WEC 49: "Varner vs. Shalorus" has come to a close from the Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, and despite not having a ton of star power on the card, the first-ever showing in Canada was another trademark action-packed event for the promotion.
Lightweight stars Jamie Varner and Kamal Shalorus threw down in the main event of the evening to try and determine who was the more relevant fighter among the top 155-pound contenders.
Results were inconclusive.
Before the fight, Varner referred to Shalorus as "The best fighter you've never heard of," mainly due to his impressive wrestling credentials from the time he spent competing on the Olympic stage earlier in his career.
However, the "Prince of Persia" elected to trade strikes with the former champion and he held his own for the full three rounds by detonating "C-4" with an abundance of leg kicks and power punches.
In fact, the Iranian apparently did enough to win the fight on the judge's scorecards. The only thing that prevented him from going home a winner was the unintentional kick to Varner's groin that cost him a point in the second stanza.
Shalorus was called for the foul on three separate occasions during the second and third rounds. While they were all unintentional, referee Josh Rosenthal felt the point had to be taken. If it wasn't, he would have likely won a split decision.
Instead, the fight ended in a draw after one judge scored it 29-27 for Varner, another saw it 29-27 for Shalorus, and the third called it 28-28.
"Varner vs. Shalorus 2" -- coming soon to a WEC near you.
Besides that unfulfilling outcome, there were several other great fights on this card, starting with the co-main event between Canadian featherweights Mark Hominick and Yves Jabouin. The two countrymen delighted the crowd with a fantastic back-and-forth battle across two rounds.
Jabouin's striking looked great early on. He pounded away at Hominick for most of the first round and even at the beginning of the second with an insane amount of kicks and punches. But "The Machine" lived up to his nickname by literally walking through every strike "Tiger" Jabouin offered.
He continued to walk forward and throw his power strikes, even if Jabouin was easily landing ten strikes to every one of his. The strategy didn't seem to be working until he crumbled Jabouin with a body punch midway through the second.
It appeared Hominick was going to get the finish right then and there, but Jabouin battled back to his feet and finally unloaded with some power of his own that sent Hominick reeling.
Again it appeared that the fight was near its end, but again there was a shift in momentum.
Jabouin pounced to finish off his downed opponent, but Hominick recovered quickly and swept his way into a full mount. Jabouin tried desperately to free himself, but he couldn't escape Hominick's grasp and this time the fight really was over.
The win marked two in a row for Hominick, who appears to now be a player in the crowded WEC featherweight division.
Speaking of players in the crowded WEC featherweight division, one of the top 145-pound prospects in the world, twenty-one year old Josh Grispi, made his return to the cage after spending over a year on the sidelines due to an injured ankle.
"The Fluke" has already made a name for himself at such a young age by finishing 12 of 14 career opponents inside the first round, including all three of his WEC foes (Hominick, Jens Pulver and Micah Miller.) That trend continued tonight, as the youngster dominated well-rounded veteran L.C. Davis and notched victory number 13 inside the opening frame.
The nearly six-foot-tall athletic monster frustrated Davis with an assortment of kicks on all three levels throughout the first couple of minutes of the fight. Davis tried to counter by shooting in for a takedown, but by doing so he landed right into a deep guillotine choke.
Grispi's strength was too much for Davis, who drifted into la-la land instead of tapping out.
Afterward, Grispi talked about being ready to fight anybody in the WEC, specifically 145-pound champion Jose "Junior" Aldo.
Aldo vs. Grispi? Yes, please.
Former IFL slugger Chris Horodecki got his first win under the WEC banner by dominating newcomer Danny Downes en route to a third round submission finish via rear naked choke.
To be fair, Danny "Boy" stepped in on super short notice to take this fight in place of an injured Ed Ratclif, and "The Polish Hammer" was a huge step up in competition for the promotion rookie.
Still, Downes showed a ton of grit and heart during the fight. It was clear his cardio was up to par and he continued to battle until the end and in the process, likely earned himself another fight in the WEC, perhaps one with a full training camp.
Regardless, Horodecki handled his business and came away with the first win of his WEC career.
Former featherweight champion Eddie Wineland opened up the Versus telecast with solid performance against young, up-and-coming striker Will Campuzano.
Wineland's head movement and boxing won him the fight. He beat Campuzano to the punch on just about every exchange and he finished off the lanky striker near the end of the second round with a vicious body shot.
The ex-champ appears to be in top form and ready for another title run.
That's a wrap from Edmonton.
To check out the complete results and our blow-by-blow coverage of the main card action click here.
Coming up next: WEC 50 is set for August 18 at The Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Newly crowned bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz will defend his title for the first time against number one contender Joseph Benavidez in the featured fight of the night.
In the co-main event, former featherweight king Urijah "The California Kid" Faber will make his highly anticipated debut in the bantamweight division against Takaya Mizugaki.
Keep it locked to MMAmania.com for more on that developing fight card and all your WEC news and notes.