Brian Stann throws a left hand at Doug Marshall. Photo property of World Extreme Cagefighting.
So I figured I’d put down some of my thoughts/opinions regarding last night’s televised WEC 33 card on the Versus network.
First off, the WEC may just be my favorite promotion. Because they feature the lighter weight classes, there always seems to be action. While many of the guys are raw, they always seem to bring it.
Last night the WEC began using Craig Hummer for the post fight interviews. I like Frank Mir as the color analyst a lot. His knowledge really comes through in the call of the fight. Sometimes he makes the claim that a submission is “locked in” and that “its over” a bit prematurely, but I can live with that. The only weakness was his post fight interviews. By using a professional like Craig Hummer, it came across much better.
On to the broadcasted fights.
Versus, the network that celebrates real competition in all its forms and the cable television home of World Extreme Cagefighting, today announced details of the network’s fourth live event on December 12. With three world titles on the line as well as the return of a true mixed martial arts legend, this WEC event is not only the biggest and best show of the year, it’s the greatest card in the history of the organization.
The fights will air live on Versus Wednesday, December 12, at 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT and will originate from The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. The event will be presented in HD where available.
The telecast’s main event will feature WEC Featherweight Champion “The California Kid” Urjiah Faber (19-1) defending his title against Jeff “Big Frog” Curran (28-8-1), a UFC and PRIDE veteran. “The Rhino” Doug Marshall (6-2) will defend his Light Heavyweight title against Cuban fighter Ariel Gandulla (4-0); Paulo Filho (15-0) puts his undefeated record on the line to defend his WEC Middleweight crown against Chael Sonnen (19-8-1); and former UFC Lightweight Champion Jens “Lil’ Evil” Pulver (7-0) will make his WEC debut at 145 lbs. against rising star Cub Swanson.
The fight on December 12 is the first fight after Versus and WEC announced an extension of the partnership to bring 15 additional live WEC events and 20 WEC Wrekcage episodes—a show that features a mix of the top matches from WEC events never before seen on television and Versus’ best live events—to the network.
“Three great title fights on the card, led by one of the most popular MMA fighters in Urijah Faber, coupled with the WEC debut of UFC star Jens Pulver is a great way to kick off our recently extended partnership,” said Marc Fein, Senior Vice President of Programming and Production for Versus. “Viewership has increased with each fight since the WEC’s first event on Versus and we are confident that this tremendous line-up of fights will continue that trend.”
To kick start the WEC’s year-end spectacular on December 12 a little early, the network will air WEC Outside the Cage, on Dec. 5 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. WEC Outside the Cage will include interviews, fight clips and behind the scenes footage to preview the WEC live event on Dec. 12.
This thought came across my mind last night while I was watching the broadcast…
After his win over Rich Crunkilton, WEC Lightweight Champion Rob McCullough told Frank Mir that his next fight will most likely be in November. Cub Swanson has already said that his bout with Jens Pulver has been rescheduled for November. We reported last month that Doug Marshall was set to defend his WEC Light Heavyweight Championship against Ariel Gandulla in October. So why is the WEC promoting it’s next televised event for December 12th?
I don’t think the WEC 30 and 31 are going to be televised. Why? Probably because of Versus’ coverage of the NHL. It’s a shame but hockey is obviously a bigger draw for the network.
I’m waiting for confirmation back from the WEC about this. I could be wrong. Hopefully I am…
MMA on Tap has learned that Doug “Rhino” Marshall (6-2) will defend his WEC light heavyweight title in October at WEC 31 when he faces American Top Team’s Ariel Gandulla (4-0).
Doug Marshall is a heavy handed slugger who holds victories over the likes of Anthony Fuller, Lodune Sincaid, Justin McElfresh, and Lavar Johnson. Marshall won the WEC light heavyweight title at WEC 23: Hot August Fights when he knocked out UFC veteran Lodune Sincaid.
Ariel Gandulla is a native of Havana, Cuba who sports an unblemished MMA record of 4-0. Gandulla made his WEC debut on May 12, 2007 at WEC 27 squeaking out a split decision victory over Gary Padilla (7-2).
