WEC 51 preview and quick picks for 'Aldo vs Gamburyan'

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WEC 51: "Aldo vs. Gamburyan" is all set for this Thursday night (Sept. 30) at the 1stBank Center in Broomfield, Colorado. The main card will air live on the Versus network beginning at 9 p.m. ET on fight night.

Remember that MMAmania.com will provide LIVE blow-by-blow, round-by-round coverage of "Aldo vs. Gamburyan," beginning with the Versus telecast at 9 p.m. ET. In addition, we will deliver up-to-the-minute quick results of all the under card action much earlier on fight night.

Feared featherweight champion Jose Aldo will defend his title for the second time in the night's featured main event against former UFC fighter and TUF finalist Manny Gamburyan.

Former lightweight and bantamweight champions Jamie Varner and Miguel Torres will also be in action on the Versus telecast, taking on longtime rival Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone and Charlie Valencia, respectively.

To help get you better prepared for the festivities, we've given some analysis and predictions for the five main card bouts set to hit the Versus airwaves on Thursday night.

Check it out.

Featherweight champion Jose Aldo vs. Manny Gamburyan

If Jose Aldo is the 145 pound version of Anderson Silva, then Manny Gamburyan needs to be the featherweight Chael Sonnen to win this fight.

Manny has some power in his hands, but he's fooling himself if he thinks he can trade strikes with the champ. His best chance to win is to try and wrestle the Brazilian to the mat and smother him with ground and pound.

Of course, that's easier said than done. We haven't seen anybody have any real success taking Aldo down, much less hold him there and be productive.

So is Manny the guy that's finally going to test the champ's bottom game and give him a run for his money? I doubt it.

Aldo is a lot bigger and stronger than he gets credit for, and his takedown defense is stellar. The challenger is going to be surprised by his strength when they lock up.

This is going to be a pick your poison type of deal for Gamburyan. If he comes at the champ with a one dimensional takedown or bust attack, then Aldo is going to have his arsenal of knees and kicks cocked and loaded. If he can't take the champ down and he's forced into trading strikes, Aldo will pick him apart from the outside until an opening presents itself to put him away.

Either way if he can't put the champ on his back and keep him there then this fight is going to end badly for him. It looks closer than it actually is. I think Aldo cruises.

Final prediction: Jose Aldo via knockout

Donald Cerrone vs. Jamie Varner

I don't like this fight for a couple of reasons for Cerrone. For one, he doesn't have a good track record against talented wrestlers, and for another, I believe a three round fight favors Varner.

"Cowboy" is somewhat of a slow starter, and if it takes him a minute or two to get going in this fight, Varner will take advantage of it with a takedown and jump out to an early lead on the cards. "Cowboy" is usually very good fighting off his back, but he does not want to get taken down early with a fresh Jamie Varner on top of him.

Once Varner knows he's ahead on the cards he'll look even more for the takedowns, and I think he'll end up spending the majority of this fight on top of the Greg Jackson trainee, which should be enough to take the decision.

The key for Varner is to jump out early and take that first round, though. Cerrone will be harder and harder to get to the ground as the fight wears on, and that's where Varner's best chance to score points is.

That's not to say Varner can't hang with "Cowboy" on his feet. It's actually pretty even in the stand up, but with Cerrone's reach advantage and style, Varner has to work that much harder to impress the judges on his feet than he does on the ground or with takedowns.

The best approach for Varner is to use his wrestling to ground and pound his way to a win. It worked for him before, and I don't think Cerrone can stop it.

I've got Varner by decision.

Final prediction: Jamie Varner via decision.

Miguel Torres vs. Charlie Valencia

If Miguel Torres loses this fight then all the pound for pound best in the world talk that was taking place a couple of years ago will officially be for nothing.

He's dropped two straight fights, but Brian Bowles and Joseph Benavidez are top division contenders. And even though Torres looked bad in both fights, anything can happen when you step in the cage with fighters of that caliber.

But if you're name is being mentioned as one of the best in the world, you need to be able to beat guys like Charlie Valencia, no disrespect to Valencia. If the real Miguel Torres shows up on Thursday night, his talent should prevail.

With that said, Valencia is an eight fight WEC veteran. He won't be blinded by any lights, and he's going to come ready to fight. This is a huge opportunity for him, and he is still very dangerous.

But, this is Miguel Torres coming off two straight losses for the first time in his forty fight career. I have to believe he's been training like a madman to get his game back on track, and I think he's going to make a statement with a dominating win.

Final prediction: Miguel Torres via submission

Chan Sung Jung vs. George Roop

Jung's memorable debut fight in the WEC against Leonard Garcia is going to be hard to live up to, but he'll face another game opponent in his sophomore effort as well in George Roop.

Roop is also coming off a grueling three round decision against Garcia, which makes this match up even that much more interesting. These guys fight like they have something to prove every time out, and there is no reason to believe they won't continue to put on great performances.

They're both very tough guys who can take and dish out a ton of punishment, and they both have underrated ground games and deep gas tanks.

All in all this is basically a toss up fight that should be great for the fans. The one area where I can see an advantage is Roop's size. He's got about 4 inches on Jung, and that could be hard for Jung to deal with in the stand up and in clinch situations. It was an issue for Garcia and it could become an issue for Jung as well.

This fight could go either way, but I like Roop's size to be the difference.

Final prediction: George Roop via decision

Leonard Garcia vs. Mark Hominick

I'm going with Hominick. He's won both of his 2010 fights in impressive fashion over two solid names (Yves Jabouin and Bryan Caraway,) while Garcia has gone to war in both of his 2010 fights, escaping with a split decision win over Jung and a draw against Roop that he would have lost had it not been for a point deduction.

Garcia hasn't looked like much more than a power puncher over the last couple of years, and well rounded fighters with takedown ability have had success against him.

Hominick fits that bill, and I think he's going to match up well against Garcia. Of course, with Garcia there is always a puncher's chance, but my money is on "The Machine."

Final prediction: Mark Hominick via decision

That's a wrap. Sound off with your predictions in the comments section below.

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