LAS VEGAS-WEC welterweight champion Carlos Condit knew ahead of time he was facing a stronger foe in Brock Larson and proved his grasp on the title is real with a quick submission victory on Sunday.
Condit, 23, successfully defended his WEC title against Larson, 29, who had to wait several months to fight due to the New Mexico fighter’s injured shoulder. They met at the Hard Rock Casino before a raucous crowd. The fight was televised by Versus.
Entering the ring Larson looked too strong for the rather thin Condit who is three inches taller but weighs the same as the Minnesota fighter at 170.
Larson attempted several take downs that were defended well by the champion then he used his strength to pick up Condit. But he left his arm dangling and was quickly entangled in an armbar.
At 2:21 of the first round Larson tapped out.
“I was a little bit worried he’s a tough dude,” said Condit (21-4). “I worked on the arm bar and different things.”
The Thai style fighter’s victory by arm bar startled the crowd. It appeared that Larson was about to end the fight with a pile driver.
“The arm bar presented itself,” Condit said. “It’s take technique over strength.”
In the semi main event Brazil’s Paulo Filho stopped Canada’s Joe Doerksen (39-10) and captured the WEC middleweight title with a two-fisted attack after failing to use his jujitsu. It didn’t take long as a right hand dropped the Canadian fighter to his knees. He survived that knockdown but a follow-up attack with a left and right hand combination by the Brazilian dropped Doerksen again for good. Referee John McCarthy stopped the fight at 4:07 of the first round.
“He defended my take downs very well,” said Filho (15-0), who had promised before the fight that Brazilian jujitsu was superior to Canadian jujitsu. “But I let my hands go.”
Filho seemed to surprise Doerksen with his punching power.
“I look forward to upcoming challenges,” Filho said.
Jeff Curran used his experience against quality opposition to welcome Georgia’s Stephen Ledbetter to the big show in a featherweight contest. Everything Ledbetter tried was nullified and used against him by Curran who had all of he answers in the three round fight. The judges scored it 30-27 and 29-28 twice for Curran.
“I’m an idiot I should have just stayed on my feet,” said Curran (31-8-1) from Illinois. “He was making mistakes.”
It was Ledbetter’s first fight for the WEC.
Arizona’s Jamie Varner stopped Wisconsin’s Sherron Leggett (16-2) at 4:08 of the first round after repeated take downs and finally a pummeling that forced the referee to halt the lightweight fight. He was also deducted a point for hitting on the back of the head.
“I knew he was going out in the first round,” bragged Varner (13-2), who claimed prior to the fight that Leggett was an inferior fighter. “If they want to give me another fluffer I’ll take it.”
Japan’s Hiromitsu Miura (8-5) scored his first win after stumbling in his first fight a few months ago with a tap out over Temecula’s Fernando Gonzalez (12-5) at 3:35 of the second round.
Miura proved too clever and experienced for Gonzalez with his multitude of moves and take downs including a vicious judo throw in the second round. A flying knee kick by the Japanese fighter missed but he still kept Gonzalez guessing throughout the middleweight fight.
In a bantamweight contest Antonio Banuelos, who admittedly does the lawn and gardening for Chuck Liddell, mowed over Illinois’s Justin Robbins (11-3-1) in a three-round bantamweight bout. Before the bout Robbins had ridiculed Banuelos for saying he’s trained by Liddell.
“He had a tough guard,” said Banuelos (14-4), who had Liddell in his corner. “I was trying to get through.”
Banuelos forced Robbins to fight from the guard on his back for all three rounds. The judges scored it 30-26, 30-27 twice for Banuelos.
Las Vegas middleweight Eric Schambari (7-0) scored a unanimous decision in a three-round fight over Minnesota’s Logan Clark that was strictly for the wrestling fans.
“We were trying for submissions” said Schambari who scored take downs in all three rounds. All three judges scored it 29-28 for Schambari. It was Clark’s first loss.
Steve Cantwell pummeled Justin McElfresh at 47 seconds of the first round of a light heavyweight contest, forcing referee John McCarthy to stop the fight.
In attendance at the hard Rock were a flurry of MMA stars including Quenton “Rampage” Jackson, Dan “Hollywood” Henderson, Chuck Liddell, Randy Couture and Forrest Griffin.
WEC announced Jens “Little Evil” Pulver will be challenging for the 145-pound WEC title.
“It’s not a step down the WEC is blowing up,” said Pulver.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV