The bliss of two event in 24 hours has now past and we are left with the aftermath of some great fights. Its rare for two events to be back to back like this but when they happen it a treat. Both events were really entertaining featuring allot of close match ups that went to the judges. Even though allot of the fights when to the judges they were very good fights and the judges got them right too. After starting out 5-5 on the year I turned things around going 14-6-1 for the two events bringing me up to 19-11-1.
Sunday was WEC 46 and featured 5 current or former champs on the card. The main event was to unify the Lightweight Championship between current champ Jamie Varner and the interim champ Ben Henderson. For two rounds the fight was mainly a boxing match with neither man really taking control of the fight but Varner maybe Slightly winner each round. Varner tried to shoot in for a takedown a few times in the first round but had no success so they stayed on their feet. The third round started out the same way until Varner went for another takedown attempt, he was sloppy and left his neck open. Henderson quickly took the neck and jumped for a standing Guillotine where Varner tapped almost immediately. Both fighters didn’t look bad until they put a mic in front of Varner and he proceeded to be a jackass. Being the villain or sore loser the he is Varner said he came to fight and Henderson came to grapple, just he forgot that he was the one attempting the takedown.
The co-main event was Sacramento’s own Urijah Faber returning to action against a very tough Raphael Assuncao. A very fun fight to watch when Faber showing off his quick hands and Assuncao coming forward methodically to whole fight. I figured this fight was going to be very close and go to the scorecards but Faber really looked good and controlled the fight. Faber rocked Assuncao a few times and took the fight to the ground at times also. By the third round Faber was clearly up two rounds on Assuncao and he had to go for broke and when Faber got him down again he gave up his back to attempt to get out but got submitted by rear naked choke. A very impressive win for Faber earning him a shot a Jose Aldo and the Featherweight title.
The other fight of importance was Mike Brown quickly returning from losing the Featherweight belt to Aldo facing relatively unknown Anthony Morrison. A veteran of 22 professional fight Morrison though unknown is not a newcomer, but he is clearly not on the level Brown is. This fight for Brown is the WEC throwing him a bone to get his confidence back and begin building him back up. From the moment they touched glove Brown was in control and had no problem getting Morrison down taking his back and submitting him by rear naked choke. Brown looked impressive but then again he was suppose too.
The nights bonuses went to Urijah Faber (Submission of the night) & Will Campuzano vs. Coty Wheeler (Fight of the night). Each will receive a bonus of $10,000 on top of their fight purse. There was no Knock out of the night due to no KO/TKO on the card.
Last night was the second part of the double header as the UFC rolled into Virginia for Ultimate Fight Night 20. The night was filled with former Ultimate Fighter participates including 3 previous winners. The main event was a semi-final rematch between Nate Diaz and Gray Maynard from season 5 of the Ultimate Fighter. In their first meeting Diaz finished Maynard off via triangle choke submission to secure a spot in the finals. Diaz went on the face Manny Gamburyan in the finals and won the show when Gamburyan had to submit due to an injured shoulder. These two have no loved lost between each other but Diaz doesn’t like many people especially if he’s fighting you. Maynard came out in the first round with a plan for the fight, stay on his feet and “bully” the thinner Diaz. Maynard used very good boxing with allot of head movement and getting in and out to control Diaz. Maynard got cut above the right eye in the first round but it appeared it was caused by an accidential head bunt. In round two the two really began to trade verbal jabs and the frustration of Diaz unable to do much was clear. In the third round Diaz continued to try and provoke Maynard to little luck and towards the end of the round Maynard landed a big right that wobbled Diaz. The fight ends with each raising their hands but it clear Maynard won that fight, judges agree and Maynard wins via Split Decision. I though it was unanimous but they got the right decision so I won’t complain.
The co-main event featured Ultimate Fighter Season 8 winner Efrain Escudero (13-0) vs. Evan Dunham (9-0) in a battle of undefeated. Escudero came out strong in round one looking sharp and throwing crisp punches. He used one of those punches to drop Dunham, in serious trouble as Escudero looks to finish the fight he somehow holds on as the round ends. In the second round Escudero was looking again to land that big shot but Dunham had made the needed changes and looked much better. In the third round Escudero takes Dunham down but get caught in a triangle that turns into a nasty arm bar which Escudero refuses to tap and nearly gets his arm broke before finally tapping. Dunham pulls off the upset, giving Escudero his first lose and keeping himself undefeated.
The second fight of the night was Tom Lawlor vs. Aaron Simpson which was an awesome fight yet the only one that people questioned the judging. This fight was similar to the Escudero vs. Dunham fight as in round one Lawlor came out looking great and was manhandling Simpson the whole round hitting him with several unanswered shot. Simpson was on shaky legs the last half of the round but was able to make it out of the round. Lawlor total dominated that round and the question being asked is should that have been a 10-8 round. In round two the the tired began to turn as Simpson got his legs back and Lawlor began to tire. As they enter the third round Simpson has taken over the fight and take Lawlor down a few times and clearly in control of the fight as the round ends. I gave two rounds to Simpson and the first round to Lawlor so depending on if I went 10-8 in the first would determine the fight. The Judges had the fight as a split decision win for Aaron Simpson and the boo birds came out in full force.
The first fight of the night and the last I’ll recap was Season 7 winner Amir Sadollah in his toughest fight to date against Brad Blackburn. This fight really surprised me as Sadollah look really good and just dominated the fight. Using a crazy amount of push kicks to keep the distance Sadallah picked a part Blackburn, showcasing his striking by dropping Blackburn a couple of times throughout the fight. The Forrest Griffin clone looked very good and ended the 5 fight winning streak Blackburn had put together with a Unanimous Decision.
The nights bonuses went to Gerald Harris (Knockout of the night), Evan Dunham (Submission of the night) and Aaron Simpson vs. Tom Lawlor (Fight of the night). Each will receive a $30,000 bonus on top of their purse.