WEC 51: Aldo vs. Gamburyan
venue: 1STBANK Center in Broomfield, Colorado
Jose Aldo vs. Manny Gamburyan
Luke Thomas: I suppose I wouldn't rule out a round or two of Gamburyan bullying Aldo to the floor and holding him there. But part of Aldo's takedown defense is supreme reflexes and athleticism. Gamburyan also tends to dive for takedowns from a distance. Aldo's superior technique, hand speed and reach on the feet don't make that very appealing for Gamburyan either. Aldo by TKO.
Kid Nate: Manny is a tough, well rounded fighter who just doesn't have the tools to beat Aldo. He won't catch Aldo with his huge telegraphed overhand rights and I don't think he'll get the double leg either. That leaves him as prey for the merciless Brazilian champ. Aldo by TKO.
Brent Brookhouse: Gamburyan is strong in his grappling and hits very hard. He just doesn't have the striking technique to match Also which means we're looking at a case where he has to manage to get inside and land a bomb on the feet or get a takedown. After seeing Aldo against both Faber and Brown I have trouble thinking Manny can get the takedown so it comes down to Aldo's powerful and technical strikes versus Gamburyan's powerful strikes. Aldo also has the reach advantage which will allow him to pick Manny apart from outside. Jose Aldo by TKO, round 1.
Mike Fagan: Jose Aldo is a 6-1 favorite with the bookmakers. This is going to be a smashing unless Gamburyan can figure out how to stifle Aldo in a way that Mike Brown and Urijah Faber couldn't figure out. Jose Aldo by TKO, round 2.
Chris Nelson: Even if Gamburyan does manage to get inside on the quick and rangy Aldo and bring him to the ground, I don't know if he'll be able to keep him there. Aldo has 25 minutes to hammer at "The Anvil," and I think Manny will eventually break. Aldo via TKO, round three.
Nick Thomas: Aldo is going to cripple Gamburyan with kicks. Aldo by TKO.
Leland Roling: Gamburyan's wrestling will be the focal point of the first and second rounds in my eyes. He'll more than likely expend a lot of energy, and eventually... Aldo breaks free and unloads a lot of power on Gamburyan's legs and chin. Aldo via TKO, round three.
Jonathan Snowden: I don't think we've seen enough from Aldo to rank him among the pound for pound best. I think we have seen enough of him to pick him over Manny. Aldo by TKO
Donald Cerrone vs. Jamie Varner
Luke Thomas: Varner is a very talented guy and as much as Cerrone may have improved, I don't really think Varner's lost much of a step. Varner by decision.
Kid Nate: Varner has a big wrestling edge over Cerrone, plus the Cowboy is sloppy. Varner by decision.
Brent Brookhouse: Cerrone was making a nice comeback in the first fight, that comeback coupled with the general dislike for Varner has overshadowed what was a clear winning performance for Varner the first time around. I just think he's better than Cerrone and that's all I need to know. Jamie Varner by decision.
Mike Fagan: I don't see what's different since their first encounter that changes the outcome in this one. Cerrone's probably going to try and stand with Varner, and he'll be countered for fifteen minutes. Jamie Varner by decision.
Chris Nelson: There are certain fighters and fights, and certain weight classes in certain promotions, which I just cannot bring myself to get excited for. This is the perfect storm of all those. After watching their first fight just now, I'll say Varner via decision, I guess.
Nick Thomas: I love fights with true heat. Varner will beat Cerrone again. Varner by decision.
Leland Roling: Cerrone has already stated that he's basically going to go off gameplan due to the raw hatred he has for Jamie Varner, and I'm sure Greg Jackson is already trying to figure out how to get through to him. Cerrone fights stupid, gets peppered by Varner, and loses a close decision. Varner via decision.
Jonathan Snowden: I don't know what has changed since the first fight. Will be a competitive fight that Varner wins hands down. Just like the first time. Varner via TKO, Round 3.
Miguel Torres vs. Charlie Valencia
Luke Thomas: Valencia should be able to get snuffed out from a distance on the feet by Torres. I'm not so sure. Valencia is going to be able to takedown Torres at will. Will he get subbed? Maybe. I think Valencia is a live dog here. Valencia by submission.
Kid Nate: I think Torres' day is done but Charlie Valencia isn't the fighter to prove it. Torres by decision.
Brent Brookhouse: Torres knows he needs this win. Is he going to be a better fighter when he fights a little desperate or will it make him more prone to mistakes? I think we'll see Miguel come out aggressive and make something happen early, if it goes to a decision I'm a little worried for the former champion though. Miguel Torres by TKO, round 1.
Mike Fagan: Looks like the WEC is handing Torres a bounceback fight. Miguel complained that his gameplan was too cautious in his fight against Benavidez, and he plans on coming out like the "old Miguel" again. I'm worried that he's taking after his number one fan, Frank Mir. Miguel Torres by decision.