The WEC weigh-ins will be taking place at 4 PM PST/7 PM EST.
Main Card Bouts:
Carlos Condit (170) vs. Brock Larson (168.5)
Paulo Filho (184.5) vs. Joe Doerksen (185)
Jeff Curran (145) vs. Stephen Ledbetter (146)
Jamie Varner (156) vs. Sherron Leggett (156)
Hiromitsu Miura (184.5) vs. Fernando Gonzalez (185)
Eric Schambari (183.5) vs. Logan Clark (185)
Antonio Banuelos (136) vs. Justin Robbins (135)
Steven Cantwell (205) vs. Justin McElfresh (206.5)
Tiki Ghosn (172) vs. Blas Avena (169.5)
The WEC has officially added four fights to their August 5th WEC card at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.
In the featherweight division Jeff “Big Frog” Curran (27-8-1) will take on Stephen Ledbetter (5-0). Curran is a veteran of the UFC who holds victories over the likes of Wagnney Fabiano, Charles Bennett, Jason Dent and many others. Curran’s opponent, Stephen Ledbetter, sports an unblemished record of 5-0 with victories over Steve Kinnison, Jarrod Card, and Majeed Alkush. If Curran is victorious keep your eyes open for a featherweight title fight with Urijah Faber in the future.
Antonio Banuelos (13-4) will return to action for the first time since his KO loss to Charlie Valencia when he takes on Justin Robbins (6-2-1). Fighting out of The Pit, Banuelos sports a WEC record of 6-2 with victories over the likes of Cole Escovedo, Mike French, and James Cottrell. Robbins, a native of Springfield, Illinois, is a veteran of KOTC and XFO who holds victories over Tristan Yunker and Zach Jenkins.
Also on the card will be Jamie Varner vs. Sherron Legget and Hiromitsu Miura vs. Fernando Gonzalez.
Here is the full card:
Main Card Bouts:
Paulo Filho vs. Joe Doerksen
Carlos Condit vs. Brock Larson
Jeff Curran vs. Stephen Ledbetter
Jamie Varner vs. Sherron Leggett
Eric Schambari vs. Logan Clark
Tiki Ghosn vs. Blas Avena
Hiromitsu Miura vs. Fernando Gonzalez
Antonio Banuelos vs. Justin Robbins
Steven Cantwell vs. Justin McElfresh
STAMFORD, Conn.—From the producer of American Chopper and Dirty Jobs, the VERSUS original series TapouT follows Mask, Punkass and Skyskrape—the crew behind the premier mixed martial arts clothing and gear line TapouT—on their cross country travels in search of the next MMA superstar. After a great series debut in June—which included three episodes and saw a 140 percent increase in household impressions for the time period average—all new episodes featuring the bad boys of MMA will premiere on VERSUS Wednesdays beginning August 1 at 10 p.m. ET/PT.
Traveling around the country in a tricked out tour bus, the crew is on the hunt to discover a fighter who has what it takes to represent the TapouT label; and before these up and comers fight their way out of the cage, they have to fight their way in with the TapouT crew. The crew bonds with their fighter testing out his personality, and in between the usual TapouT mayhem makes sure their new protégé gets the proper training before the big fight. In each episode, it’s all on the line in the dramatic conclusion as each fighter gets one shot to impress the crew and show off his skills in the cage.
“With this original reality series and our live World Extreme Cagefighting events, we are closer to our goal of becoming a top destination for the best mixed martial arts programming on television,” said Marc Fein, Senior Vice President of Programming and Production for VERSUS. “The uncompromising quality of our fights and original productions is what differentiates VERSUS from other networks.”
The TapouT brand is Mask’s—“The General” of the crew—creation. His ‘inyaface’ attitude and no-nonsense approach are the basis of the TapouT world and a favorite of fans. Whether it’s prepping fighters or meeting fans, Mask is one of the most recognizable personalities in the combat sports world from the Las Vegas strip to the streets of New York City. Punk Ass is the strong, silent type with the entrepreneurial mind—he’s all business, all the time. He’s the tough guy in any neighborhood he decides to make his own. Skyskrape is the clown of the crew and is always decked out in outrageous wigs, costumes and sarcasm and he gets the crowd energized and pumped for every event.
