The staff has come together to give our predictions on World Extreme Cagefighting’s “WEC 51: Aldo vs. Gamburyan” which takes place Thursday evening, Sept. 30, at the 1stBANK Center in Broomfield, Colo., and airs LIVE on VERSUS at 9 p.m. ET.

The card is headlined by a featherweight title bout between champion Jose Aldo (17-1), defending his title against former Ultimate Fighter finalist Manny Gamburyan (11-4). Also, Jamie Varner (16-3-1, 2 NC) will face Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone (11-3, 1 NC) in a hate-filled lightweight rematch. Former WEC bantamweight champ Miguel Torres (37-3) will face Charlie Valencia (12-5), Leonard “Bad Boy” Garcia (14-5-1) takes on Mark Hominick (18-8) at featherweight, and everyone’s favorite “Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung (10-2) takes on TUF 8 cast member George Roop (10-6-1), also at featherweight.

Jose Aldo vs. Manny Gamburyan

DENNY HODGE: Can Manny survive 5 rounds with the dynamic Aldo? Manny may have KO’d Mike Thomas Brown in his last outing, but most of his wins are by submission, and despite not seeing much of Aldo’s ground game thus far, the reigning champion has the advantage both on the feet and on the ground over Gamburyan. Aldo’s speed is going to be a dangerous concoction of destruction for Gamburyan, and it will not be pretty. If Aldo comes out hard and fast, it will be a short night for Gamburyan. Aldo by KO, Round 1.

JOHN BUHL: Gamburyan is a very strong, heavy-handed grappler who can control a fight, while Aldo is a lanky, dangerous striker who has a BJJ black belt — which he really hasn’t even had to use yet. This fight reminds me of Anderson Silva vs. Dan Henderson. At some point Gamburyan will probably get Aldo on his back and really test him, but even with the short glimpse of Aldo on the ground at WEC 48 against Urijah Faber, I think Aldo has plenty of strength and quickness to stay out of trouble and perhaps put Gamburyan on the defensive with sweeps and submission attempts. Aldo is too good on the feet and just like he did against Faber, he’ll use his reach to pick Gamburyan apart and probably stop him in the third round.

RICHARD MANN: The deck is really stacked against Gamburyan. His only real chance to win the fight is to get top position and hold it. However, no one has been able to get a hold of Aldo. Also, five-round fights favor the competitor with more finishing ability. Look for Aldo to keep proper distance and continually land on Gamburyan from the outside. The TKO finish should come in the later rounds. Aldo by TKO.

BRIAN FURBY: I’d like for Gamburyan to win this fight. I’d like to see him come in and catch Aldo off guard with a big haymaker (a la Matt Serra vs.. GSP 1), but unfortunately, that’s not going to happen. Gamburyan is scrappy for sure, but Aldo is too quick and his strikes are too precise for Gamburyan to last too long. Aldo by TKO in Round 1.

JACK BRATCHER: My heart says Gamburyan but my head says Aldo. Still undefeated at featherweight in the WEC, Gamburyan certainly has the tools to win this fight. I really like Gamburyan. He’s always been humble, he’s strong as a bull and packs a big punch. It’s going to be interesting to see how these guys deal with a five round fight in the altitude of Colorado. I know most of the guys have been out there several days in advance getting acclimated, but nothing can compare to the real thing. Anyway, with Aldo’s speed and technical striking, he should be able to pick Gamburyan apart. I don’t think he’ll finish Manny though; Aldo by decision.

Jamie Varner vs. Donald Cerrone

DENNY HODGE: The bad blood between these guys is legendary. Cerrone has recanted on his comments about his visions of death in the cage, but slow starts have killed his overall fights on several occasions. Varner has the potential to be the world champion again, but which version of him will show up? Fans have questioned his heart under adverse conditions in the past, something that has never been questioned when talking about Cerrone. That being said, I see Varner dominating this one this time around. Cerrone will show that he still cannot defend a take down and that is how Varner will dictate where and how the fight goes. Varner by unanimous decision.

