Galen Nathanson, Denver Post
Published Thursday, Sept. 30, 2010 | 2:55 p.m.
Updated Thursday, Sept. 30, 2010 | 8:37 p.m.
BROOMFIELD, Colo. — The WEC keeps throwing its top featherweights at defending champion Jose Aldo.
And the 24-year-old Brazilian keeps rolling through them.
Aldo (18-1) successfully defended his 145-pound title Thursday, dominating top contender Manny Gamburyan (11-5) en route to a knockout victory in the second round.
It’s always said in mixed martial arts that no fighter is invincible, but after defeating all eight opponents he’s faced in the WEC, Aldo looks like just about the closest thing.
“If it were up to me, my reign will last forever,” Aldo said.
Aldo appeared patient in the first round, feeling Gamburyan out for the first few minutes of the fight.
Towards the end of the first, however, Aldo started opening up. He caught Gamburyan with a few of the leg kicks he used to dominate Urijah Faber in April and began letting his hands go.
By the time the second round came along, Aldo appeared to be completely in rhythm. He connected on a resounding kick to Gamburyan’s body and followed it up with a series of punches.
The end of the fight came shortly after, when Gamburyan tried to takedown Aldo in a desperate attempt to regain his composure.
Aldo threw him off and punched his way to victory, forcing referee Herb Dean to step in at the 1:32 mark of the round.
“I wanted to see what he was going to try to do in the first round,” Aldo said. “In the second round, I just put to use all the things we had worked on in the gym.”
In the co-main event, Donald Cerrone got his revenge on Jamie Varner from their lightweight title fight in January 2009.
While that fight ended in controversy when Varner couldn’t continue after taking an illegal knee from Cerrone, there was no doubt about the rematch.
A notoriously slow starter, Cerrone came out and hurt Varner early, stringing together his punches and pushing the action.
Although Varner had his moments, it was a fairly dominant performance from Cerrone, who took the decision by unanimous scores of 30-27.
Jose Aldo (18-1) vs. Manny Gamburyan (13-6)
Round One: Very upright stance for Aldo here and just like that Gamburyan lands a straight right that nearly knocks Aldo down. He recovers and Gamburyan resets. Aldo snaps off his first leg kick about 90 seconds in and it’s a good one, knocking Gamburyan just above the knee on his front leg. Gamburyan lets his hands go with an overhand left but Aldo makes him miss. Hard leg kick from Aldo nearly sweeps Gamburyan off his feet. Another leg kick catches Gamburyan, but he answers with a right hook that lands.
Round Two: Gamburyan wants to get it to the ground early in the second, but Aldo defends his shot. Body kick lands for Aldo, followed by a leg kick. Aldo now lands two hard punches and Gamburyan is hurt. He tries to latch himself onto Aldo’s leg and get a takedown but Aldo starts swinging away and Gamburyan is out. Aldo wins via KO at 1:32 of second round.
Jamie Varner (16-4-1) vs. Donald Cerrone (12-3)
Round One: Cerrone comes forward fast and Varner throws out a punch before clinching up immediately. Cerrone connects and Vearner is in trouble. He turns his back and tries to get away from Cerrone and Cerrone rushes after him with a flying knee. Varner survives but Cerrone tags him again and sends his mouthpiece flying. Varner has to clinch up again and Dean eventually stops action to give Varner his guard back. Cerrone stalking him around the cage. Varner tries to land an overhand right but Cerrone ducks under and takes him down. Varner right back to his feet and they separate. Nice leg kick lands for Cerrone. Varner comes forward with a straight right, Cerrone ducks under and takes him down. Varner works back to his feet with his back to the fence. Hard knee lands for Cerrone to Varner’s midsection. Cerrone misses on an uppercut attempt and Varner lands his first combination of the fight on the counter. Varner swings hard and connects on a hook but Cerrone comes back with confidence and strings together a hook and a leg kick. Cerrone connects on another hook that has Varner backing up. Varner is fored to shoot on him but Cerrone defends it. Ten-second mark sounds and they both unload until the horn sounds.
Round Two: Cerrone starts the second round with a leg kick. Varner doubles up on his left hook but Cerrone backs away and makes him miss. They clinch briefly and both let their hands go on the break. Varner connects on a combination now, ending it with a strong straight right. He comes back for more but Cerrone shoots in and puts him on his back with just over three minutes to go. Varner is a strong wrestler though and he gets back to his feet fairly quick. Cerrone ducks under a punch from Varner and throws a hard knee that lands. Cerrone slips as he throws a right hand but he gets back to his feet with no harm done. Takedown attempt from Cerrone is stuffed. Cerrone again gets Varner’s defense up high with his punches before ending his flurry with a leg kick. Varner shoots but Cerrone defends and now Cerrone lifts his arms in the air to rile up the crowd.
