Las Vegas, NV (USA) – One of the sport’s pound-for-pound elite returns this fall to defend his title against one of the division’s most dangerous fighters. Featherweight champion Jose Aldo, universally recognized as the number one ranked lighter weight fighter in MMA, makes the second defense of his crown against judo ace Manny Gamburyan when World Extreme Cagefighting® invades the 1STBANK Center in Broomfield, Colo. on Thursday, Sept. 30.
WEC follows the lead of its sister company, the Ultimate Fighting Championship®, which has put on two successful events in Broomfield in recent years.
In addition to the featherweight title fight, WEC General Manager Reed Harris confirmed today that Denver native Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone will meet former lightweight champion Jamie Varner in a long-awaited grudge match. Plus, former bantamweight champion Miguel Angel Torres returns to the cage to take on the red-hot Charlie Valencia. If those fights weren’t enough, Sept. 30 also features featherweight bouts pitting Leonard Garcia vs. Mark Hominick and “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung vs. George Roop.
“From top to bottom, this card is stacked with Fight of the Year-caliber matchups,” Harris said. “In addition to having a title fight, a grudge match, and a bantamweight war, this card features warriors like Garcia, Hominick, and ‘The Korean Zombie.’ These guys have all been in some of the most memorable fights in WEC history. Now, they have a chance to put on epic fights in front of the great Colorado fans.”
Tickets for WEC: Aldo vs. Gamburyan go on sale Saturday, July 31 at 10 a.m. MT and will be priced at $185, $135, $75, and $40. A special Internet ticket pre-sale will be available to WEC newsletter subscribers on Thursday, July 29 starting at 10 a.m. MT. To access this presale, users must register for the WEC newsletter through wec.tv. Tickets will be available online at www.TicketHorse.com or by phone at 866.461.6556. TicketHorse kiosks are also located at all Colorado Dick’s Sporting Goods Stores (credit cards only). In addition, tickets are also available at 1STBANK Center Box Office on July 30 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. MT or at Pepsi Center during normal box office hours.
WEC: Aldo vs. Gamburyan will be televised nationally live on VERSUS beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT. All of the network’s live WEC events are presented in HD and Spanish language SAP where available. For more information and how to find VERSUS in your local viewing area, visit http://www.versus.com/findversus.
Ranked as one of the top three pound-for-pound fighters in the sport, featherweight champion Jose Aldo (fighting out of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) is unbeaten at 7-0 in WEC and on course to become the most dominant 145-pounder ever. Fresh off a dominant performance over former division kingpin Urijah Faber in April, the 23-year-old knockout sensation Aldo (17-1) has his sights set on his 10th consecutive victory.
“I’m excited to fight Manny Gamburyan, who is a really good fighter,” Aldo said. “I know that he has good judo and punching power, but I expect to knock him out. He’s not taking my belt.”
Unbeaten at 3-0 since dropping to featherweight last year, Manny Gamburyan (fighting out of Hollywood, Calif.) stunned many observers in April by knocking out former champion Mike Brown. The win earned the Armenian judo practitioner a shot at Aldo, and more importantly, the opportunity to realize a lifelong dream. With a world title in his crosshairs, Gamburyan (13-5) expects to shock the world when he meets the Brazilian champion in Colorado.
“I feel blessed to have this opportunity,” Gamburyan said. “This is a fight featuring the number one and number two fighters in the world in this division, so there are no secrets to my game plan. I’ve gotta’ bring my ‘A’ game. I have to be in top-notch shape, I’ve got to have good standup, ground and wrestling. Everything has to be perfect. I think he’s a great fighter and I respect him as a champion, but I fight to destroy. It’s my time and I’ve got to shine.”
Ask Donald Cerrone (fighting out of Albuquerque, N.M) which fight he’d like the most and he’d undoubtedly tell you that it’s a rematch with former world champion Jamie Varner. Since their first fight in Jan. 2009 ended in a controversial decision loss for Cerrone – a loss than came when Varner was struck with an illegal knee and could not continue – the Denver-born fighter has made no qualms about his desire to get back inside the cage with Varner. Now, on Sept. 30, “Cowboy” gets his wish and he gets it in his backyard of Colorado.
“I’ve wanted this fight for a long time,” Cerrone (11-3, 1 NC) said. “There’s definitely bad blood there. Jamie is definitely the perfect fight for me to get motivated and come back stronger than ever. Plus, I’ve never lost in Broomfield and I have a lot of support there. It will be good to feel that energy and fight Jamie Varner in Colorado.”
One of the most division’s most talented athletes, Jamie Varner (fighting out of Tempe, Ariz.) is on a quest to reclaim the WEC lightweight title. After battling unbeaten Kamal Shalorus to a draw in June, the 25-year-old Varner (16-3-3, 2 NC) has his sights set on a rematch with Cerrone and the opportunity to silence the former pro bull rider once and for all.
“This Cerrone fight has been a question mark in my career and everybody has question marks in their life,” Varner said. “So this fight is the opportunity to turn that question mark into a period or an exclamation mark. This is a good opportunity to shut him up and silence the critics and let them see that I’m the real deal.”
Once the most dominant bantamweight on the planet, Miguel Angel Torres (fighting out of East Chicago, Ind.) believes he has recaptured the formula that led him to becoming world champion. Fueled by a new training regimen that includes refining his aggressive striking and high-level jiu jitsu, the 29-year-old Torres (36-3) is as motivated as ever and hopes to prove that point on Sept. 30 when he locks horns with Valencia.
“Charlie is tough and he’s been around a long time like me,” Torres, a Carlson Gracie black belt, said. “I can’t underestimate him, but I match up well with him in all areas of the game. I’m looking to make a statement with this fight and I have to show everybody that I haven’t gone anywhere. I’m still here and I’m dangerous. I’m not looking to just beat Charlie. I want to put him out”
Riding consecutive victories over Seth Dikun, Ox Wheeler, and Akitoshi Tamura, Charlie Valencia (fighting out of Ontario, Calif.) is knocking on the doorstep of world title contention. As the explosive 35-year-old gears up for his biggest fight to date against Torres, Valencia (12-5) predicts one of the year’s best fights.
“I’m usually the underdog and I relish that role,” Valencia said. “In MMA, anything can happen. I’m out there to win and put on exciting fights. I respect him for what he’s done for the bantamweight division. I expect this fight to be fast-paced and entertaining.”
Sept. 30 also marks the return of Leonard Garcia and Chan Sung Jung, who waged war against one another in the “Fight of the Decade” in April. Garcia (fighting out of Albuquerque, N.M.) heads to Broomfield to take on Canadian star Mark Hominick (fighting out of Thamesford, Ontario, Canada), who had his own epic clash in June with long-time rival Yves Jabouin. Meanwhile fan favorite “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung (fighting out of Po-Hang, South Korea) looks to leave Colorado buzzing when he locks horns with gritty featherweight George Roop (fighting out of Las Vegas, Nev.).
Remaining bouts for WEC: Aldo vs. Gamburyan will be announced at a later date. For more information, visit www.wec.tv. Follow WEC at http://twitter.com/WEConVERSUS.