JOHN BUHL: During the recent WEC conference call, Varner was asked about fighting Cerrone in a three round fight instead of their previous five-round title match. Cerrone is tough, but with his tendency to get off to slow starts and Varner not having to pace himself for a potential 25 minutes, Varner should control the action just enough over three rounds and get a decision win, similar to the first 15 minutes of action the last time they fought. Varner has the boxing and wrestling advantage, though Cerrone could turn things around make things difficult by mixing in leg kicks, something Kamal Shalorus used to give Varner fits (not counting the nut shots).

RICHARD MANN: The fact that this is a three-round fight really helps Varner. First, he only really needs to score two takedowns to win the fight. Second, he probably has one of the worst gas tanks in the lightweight division. Much like the Diaz brothers, Cerrone would win almost any fight without time limits, but he can’t stay off his back. Look for Varner to secure top position in the first two round and get absolutely pasted in the third. Varner by decision.

BRIAN FURBY: Fight of the Night, no question about it. Both guys have a lot to prove – both guys want to show they’re better than they were in their first fight, both want a shot at Ben Henderson again, and both definitely want to punch each other in the face. Varner’s striking is going to give Cerrone some trouble, and if Cerrone can’t keep his “first death in MMA” attitude under control, he’s going to make a mistake that will allow Varner to finish early. But, he should have calmed down enough to give Varner a tough three rounds. Jamie Varner wins by split decision.

JACK BRATCHER: This is the fight I’m most looking forward to just because it’s fun watching these guys get so worked up. As much as Cerrone likes to strike, the guy has never finished a single fight by TKO or KO. All of his wins except one have been submissions, and he’s had one decision. He’s not going to submit Varner. Varner’s fast hand and powerful punches are going to get the best of the point-fighting Jackson camp and Varner should end this fight via (T)KO in the second or third round.

Miguel Torres vs. Charlie Valencia

DENNY HODGE: Torres was at one time considered one of the P4P best in the world. He still is on twitter, and if you haven’t seen him in action on the social site, follow him and be prepared for the madness. Valencia is a worthy opponent and has quietly won 3 fights in a row since losing to current 135 lb. kingpin, Dominick Cruz. Torres is coming off of back to back losses for the first time ever in his career and unfortunately for Valencia, he will be looking to make a statement in this fight. I just do not see any way that Valencia can survive to take this fight past the second round. Torres by submission in the second round.

JOHN BUHL: A little over a year ago Torres was considered one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world, but now he needs a win over Valencia to prevent a three-fight losing streak. Valencia is no slouch, but he doesn’t have the KO power (only one knockout victory in 12 wins) of Brian Bowles (who took Torres’s belt) or the pure athleticism of Joseph Benavides, who used a tenacious attack to choke out Torres in his last fight. I think Torres will be hungry and determined, and might even stop the much shorter Valencia in the third round.

RICHARD MANN: I would make the argument that a lot of Torres’ issues are mental. His last two losses came against fighters with such a lack of reach they should not have been able to touch him. If he stays on the outside and avoids heavy shots from Valencia, he should be alright. On the floor Torres is the better grappler too. Torres by decision.

BRIAN FURBY: Torres is a huge favorite to win this fight. Coming off back-to-back losses, he’s hungry and wants to show he’s not irrelevant. Valencia gets his shot at the big time with this one, a win over Torres would be huge for him, and I think he’s going to get it. He has typically lost against big name competition, but this is his chance to turn it around.. If he can avoid the speed of Torres early, he’ll be able to grind out a win. Valencia wins by unanimous decision.

JACK BRATCHER: I’m surprised to see some of my cohorts picking Valencia. Torres knows how much is on the line. It’s a lot of pressure, has to be. It’s hard to believe he’s even in this situation, but I think he turns it around here and shows he’s still among the elite at bantamweight. Powered by the mexi-mullet Torres should be able to strike his way to a decision win.

