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The Aftermath: WEC 47

The curious case of the Brian Bowles stoppage. I don’t know if I’m the only one that tasted something funky in the Kool-Aid this past Saturday evening during the main event of WEC 47 at the conclusion of the second round between Bowles and Dominick Cruz when we returned from commercial break to realize that the fight had been called off. Not only had the fight been called to a screeching halt with Bowles’ championship strap being placed neatly in the hands of Dominick Cruz, but it seemed eerily as if Bowles was at peace with it. Pulver comes to tears following every loss, and while I didn’t expect Brian to be snivelling; I guess I was expecting something more than what I saw.

I’m not doubting for one second that Bowles broke his hand in the bout with Cruz, but the fact that Dominick was completely dominating the fight from point A to point B made the stoppage seem suspect for a couple different reasons…

A) Bowles has had a long history of breaking the right hand that he broke once again in the bout with Cruz at WEC 47. He had broken it previous to his championship winning knockout over Miguel Torres, as well as in the bout with Torres. I’m sure he knew in the back of his mind that he had broke the hand once again, but there’s no way for the doctor to know unless the glove is removed and the hand is thoroughly examined. Basically, the only way a doctor is going to know you broke your hand is if you tell him, ‘Yo, I think I just broke my hand’.

B) Even if the doctor somehow realized that the hand was broken through Superman x-ray vision, I can’t remember many cases where a fighter was not allowed to continue because he broke ONE of his hands; Particularly a champion defending his title. One fight that continues to stick out in my memory when thinking of how the Bowles vs. Cruz fight went down is the second fight between Mike Brown and Urijah Faber. You know, the fight where it was obvious to everyone watching that Faber had rendered one of his hands useless with at least three rounds left in the bout, which he finished. Faber wasn’t going to let a broken hand stop him. He had his other hand (sorta), and in his mind, he had other ways to win the fight. While Faber may not have a title strapped to his waist currently, I think we can all agree that “grit” is a characteristic that champions are made of. That “Cut me, Mick” approach to fighting that forges title holders out of contenders.

One of the greatest quotes in the history of mixed martial arts came when Georges St. Pierre returned to his corner following the third round of  his UFC 100 title defense against Thiago Alves to inform Greg Jackson that he had pulled his groin.

“Well then hit him with your groin,” barked Jackson, and that’s exactly what GSP did.

C) I’ve been seeing a lot of people comment on the possibility that Bowles may not have given the hand enough time to recover, and while I’m no doctor, I have to wonder how long the hand would need to be “properly healed”. Bowles had a solid eight months off after his fight with Torres, so I’d imagine he may need at least a year or more before his next outing to properly heal an injury that possibly can’t be healed any more than it was going into the Cruz fight.

The growing value of footwork. It’s absolutely mind blowing to have something as basic as good footwork let you know that the sport is still in it’s very early stages at the core. Dominick Cruz switching angles on Brian Bowles and hopping around the ring like a dancing Energizer Bunny completely threw Bowles off his game and seemed to suck the fight right out of him. The best boxers in the history of the sweet science have used finely tuned footwork to their advantage for ages now, while fighters such as Cruz and Lyoto Machida continue to confirm the value of the fighting fundamental on the current MMA landscape.

Were we giving Torres too much credit? Now, I’m not taking anything away from Torres or his accomplishments in the sport – the dude is bonafide – but was Torres the top ten pound for pound fighter many had him regarded as (including myself) before the defeat to Brian Bowles? In my opinion a lot of it had to do with the insane looking 37-1 record Miguel sported going into the fight with Brian, but realistically Torres only had five fights against legit challengers at 135 pounds before the fight with Bowles; the five fights that Miguel had fought in the WEC against the likes of Jeff Bedard (3-2 in his next five), Chase Beebe (has not seen a victory in the four fights following the loss to Torres), Yosihiro Maeda (26-7-2 career record with a 3-2 record following Torres bout), Manny Tapia (0-4 in his last four) and Takeya Mazugaki (12-4-2 career record and recently lost to Scott Jorgensen). So who had Torres fought before being knocked out by Bowles and submitted by Joseph Benavidez at WEC 47? Some tough dudes, sure, but nobody to justify a top ten pound for pound ranking. As it sits now, the reality is that it would be hard to rank Torres much higher than fourth in the WEC’s bantamweight division that he used to rule with an iron-fist and tricky rubber guard; with Cruz, Benavidez and Bowles all laying claim to spots above Miguel for obvious reasons. As a matter of fact, I could definitely hear an argument where Scott Jorgensen bumps Torres to the fifth position.