Chris Nelson: Valencia's not a bad fighter, but Torres would have to come with the worst gameplan in the world to lose this one. Torres via TKO, round one.
Nick Thomas: It's going to be a close fight but I have Torres with the size and ground advantage. Torres by decision.
Leland Roling: Valencia is a solid, middle-of-the-road fighter who can provide a challenge to almost any fighter, but Torres holds the advantage on both the feet and the ground in this bout. Torres via decision.
Jonathan Snowden: Miguel has every physical advantage over Valencia. That should compensate for any mental deficiencies. Torres via TKO.
Chan Sung Jung vs. George Roop
Luke Thomas: Neither is particularly great, but I'll give it to Jung for being around longer to do damage. Jung by TKO.
Kid Nate: Korean Zombie Baby! Jung by TKO.
Brent Brookhouse: Jung is the better fighter, he's more aggressive and he can take damage better. That will put him over the top. Chan Sung Jung by decision.
Mike Fagan: Jung's probably going to be overrated in the same way Yoshiro Maeda and Takeya Mizugaki were after exciting fights, but he should be able to take this. He did beat Leonard Garcia afterall. Chan Sung Jung.
Chris Nelson: "How do you kill something that's already dead?" Chan Sung Jung via decision.
Nick Thomas: Jung will be the more aggressive fighter and is better that Roop in all areas. Jung by decision.
Leland Roling: Jung should come out at an aggressive pace here and strike relentlessly until Roop quits. Chan Sung Jung via TKO.
Jonathan Snowden: The Korean Zombie is a fun fighter, but the Asian guys in the WEC haven't done so well after star turns. Is that a dumb reason to pick Roop? Probably. Roop, KO, Round 1.
Mark Hominick vs. Leonard Garcia
Luke Thomas: I just see Garcia getting outstruck here. Not put away necessarily, but he'll lose the exchanges overall. Hominick by decision.
Kid Nate: Hominick is very well rounded and should be able to avoid Garcia's helter skelter kill shots. Hominick by decision.
Brent Brookhouse: Garcia probably should be on a five fight losing streak right now, instead he's 2-2-1. His finish rate has fallen off a cliff since he beat Jens Pulver and it seems like maybe he's not good enough over three rounds to clearly win decisions against WEC level talent. Hominick should handle him here but when fights go to the scorecards you never can be sure in a Garcia fight. Mark Hominick by decision.
Mike Fagan: It's kind of amazing to think that Leonard Garcia had a title shot a year-and-a-half ago. Hominick's going to weather the storm and then pick him apart. Mark Hominick by submission, round 2.
Chris Nelson: I feel like the smart pick here is Leonard Garcia winning a dubious decision, but I think Hominick can finish it before things get that far. Hominick via submission, round one.
Nick Thomas: I have to go with my fellow Canuck. Hominick by decision.
Leland Roling: Garcia is far too wild to defeat a smarter fighter like Hominick. Hominick via submission.
Jonathan Snowden: Either Hominick gets overwhelmed in the first round, or he sticks and moves on his way to a decision. I think Garcia is too aggressive for him here. Garcia, KO, Round 1.
Mike Brown vs. Cole Province
Luke Thomas: Good comeback fight for Brown. Brown by TKO.
Kid Nate: Mike Brown better have his head on straight. Brown by decision.
Brent Brookhouse:Brown joins Torres as the guys who desperately need to get a W. Province should be the guy to give it to him. Mike Brown by TKO, round 2.
Mike Fagan: Mike Brown is a former champion and Cole Province doesn't have his own Wikipedia page. Oh, and you know why the UFC should assimilate the WEC roster? Because MIKE BROWN IS ON A FREE TV PRELIM. Mike Brown by decision.
Chris Nelson: I know next to nothing about Province, so I've got to take the ex-champ with more experience who's in need of a statement win. Brown via decision.
Leland Roling: Province has phenomenal wrestling ability, but Brown's strength can neutralize even the best wrestlers in the division. Brown via TKO.
Jonathan Snowden: Mike, the WEC has done all they can for you here. Time to get back on track. Brown via sub.
Chris Horodecki vs. Ed Ratcliffe
Luke Thomas: Ratcliffe has enough here to keep Horodecki at a distance or muscle him around in tight. 9mm by decision.
Kid Nate: I really wish this one was on TV. I'm a big fan of both guys. I think Horodecki has the better boxing technique and that will make the difference. Horodecki by decision.
Brent Brookhouse: Ratcliffe is too big and hits too hard for Horodecki. Ed Ratcliffe by TKO, round 1.
Mike Fagan: Horodecki's probably the better overall fighter, but he'll stand with Ratcliffe and have trouble with the size advantage. Ed Ratcliffe by TKO, round 2.
Chris Nelson: Is there a prospect who's lost more of his lustre in just two fights (Schultz, Njokuani) than Chris Horodecki? I don't think Ratcliff even has that much size on the babyfaced fighter, but I'll take him nonetheless because I no longer trust Horodecki not to fall apart. Ratcliff via TKO, round one.
Leland Roling: One... two... head kick, one... two... head kick, one... two. The most predictable gameplan should be easy for Ratcliff to figure out. Ed Ratcliff via TKO
Jonathan Snowden: I was shocked to learn that the WEC wasn't asking Horodecki to move down to featherweight. Ratcliffe is a big puncher and Horodecki is getting caught. Ratcliffe via TKO, Round 2.
Diego Nunes vs. Tyler Toner
Luke Thomas: Toner is going to bomb on him. Toner by KO.
Kid Nate: Nunes by decision.
Brent Brookhouse: Tyler Tonery by decision.
Mike Fagan: Don't know much about either guy. Nunes has a better WEC track record. Diego Nunes by decision.
Chris Nelson: I think we'll see the winner of this fight contending for the WEC featherweight title before too long. This is another fight in which the Colorado altitude could prove a factor. I'll take the hometown boy with the better all-around game to drag the Brazilian into the deep waters and finish this. Toner via TKO, round three.
Leland Roling: This is a tough fight to call. Nunes has solid kickboxing with the added background in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, but I think Toner is the better kickboxer here. Nunes could fall back on his grappling, but Toner is good enough there to regain his feet and win. Tyler Toner via decision.
Jonathan Snowden:Diego Nunes by decision.
Antonio Banuelos vs. Chad George
Luke Thomas: Banuelos has seems to be doing too much to stick to a pointed attack, but he's still too much for George. Banuelos by submission.
Kid Nate: Banuelos by TKO.
Brent Brookhouse: Antonio Banuelos by decision.
Mike Fagan: Antonio Banuelos by decision.
Chris Nelson: Banuelos has gone the distance with Scott Jorgensen twice. Conversely, George was choked out by "Young Guns" in just 30 seconds. No shame in that, since I don't see many 135'ers in WEC (or the world, for that matter) beating Jorgensen right now, but I also don't see many beating the always-game Banuelos. Banuelos via TKO, round two.
Leland Roling: Banuelos can compete with Scott Jorgensen, and that should say enough here. Antonio Banuelos via TKO.
Jonathan Snowden: I can't believe Antonio Banuelos is on the prelims! This card is amazing. Banuelas by decision.
Demetrious Johnson vs. Nick Pace
Luke Thomas: I actually think Pace is the better striker. Pace by decision.
Kid Nate: Johnson by decision.
Brent Brookhouse: Demetrious Johnson by decision.
Mike Fagan: Screw it, I'll take the Tiger Schullman guy. Nick Pace by decision.
Chris Nelson: Toss-up here between two well-rounded guys. I'll take the underdog Pace to squeak out a narrow points win with his striking and decent top game. Pace via decision.
Leland Roling: Johnson's battle with Pickett was just a taste of what this guy could potentially become in the future. I think we'll see some improvement, and his explosiveness should put Pace into a world of hurt. Johnson via decision.
Jonathan Snowden:Johnson looked great against Brad Pickett, but he's just too small for almost anyone in the division. Still, I think he can outskill Pace standing in an exciting fight. Johnson by decision.
Tiequan Zhang vs. Pablo Garza
Luke Thomas: I guess Zhang, but we have no idea. Zhang by whatever.
Kid Nate: It's impossible to evaluate Zhang based on his previous competition, but we know Garza is a late replacement and nothing to write home about. Zhang by decision.
Brent Brookhouse: Tiequan Zhang by decision.
Mike Fagan: I'm assuming Zuffa gave their Mongolian jewel a winnable fight. Tiequan Zhang by decision.
Chris Nelson: Despite his unblemished record, Zhang is still a completely unproven commodity outside of China and Southeast Asia. I don't think Zuffa even know what to make of him at this point, though I'm sure they're rooting for him to go on a nice run in the WEC. I'll pick him here for no other fact than that he's a durable guy, and the late replacement Garza may find trouble in the thin mountain air. Zhang via decision.
Leland Roling: I'm not sold on Quan, and while Karalexis was a much more interesting fight -- Garza's 6'1" frame in conjunction with his training at Minnesota Mixed Martial Arts Academy could prove to be the edge he needs to win. I'm going with the upset. Garza via decision.
Jonathan Snowden:This is Zhang's fight to win. If he can't do it, it may be quite awhile before another potential Chinese star emerges. He's one of the country's best prospects. If he doesn't beat Garza, that's bad news. Zhang by submission.