fight both Filho and Sonnen should fight in the UFC with the WEC folding their middleweight divison along with their light heavyweight divison.  The two guys should contend for the belt right away win or lose here.  Filho has said he will not fight his good friend Anderson Silva and Anderson said the same.  Saddly, it looks like we will neve rsee the #1 vs. the #2 middleweights in the world.  Filho will be a solid competitor in the UFC.  I think a Sonnen vs. Silva match would be very interesting, but for Sonnen to get that match he has to win here.  This fight is hard to pick because Sonnen is improving so much and we do not know what Filho we will see.  My prediction may be risky, but I will pick Filho to win.  Why?  Because Filho is still the number 2 middleweight in the world.  I think that Filho will win by submission in round 2. 

Urijah Faber vs. Mike Brown

This is another interesting fight that many are excited to see.  Some people think that Mike Brown could be a serious threat to Urijah Faber.  Faber very well could be Zuffa’s most dominant champion, and that is saying something when you consider guys like Anderson Silva, Georges St. Pierre, and B.J. Penn have nearly cleaned out their respective divisons.  The reality is that Mike Brown is a big featherweight, he is very experienced and he is very well rounded.  He has fought in the UFC and many other places and has some good wins over guys like Jeff Curran and Yves Edwards.  Brown has good submissions, having won 11 of his 19 wins by submission, however he also seems suseptible to submissions.  All four of his wins he lost by submission.  Faber has also shown improvement.  His fight against Pulver showed incredible boxing skill.  In the end I think Faber is too well rounded.  I believe Brown could be a good fight, but Faber is the best featherweight in the world.  In the end I think Faber will hit him hard a few times.  I do not know if Brown can endure what Jens Pulver did for 5 rounds.  If it goes to the ground Faber is comofrtable there and not to mention crafty.  Either way I pick Urijah Faber to win by a rear naked choke after a few hard hits in round 3. 

Leonard Garcia vs. Jens Pulver

Both Pulver and Garcia enter the WEC featherweight divison via the UFC’s lightweight divison.  Pulver debuted in the WEC by winning quickly and easily over Cub Swanson.  That win earned him a shot at featherweight champ Urijah Faber.  While Faber dominated Jens, I gained respect for Pulver as he showed true toughness in that fight.  Garcia debuted with an impressive KO win over highly touted and top ten featherweight Hiroyuki Takaya.  Therefore, this makes a good fight.  Garcia may be a good fit at 145 lbs.  Pulver is certainly a good fit here.  The winner of this fight would certainly be once again at the top of the heap along with the winner of December 3rd’s featherweight clash between IFL champ Waggney Fabiano and Japanese fighter Akitoshi Tamaura and the winner of the Josh Grispi vs. Diego Nunes fight.  I do not know what the difference will be in this fight, but I will base my pick on the experience.  Pulver is very experienced.  He has fought better competiton and beaten better guys.  On paper Pulver has the far better resume.  I know that may not be the best way to pick a fight, but I think Pulver’s toughness will out last Garcia and Jens will win by unanimous decision. 

Rob McCullough vs. Donald Cerrone

The winner of this fight will almost assuridly get the next title show against champ Jamie Varner.  “Razor” Rob McCullough is the former lightweight WEC champ, but he lost his title to Varner.  McCullough has not looked very good in his last few fights including a split deicsion win over Kenneth Alexander.  Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone looked very impressive in his debut over Danny Castillo.  He is 8-0 and I believe he will be a tough match for “Razor” Rob.  Cerrone has won all 8 of his fights by submission, so I am pretty sure he will want this fight on the ground.  If he can get McCullough down then the fight will be over.  If it stays standing, Rob could get a KO.  Judging by how bad McCullough looked in his last fight I will pick Cerrone to win by a submission in round 1. 

Jake Rosholt vs. Nissen Osterneck

The fight was originally supposed to be Rosholt vs. Danillo Vilefort.  Vilefort withdrew due to injury and Osterneck stepped in.  Both these guys are prospects.  Rosholt is more than justa  stand out college wrestler.  He is a 3 time divison I champion out of Oklahamoa State University and a 4 time All-American wrestler.  He may be one of the most decorated wrestlers to enter mixed martial arts.  Rosholt began training out of Xtreme Couture and has really stepped up his game and looked impressive.  He is expected to be a future contender.  We most likely will see him in the UFC in 2009.  I do think Osterneck poses some challenges in this fight and has great submission skills, but in the end I think Rosholt will use his wrestling to control the fight and work some ground and pound.  I pick Rosholt to win this fight by TKO in round 3. 

