WEC 29 Report

On Sunday, August 5, 2007 – OTM was present at “The Joint” inside the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada providing all the action that went down at WEC 29 – Las Vegas. On Sunday, August 5, 2007 – OTM was present at “The Joint” inside the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada providing all the action that went down at WEC 29 – Las Vegas. WEC 29 was the second live WEC show aired on the Versus Network and featured a loaded card, including the WEC debut of highly touted featherweight Jeff Curran, the lightweight debut of the young UFC veteran Jamie Varner, the WEC debuts of Pride superstar Paulo Filho and UFC veteran Joe Doerksen in their bout for the vacant WEC Middleweight Title, as well as WEC Welterweight champion Carlos Condit’s first title defense against the 21-1 Minnesota powerhouse Brock Larson.

Blas Avena vs. Tiki Ghosn (Welterweight Bout)

Round 1:Local Las Vegas product Blas Avena looked to take Tiki Ghosn down right away and secured a takedown on his second attempt and went straight to mount. The Mica trained jiu-jitsu fighter Avena, immediately took Ghosn’s back, but Ghosn managed to fight off the rear naked choke attempt before escaping. Again Avena forced Ghosn to roll over and expose his back, but this time he sunk his arm deep under Ghosn’s chin and forced a tapout at 1:01 of the opening round via Rear Naked Choke.

Steve Cantwell vs. Justin McElfresh (Light-Heavyweight Bout)

Round 1:Steve Cantwell rocked Justin McElfresh early on with a left hook that staggered the taller fighter before catching him with another shot. A wobbly McElfresh stepped forward to clinch Cantwell, where he was met with another left hand and a crushing knee to the body. Cantwell then began teeing off and landed a gnarly three punch combo that sent McElfresh face first to the mat where he covered up, until “Big” John McCarthy stepped in to stop the brutality just 47 seconds into the opening period.

Logan Clark vs. Eric Schambari (Middleweight Bout)

Round 1:The Marc Laimon and Travis Lutter trained Eric Schambari took the fight to the floor early in the round with a double-leg, where he surely looked to utilize his solid ground game. Logan Clark, however, was offensive from his guard for the duration of the first frame. Clark attempted an omoplata and a triangle choke that Schambari easily defended as he grinded out the first round on top of Clark in control. OTM scored the opening round 10-9 for Eric Schambari.

Round 2:This same pattern continued into the second round. Schambari scored an early takedown and found himself on top for most of the round inside of Clark’s aggressive guard. Clark again stayed active on his back by landing two up-kicks that landed solidly causing some damage. He then attempted a gogoplata and an armbar that came close to ending the fight, which also kept Schambari on the defensive for the remainder of the round. OTM scored the second round 10-9 for Clark.

Round 3:A fatigued Schambari turned it up a bit in the final frame and secured a full mount shortly after scoring another takedown. Schambari looked content with the position, as he did not attempt to rain down punishing strikes or look for a fight-ending submission. This tactic, however, was enough to take the round. OTM scored it 10-9 for Schambari. All three judges agree 29-28 and award the fight to Eric Schambari via unanimous decision.

Justin Robbins vs. Antonio Banuelos (Bantamweight Bout)

Round 1:Justin Robbins tried to start things off with authority, but ended up on his butt, when he hit nothing but air on an attempted left leg head-kick that caused him to stumble backwards to the mat. Antonio Banuelos quickly took advantage of this opening and jumped into Robbins’ guard with strikes. Throughout the round, Banuelos the fighter featured on the second episode of TapouT on Versus, dove in with ground n’ pound from inside Robbins’ guard and half-guard. The only offense Robbins was able to amount from his back were several up-kicks and a lazy guillotine choke attempt. OTM scored the opening round 10-9 for Banuelos.

Round 2:Round Two saw the pace slow a bit perhaps due to fatigue. Robbins came out working kicks, while Banuelos stayed on the outside, trying to find his range a la his mentor Chuck Liddell. Banuelos caught a kick to the body about a minute and a half in and retaliated by tripping Robbins to the mat, where the contest stayed until the end of the round with Banuelos in control. OTM scored the second round 10-9 for Banuelos.

Round 3:Robbins and Banuelos looked to work from the clinch in the final stage, trading knees, and some dirty boxing. Banuelos then brought the crowd to its collective feet with a strong hip throw that sent Robbins to the canvas head over heels. From here, Banuelos dominated the rest of the round with his trademark ground n’ pound from the top of Robbins’ half-guard and once he passed Robbins’s half-guard, he continued the punishment from side-control. Robbins’ right eye was bleeding from the abuse as the final seconds ticked off the clock. OTM scored the final frame 10-9 for Banuelos. The judges scored the contest 30-26 and 30-27 (twice) giving the unanimous decision victory to Antonio Banuelos.

Hiromitsu Miura vs. Fernando Gonzalez (Middleweight Bout)

Round 1:Hiromitsu Miura scored an early takedown at the beginning of the fight, but he couldn’t do anything with it, as Fernando Gonzales was able to quickly get back up to his feet. Miura then landed a straight right lead that sent Gonzales tumbling back to the canvas, but he recovered quickly enough to defend with a half-guard. Miura methodically looked for a keylock and an armbar from the top of Gonzalez’s half-guard before the opening round came to a close. OTM scored the first round 10-9 for Miura.

