WEC Quick Report
The Palace in Lemore, CA was once again sold out for what turned out to not only be one of the biggest WEC cards in sometime, but one of the better MMA events in North America period.
The main events of the evening was a super-heavyweight match between Jimmy “the Titan” Ambriz and Ricco “Suave” Rodriguez and a four man Light-heavyweight tournament featuring talented up and comers Scott Smith, Tim McKenzie, Justin Levens and Jorge “Van Damme” Oliviera. The night also featured four more title bouts.
The action began in the middleweight (185) division when Jimmy Dexter in his debut was disqualified in 1:15 after being warned for kneeing the downed Andre Martinez. Prior to this Dexter seemed to be getting the better of the exchanges, but his inexperience clearly cost him the fight.
Heavyweight action saw Kenny “the Dragon” Ento submitting via armbar Charles Price in 1:19 of the very first round. THis was a one sided fight as Ento simply overwhelmed Price. The next heavyweight fight saw two specimans in Carlton Jones vs Shane Carwin. Shane won his debut match due to a tapout from strikes while on the back in 2:11 of the first round.
Next up, veteran Gil Castillo took out Steve Ramirez in 4:01 of the first round from strikes to the back. The first round was awkward, as Gil the UFC veteran had a layoff of some 18 months, and Ramirez’s cup kept coming out of his shorts, but in the second round Gil settled down to score the win.
The first round of the Light-heavyweight tournament was a slobberknocker between Scott Smith and Tim McKenzie. Scott Smith was able to knock down and known out McKenzie in 2:25 of the first round.
Antonio Banuelos took Ed Tomaselli down, slammed him hard from the guard , passed to mount and rained down damage until the referee haled the match at 2:25 in the first.
Justin Leven and Jorge “Van Damme” Oliviera had an entertaining bout in which Van Damme seemed to dominate both standing and the ground, but the scrappy and resilient Leven would escape, twist, turn and somehow survive the offense. In a scramble, Van Damme managed to catch Leven in what appeared to be a tight triangle, however Leven lifted Van Damme high for the slam knocking Van Damme out, and added a few more punches for emphasis until the ref called to bout at 3:41 in the first round. Great win for Leven, but a rotator cuff injury on a Van Damme oma plata attempt sidelined him from the tournament.
Cole Escovedo finished Justin Martin via triangle choke in only 1:05 in the first round, but added a bit of variety by jumping up to get the triangle and surviving the subsequent slam, then elbowing Martin repeatedly until the triangle was sunk in.
Alex Stiebling vs Vernon “Tiger” White was a highly competitive affair in the first round, which saw both men battle through advantageous positions and situations. In the second round Tiger pounced on Stiebling and floored him with a combination only nine seconds in to score the KO.
Local hero Poppies “the Tachi Kid” Martinez vs Robert “the Bullet” Breslin for the WEC North American Lightweight Title was unfortunately a short affair after an unintentional groin strike by Breslin sent Poppies in pain to the canvas only 23 seconds into the match. The fight was declared a no contest and Breslin traded verbal barbs to the crowd, probably not the wisest move in Tachi country.
Next up was the WEC World Lightweight Title as Gabe “Godzilla” Ruediger looked to avenge his only loss to one Sam Wells. This fight could definitely be described as a war as Gabe got the edge in the first with some grounding and pounding. Sam came back strong in the second and scored significant damage to Gabe in the second round, but when Gabe looked to be in serious trouble he was able to recover and finish the round out strongly. Gabe carried that momentum forward into the third round and dominated position on the ground, but Sam survived, reversed and the fight ended with Sam in Gabe’s guard. Gabe Ruediger earns the unanimous decision in a tough, competitive match.
The WEC World Welterweight title was up for grabs between highly touted Mike Pyle and rock solid Bret “the Angry Hick” Bergmark. The two briefly traded on their feet before they clinched. Pyle initiated the takedown and was smothering on the ground, however Bret remained composed got to his feet and scored with a big slam of his own. From there Bret looked for a heelhook which appeared deep, but Pyle escaped, in the resulting scramble Pyle locked on a triangle choke forcing the tap out in 3:36 of the first round.
A heavyweight bout was scheduled next between Lavar “Big” Johnson and Cory Staffer. Both showed excellent stand up skills to being with, but cory scored the takedown and mount. Lavar defended well and was able to reverse the position. Lavar gained the mount but Cory, perhaps exhausted submitted in 3:33 before taking any serious damage.
The cage could barely contain the mass between Jimmy Ambriz and Ricco Rodriguez (who had Tito Ortiz in his corner). After briefly tradin some punches, suprisingly it was Ambriz who tried to initiate the takedown and after much pushing between the two, finally got it. Ricco got back to the feet quickly and the two continued to have a stand up battle all around the cage. Finally, Ricco managed to push Ambriz off and score a combination with fists and knees to score the KO at 4:13.
In the finals of the Light-heavyweight tournament alternate Tait Fletcher stepped in to fight Scott Smith. Smith scored the early takedown, while Fletcher showed off his rubber guard training at 10th Planet. Smith was able to back out of the guard, and when the two began to exchange blows on the feet Scott Smith knocked out Fletcher in the first round to win the tournament and the title.
The WEC events keep getting better and better and the best is surely yet to come. Stay tuned for a photo gallery of the event. For more information on the WEC, visit www.wec.tv