Should Torres move up in weight? He is obviously a phenomenally talented and gifted fighter, which has served him well throughout much of his career, but Miguel’s lanky frame puts him at a decisive disadvantage against the explosive weight-cutters that dominate the division currently. I mean, Benavidez was yanking out of Torres’ submission attempts the way I do when my girlfriend tries to put me in an armbar. And you can forget about Torres dragging a wrestler like Bowles, Benavidez or Cruz to the canvas anytime soon, so if he remains at 135 pounds he will have to play the kickboxing role against the more powerful wrestlers. I feel like adding some healthy muscle onto Torres’ bones through heavy lifting and supplements could serve to make the naturally gifted fighter a bigger threat at 145, or even 155 pounds, than he ever was at bantamweight.

No way Jose. I found it extremely odd that the WEC paid to have Urijah Faber and Donald Cerrone fly out to the event to make an appearance plugging the upcoming WEC pay-per-view, yet champions Jose Aldo and Benson Henderson were nowhere to be seen. It’s no secret that the uber-popular Faber and Cerrone of TapouT fame are the more marketable fighters of the four, but Faber and Cerrone haven’t earned the right to be called champions either. That’s the downside of promoting fights in many cases: Just because you want a certain fighter to win and make you an abundance of cash is no guarantee that the said fighter will win the fights necessary to milk that cash cow.

There’s no crying in baseball, and there shouldn’t be much in MMA either. I’m a huge Jens Pulver fan like I know a lot of people are, but the one thing I dread more than the very realistic possibility of Jens suffering another defeat inside of the cage, is the ultra-emotional Pulver interview that follows that has become a trademark of the “Lil Evil” mystique. I think I’ll remember Jens breaking down in post-fight interviews more than any other moment of Pulver’s career many years from now when it’s all said and done, and that’s a shame. It’s hard not to route for Pulver, and with that being said, it’s hard not to route for Pulver to do the right thing in this situation either.

Early worst fight of the year candidate. L.C. Davis and Deividas Taurosevicius took part in what could easily be described as one of the hardest to watch bouts in recent memory, and what made it worse is that Davis apologized for not being exciting following the bout. He had fifteen minutes to show the fans why they should be interested in seeing him fight again, and instead chose to partake in a scratch and sniff clinch fest with Taurosevicius that completely killed any type of momentum the previous bout between Bart Paleczweski and Karen Darebedyan had built up. I, for one, am tired of fighters saying all of the right things before and after the bout, yet doing just enough to squeak by with a close victory when the rubber meets the asphalt. Whether you win or lose, make us remember you, and give us a reason to want to watch you fight again. Do you think anyone doesn’t want to see Melvin Manhoef fight again because he was knocked out by Robbie Lawler?

12 COMMENTS
  • Rece Rock says:

    My hand looked like the pics he posted online after a HS football game where I broke it and I played for another half hour …If you break your hand… throw some elbows.

  • Jak says:

    “I, for one, am tired of fighters saying all of the right things before and after the bout, yet doing just enough to squeak by with a close victory when the rubber meets the asphalt. Whether you win or lose, make us remember you, and give us a reason to want to watch you fight again.”

    +1. As soon as the ref separated them and they went back to the clinch i turned the WEC off until the middle of the Pulver/Vazquez fight.

  • Jak says:

    There’s no crying in baseball, and there shouldn’t be much in MMA either.

    The only time i will allow crying in MMA is right after a guy wakes up from a devastating knock out and it’s simply his body reacting to the event.

    Other than that, no crying. :(

  • edub says:

    Another good one Cory.

    I like all the points but Ill comment on Pulver. My good friend Derek was sitting next to me after the Pulver fight came to a close. “Oh no, if they give him the mike he’s gonna f**kin cry again, this is like the third fight in a row” he said.

    Pulver has been a fan favorite, and a pseudo-hero type to us short guys in his career. I ‘ve rooted for him in most of his fights, and have always had massive amounts of respect for him. With that said I do not want to see him in the cage again. He belongs in the gym as a coach with his obvious ability to motivate fighters coming from TUF season 5.

    To me it would be irresponsible for a promotion to use him as a draw also. I held out hope that he would make a turn around, but it is obviously not gonna happen.

  • hindsightufuk says:

    the one thing i really dislike about the WEC is their determination to make Urijah Faber the champion again. They must have been so pleased when Jose beat Mike Brown as they could then put Faber forward for the shot once more without yet another rematch. i think we are going to see a variation of Brown/Aldo/Faber for the next however long they can sell it. I like Faber as a fighter, very much so, but
    the white jock with braids look making his entrance with a gangsta limp to a tupac song is fucking lame

  • Davey D says:

    Cory…I think you are spot on with your third (C) selection of the Bowles question. When they interviewed him during the last WEC, it seemed to me that his hand wasn’t all the way healed in January. It was almost as if the answer he gave when asked how he thought he was gonna do against Cruz was, “The hand isn’t 100% but I’m gonna try my best”. He kinda shrugged his shoulders when giving that answer and it raised an eyebrow from me.

