Heavy.com is coming live from Broomfield, Colorado this evening to bring you live results from the preliminary card of “WEC 51: Aldo vs. Gamburyan”.
Action begins at approximately 6 p.m. ET with the opening bout, a bantamweight tilt between Demetrious Johnson and Nick Pace. Also on the six-fight preliminary card, former featherweight champion Mike Brown faces off against Cole Province, Chris Horodecki throws down with Ed Ratcliff, and Antonio Banuelos and Chad George each look for advancement in the 135-pound division.
Join us tonight for all the post-fight recaps from the preliminary card.
Demetrious Johnson vs. Nick Pace
In the first fight of the evening, bantamweights Pace and Johnson looked to make some noise for the Denver crowd. Pace came out with a headkick that missed, while Johnson threw a few strikes his way. Both fighters exchanged brief takedowns here and there. However, Pace was the first one to secure a legitimate takedown, though he did not hold it for long. He was reversed by Johnson, who rolled into his guard. Pace utilized the rubberguard from the bottom, and the round ended without any notable events.
At the start of the second round, Johnson came out of the gates with a fury, landing a nice combination to his opponent. He then landed a big knee, and Pace was clearly shook. After a brief takedown, Johnson continued with his precision striking and, when the two clinched, went back to his vicious knees. He then earned a takedown and looked to pass into the mount position. The bell signaling the round’s end rang with Johnson unloading on Pace from top position, clearly taking the second round.
Johnson opened the third looking to pick up where he left off, throwing painful leg kicks Pace’s way. It was clear at this point that Johnson’s technique was simply far too advanced for his over-matched opponent. The fighters moved to the cage and clinched, Johnson still playing the role of aggressor. “Mighty Mouse” then picked up Pace, walked him across the cage, and slammed him to the mat, but Pace was quick to stand back up. Looking to turn to the tide of the fight, Pace moved to Johnson’s back, looking for a submission. Pace flattened Johnson out and began landing strikes, but the round came to a close before he could earn a stoppage. Great performance from Johnson. Johnson def. Pace via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Antonio Banuelos vs. Chad George
This bantamweight bout started off a little slower than the first, as each fighter seemed content to take his time to feel things out. Unfortunately for them, the crowd did not approve, urging them to get to work. George landed the first notable strike, landing a leg kick causing the crowd to cheer. He followed it up with a left hook, and there was a long period of time where no strikes landed. Banuelos, who finally decided to remind everyone he was there to fight, land a nice hook, followed by a leg kick. George looked for the takedown, but Banuelos stuffed it and moved to side control. George immediately threw on D’Arce choke, and Banuelos went to tap. The bell became his best friend, saving him from the submission attempt.
The second round began the same way as the first, and the fans in Colorado hated it. George kept the distance between himself and Banuelos with front kicks, while mixing in leg kicks all the while. However, when George looked for a takedown, Banuelos reversed the position, ending up on top in George’s guard. Finally, Banuelos decided to turn up the pace, throwing down big shots from the top. The bell rang before any serious damage could be delivered, but Banuelos very well could have tied the fight up with his wrestling in that round.
Entering the third, anyone watching expected another boring round of action. And they were right. Little action ensued in the round that would likely determine the winner. George pushed forward after a brief exchange, looking for a takedown. Once again, Banuelos was the winner of that wrestling battle. George’s corner urged him to up his efforts, but Banuelos continued to hold him down, looking for an arm triangle as well. Banuelos rode the last few seconds with top position, and it seemed that George would come up short on the cards. And he did. Banuelos def. George via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27).
Tyler Toner vs. Diego Nunes
Nunes got off to a very fast start in the third fight of the evening, scoring an immediate takedown. Toner worked his rubber guard, attempting to stay very active from the bottom. Nunes, however, broke through into side control, working his elbows. He then looked for an arm-in guillotine, but decided to let go after over a minute. He opted to go back to the elbows, and Toner was taking big shots from the bottom. The referee stood them up after a lull in action and Nunes immediately landed a nice shot prior to the round’s end.
Nunes came out the the second round bell just as quickly as he had in the first, landing a spinning back kick that Toner clearly felt. Nunes immediately looked for a guillotine choke, but Toner fought through it. Still in the clinch, they each exchanged, but Nunes decided to separate and landed two big uppercuts, followed by a takedown. Toner went back to the rubberguard and looked for a gogoplata. However, he could not get it and the fighters were stood back up. Nunes took that opportunity to throw another spinning back kick, followed by a superman punch, followed by another takedown. Nunes once again looked for a guillotine, and, this time, it was deep. Somehow, Toner survived the round, but he was clearly behind on the cards.
The third round started much like the second had, with Nunes throwing a spinning back kick. Toner, finally, figured out how to block the strike. Nunes went for another takedown, but could not get it. He did, however, eat a big strike that sent him backwards. Toner jumped after him, but could not do anything to his downed opponent. Nunes worked his way back up and scored a takedown of his own. Ground and pound ensued, and Toner, disheartened by the way the fight was going, seemed to be exhausted. However, he was not too exhausted to ward off Nunes’ kimura attempt. While Nunes was still working for the submission, the referre stood them up. Toner came out with a vengeance, landing two knees, but he left himself vulnerable. Nunes scored the takedown as the round came to a close. Nunes was utterly dominant throughout this three round tilt. Nunes def. Toner via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27).
Chris Horodecki vs. Ed Ratcliff
This fight started off similar to the other three, with both fighters taking their time to figure out the range. Ratcliff scored the first significant blow, as a left hook landed flush across the face of Horodecki. Horodecki followed up with a combination of his own, followed by another. Surprisingly, he was managing to hang with Ratcliff on the feet and finished the very close round with a nice combination.
The second round began with an exchange of kicks, and Horodecki followed his up with a solid punch. Ratcliff’s corner yelled for the utilization of the jab, while Horodecki continued to land kicks. However, Horodecki fell back to the canvas in an attempt to avoid a Ratcliff counter. The fighters smiled at one another, but a kick to the groin, courtesy of Horodecki, caused a timeout. The fight resumed with a front kick from Ratcliff and a head kick from Horodecki, who continued to work his combinations well. The bell rang and it was clear that Ratcliff had some work to do in Round 3.
Horodecki began the third with a pair of solid hooks, followed by an overhand right. He continued to press forward, while Ratcliff seemed either confused, or simply content to just work his counter striking. Horodecki landed two inside leg kicks, then a head kick, but Ratcliff did not seem to feel the shots. Horodecki finished out the dull round with a takedown that capped off a dominant performance. Horodecki def. Ratcliff via split decision (28-29, 30-27, 30-27).
Mike Brown vs. Cole Province
Brown came out in this fight the aggressor immediately, stalking Province. The former featherweight champion landed a flush shot in the opening moments that sent Province to the canvas. Brown followed Province and landed around 10 shots before the fight was stopped. Very impressive performance from Brown, who rebounded successfully from consecutive losses with tonight’s victory. Brown def. Province via technical knockout at 1:18 of Round 1.
Zhang Tie Quan vs. Pablo Garza
Quan entered the cage this evening as the first Chinese fighter to fight under the Zuffa banner, and what a debut it was. After dodging a head kick in the opening moments of the first, Quan forced the fight to the ground, and each fighter looked for a submission. Neither hit on any, and Garza looked to improve his positioning, leaving himself vulnerable. Quan locked in a slick guillotine choke, forcing the tap. Impressive debut for “The Mongolian Wolf”. Quan def. Garza via submission (guillotine choke) at 2:26 of Round 1.