Leonard Garcia vs. Mark Hominick

DENNY HODGE: Garcia’s last 5 fights have yielded mixed results. Although he has lost 2 of those 5, along with a draw vs. George Roop, his last outing against “The Korean Zombie” was an instant classic. The back-and-forth battle is a candidate for fight of the year, and one thing is for sure when Garcia steps in the cage… there will be action. Win or lose, at the end of the day, Garcia is going to get in the cage and put on a show. His fights are always entertaining and he is willing to risk a loss to grab a victory instead of cruising to decision victories. Hominick is dangerous both on the ground and on the feet, and the pace for this fight is going to be bananas. The fan in me always pulls for Garcia, but I’m taking Hominick by submission this time around.

JOHN BUHL: I really don’t know what to make of Garcia at this point. He got a gift of a decision against Chan Sung Jung, and Hominick brings a much sharper, crisper striking game to the table than Jung. Although Garcia has good punching power, I think Hominick will land the more telling blows and get the win on the scorecards…unless the judges screw up again.

RICHARD MANN: Picking Leonard Garcia fights is bad for my health. This is a guy who should be 0-5 in his last five fights. He straight up should have lost to Jameel Massouh, George Roop and Chan Sung Jung. However, his record over the span stands at 2-2-1. If Garcia comes in throwing wild, like he always does, this should be an easy fight for Hominick. Say what you want about Team Tompkins guys, but they throw accurate punches and combinations. That should be more than enough to take the decision here. Hominick by decision.

BRIAN FURBY: Garcia is undoubtedly an exciting fighter, and his match with the Korean Zombie is one for the books. But I think his haphazardness will get him into trouble with Hominick, who is the much more precise striker. Garcia doesn’t have a TKO loss on his record, but that will all change after Thursday night. Hominick wins by TKO in Round 2.

JACK BRATCHER: Going with Hominick on this one. It’s hard not to like Garcia but he’s all over the place and has just barely been getting by lately. He hasn’t finished a fight since 2008 against Jens Pulver. Look for Hominick to pick him apart, hurt him, then lock on a submission victory.

Chan Sung Jung vs. George Roop

DENNY HODGE: What can we say about “The Korean Zombie?” Many fans feel that he won the fight with Garcia, and although he officially has a loss on his record from that fight, he gained a multitude of fans from his performance that night. Not only that, Tri Coasta made the official “The Korean Zombie” T-shirt which is one of the baddest shirts in MMA. That shirt is on my Christmas list, and I can’t wait to rock it. But I digress…. George Roop… George Roop. Roop is a UFC and TUF vet, who is coming off a draw against Leonard Garcia. There won’t be a draw this time around. Chan Sung Jung by unanimous decision.

JOHN BUHL: Speaking of Jung, I thought he beat Garcia and put on an entertaining performance. Defense isn’t his strong suit and that could allow Roop to keep it close. But I don’t see Roop winning this and Jung has a pretty solid submission game to go along with his all-action stand-up style. Jung by third round submission after tagging Roop with a flurry.

RICHARD MANN: To me, the saddest thing is that Chan Sung Jung will be remembered for his barn burner fight against Leonard Garcia. He should be considered a top prospect. Even before coming to the WEC, he took victories over Michihiro Omigawa and Shintaro Ishiwatari. He also should have gotten the nod against Masanori Kanehara. Roop should not present much of a challenge. Jung by TKO.

BRIAN FURBY: I enjoyed Roop’s fight with Garcia, and even though “MMA math” would say that since Roop fought Garcia to a draw, and Garcia beat Jung, then Roop should at least be able to fight Jung to a draw, MMA math is rarely right. Roop may be able to use his reach to keep Jung outside for a little bit, but as soon as Jung gets inside, he’ll stun Roop, take him down and submit him. Jung wins by submission in Round 2.

JACK BRATCHER: Both guys last fought against Leonard Garcia. Roop went to a draw with the Bad Boy and the Korean Zombie lost a split decision. Still, Roop didn’t make it in the UFC, and Jung is going to send him one step closer to getting his walking papers in the WEC. Roop seems like a decent enough guy but he’s got a bad haircut and too many decisions. Korean Zombie via decision.

Leave a Reply