Carmello Marrero vs. Steve Steinbeiss

This fight has seemed doomed from the begining for Steinbeiss who has lost two opponents.  First he was supposed to fight up and comer Mark Munoz, but Munoz withdrew tih injury.  Then he was supposed to face TUF alum Alex Schouenauer who also withdrew with injury.  This might be good news for Steinbeiss who wants to be one of the 205ers moved over to the UFC.  Marrero is a UFC vet who went 1-2 posting losses to Wilson Gouveia and Gabriel Gonzaga, but he did score a win over Cheick Kongo.  This is a tough fight to call.  Marrero has good skills, but I look for Steinbeiss to win this one by decision.

 Quick Picks:

David Avellan vs. Aaron Simpson

Jose Aldo vs. Jonathan Brookins

Danny Castillo vs. Rafael Dias

Rani Yayha vs. Yoshiro Maeda

Paulo Filho Comments About His Future in the UFC

Tatame has an interview with WEC middleweight champ Paulo Filho

I’m very happy with WEC. I like what I make there, I’m well paid, the event is great and I’m well recognized in America, maybe it’s better than UFC to be well-known, but I think UFC is the dream of every fighter. I fought in Pride and now I wanna be at UFC so that I could say one day that I fought at the best MMA events of the world. I think Anderson is doing the right thing. He always praises me, wants the best for me, and said we wouldn’t fight me, he’s the best, and I don’t wanna fight him too. I think he’ll go up (to light-heavyweight) and until then I’ll go there and when I get closer to the title, he’d be already retired. He already done a lot for the sport, and we they have a lot of great athletes there and I can’t let this opportunity go away, it’ll be a better motivation, show the Paulão from the Pride GP. The problem in this depression moment was motivation, it was a very complicated moment, but now things are better and I can show my best game.

Filho has an upcoming bout with Chael Sonnen in the WEC.  Following that fight both Filho and Sonnen are expected to make their journey into the UFC.  Filho is currently the #2 ranked middleweight in the world and could challenge for the belt.  However, he and Anderson Silva will not fight one another, but Filho gives some good perspective in this fight.  The Filho vs. Sonnen match should be a good one and we will be interested to see how both do in the UFC.

 

UFC/WEC News: The WEC to Fold Middleweight and Light Heavyweight Divisons in 2009

This from the WEC website today:

The WEC also announced that, starting in 2009, the organization will focus on four weight classes: welterweight (170 pounds), lightweight (155 pounds), featherweight (145 pounds), and bantamweight (135 pounds). The WEC will no longer actively promote light heavyweight and middleweight fights after the Dec. 3rd event. This increased attention to the sport’s lighter divisions makes the WEC the undisputed home of the most exciting lighter weight fighters in mixed martial arts.

I guess that means that the December 3rd card could feature some of the prominent WEC light heavyweight or middleweight fighters, but I look for several of them to move over to the UFC.  The names that will land in the UFC: Paulo Filho, Chael Sonnen, Jake Rosholt, Danillo Vilefort, Mark Munoz, Steve Cantwell, Steve Steinbeiss, Alex Schoenauer, and Brian Stann. 

The WEC will focus on the lighter weight classes and should free them to strengthen theier 155 and 170 lb divisons.

Evaluating Affliction

One of the questions that I keep thinking about is whether or not Affliction in here to stay and whether or not they will compete with the UFC.  No one disagrees that UFC is the standard of MMA right now, but Affliction is making up ground quickly.  It has been a tell tale sign of a slight change that Affliction has signed so many guys lately including many of the stars from the now defunt IFL, which was bought by the parent company of the UFC, Zuffa.  Affliction has signed Champs Roy Nelson and Vladimir Matyushenko.  They have signed lightweight star Chris Horodecki and are rumored to have welterweight champ Jay Hieron.  Affliction is cleaning up the free agents and doing better in that regard than even the UFC as of late.  So, what is there to judge a promotion…

1. Fighter Talent – Fight promotions are fight promotions.  There are other factors that come into play, but primarily if a promotion does not have top level talent they will not stay relevant.

2. Show Quality –  While good fighters is essential, the promotion must put on a good show.  They must entertain fans.  This includes exciting fights, good commentators and a solid show production.  Promotions have to build shows people will come to or buy.

3.  Solid Managment –  Managment is important to a fight promotion, not just anyone can do it.  A promotion may suceed or fail based ont he business savvy of the fight promoter or president.  The PR, fighter pay, contracts, TV deals, etc. all come into play here.

With that said, let’s see how Affliction is doing…

1. Fighter Talent…

There is a lot of hype around Affliction’s fighter talent.  Here is who I can think of off hand that they have and will use on their cards

  • Fedor Emelianenko
  • Andrei Arlovski
  • Josh Barnett
  • Tim Sylvia
  • Ben Rothwell
  • Roy Nelson
  • Pedro Rizzo
  • Paul Buentello
  • Aleksander Emelianenko
  • Antonio Rogerio Nogueira
  • Tito Ortiz
  • Vladimir Matyushenko
  • Renato “Babalu” Sobral
  • Mike Whitehead
  • Edwin DeWees
  • Vernon White
  • Vitor Belfort
  • Matt Lindland
  • Jay Hieron
  • Mike Pyle
  • J.J. Ambrose
  • Chris Horodecki

I went to HDNet’s Rankings to see how many Affliction Fighters were ranked in the top 100 pound for pound or top in their divisons  here is the results.

