Dominick Cruz Becomes The New Bantamweight Champion After An Injury Stoppage

The headline bout of the evening stopped unexpectedly when Brian Bowles failed to answer the bell for the third round.  It then emerged that Bowles had a broken hand, with the former champion claiming to have sustained the damage from the very first punch of the night.

It was a disappointing way to end the evening, particularly since it takes some of the attention away from what had, up until that point, been an impressive performance for Dominick Cruz as he baffled his opponent with his speed, movement and footwork, leaving Bowles with few opportunities to land his favored power shots.

Cruz clearly won the first two rounds, but it should be noted that he wasn’t displaying the most  technical striking which left him open at times, and it still would have taken just one of Bowles power shots to turn this match on it’s head in the later rounds.

Unfortunately the injury stoppage prevented us from seeing if Cruz could have sustained his performance for the full five rounds, or Bowles could find a way back into the fight, and so it seems only right that a rematch is arranged in the future.  Both fighters seem agreeable to the idea, but Bowles hand will keep him out for a while, and meanwhile Joseph Benavidez is hungry for a rematch with Cruz after the biggest win of his career last night.

Joseph Benavidez Produces An Upset Victory Over Former Champion Miguel Torres

There was no question that Joseph Benavidez was a deserving winner last night, ending the fight in emphatic fashion after opening up a bad cut on Miguel Torres forehead with a vicious elbow from top position before seizing the opportunity to lock in a deep guillotine choke that left the former champ with no option but to tap.

Despite suffering the first KO of his career in his last fight Torres had appeared to be in typically self-confident mood leading up to this fight.  Perhaps the defeat was playing on his mind more than he had let on however as he looked tentative in the fight and lacked a sense of urgency even in the second round when it was clear the bout wasn’t going his way.

Take nothing away from Benavidez though who coped admirably with a major height and reach disadvantage on his feet, and did a good job of stifling Torres on the ground, giving him few openings to threaten from his back.

Benavidez may well now have the opportunity to kill two birds with one stone as it is likely he will now fight for the bantamweight title, while also earning the opportunity to avenge a past loss to Dominick Cruz in the WEC.  On the other hand much of the mystique that surrounded Torres during his 17 fight unbeaten run has now evaporated due to his back-to-back defeats, but at the age of 29 there’s still plenty of time for him to bounce back.

No Fairytale Ending For Jens Pulver As Javier Vasquez Claims The Victory

In a night filled with surprising results, the one fight that went as most had predicted was Jens Pulver falling victim to a Javier Vasquez submission.  The crowd backed Pulver all the way, but aside from two reversals, there was little for them to cheer about as Vasquez took control of the encounter on the mat, and finally sealed the deal with an armbar submission towards the end of the round.

The result leaves Pulver without a win in his last five fights, and he has now failed to make it out of the first round in his past four bouts.  An emotional Pulver received a rousing reception in his post-fight interview, and though he stopped just short of calling time on his career, he will surely know in his heart that it’s time to hang up his gloves.

Vasquez was also emotional after the fight.  This was a must win moment in his career too at the age of 33, having lost out by split-decision in his first two bouts in the WEC.  Now he can look forward to his next fight in the promotion, while Pulver can take comfort from the fact that he still has a place in the sport, whether it be as a coach, or as a color-commentator.

L.C Davis Outmuscles Deividas Taurosevicius To Earn A Majority Decision Win

Not the most thrilling encounter on the card, the battle between L.C Davis and Deividas Taurosevicius was fought largely against the cage as both fighters tried to gain superiority in the clinch.

In the end it was L.C Davis who edged out in front thanks to a slight strength advantage, some sterling takedown defense and his sheer willpower which saw him stay in the fight despite taking two strikes to the groin which the referee (who wasn’t having the best of performances) missed.

The fight remained close though and a successful takedown of his own in the 3rd round may have helped the judges decipher a winner, though one scored it a draw, leaving Davis with a majority decision win.

Davis now moves to 16-2 in his career to date, 3-0 in the WEC, while Taurosevicius picks up his first loss in the WEC to take his pro-record to 12-4.

Bart Palaszewski Comes From Behind To Defeat Karen Darebedyan

This was expected to be an opportunity for Karen Darebedyan to showcase himself as a major presence in the lightweight division, but Bart Palaszewski had other ideas.  Darebedyan started strongly, appearing to daze Palaszewski in an early exchange before taking the fight to the floor.

From their he began raining down heavy shots, some of which were landing cleanly.  Darebedyan was undoubtedly dominating but he was leaving himself open to possible submissions in the process and Palaszewski stayed active on the bottom.

The smart move would have been to stand back up where he appeared to have a clear advantage,but Darebedyan chose not to and it proved a costly decision as his opponent finally found what he had been looking for late in the round and locked in an armbar.

With the victory Palaszewski now has back-to-back wins in the WEC, and holds an overall record of  3-2 in the promotion.  Despite the loss, which ends Darebedyan’s seven fight winning streak, he is still definitely one to watch in the lightweight division, and at 23 years of age he has ample time to learn from his mistakes.

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Ross launched MMA Insight (previously in 2009 as a way to channel his passion for the sport of mixed martial arts. He's since penned countless news stories and live fight reports along with dozens of feature articles as the lead writer for the site, reaching millions of fans in the process.