Faber Defends Title in First Versus-Televised WEC Event

Urijah Faber knew how good of a wrestler Chance Farrar was coming into the main event of the WEC’s first televised show since Zuffa purchased the company late last year. Farrar’s credentials were just as impressive as Faber’s, if not better in some regards. The last time that Faber faced off against a talented wrestler like himself, he suffered the only loss of his professional MMA career to date, a TKO defeat at the hands of UFC lightweight prospect Tyson Griffin.

Putting two wrestlers of such a high caliber together usually results in an entertaining battle on the ground. Well, that’s just what happened Sunday night at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Faber (19-1) and Farrar (5-1) put on a showcase of quick scrambles and slick reversals until Faber was able to climb onto Farrar’s back and sink in a rear naked choke. Farrar tried to fight the submission but ultimately was forced to tap out at 3:19 of the first round.

The win was Faber’s 11th in as many fights and his third straight defense of the WEC Featherweight Title. Farrar suffered his first career loss in only his second fight outside of the Total Combat organization.

“I knew that Chance was a really good wrestler coming into this bout so I was definitely prepared for a fight on the ground” said Faber during a post-fight interview.

With the WEC still establishing it’s featherweight division, they are most likely slated to have to continue to bring in outside fighters to challenge Faber for his belt for at least the near future. While a reference to Kid Yamamoto wasn’t made by Faber this time around, he still made sure to let all of the fighters in the 145 lb division know that he is ready for all of them.

“Anyone out there that wants to challenge me for this belt will know where to find me,” Faber said. “I’m ready for anyone who wants to come into this cage and face me.”

One of those future challengers may very well be Rani Yahya, who scored a surprising submission win over UFC and TKO veteran Mark Hominick in what was one of five fights that didn’t go past the first round.

Yahya (11-2), who probably is most well-known for competing in several K-1 Hero’s events, attempted multiple sloppy and failed takedowns on Hominick (13-7) during the opening moments of the fight. Hominick simply backed away from the attempts and tried to counter with punches while Yahya tried to spring back up to his feet. Yahya was finally able to bring Hominick down after jumping on his back and it was only seconds later that Yahya secured a rear naked choke and forced Hominick to tap out or pass out only 1:19 into the bout.

After the bout, a visibly dazed Yahya tried to comfort Hominick many times but Hominick simply didn’t want anything to do with his opponent, continuously walking away and avoiding an embrace until referee Steve Mazzagatti forced the two together. During the post-fight interview, Yahya let everyone know that a Hominick punch left him not knowing what happened in the fight.

“I’ll tell the truth, I don’t remember anything that happened in the fight,” said Yahya. “I just want to say that Hominick is an excellent fighter and that I don’t remember anything about the fight. I know that I won the fight but what happened must have just been spontaneous. I was born fighting and I was raised fighting so my body flows natural.”

Despite Hominick’s loss, Alex Karalexis came away with a victory in what turned out to be a decent night for UFC veterans. Karalexis won a hard fought majority decision over Josh Smith in a bout that had Karalexis basically blind in his left eye for the entire fight.

The huge mouse under Karalexis’ eye came from Smith’s very first punch of the fight. However it didn’t affect Karalexis (9-2), who continued to push the pace throughout the course of the fight. Smith (5-3) had moments where he looked very impressive but was never really able to get into a groove and control Karalexis on the ground or standing up. Karalexis was able to use his superior strength to slam Smith to the canvas and pound out a win.

Karalexis was penalized in the closing seconds of the final round by Big John McCarthy when he illegally stomped Smith while Smith was lying on the ground. The rules state that you can not kick or stomp a downed opponent. McCarthy took away a point from Karalexis, which resulted in many judges scoring the round 9-9 instead of 10-9 for Karalexis, thus the reason behind the majority decision.

US Marine Brian Stann was impressive in the first televised bout of the night, making quick work of Craig Zellner and remaining undefeated. Stann (4-0) showed right off the bat that he was the superior striker, connecting with several unanswered shots. Zellner (4-2) tried to take Stann down many times against the cage, but Stann was always able to reverse the takedown attempts and land on top of Zellner. The fight ended when Stann got on top of a fallen Zellner for the final time, unleashing a flurry of rights and lefts until the referee decided to save Zellner from any further damage and stopped the fight.

Televised Undercard Fights:

Welterweight contender Brock Larson went from being part of the main event to being part of the undercard that was squeezed into the telecast after WEC Welterweight Champion Carlos Condit was forced to pull out of their scheduled title bout after sustaining an injury in training. Kevin Knabjan stepped up on very short notice to take on Larson and to be honest, the fight was just as short as the time Knabjan had to prepare for the fight.

Larson (21-1) knocked Knabjan (6-3-1) down with a straight left hand just eight seconds into the match. Larson ran Knabjan down against the fence and tried a standing rear naked choke that Knabjan was able to slip out of. Larson then knocked Knabjan down with a knee and pounded him with rights until the fight was stopped just 27 seconds into it.

John Alessio submitted Alex Serdyukov for the second time in his career in a rematch of their fight just 10 months earlier. Serdyukov (5-4) shot in a for a double leg takedown on Alessio (19-10) but instead got caught in a guillotine. Alessio held on tight and eventually submitted Serdyukov at 1:17 of the first round.

After the fight Alessio pleaded for another shot at the welterweight title that he lost to champion Carlos Condit at WEC 26. He may have to wait just a little bit longer since Larson seems to be the next in line for a shot at Condit’s belt.

Non-Televised Fights:

Cub Swanson earned a unanimous decision win over Micah Miller in the third fight of the night. Swanson was able to dodge Miller’s submission attempts and control him on the ground en route to the victory. The two seemed to have nothing in the tank during the final round but Swanson (11-1) was able to rock Miller (8-1) with a right hand and follow it up with a flurry of punches to seal the deal late in the fight.

Brian Bowles submitted Charlie Valencia with a rear naked choke at 2:50 of the second round in their bout. The fight featured an exciting first round that was filled with powerful strikes and multiple submission attempts from both fighters. Bowles (2-0) nearly ended the fight in the first round with a left hook that buckled Valencia (8-3) for a moment.

Jeff Bedard survived a first round spent on his back to come from behind and defeat Mike French by unanimous decision. French (5-8) nearly submitted Bedard (9-0) with an arm triangle and then a rear naked choke in the first stanza but Bedard was able to survive the onslaught and control French for the final two rounds to get the win.

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