(Pound for Pound Rank, Divison Rank)

  • Fedor Emelianenko (2, 1)
  • Andrei Arlovski (25, 4)
  • Josh Barnett (27, 5)
  • Tim Sylvia (55, 7)
  • Ben Rothwell (81, 12)
  • Roy Nelson (84, 13)
  • Pedro Rizzo (NR, 19)
  • Paul Buentello (NR, NR)
  • Aleksander Emelianenko (76, 10)
  • Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (85, 13)
  • Tito Ortiz (87, 15)
  • Vladimir Matyushenko (66, 12)
  • Renato “Babalu” Sobral (92, 16)
  • Mike Whitehead (NR, NR)
  • Edwin DeWees (NR, NR)
  • Vernon White (NR, NR)
  • Vitor Belfort (NR, NR) – Unfairly I’d admit
  • Matt Lindland (22, 5)
  • Jay Hieron (59, 11)
  • Mike Pyle (NR, NR)
  • J.J. Ambrose (NR, NR)
  • Chris Horodecki (NR, NR)
  • Put this into perspective, out of the top 100 the promotions faires like this in pound for pound top 100 fighters…

    • UFC -39
    • Affliction – 13
    • DREAM -12
    • WEC – 10
    • EliteXC – 10
    • Strikeforce – 5
    • World Victory Road – 3

    The point is that Affliction’s talent is overrated. 

    • They are right about the level of DREAM talent wise
    • They are no where near the talent level of the UFC
    • 10 of the Affliction guys that appeared on the rankings list have fought in the UFC before.  Some have been sucessful.  There are several former UFC champs (Sylvia, Barnett, Rizzo, Ortiz and Arlovski), however most of them did no better than fair in the UFC (see Matyushenko, Hieron, et. al)
    • Most of the top Affliction guys are in the second half of their careers and are past their prime.  They still have fight left in them, don’t get me wrong, but not for the long haul
    • What happens if two or three of those gusy get injured?  Affliction is hanging their hat on Fedor, Barnett, Arlovski and Ortiz.  They cannot keep putting everyone on every card, they will run out of match-ups.
    • To their credit, they can put on good fights.  The talent isn’t bad.  Their guys can fight exciting fighter, but they have exciting fights at tough man competitions. They need to sign younger talent and more talent.

    Show Quality…

    • I cannot judge them solely on their sole show.  Affliction needs to improve their show quality as far as commentating, interviews and production is concerned
    • Also, I thought with the exception of the last 3 fights the card wasn’t what it was billed to be
    • They are nowhere near the UFC level as far as enjoyability to watch

    Solid Managment:

    • The UFC with Dana White and the Fertitas is still the managment standard.  I have problems with the UFC and Dana White’s managing style.  I don’t like his constant expletives, I don’t like the way he trashes other promotions, I don’t like the stubborness he exhibits with signing guys like Lindland and Barnett, and even Fedor.  However, Dana is crafty.  Atencio is no Dana White.  Watch his video below where he can’t remember Josh Barnett’s name and he is the main event for the second show. 
    • Affliction does have the deep pocketed Donald Trump behind them which helps.  Trump is a business guiness, but he doesn’t neccessarily know MMA.  The money helps thought he same way it helped having Lorezon and Frank in the UFC early days when they lost tons of money.

    Here is the point folks…Affliction is a solid upstart company.  They may be around for a while, but before we jump ont he bandwagon and label them peers to the UFC and competitors to the UFC let them get through a few shows first.  Let’s see how much money they lose after 3 events.  Let’s see how many fights they can do after 3 card.  They could compete, but as for now it is the UFC and then everyone else.  Zuffa is sitting pretty in the MMA world.  They are the big leagues, everything else is just the minors.  Affliction, EliteXC and DREAM are in the same boat and in a year from now at least one of them will be non-existent.

    MMA News: Some WEC Weight Classes To Fold Into UFC

    It appears that more information is coming soon about the possible merger of the WEC lightheavyweight and middleweight divisons into the UFC. Here is a portion of the report from MMAJunkie:

    “We’re working on that now,” White said of the merger.  Ever since Zuffa LLC (the UFC’s parent company) purchased the organization in December 2006, White has maintained that the WEC would be run as a separate entity — not a feeder system for the UFC — with a focus on the sport’s lighter weight classes.

