WEC: Heavyweight Explosion

By Greg Savage Jan 23, 2005
LEMOORE, Calif. Jan. 22 – Promoters Scott Adams and Reed Harris brought another edition of their highly popular World Extreme Cagefighting to the Palace Indian Gaming Center in Lemoore, California. WEC has become a big draw in California’s Central Valley, playing to sell-out crowds and establishing itself as a top proving ground for some of tomorrow’s MMA stars.

And Brandon Vera may just be one of those stars. He blistered his way through the opposition to win the WEC heavyweight tournament with a highlight-reel knockout and an impressive TKO.

The fight of the night had to be the Jorge “Van Damme” Oliveira- Shonie Carter match. This one was a barnburner from start to finish with the young Oliviera showing the veteran Carter a thing or two.

In a scene reminiscent of UFC 24 one of the fights had to be scrapped as Rafiel Del Real was injured backstage and could not make it to the cage to fight Troy Miller.

All in all, despite some refereeing guffaws and the cancelled fight, the show was a solid effort from the WEC. A portion of tonight’s action was broadcast live on HDNet and along with the addition of Jimmy Lennon Jr. as the ring announcer, WEC is doing their part to bring more and more credibility to the sport of mixed martial arts. Now let’s take a look at the night’s action.

Dan Christiansen weathered the early storm, maintaining his composure under the heavy burden of Andre “The Chief” Roberts before turning the tables on the veteran, securing an armbar at 3:26 of the first round. Christiansen takes home the WEC super heavyweight title with the big upset win.

Jason Lambert came in looking to walk away with Richard Montoya’s WEC light heavyweight belt and walk away with it he did. Lambert shot in for the takedown to begin the first round and never looked back as he worked his way to the mount and pounded away until Montoya decided he had had enough at the 2:45 mark of the round.

In a battle of behemoths, 275-pound Brad Imes put the lumber to 348-pound Lace Pele, dropping him with a knee before following him to the mat, taking his back and punching his way to the tapout victory at 2:04.

Jorge Oliveira did a pretty convincing Wanderlei Silva impersonation during the pre-fight stare down with Shone Carter and then kept it up as he beat Carter from post to pillar, continually beating him to the punch and devastating him with high kicks and punches. It was amazing that Carter remained on his feet after such a brutal onslaught but he finally let Oliveira know he was in a fight midway through the second round when he landed one of his patented spinning back fists, producing a big mouse under Oliveira’s left eye.

That was about all the offense he could muster though and soon it was Oliveira imposing his will on Carter once again as he kept firing and landing the right leg. Late in the second round it was another shin shot that cut Carter open above the right eye. The ringside physician was called to check the cut and allowed the fight to continue and Carter made it to the bell.

The third round was more of the same and it was another right high kick that put the exclamation point on the fight as Oliveira connected once again, staggering Carter to finish strong and leave no doubt about the outcome of what was undoubtedly the fight of the night. The judges came to a unanimous decision with scores of 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28.

Olaf Alfonzo got down to business right away as he took Chin Seng to the mat, worked his way out of a guillotine and landed some heavy leather from within Seng’s half guard to score the knockout at 1:13 of the first round.

In the finals of the heavyweight tournament, Brandon Vera squared of with Mike Whitehead in what turned out to be a lackluster contest. Whitehead controlled position throughout the first round but did little else.

Early in the second round Vera landed a nice knee that stood Whitehead straight up and followed with a high kick that missed its mark. Whitehead grabbed the leg and attempted to take Vera back to the mat but was stopped midway through the attempt.

With his opponent’s face exposed, Vera landed a big right hand that splattered Whitehead’s nose and left the mat drenched in blood. Referee Josh Rosenthal stopped the action to check the source of the blood and while he was cleaning off Whitehead’s bloody face he suddenly waived off the fight as the injured fighter informed him he could not continue. Brandon Vera wins the WEC heavyweight tournament with a TKO victory at 1:12 of the second round.

Allan Weickert pounded out a knockout win over Jeremy Freitag near the end of a mostly uneventful first round. Freitag spent much of the round trying to take down Weickert without much success.

Weickert ended up with the mount from where he slugged away until he eventually found his mark, knocking Freitag unconscious. Referee Rosenthal stepped in a tad late as those sitting ringside screamed that Freitag was out. Rosenthal mercifully stopped the action at 4:25 of the first round.

Mike Whitehead took it to Terrell Dees early and often, scoring a high-altitude suplex and number of takedowns while mixing in a few illegal elbows to the back of Dees head. The illegal strikes came from the rear-mount and luckily for Dees, referee Nathan Gullian decided a half dozen were enough before returning the fighters to their feet. Whitehead went back to work notching a double-leg takedown and pounding away until Dees spit out his mouthpiece.

Gullian attempted to replace Dees’ mouthpiece but he was having none of it. For some unexplained reason, Gullian allowed Dees to restart standing as opposed to on his back with Whitehead in side-control. It did not matter much as Whitehead deposited Dees back to the mat and applied the tap-inducing neck crank at 3:43 of the first round.

Brandon Vera opened his match with a stinging leg kick that swept Andre Mussi off his feet. He rebounded quickly only to run into a big knee that looked to have knocked him out. Vera pounced on his fallen opponent and delivered a hard right that should have ended things, but referee Gullian allowed Vera to unload two more huge right hands to the defenseless Mussi. Gullian finally saw enough and pulled Vera off, ending the fight at 51 seconds of the first round.

Jody Poff cinched what appeared to be a loose guillotine, but it was enough to induce the tapout from Houssain Oushani at 1:51 of the first round.

In a back-and-forth slugfest, Fred Diaz and Val Palacio left it all on the line—too bad they were both done about half way through the second round of their scheduled three rounder. Both men gave it all they had and in the end it was Val Palacio who garnered the split decision.
<h2>Fight Finder</h2>