The WEC and featherweight champion Jose Aldo return tomorrow night with WEC 51: Aldo Vs. Gamburyan in Bloomfield, Colorado. Its the WEC’s first event in over a month and one of the advantages to only doing a show every-so-often is that when you do have a show, its usually pretty stacked. WEC 51 is one of those cards. Honestly, this one would be worth PPV money. Instead, its free on Versus.
The card falls on a Thursday which is odd. Most WEC cards are held on Wednesday or Sunday nights. The move to Thursday is probably a convenient little “screw you” to Bellator which always hosts events on Thursdays.
Featherweight Title Fight – Champ Jose Aldo (17-1, 7-0 WEC) vs. Manny Gamburyan (11-4, 3-0 WEC, 2-2 UFC)
Semi-interesting fact – This is only the third time in WEC history that a featherweight title fight didn’t involve Urijah Faber or Mike Brown. Its a strange time for the WEC. Luckily, Jose Aldo appears to be just the badass to make the decline of “The California Kid” and “Thomas” acceptable to fans. Aldo has been downright silly in the WEC only failing to finish Faber in a ridiculously one-sided affair in April.
Manvel the Anvil has won three straight since dropping from lightweight to featherweight and from the UFC to the WEC. He was last seen shocking Mike Brown at WEC 48 with a first round knockout and has definitely earned his first title shot. Gamburyan wants to take Aldo down and negate his nasty striking, but as James Toney once pointed out, all rounds start standing. No one is giving Gamburyan much of a chance – myself included – and I think Aldo will retain his belt with yet another stoppage.
Please, familiarize yourself with the champ. (Via Middle Easy)
Miguel Torres (37-3, 5-2 WEC) vs. Charlie Valencia (12-5, 5-3 WEC)
Torres had won 37 of his first 38 fights and 17 in a row between January 2004 and August 2009. Then, in back to back fights, he suffered his first career submission and knockout losses – to Joseph Benavidez and Brian Bowles, respectively. Now Torres gets Valencia in what I can only assume is supposed to be a chance for him to get back on the W-side of things. Valencia is on a three-fight winnings streak, but I expect Torres to put an end to that with a submission. Q
Donald Cerrone (11-3-1, 4-3-1 WEC) vs. Jamie Varner (16-3-1-2, 4-1-1 WEC, 1-1 UFC)
These two fought for the WEC lightweight title nearly two years ago with Varner winning a split decision in a fight with a somewhat controversial ending. (Watch the fight here.) The first fight also featured some over-the-top bro-hugging in the cage during the bout. Don’t expect a replay of those pleasantries this evening as Cerrone has actually wished death on Varner. I doubt this one goes the distance and I’m going to take Cerrone because I think he’ll do better striking this time around.
Chan Sung Jung (10-2, 0-1 WEC) vs. George Roop (10-6-1, 0-1-1 WEC, 1-2 UFC)
The Korean Zombie is back! Fuck yeah! And he’s got a new shirt! As a man who sat slack-jawed for Jung – Garcia, I’m forced to stick with TKZ. However, if this one gets to the ground Jung might get subbed by Roop’s jitz. Still, WAR KOREAN ZOMBIE!
Leonard Garcia (14-5-1, 4-2-1 WEC, 1-2 UFC) vs. Mark Hominick (18-8, 2-2 WEC, 2-0 UFC)
I’ve been a fan of Garcia since his UFC days when I realized he looks like a frog when he smiles. He’s also a hell of a brawler as we saw in the Fight of the Year with Jung. Garcia almost always goes the distance with a wild pace. Hominick on the other hand, finishes fights. I’d like to say Garcia by decision, but I think Hominick puts him away, probably by submission.
Mike Brown (23-6, 5-2 WEC, 0-1 UFC) vs. Cole Province (6-1-0-1, 0-1-0-1 WEC)
Poor Mike Brown. Dude is two fights removed from losing his belt and now he’s on the undercard. And the rumor surrounding his last fight was that his head was in the wrong place because his girlfriend dumped him. A re-focused Mike Brown should make quick work of the relative MMA-noob.
Chris Horodecki vs. Ed Ratcliff
Antonio Banuelos vs. Chad George
Demetrious Johnson vs. Nick Pace (5-0, 1-0 Bellator via flying knee)
Diego Nunes vs. Tyler Toner
Jason Reinhardt vs. Zhang Tie Quan – The debut of the Mongolian Wolf!
[Aldo – Faber via Getty, Leonard Garcia – Korean Zombie via LeonardGarcia.net]