Round Three: Cerrone pumps up the crowd before the start of the third. The two actually touch gloves to start the third. Same strategy from Cerrone, as he throws his punches first and then connects on a body kick. Varner now connects on two punches and Cerrone backs up but regains his composure after clinching Varner up. Cerrone with a hard takedown shot. Varner stays on his feet but he doesn’t look like a confident fighter right now. He just misses twice on a big overhand right, but now he throws it again and that one appeared to graze off Cerrone’s head. Cerrone takes a peak at the clock. Varner sees him do it and he comes forward. They clinch up and both throw their shots but neither can land. Varner throws the overhand right and Cerrone ducks and takes him down with two minutes to go. For the first time, Varner can’t get back immediately to his feet and Cerrone starts to land a few effective elbows from the top. Varner trying to get away and now he manages to get to his feet with a minute left. Cerrone goes in for the takedown again but Varner defends. Both guys take a look at the clock. Final ten seconds, Varner knows he’s lost and he puts his hands on his hips. Now he looks to touch gloves with Cerrone, they do but Cerrone shoves him after it. The bell sounds and Varner gives him a shove back. Cerrone wins via unanimous decision.
Miguel Torres (37-3) vs. Charlie Valencia (12-6)
Round One: Torres out in a crouched stance, Valencia circling around the cage. Torres pumping out the jab, Valencia looks a little hesitant to engage here. Leg kick from Valencia and then he circles away. Now Torres throws caution to the wind and comes in aggressive, swinging away at Valencia’s midsection. Valencia retreats and covers up before they clinch briefly and separate. Action stops as Torres catches Valencia with an accidental kick to the groin. The action resumes and really, neither fighter has been able to do much this round. Ten seconds left and Torres bully rushes Valencia onto his back and unloads a series of unanswered punches. Valencia able to work back to his feet just as the bell sounds.
Round Two: Valencia laods up on a head kick that we didn’t see in the first round. Torres answers by catching Valencia with a right hook and he’s hurt. He retreats to the fence and Torres follows him. Valencia working to his feet and Torres drops him again with a hard knee. Valencia in the fetal position and Torres takes his back and locks in the body triangle. Valencia in a bad position with three minutes left. Torres slips his left arm under Valencia’s chin and that’s it. Torres wins via submission at 2:25 of second round.
Chan Sung Jung (10-3) vs. George Roop (11-7-1)
Round One: Roop catches Jung with an early left jab. Jung comes back strong, landing a solid left hook at the end of a two-punch combination. Jung looks for a Muay Thai knee but that’s going to be tough against such a taller opponent. Right hook lands for Jung. Head kick lands for Roop but Jung weathers it well and pushes him against the fence. Jung pushes the pace now, chasing Roop around the cage and looking to land a big uppercut. Jung is throwing that left hook a lot and Roop better keep his right hand up.
Round Two: Nice jab lands for Roop right of the bat again. Head kick lands for Roop and he follows it up with a left hook. Nice body kick lands for Roop. Out of nowhere Roop catches Jung with a vicious head kick that puts him out cold. Roop could have tagged him again on the ground but there was no need. Jung was out immediately. Roop wins via KO at 1:30 of second round.
Leonard Garcia (18-6-1) vs. Mark Hominick (19-8)
Round One: Fighters touch gloves to start the main card. Garcia throwing out a lot of one-two combinations, left jab then the right hook. Hominick hasn’t let one touch him yet. There Garcia fits in a nice straight right and then lands a few nice punches to the body of Hominick. Hard leg kick from Garcia nearly sweeps Hominick off his feet. Hominick comes back to land a hard left hook to the smiling face of Garcia. Garcia puts together a flurry and lands a hard left hook at the end of it. Body kick lands for Garcia. Garcia misses on a spinning back kick and then two more wild, looping hooks. The jab is working for Hominick, but so far it’s been about his only weapon.
Round Two: Garcia opens the round wild again, throwing himself completely off-balance with some punches. He doesn’t land anything, but Hominick can’t capitalize on any of the positions. Now he tags Garcia with a right hook but it only seems to ignite Garcia, who responds by chasing Hominick across the cage. Inside leg kick lands for Garcia. Hominick starting to pick his spots now on the feet as he finds a home again and again for that jab. Garcia eating a lot of punches now but still mostly refuses to shorten up his own strikes. Garcia lands a nice straight right as the second round ends.