Schedule and descriptions for new episodes follow. All times are 10 p.m. ET/PT, subject to change:
AUGUST 1: THE SEARCH CONTINUES
TapouT scouts several talented fighters on a cross-country trip looking for new talent. They stop in at Matt Hughes’ farm before heading out to the Ring of Fire, a mixed martial arts event in Colorado.
AUGUST 8: CHARUTO
TapouT travels to Hawaii to sponsor Charuto who is BJ Penn’s jiu-jitsu instructor. He hopes that with TapouT’s help, he’ll make his mark at the Icon MMA event in Honolulu.
AUGUST 15: SERGIO
TapouT meets Sergio, a promising fighter out of David Strasser’s gym in Wisconsin. Sergio is struggling to leave his day job behind and become a full-time fighter and he gets his shot at his first MMA event in Las Vegas.
AUGUST 22: SUNSHINE
TapouT hits the road with their newest discovery, Sunshine. The crew does their best to get their wide-eyed, innocent fighter into trouble before arriving in New Jersey for an MMA event at a baseball field.
AUGUST 29: ROB ROY
The secretive Rob Roy is TapouT’s latest fighter. His next fight is at a biker rally on the Mississippi river and everyone gets in to plenty of trouble before Rob Roy finally steps into the ring.
To ensure viewers get their full TapouT fix, VERSUS will re-air the first three episodes on July 31.
DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH (8 p.m. ET)
Mask, Skyskrape, and Punkass find a potential fighter in Albuquerque and take him to the Extreme Challenge in Iowa.
LITTLE FIREBALL EPISODE (9 p.m. ET)
The TapouT crew travels to Chuck Liddell’s training center, the Pit, and decide to sponsor his friend and training partner, Antonio. Mask and the crew join Antonio in Las Vegas for his fight.
HOT HEAD (10 p.m. ET)
TapouT picks up an inexperienced fighter at the American Kick Boxing Academy and takes him to his first professional bout. Along the way, the fighter learns some tough lessons about what it takes to be a pro.
The WEC’s debut broadcast on Versus this past Sunday night brought in an overall rating of 0.4 and averaged 416,000 total viewers throughout the show according to MMA Weekly.
The broadcast did very well at least on it’s own channel as it drew close to the same rating as two games of this year’s Stanley Cup Finals that aired on Versus.
Elite XC’s premiere on Showtime back in February only drew 365,000 views compared to the 416,000 that the WEC brought in. However Showtime is only available in 15 million households in the US compared to Versus which is shown in about 70 million.
Tonight we will be covering WEC 28: Faber vs. Farrar with one of our patented live blogs. Be sure to leave some comments throughout the night…
WEC 28: Faber vs. Farrar
Urijah Faber vs. Chance Farrar
Rani Yahya vs. Mark Hominick
Alex Karalexis vs. Josh Smith
Craig Zellner vs. Brian Stann
Brock Larson vs. Kevin Knabjian
Alex Serdyukov vs. John Alessio
Cub Swanson vs. Micah Miller
Brian Bowles vs. Charlie Valencia
Mike French vs. Jeff Bedard
Here are the official weigh-in results for WEC 28: WrekCage.
WEC 28: WrekCage
Urijah Faber (144) vs. Chance Farrar (144)
Rani Yahya (145) vs. Mark Hominick (144)
Alex Karalexis (155) vs. Josh Smith (155)
Craig Zellner (203) vs. Brian Stann (201)
Brock Larson (170) vs. Kevin Knabjian (170)
Alex Serdyukov (170) vs. John Alessio (171)
Cub Swanson (145) vs. Micah Miller (146)
Brian Bowles (136) vs. Charlie Valencia (135)
Mike French (134) vs. Jeff Bedard (136)
The show will air on VERSUS at 9 PM EST, with a one-hour preview show immediately beforehand at 8 PM EST. For those of you in Canada, the event can be caught live on TSN.