— George Roop earned the $10k Knockout of the Night bonus for kicking The Korean Zombie unconscious. Meanwhile, Miguel Torres earned Sub of the Night for choking out Charlie Valencia. Donald Cerrone and Jamie Varner earned Fight of the Night for fighting like they hate each other.
— Wondering why it took Jose Aldo two rounds instead of one to destroy Manny Gamburyan? He likes to study his opponent in the opening frame.
“The same thing happened against Urijah [Faber]. I try to study my opponent in the first round, and then in the second round I execute my game plan,” said Aldo. “I saw what Manny was doing, and I wanted to take the shortest route to end the fight.”
Aldo’s next opponent is unclear at the moment. Reed Harris plans to talk it over with WEC matchmaker Sean Shelby next week, but says the featherweight division is stacked. They have plenty of options. Aldo has no immediate plans to move up in weight, but people are starting to talk about it.
— Donald Cerrone’s performance against Jamie Varner last night was arguably the best of his career. Cerrone credited it to his roots in the rodeo.
“After my loss to Ben (Henderson), I went and did some rodeoing again. It felt good to figure out where I came from. We have a saying that says you come out ‘[expletive]-and-gittin,’ and that’s what I did. I was in the back saying, ‘Come on boys. Let’s rodeo. Let’s do this.’ That’s what drove me to go… [The plan] was run at him, and when I got there, I was going to figure it out. I had no idea what was going to happen… He was definitely hurt, and I was having fun. I was having a good time out there… I could have finished him a couple times, and I didn’t. I kind of backed off and admired my work, I guess you could say… I owe a lot of credit to my wrestling. We drilled wrestling all the time. I felt good. Coming out there and taking him down and not having him take me down felt great.”
As for that awkward shove at the end of the fight, Cerrone said, “He tried to hug me, and I said get away from me. I still don’t like the guy.”
It’s possible the two could meet for the rubber match at WEC 53 on Dec. 16 in Glendale, Arizona.
— After two consecutive losses, Miguel Torres switched up his training camp and started working with Firas Zahabi at the Tristar Gym in Montreal. It appeared to have paid off with his dominant performance against Charlie Valencia, but Torres says he still has a lot of work to do and a lot of improvements to make.
“I think I have a lot of work ahead of me. I’m not worried about a title shot right now. I’m just worried about being the best fighter I can be. I still have a long way to go… I’ve been working a lot on controlling myself when I get in the cage. A lot of my setbacks in the past – against (Brian) Bowles, and even when I fought (Takeya) Mizugaki and (Yoshiro) Maeda – I chase guys too much. I’m so excited to put on a show for the fans that I hit a guy and I try to go forward – or I get hit, and I get crazy and go forward. It’s a little bit of a bloodlust that I have from growing up in the hood, I guess… Firas is a great trainer. Living in his basement kind of put me in check a little bit – a reality check. I had to go back to being a student again. Up until that point, I was always training myself and working out in my gym with my guys, and they were training with my schedule. I would show up an hour late, do whatever I wanted to do, kind of like I was running my own training. If I didn’t want to wrestle, I didn’t wrestle. I’d box… My last two losses put me in a better place. I think if I would have won my last two fights, I would have still been doing the same thing I was doing before. Now I’m with a pretty good team at Tristar. I’ve got a great coach, and mentally and physically I’m in a better place. I feel like I’m back. I really do, but I still have a lot of things to do. I have a long way to go. I’m a contender again, and I won’t be happy until I’m on top.”
— With the way The Korean Zombie was pressing forward, George Roop knew it was only a matter of time before he would catch him with something big.
“I felt like his style of coming forward was definitely going to put him in a lot more danger than a lot of other people. I had always known that I had power. It’s just all about timing. Guys at this level are hard to finish. I like to hear people to say, ‘There’s no way I can win this fight,’ and I have no power. I feed off of the underdog status to prove people wrong. I definitely showed that tonight… It was definitely in my gameplan to take him down. But I just really felt that the way things were going on the feet, I was definitely picking him apart, and it was only a matter of time.”
— Despite carrying the weight of one of the world’s largest countries on his back, Chinese fighter Tiequan Zhang, aka The Mongolian Wolf, felt no pressure in his win over late replacement Pablo Garza.
“Just knowing that it was being broadcast back home was an encouragement for me to want to step up my level, and it made me very excited. The reception, especially for this match, in China was very high. There were a lot of messages going back and forth, and apparently the ratings were pretty high… Mixed martial arts has had a longer development in America than it has in China, and I see there’s a bit of difference in the levels right now. It was very exciting tonight to be able to perform in front of the American crowd and do well. I don’t feel pressure. I feel like it’s an encouragement, like a push.”
— By the end of the fight, Mark Hominick had picked Leonard Garcia apart on the feet. What we didn’t know was he was doing it with a hand he broke earlier in the week.
“It was my thumb. I’ll have to get a cast, but in four weeks, it will be all OK. The last hard day (of practice), someone just rolled on my thumb, and it rolled all the way back. I just taped it up… I had a strong mental edge going into the fight. There was nothing that was going to stop me. I knew I was going to fight regardless… What we wanted to do was frustrate him in hitting him first and making him throw and miss and counter. I was hoping I could have countered a little bit more. I was countering with single punches, and it should have been twos and threes. But that was the gameplan – to just get in his face and swing off that.”
Hominick said he “swallowed his heart” when one Bruce Buffer announced one of the judges scored the fight in favor of Garcia.