Round Three: Hominick sticking with the jab early in the third, Garcia looking to bully and turn it into a scrap. No lack of effort here from Garcia, as he’s putting everything he’s got behind his punches and throwing three-to-four at a time. But he’s not landing enough of them and Hominick is clearly scoring points with that jab alone. Straight right from Hominick, and now two unanswered left hooks. Garcia doesn’t appear to be in danger of being stopped, but he’s getting handled right now. 90 seconds to go. Man those are some haymakers from Garcia. Crowd cheering Garcia on as the 30-second mark hits. Hominick is just too technical though and he cruises to the finish. Hominick wins via split decision.
Tiequan Zhang (17-0) vs. Pablo Garza (9-1)
Round One: Garza looks for a head kick early and it flies over Zhang’s head. They lock up in the Muay Thai clinch, both guys throwing and Garza ends up on his back with Zhang in his guard. Garza looks for an armbar from off his back but Zhang defends it fairly easily. Now Zhang passes guard and throws on a guillotine. Garza trying to punch his way out of it but it’s too tight and he’s forced to tap. Zhang wins via submission at 2:26 of first round.
Mike Brown (24-6) vs. Cole Province (6-2)
Round One: Province unloading some early straight punches but Brown covering up well and avoiding any damage. Brown just stalking Province around the cage, he hasn’t thrown much yet but he’s controlling where the fight goes. Now he lands a hard right uppercut and Province is down. Brown all over him looking to finish. Referee right there, warning to stop the fight and now he does and Province isn’t happy about it. Brown wins via TKO at 1:18 of first round.
Chris Horodecki (15-2) vs. Ed Ratcliff (7-3)
Round One: Ratcliff looking to come in and out with his speed, Horodecki looking to time up a counter here early. Horodecki catches Ratcliff with a jab. Ratcliff uses the speed advantage to catch Horodecki with a jab of his own. Front kick lands for Ratcliff. Horodecki looks to work the body and he almost pays big time as Ratcliff just misses on a high flurry with Horodecki’s hands down. Both guys score points on an exchange. Now Horodecki gets the better of an exchange as he comes connects on a straight right and left hook as the round ends.
Round Two: Both fighters pump up the crowd just before the start of the round. Horodecki throws a series of leg kicks that land. Now he ducks under a jab from Ratcliff and lands another kick. Horodecki with some confidence comes forward with a few looping hooks and Ratcliff makes him pay for it with his speed. Another good leg kick lands for Horodecki. Horodecki throws a leg kick and goes down as Ratcliff sweeps him off his feet with a good kick of his own. No hesitation from Ratcliff, as he signals Horodecki to his feet immediately. Action stops now with two minutes to go as Horodecki catches Ratcliff with an accidental kick to the groin. Horodecki connects with a straight right. Ratcliff is trying to use a lot of movement to keep Horodecki out of rhythm but Horodecki seems to be finding it more and more as the fight continues.
Round Three: Ratcliff seems to be more aggressive here at the start of the third. He catches a Horodecki leg kick and lands a nice counter hook. Horodecki lands a right hook. Ratcliff seems comfortable throwing strikes at what seems like half the rate that Horodecki is. Superman punch attempt from Horodecki and Ratcliff makes him miss and nearly takes out his standing leg again with a kick. Two inside leg kicks land for Horodecki. Horodecki looks to go on the attack but Ratcliff fits in a nice straight right to back him off. Nice right hook lands for Horodecki, Ratcliff answers with a straight shot and now Horodecki puts him on his back with a hard straight right. Despite a few hard shots at the end, it goes the distance. Horodecki wins via split decision.
Tyler Toner (11-2) vs. Diego Nunes (15-1)
Round One: Nunes goes for the takedown immediately and Toner makes for an easy target as he gets caught in the middle of throwing a haymaker. Nunes scrambles to side control and lands a few unanswered left hands. Toner tires to work to his feet but Nunes catches him in a guillotine. He throws his legs up onto Toner’s back, Toner rolls to try and break free and ends up on his back. Nunes still trying to finish is from there but Toner survives and breaks the hold with 2:30 to go. Toner still on his back though and Nunes in clear control up to this point. Referee stands up the action with 30 seconds left. Nunes looks for the takedown early on again but Toner sprawls and defends it this time. Spinning backfist attempt from Nunes as the rond ends.
