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WEC 49: What we learned

The WEC returned to action Sunday night with "WEC 49: Varner vs. Shalorus." Following the lead of the UFC, the promotion premiered in Canada from the Rexall Place in Edmonton. Fans witnessed a variety of finishes from some of the WEC’s rising stars, and then a main event that ended surprisingly. But before we go any further, we have to ask the key question: What did we learn?

It looks like Eddie Wineland wants his belt back

Eddie Wineland put on a display of punching power last night against Will Campuzano. After a close first round that saw sporadic exchanges, in the second round Wineland unloaded for the finish.

A combination left Campuzano stunned, and he backed into the fence, ultimately dropping him to the canvas. Wineland pounced on his opponent, and though referee Jaren Valei looked close to stopping the bout, Campuzano shockingly rose to his feet and the fight continued—but not for long.

After a spirited flying knee attempt, Campuzano ate another punch that had him covering up against the cage. Wineland then landed a right hand to the solar plexus that dropped Campuzano, and though he added another shot to the face for good measure, the referee had already stepped in to halt the bout at 4:44 of the round.

Wineland lost the bantamweight title to Chase Beebe back in 2007. He has now won three straight for the WEC, and if Sunday night was any indication, he is close to title contention again.

Chris Horodecki doesn't wait for the judges' score cards

Chris Horodecki outclassed Danny Downes Sunday night, controlling the fight from start to finish. He easily could have relaxed in the third round and coasted to victory, but instead polished off Downes, keeping the judges out of the equation.

Horodecki almost finished the fight in the first round, as he first attempted a guillotine, followed by a rear-naked choke—manhandling Downes on the ground. In the second frame it was obvious that Downes was gassed as Horodecki picked him apart on the feet, landing combinations at will.

To Downes’ credit, he opened the final frame with an initial blitz but was immediately tripped back to the canvas for his efforts. Horodecki found his back again and this time would not let Downes off the hook, securing the rear-naked choke and getting the submission at the 1:09 mark.

The win evened Horodecki’s WEC slate at 1-1. The Canadian, buoyed by the home-country advantage Sunday night, has now amassed an impressive 15-2 overall MMA record.

When it’s tap or nap, L.C. Davis obviously prefers the latter

In the first round of his bout against Josh Grispi, L.C. Davis had to feel good as he scored a powerful double-leg takedown that drove Grispi back into the cage. From there, Davis picked him up high for a slam that drove Grispi into the canvas as the crowd cheered.

Meanwhile, Grispi latched onto Davis’ neck. He landed beneath Davis in half-guard, but quickly worked to full guard—with a guillotine choke secured around the neck of Davis. A brief struggle from Davis ensued, but when the squirming stopped referee Yves Lavigne lifted a limp Davis arm and called the bout at the 2:33 mark of the first round. Upon release of the choke, Davis was definitely unconscious.

Though Grispi had not seen the inside of a cage in more than a year, there was no evidence of ring rust for the young featherweight contender. His dominant victory might have positioned him as a contender for champ Jose Aldo’s first title defense.

It’s never over till the fat lady sings

Canadians Mark Hominick and Yves Jabouin put on a highly entertaining bout for their fans in Edmonton Sunday night. The back-and-forth battle had an unbelievable second round that saw both fighters have a chance to finish.

The fighters set a torrid pace in the first frame. Jabouin fought like a whirling dervish, throwing spinning back fists and kicks. Though Jabouin looked to be the more active striker, as the round progressed Hominick began to stalk and land more punches. Right at the end of the round he landed a damaging body shot, a potential precursor of things to come.

In the second round the fight became even more captivating. Hominick continued to land body shots, while Jabouin worked in a spinning elbow. Then another liver shot from the left hand of Hominick hurt Jabouin, and he slumped against the cage. Hominick pressed to finish, swarming with punches, but Jabouin rose to his feet and briefly gave up his back. Hominick worked a choke, then decided against it.

When Hominick rose and separated, Jabouin winged a right that clipped his chin, staggering him backwards and onto the floor. Jabouin sluggishly followed and dropped down punches, but ended up in Hominick’s guard. In the final momentum swing, Hominick swept Jabouin, taking mount, where he pounded away with punches until referee Vern Gorman stopped the bout at 3:21 of the round.

With the win Hominick remained undefeated in the WEC at 2-0, while the loss left Jabouin with an 0-2 mark. Though the fighters may be headed in opposite directions in the win column, on Sunday night both put on one of the most entertaining rounds in WEC history.

Jamie Varner and Kamal Shalorus deserve a rematch

An exciting night of fights unfortunately ended in controversy when Jamie Varner and Kamal Shalorus fought to a rare split draw in the main event. The bout was marred by three accidental groin kicks from Shalorus that caused a point deduction.

During the bout Varner twice staggered the tough Iranian with stiff combinations, but each time Shalorus recovered and let Varner know it by raising his hands and smiling. Shalorus employed a devastating leg kick assault, which as the fight wore on seemed to affect Varner’s mobility.

Shalorus also used an inside leg kick, and though effective at times, he continually caught Varner’s protective cup. The first shot Varner easily shook off, but the second and third strikes were flush and sent him down. The second strike, specifically, cost Shalorus the crucial point.

The final round saw Shalorus work on top once the fight hit the canvas. Varner finally returned to his feet but barely engaged at all. Then the judges’ cards came in with scores of 29-27 for Varner, 29-27 for Shalorus, and 28-28 for the draw.

The shame of the result is that the winner might have gotten a shot at lightweight titleholder Ben Henderson. Shalorus proved his toughness with his chopping kicks and iron chin. Varner also recovered from the groin shots to prove his mettle, but once again finds himself in the middle of controversy in the cage. From his post-fight comments, he also has a couple of broken appendages. Hopefully the two fighters can face each other again, with a clear-cut winner emerging next time.

This article originally appeared on appeared on MMA Spot.

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