    Although the result of Cruz vs. Bowles surprised those of us watching on TV and those in attendence. FIghter safety is paramount and that is a good thing. Brian can now take his time to recover and live to fight another day. Yeah, it sucks because you want a clear ending, especially in a Championship bout of that caliber but…sometimes it just isn’t meant to be at that moment.

    I do think Miguel Torres ought to consider moving to 145 or even 155. I doubt moving down to 125 is a possibility. He could really benifit with the extra weight. I’d hate to count him out of the 135 weight class after two losses but they were both very violent endings and it’d be terrible if the next one was worse.

    It could be possible both Aldo and Henderson declined to attend the event this past weekend. Aldo lives in Brazil and Ben resides in Arizona. Both locations are not exactly close to Ohio. If they were not at least offered to attend, that would be a shame. In that case, the WEC should be showing all 4 of those guys off like a pair of golden Jordans what with their next show being on PPV and all. Either way, I still plan on watching it.

    Cheers!!!

  • Torres is who we thought he was and so were the fighters. The Torch is Passing and passing fast in the Lite Division and will continue as the WEC grows. With Pay Per View in the cards the Lites are only going to get more popular. They are exciting and more that.. ..very technical.

  • Dufresne says:

    I saw the pics of Bowles’s hand, and I have to say I’ve seen and had worse. It was swollen up around the first 2 knuckles, but unless those breaks actually did any serious damage to the structure’s inside (doubtful since there was almost zero discoloration) he should have been able to keep going considering how tightly they tape the fighters’ hands. Especially when the belt that he’s presumably spent years trying to acquire is on the line.

    I can’t understand why they won’t promote Aldo more. He’s young, charismatic, and has ended all of his WEC fights via TKO with only half of those fights getting out of the first round. Hell, he KO’d a guy many considered a title contender in 8 seconds with a move you only see in video games.

    Yeah, he doesn’t speak English, and I guess that’s a sticking point for some. But how about promoting him by showing some of his ridiculous highlights and that goofy dance he occasionally does? That’s what won me over.

  • Guthookd says:

    Good stuff Cory.

    I don’t mind if Jens wants to tear up a bit after each fight he looses. He’s human. If they give him a mic that’s what’s going to happen. The right thing to do would be for the WEC to STOP the interviewing of the loosing fighter, IMO. I’d rather hear from the looser right before his next fight when he’s fully recovered emotionally and physically.

    I still believe in Torrez, though you make some interesting points on his experience. I am hoping that he just needs to get his head straight. Maybe we’ll see Bowles/Torrez II. I’ll watch it for sure.

  • Yourdaddydevilandlord says:

    Yeah, it sucked to see Jens lose again. A solid dude who I hope capitalizes on his popularity through running his own gym. Teach some boxing, maybe get some old friends in once in awhile to work on some wrestling, get back at his old trainers by torturing some new guys. Good luck in whatever he does next.
    Bowlcut quit early and bad, I hate to say. Urijah fought through it, enough said. Looked like he wanted to find a way out. Sorry.
    As for promotion of Aldo, I think they are doing well, you see the Swanson KO constantly. It might have a bit to do with the Brazilian/no English thing, but Zuffa has done well in the past of promoting through that little problem. Hell, the UFC didn’t have too much of a problem promoting the Gracies, they probably did better at it than they wish they would have done. Don’t worry, Faber was champ for a long time, if Aldo crushes him, he will get major run.

  • BiG BaD BuLL says:

    Honestly, I feel that the Bowles stoppage has a perfectly reasonable explanation; bowles wanted out of the fight. think about it. He’s the “World Champ” after only 8 pro fights. He steamrolls all of his opponents in a pseudo- blitszkrieg attack ( I assume his amateur fights went the same way) and pounds them out. Now, in his first title defense he is faced with an opponent that : 1. he can’t even catch, much less bull over , 2. he is being hit repeatedly by said opponent. Let’s be real about it. He’s not the most experienced guy out there, and he was not prepared for what Cruz brought to the table. He broke mentally, and used the hand as a reason to get out of a fight he was everwhelmed in.

  • mu_shin says:

    Mr. Brady,

    Always enjoy coming to 5 Ozs. and getting your perspective on current events in MMA. I’ve always thought you have good sources and present good information in your pieces.

    Just wondering if there was anything you liked about WEC 47. Thought overall it was a good event, and yet reading your comments, it seems like you’re focused on the negatives…

    Totally agree with your observations on footwork. Cruz was doing a great job, and likely would have gone on to a clear victory had Bowles continued. Machida and Anderson Silva are also great examples of guys using fundamentals of footwork to outwit their opponents. Look forward to seeing Cruz defend the title, but don’t think we’ve seen the last of Bowles or Torres.

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