Here we are after WEC 47 in Columbus, Ohio and a few things stood out as I watched the event.There were highlight reel knock outs, great submissions and a couple of failures during the evening.
The WEC, a Zuffa owned company, has always done well in the production department but last night they made a huge error in using “The American Psycho” Stephan Bonnar (11-7) as on air talent. We usually find Fighters.com third-ranked Frank Mir (13-4) behind the mic but due to his upcoming fight they needed to bring in another person. Bonnar looked wide-eyed when the camera was on him and generally made me want to turn away from the television. He creeped me out to be completely honest. Then to have to be subjected to his commentary, it was as if someone was punishing me. The pick of Bonnar confuses me as he is not a huge star and I am sure with all the fighters that had already planned on being in Columbus, Ohio for the Arnold’s Sports Festival someone better suited could have been found. Hopefully the next time Frank is training for a fight they can find anyone other than Bonnar or else I will have to listen with the television on mute.
Once again the quality of most of the fights was top notch. There was the exception of the fight between LC Davis (15-1) and Deividas Taurosevicius (12-4). This fight offered little in the way of quality action with most of the fight taking place against the cage in the clinch. Normally I love good clinch work and some dirty boxing but this fight seemed to drag on as I was sitting there hoping for it to end and did not care how it ended, unlike the main event.
The main event featured WEC champion Brian Bowles (8-1) taking on Dominic Cruz (14-1) in a fight many thought would be a knock out victory for Bowles. Sadly the fight did not exactly go as fans and media would have liked. No one likes a fight to be stopped for an injury. It leaves you feeling unsatisfied and not confident that the win is actually a win. I do understand that the doctor can stop a fight at any time and it is their job to keep the fighters safe. Having said that, at the end of the second round I was excited and looking forward to the rest of this war. Then I hear Bowles can’t continue and was sitting there in disbelief. I am sure Bowles was feeling worse than any of us as he just lost his title and was not knocked out, submitted nor did he lose a decision. That is a hard pill to swallow both for the fighters and the fans albeit part of the sport.
We also witnessed what may be the end of a legend when “Lil Evil” Jens Pulver (22-13-1) lost last night in the first round via armbar to “Showtime” Javier Vazquez (13-4). Jens was working hard on the ground and I was actually impressed with some of his reversals and escapes but Javier was just to much and you knew if Jens could not get back to his feet eventually he would get submitted. No one likes to see a legend in any sport go out with five losses in a row and seven of his last eight. We tend to cheer for guys like Jens but sometimes it happens. I know I will miss seeing him inside a cage and hope to see him get a job with the WEC. Maybe he can fill in for Frank Mir next time so we can all be spared.
One of the highlights of the night was the fight between Joseph Benavidez (9-1) and Miguel Torres (36-3). Torres came into the fight with something to prove after losing his title to Bowles at WEC 42. The mark of a champion is after all, how they rebound from defeat. Torres is a good but not great striker but his ground game is excellent. It was amazing to see him get submitted via Guillotine Choke in the second round. I look forward to watching him fight again as I think these losses are great learning experiences and will fix some of the holes in his game.
All in all I was once again impressed with the WEC and Reed Harris. It was without a doubt a great show on an amazing weekend in Columbus, Ohio.