Jamie Varner throws a left hook at Rob McCullough during their championship bout at WEC 32: Condit vs Prater. Photo property of World Extreme Cagefighting.
Some thoughts and notes from last night’s WEC 32: Condit vs Prater…
Good Show, Good Production
Last night’s event was definitely fun to watch. The televised bouts had a lot of everything - spectacular knockouts, slick submissions. Even the most boring fight on the broadcast had a highlight reel ending. The main thing that I wanted to touch on was the production. Sam Caplan makes a great point when he says that last night’s show was perhaps the best MMA show he’s ever seen on basic cable. I couldn’t agree more.
The commentating was great. Aside from Frank Mir’s screams of excitement once in a while during a bout, he did fantastic as always. Even Urijah Faber guest commentating during the Torres-Beebe fight was interesting to listen to. He came off as being a lot more than just a California surfer like I’m sure the casual fans portray him as.
Did anyone else notice that their was a semi-entrance where the fighters came out last night? Granted it was only a lit-up WEC sign above the curtain but still, it’s at least a start for those out there who still long to see a Zuffa-promoted event use the ramp again.
Strange Judging in Tapia-Banuelos
I realize it was a pretty even fight for the most part but how that one was scored a draw confuses the hell out of me. Antonio Banuelos did a good job of controlling the third round but I still thought that Manny Tapia earned a unanimous decision for the first two, even though a split call was more likely.
I’m still surprised that no one scored a 10-8 first round for Tapia. He knocked Banuelos down twice in the round and came very close to finishing him. Just like in the Bisping-Hamill fight, Cecil Peoples gave the fight to the wrong person again.
Torres, Garcia Impress
Let me just say that Miguel Torres’ jiu-jitsu transititon to end the fight was some of the most beautiful ground work that I’ve possibly ever seen on live television. When Faber said that Torres wouldn’t have trouble if the fight went to the ground, I immediately questioned the statement after thinking about Chase Beebe’s win over Rani Yahya. Well I was wrong. Amazing performance.
Who would have thought that Leonard Garcia would have not only beaten but stopped a top five featherweight? I know I didn’t. I expected Hiroyuki Takaya to overwhelm him over three rounds but Garcia certainly put that notion to rest by dropping the Shooto veteran.
I originally thought that the stoppage might have been a little premature but after watching the replay a couple of times, it was clear that Takaya was out of it and unable to defend himself. Mir pointed before the fight that Garcia’s corner was star-filled and seriously, it was scary good. WIth Greg Jackson (jiu-jitsu), Duane Ludwig (striking), and Mike Van Arsdale (wrestling) in your corner, what more do you need.
Holy Jamie Varner
I know that his fight against Hermes Franca impressed the UFC show much that they wanted to ship him over to the WEC to bolster their lightweight division, but I still wasn’t very confident in Varner’s skills. I mean after all, with the exception of Franca, Varner hadn’t really fought anyone that notable.
Well last night was scary because as good as Varner looked on the feet last night, he’s even better on the ground. The fight started out slow but ended with a literal bang. That stoppage was the worst I’ve seen since Robbie Lawler destroyed Frank Trigg in the fourth round of their ICON title bout.
Just a little side note - I was going to make a post about it but I haven’t been able to find any video yet but the repeated UFC 82 trailer that was shown last night on Versus advertised Keith Jardine instead of Heath Herring, a visible mistake on the UFC’s part. It seems that they have since corrected since a trailer with Herring in it is out there still odd to see that networks they’ve sent video out to haven’t used the corrected one.
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