Round 2:Miura put Gonzalez away in the second stanza with an impressive display of striking. Miura started the round with a failed head kick before exchanging strikes with his Gonzalez. Just as Gonzalez dropped levels for a takedown, Miura exploded into a left flying knee that caught him flush a la Anderson Silva vs. Carlos Newton. From here, Miura went for an arm-triangle choke before taking Gonzalez’s back momentarily. Gonzalez escaped the dubious position, but was taken back to the mat where Miura forced him to tap under a barrage of damaging left hands at 3:35 of the second stanza.

Jamie Varner vs. Sherron Leggett (Lightweight Bout)

Round 1:Sherron Leggett started this fight off with an early sloppy right hand lead followed by a single-leg takedown attempt, which was easily stuffed by the strong wrestling-based UFC veteran Jamie Varner. Varner then countered by closing the distance and slammed Leggett hard to the canvas with purpose. Leggett managed to work back to his feet where he was again slammed directly onto his head by the unrelenting power and wrestling technique of Varner. Varner tried to capitalize, but he inadvertently landed illegal strikes to the back of Leggett’s head, prompting referee Steve Mazzagatti to take one-point from Varner. Leggett was not injured by the foul and Varner was eager to make up for the point deduction by quickly taking Leggett back down to the mat via a slick single-leg takedown. Varner had a noticeable cut on his forehead, but wasted no time by taking Leggett’s back. He then pounded away with elbows and right hands a la Hughes vs. Royce, until Mazzagatti was forced to halt the contest at the 4:08 mark of the opening round.

Jeff Curran vs. Stephen Ledbetter (Featherweight Bout)

Round 1:MMA veteran Jeff Curran makes his long-awaited WEC debut, but it’s Ledbetter who gets the action started with a body shot via left kick. Curran answered the strike with a nice right hand that floored his Ledbetter early. Ledbetter recovered to push the action against the cage. Curran fired another right hand before switching positions against the fence. Ledbetter tripped Curran to the canvas and worked punches to the body along with a shoulder punch. After referee Yves Lavigne restarted the action to standing, Ledbetter got another takedown to bring the fight back to the floor. OTM sees this close opening round go 10-9 in favor of Ledbetter.

Round 2:Curran opened up the second stanza with his hands early, landing a bruising overhand right and a body shot. Ledbetter wanted none of these stand-up exchanges, as he dropped levels and secured a fast double-leg takedown. Curran worked back to his feet, where he went to work on Ledbetter’s body with punches and a knee. Curran lands a sharp outside leg kick and hops away, just as Ledbetter attempts a takedown. Ledbetter is successful on his later attempt and starts to work from inside Curran’s guard. Curran slaps on a tight triangle choke, but Ledbetter is literally saved by the bell. OTM scores this action-packed second round 10-9 for Curran.

Round 3:Curran snaps Ledbetter’s head back with a crisp jab early in the final frame. Moments later, he answers a Ledbetter flurry with a stiff left hand. After absorbing a crushing body kick from Curran, Ledbetter scored a gutsy single-leg, as Curran attempted to capitalize. Ledbetter again took the fight to the mat, after Lavigne restarted the action on the feet. Curran fought back to his knees, where he locked on an acrobatic reverse triangle, while attacking with a Kimura on the exposed arm. Ledbetter escaped this onslaught of submissions, but was caught in another triangle when the final horn sounded. OTM scores the final round 10-9 for Curran. The official scores read 30-27 and 29-28 (twice) for the winner via unanimous decision Jeff Curran.

Paulo Filho vs. Joe Doerksen (Middleweight Title Bout)

Round 1:PrideFC superstar Paulo Filho and UFC veteran Joe Doerksen started off their middleweight title bout by trading low kicks in the opening minute. Filho looked to take it to the ground first with a strong single-leg attempt, but the Canadian grappler Doerksen had none of it. Filho remained calm and collect, which allowed his second attempt to be more successful. He did this by catching a knee from Doerksen, while in the clinch and took the action straight to the canvas. Doerksen quickly escaped and tagged Filho with a few punches before Filho shucked him off back into the cage. Filho opened up with his and explosion of left and right hands and caught Doerksen with a right and a left haymaker. He continued the relentless onslaught until “Big” John McCarthy showed mercy on Doerksen and stopped the bout at the 4:07 mark of the opening round. The jubilant Filho keeps his undefeated record intact, while also picking up the WEC Middleweight Title, which now gives Paulo Filho and his Casa Preta teammate Anderson Silva a stronghold on both of Zuffa’s 185 pound belts in the UFC and WEC.

Carlos Condit vs. Brock Larson (Welterweight Title Bout)

Round 1:The challenger Brock Larson tripped the champion Carlos Condit to the canvas in the first minute of their welterweight title bout, but Larson was rudely greeted with an unwelcome up-kick from Condit as they hit the ground. Larson then went to his knees where he looked to begin his trademark ground n’ pound. However, Condit showed great composure and even more impressive jiu-jitsu technique by going straight into a beautiful armbar from his guard, where he locked out the arm, and forced a painful tapout at 2:21 of the first round via armbar submission. The exuberant Condit retains his title and proves that he is easily one of the best welterweights anywhere in the world.

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