WEC 46: "Varner vs. Henderson" has come to a close from the Arco Arena in Sacramento, California, and the first official event of the new year is in the books for the sister promotion to the UFC.
Lightweights Jamie Varner and Ben Henderson -- the reigning lightweight champion and interim lightweight champion, respectively -- met in the main event to unify the two titles and to determine who the division's champion really is.
Varner looked to have control of the fight heading into the third round, controlling "Smooth" with takedowns and the more effective striking. However, the resilient Henderson hung in there and continued to look for openings, both on the ground and in the stand up, despite falling behind on the scorecards through the first 10 minutes.
With little more than a minute left in the third round, he found that opening. Varner charged forward with a big takedown attempt, leaving his neck exposed. Henderson capitalized by locking in a fight ending guillotine choke.
It was quick, it came out of nowhere, and it was impressive. And now Ben "Smooth" Henderson is the undisputed WEC lightweight champion.
One time featherweight king, Urijah "The California Kid" Faber, made his return from injury in the co-main event, putting on a show for his hometown fans by overcoming a slow start to finish off one of the division's top contenders, Raphael Assuncao, with a third round rear naked choke.
Faber had a difficult time figuring out the Brazilian in the first round, and Assuncao capitalized by controlling him with a lot of clinching and more aggressive striking. However, rounds two and three were completely different as the hometown favorite turned the tides with takedowns, ground and pound, and aggressive striking of his own.
Eventually, Faber's athleticism and cardio prevailed as he secured the late third round submission victory.
After the fight, it was announced that "The California Kid" will indeed be getting the first crack at Jose Aldo's title. Faber sounded confident, vowing to reclaim is belt. However, Aldo had some words of his own for the former champ, warning that he wasn't going to be giving up his title anytime soon.
I don't know about anybody else, but I believe him.
Fellow ex-featherweight champ, Mike Thomas Brown, who was coming off a loss as well, also made his return to the cage tonight, dominating WEC newcomer Anthony Morrison en route to a first round submission finish.
"Cheese Steak" looked like he wanted to establish himself in the stand up early on in this fight, but once Brown grabbed him, the fight was out of his control. Brown took him right to the mat and within seconds he had a rear naked choke locked in.
After the seemingly easy victory, the American Top Team trainee talked about wanting to get his title back, but he seemed pretty content with the fact that Faber will get the first shot at Aldo.
Kamal Shalorus stayed unbeaten in his mixed martial arts career and moved to 2-0 inside the WEC cage tonight with a clear cut decision win over the previously undefeated Dave Jansen. "The Prince of Persia" demonstrated some really nice takedown defense, stifling the accomplished American wrestler's attack throughout the three rounds.
Afterward, he claimed that nobody could take him down and that his wrestling is at a "world class" level. It certainly looked like both statements were true tonight. Jansen is considered a very good wrestler, and he couldn't get anywhere with countless takedown attempts tonight.
If Shalorus can tighten up his striking technique, he could become a player in the WEC lightweight class.
International Fight League veteran Deividas Taurosevicius opened up the Versus telecast by winning his second straight fight under the WEC banner, taking out Miguel Torres' training partner Mackens Semerzier with a hard fought unanimous decision.
The Lithuanian fighter took the first two rounds of the fight on the judge's scorecards by controlling the youngster with takedowns and ground and pound. Semerzier hung in there and battled back to steal the third round, but he came up short in following up his impressive upset over Wagnney Fabiano with another win.
That's a wrap from the Arco Arena in Sacramento, California. To check out the full results for WEC 46 and our coverage of the event click here.
Up next for the promotion is a trip to the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio for WEC 47: "Bowles vs. Cruz" on Saturday, March 6. Freshly healed from injury, new bantamweight champion Brian Bowles will defend his title for the first time against number one contender Dominick Cruz. Former 135-pound king Miguel Torres, rising star Joseph Benavidez, MMA pioneer Jens "Lil’ Evil" Pulver and others are also expected to be in action on the card.
Make sure you keep it locked to MMAmania.com for all your WEC news and notes.
The floor is now yours, Maniacs