The WEC have pulled out all the stops for Thursday night’s WEC 51 event with a card that’s bursting with must-see fights.
See below for our predictions for the main card and the prelims of the show which airs live on Versus.
Jose Aldo vs. Manny Gamburyan
I underestimated Gamburyan in his last fight with Mike Brown and was then caught out when he KO’d him, but that’s not going to make me side with him in his title fight tomorrow night.
Aldo has made better fighters than Manny look bad, and though the Armenian is tough and unrelenting, the Brazilian’s vastly superior striking and movement should highlight the gulf in class between the two.
I don’t expect Gamburyan’s gameplan to be to stand and bang though, ideally he’ll want to use his wrestling to stifle the champion’s offense, but there’s two problems with that gameplan.
Firstly Aldo has terrific takedown defense, and secondly even if ‘The Anvil’ does get him down, he will have to deal with Aldo’s highly touted but rarely required BJJ skills.
I just don’t see a clear route to victory for Gamburyan here, and like Aldo to finish him at some stage in the later rounds to retain his status as one of the best fighters on the planet.
Prediction: Jose Aldo to win by TKO in Rd3
Donald Cerrone vs. Jamie Varner
A rematch of Cerrone and Varner’s infamous January, 2009 match-up is finally upon us. Since their original encounter Cerrone’s gone 2-2, coming unstuck twice against current champion Ben Henderson, while Varner spent a year out with injuries before also losing to Henderson and drawing with Kamal Shalorus.
So not exactly sparking form from either fighter, but I expect both men to be on top form here with plenty of bad blood spurring them on to settle this old score.
I’m anticipating another close fight with the two men being relatively even skill wise, and I think this one will end up being decided by the judges scorecards. With that in mind I think Varner has the edge since he’s more consistent over a three round fight, while Cerrone, by his own admission, is a slow starter.
Prediction: Jamie Varner by decision
Miguel Torres vs. Charlie Valencia
Torres is still a very marketable fighter, and one that the WEC are therefore very keen to have return to winning ways as soon as possible after a recent two fight losing streak.
Therefore Valencia, who’s recent string of three wins in the prelims conveniently disguises the fact that he’s consistently came up short against better quality opponents throughout his 12-5 career to date.
That’s not to say that this is a walk in the park, but Torres has the skills both standing on the mat to finish this comfortably inside the distance.
Prediction: Miguel Torres by TKO in Rd2
Chan Sung Jung vs. George Roop
There was a strong feeling that ‘The Korean Zombie’ was robbed after a loss on points in his potential ‘Fight Of The Year’ clashwith Leonard Garcia earlier in the year, but I don’t think he’ll have to endure such heart-ache this time round.
Roop doesn’t have the arsenal to compete with Jung’s all action style and apparent inability to feel pain and he’s also in danger of being subbed if the fight hits the floor.
It could well go the distance but I’m going to be bold and say that the Korean Zombie is going to light him up in one of his bloodthirsty toe-to-toe exchanges and end this one before the final bell.
Prediction: Chan Sung Jung by TKO in Rd3
Leonard Garcia vs. Mark Hominick
This should be a barnburner and potential ‘Fight Of The Night’ with both fighters looking to put on a show.
No need to second guess Garcia’s gameplan – he knows only one way to fight and that’s to charge headfirst into battle with fists flying.
Hominick’s game is a little more versatile. I like him to show more technique on the feet to steer clear of the windmills while landing meaningful blows of his own while also possessing a solid plan B on the mat if required.
Prediction: Mark Hominick by decision
Prelims: (Predicted winners highlighted in bold)
Pablo Garza vs. Tiequan Zhang
Mike Brown vs. Cole Province
Chris Horodecki vs. Ed Ratcliff
Diego Nunes vs. Tyler Toner
Antonio Banuelos vs. Chad George
Demetrious Johnson vs. Nick Pace