Round Two: Hard spinning backkick lands for Nunes early right to the body of Toner and he backs up and sort of crumples against the fence. Nunes closes in and Toner clinches him up from a seated position. Toner is able to work his way back to his feet but Nunes smothers him and keeps him against the fence. Midway through the round and Nunes lifts Toner away from the fence and puts him on his back. Referee stands up the action with 1:30 to go and it looks like Nunes got tagged by a left hook when he went to touch gloves with Toner. Don’t think it was an intentional move by Toner he just came out swinging. Nunes throws the backkick again and then immediately takes him down. Toner leaves the neck out and Nunes looks for the guillotine again. It looks pretty deep but Toner survives a good 30 seconds in the hold and we’ll see a final round.
Round Three: Toner lets his hands go as Nunes looks to land a leg kick. They clinch up and now Toner lands a hard right uppercut and Nunes looks hurt. He falls back and Toner looks to get on top but he over pursues a bit and ends up falling off and letting Nunes back to his feet. Nunes looking hard for the takedown, he puts Toner into a seated position against the fence. Nunes transitions to a kimura attempt but Toner defends it and the referee stands it up after they reach a stalemate on the submission hold. Toner looks to land a desperate knee as soon as action resumes but Nunes weathers it well and takes him down again in the final moments. Nunes wins via unanimous decision.
Antonio Banuelos (19-6) vs. Chad George (11-6)
Round One: Both guys feeling each other out here through first minute of the fight. George finally connects the first strike of the fight, a kick to Banuelos’s front leg. Banuelos pumps out the jab, still looking to find his range. Crowd becomes restless as the round hits the midway mark with still little action to speak of. George catches a front kick from Banuelos but can’t do anything with it. Banuelos lands a nice straight right, left hook combination. Nice left hook lands for Geroge and he shoots in for a takedown. Banuelos sprawls and ends up wrestling George down into side control. Now George cleverly scrambles into a D’Arce choke and Banuelos is barely, barely able to survive to the end of the round.
Round Two: Second round starting off much like the first, as both guys playing it fairly conservative on the feet. Leg kick lands for George. Banuelos moves forward now with a combination, George shoots low but Banuelos sprawls and puts him on his back again. Banuelos in side control and landing elbows. He fits in a few knees before the horn sounds for the final round.
Round Three: Inside leg kick lands for George. Now a kick to the body from George. Banueloes leans in for a right hook but George counters with a left. George goes in for an uppercut, Banuelos eats it but catches George in a single leg and eventually puts him on his back. George tries to work off his back as he did in the first but Banuelos bullys him the rest of the round from top position. Banueloes wins via unanimous decision.
Demetrious Johnson (11-1) vs. Nick Pace (5-1)
Round One: Johnson comes out in a fairly crouched stance. Pace fires off a head kick that swings over him, Johnson pushes forward with a right hook that lands. Johnson comes forward again and looks for a takedown with Pace’s back to the fence. Pace defends it and they stay in the clinch, walking from one end of the cage to the other. Pace now looking for the takedown, he drags Johnson downfor a moment but he’s quickly back on his feet and in the clinch. Two minutes left and Pace wrestles Johnson to the ground, but Johnson reverses and ends up in top position. Johnson passes into side control and lands a few good knees as Pace gets up to finish the round.
Round Two: Johnson starts off the round with a flurry that pushes Pace back to the fence. He lands a hard left and finishes the combination with a head kick. Pace survives and tries to work out of the clinch again but Johnson in control now as he keeps Pace against the fence and unloads another flurry that has Pace covering up. With Pace’s hands up, Johnson gets low and secures an easy takedown with three minutes to go. Referee stands them almost immediately and Johnson goes right back to work on Pace, throwing punches and kicks and getting him to cover up. Another nice takedown by Johnson with 90 seconds left where he lands some hard elbows.
Round Three: Johnson opens up with a lot of kicks here early and Pace is on the defensive again. Finally Pace looks to string together two punches, but Johnson avoids and now he comes back with a big, left head kick that knocks Pace back. Pace looks to land a Hail Mary uppercut and Johnson ducks under and counters beautifully with a right hook. Johnson again gets low with Pace against the fence, picks him up and carries him to the other side of the cage before slamming him down. One minute left and Pace takes Johnson’s back after a scramble out of the clinch and lands a few punches to end the round. Johnson wins via unanimous decision.