    Although some fighters — including current WEC lightweight champion Jamie Varner, former UFC title-holder Jens Pulver and featherweight prospect Leonard Garcia — went from the UFC to the WEC, they weren’t necessarily demotions. In fact, Pulver and Garcia made the moves so they could fight at 145 pounds (a weight class not offered in the UFC), and Varner joined the WEC with the promise of a title shot.

    However, the organization has struggled to stock its middleweight and light heavyweight divisions, and rather than pull talent from the UFC, White said the WEC’s 205-pound and 185-pound divisions will be folded into the UFC.  “The answer is yes, and we’re working on that right now,” White said. Although the light-heavyweight division offers some decent prospects in current WEC title-holder Steve Cantwell and former champ Brian Stann, neither is likely to make much of an immediate impact in the UFC’s stacked 205-pound division. However, a couple of WEC 185-pounders could make some waves in the UFC. Current WEC middleweight champ Paulo Filho is generally considered one of the world’s top three 185-pounders, and his upcoming Sept. 10 opponent, Chael Sonnen, gave Filho all he could handle in their previous match-up. UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva and Filho are friends and, in the past, said they’re unlikely to fight each other. However, Rich Franklin, Nate Marquardt, Michael Bisping and Dan Henderson all provide intriguing match-ups for the undefeated Brazilian. In any manner, White didn’t mention a timetable for the merger but confirmed the wheels are in motion.

    I believe there are only a few guys that will make it into the UFC and be effective.

    1. Paulo Filho

    2. Chael Sonnen

    3. Bryan Baker

    4. Jake Rosholt

    5. Steve Cantwell

    6. Brian Stann

    It would be assumed that Filho will be the most effective in the UFC.  This should be a good move and it should really bolster the UFC’s middleweight divison.  I’d have to say I’d also like to see Carlos Condit in the UFC, but the welterweight divison is likely to stay put in the WEC.  It is likely to happen following WEC 36 where Filho will re-match Chael Sonnen.

    What’s Next For Carlos Condit?

    Carlos Condit is coming off of a great win over a tough challenger in Hirumitsu Miura at WEC 35.  Most people cosndier Condit a top ten welterweight in the world and some rank him as a top 5.  He has the distinction, along with Jake Shields of being the best welterweights outside the UFC.  The UFC clearly has a monopoly of fighters in the welterweight divison and the light heavyweight divison.  If someone wants to fight the best guys and prove themselves in that way, the UFC is the place for 170 and 205 lb fighters.  Kevin Iole at Yahoo! Sports poses the interesting thought in his blog about what is next for Condit.  Here is what Condit had to say:

    There are a lot of tough guys – a lot of them, believe me – but you just have to fight whoever they tell you to fight, I’m proud to be the WEC champion and whoever I fight, whenever I fight, wherever I fight, I’ll do it as the WEC champion.

    In the WEC Condit holds wins over Miura, Carlo Prater, John Alessio, Brock Larson and Kyle Jensen.  Who else is there to fight in the WEC?  Larson probably regained number 1 contender status with his defeat of Carlo Prater, but why give him the re-match?  Condit admitetd he would like to avenge loses to Jake Shields, Pat Healy, and Satoru Kitaoka.  Perhaps the WEC could work one of those fights out.  The Jake Shields fight is unlikely because he is locked up the EliteXC, although I have to believe Shields would like to be the UFC fighting tougher talent.  They could sign one of the other guys for Condit to avenge, but what else is there?  Nothing.  No one thinks Healy or Kitaoka is an overall better fighter than Condit.  I do not know what Condit wants, but if he wants to prove himself as a top welterweight Zuffa is going to have to move him over to the UFC.  It looks like a fight between some of the WEC guys and UFC guys could take place some time.  It also had been said by Dana White that he’d like to make the WEC devoted to lighter weights and would move the WEC 185 and 205 divisons over the the UFC.  All that would give the UFC would be Brian Stann, Steven Cantwell, Mark Munoz, Paulo Filho, Chael Sonnen and Brian Bowles and maybe Steve Steinbeiss, Jake Rosholt and Shane Roller. The bottom line is that Condit should be in the big leagues and not the minors.  He should be fighting against the St. Pierres and Fitchs of the world and not the Larsons.  He can keep amassing wins in the WEC a la Urijah Faber, but until he fights St. Pierre, Fitch or Penn we will never know how good he really is.  Here is what I suspect.  I suspect Condit needs 2 or 3 more wins before he has to be moved.  I suspect a re-match with Brock Larson and I also suspect that with one more win Shane Roller could challenge him.  I guess time will tell, but I’d like to see him in the UFC.  He deserves it.  He would get more money there.  He would get better and bigegr name fights there.  He would get more focus there.  I am sure if he pushed it he could get it.  He is a star and Zuffa will give him what he wants if he asks in the right way.