WEC 31 Live Recap: Urijah Faber vs. Jeff Curran

Date: 12/12 7:55 PM
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Written by Stevie J

We'll bringing you fight results from WEC 31 as they air tonight so hit refresh or F5 as often as you like! The show starts in five minutes on Versus. Visit www.Versus.com to check the availability in your area and visit www.WEC.tv for more information on World Extreme Cagefighting. If you want any of the dark match results click here.

WEC IS LIVE! It's being billed as the biggest night in WEC history as three title belts will be on the line, including a main event featuring WEC sensation Urijah Faber versus Jeff Curran. It's scheduled for five rounds but a Faber title fight has yet to go the distance. Will tonight be an exception?

Tonight's show is at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, and Frank Mir is more excited than he can put into words. Jens Pulver will also be making his WEC debut tonight facing Cub Swanson, but we've also got a light heavyweight championship bout: Doug Marshall vs. Ariel Gandulla, a middleweight championship bout: Paulo Filho vs. Chael Sonnen and a featherweight championship bout: Urijah Faber vs. Jeff Curran. Let's rock!

* Doug 'The Rhino' Marshall {C} vs. Ariel Gandulla (WEC Light Heavyweight Title)

Joe Martinez is making the official introductions right now. Gandulla is 4-0-1 but Marshall is the champion and he hails from Miami, Florida. Marshall outweighs Gandulla by 5 pounds but Gandulla has one inch on him in height at 5'11", and Marshall hails from Vsalia, CA with a record of six wins and just two losses. Steve Mazzagatti is our referee in charge and informs both men to "hook 'em up." Here we go!

Marshall is circling early, testing Gandulla's range, then he flies in but Gandulla takes him down. Marshall tries to get a triangle with the leg but then switches to an arm bar and falls back on it for the tap. Marshall is so pumped he runs outside of the cage to go celebrate in the crowd! That ended so quick I don't even have an official time for you - meanwhile Gandulla is having his arm checked to see if it was dislocated. UNOFFICIAL WINNER: DOUG MARSHALL. Despite how quickly this fight ends they're going to go to a commercial before announcing the official results.

Here's Joe. "Ladies and gentlemen, 55 seconds of round one, submission by armbar. YOUR WINNER AND STILL WEC LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION OF THE WORLD: DOUG 'THE RHINO' MARSHALL." Mir interviews him about the submission. "I train my ground game unbelievably, I envisioned myself winning by triangle, he was posturing up with hammerfists so I switched to the armbar. I got tons of hostility to take out on everybody. I'ma let the WEC tell me who's next but I'm looking for the KD next time. Subs are great but I love the KD's!" I'd be afraid to face Marshall if I was in his weight division in WEC - this guy is scary good every time I see him. Apparently they're going to throw in a bonus fight to fill time so Valencia v. McCall is next!

Apparently this Dennis Miller commercial is so good we needed to see it twice. "I don't want to see a guy's retina land in the front row but I'm not paying $44.95 for a pillow fight either!" You know he's got a point. His guest after tonight's show is Chuck Liddell so you might want to check that out. Now it's time for our next fight!

* Charlie Valencia v. Ian McCall

Valencia has ten years on him in age at 33 but at 5'5" the bantamweight McCall has two inches in height. Valencia also weighs two pounds left at 134. McCall has a perfect six fight record and fights out of Dana Point, CA. His opponent Valencia fights out of Ontario, California. Referee in charge is Josh Rosenthal.

Here we go! Valencia throws a kick that hits nothing early, whereas McCall manages to connect with a leg. McCall keeps chasing and Valencia is backing slowly but surely towards the fence. Valencia circles and throws a good combo but McCall quickly recovers before it can end up on the ground. Now McCall is backing off a little but as 90 seconds goes by.He keeps trying to find an angle for the single leg and it doesn't pay off. Valencia catches McCall with a right hand but he shakes it off. The round is half over now. McCall seems to be keeping his fists up better than Valencia. Simultaneous kicks before Valencia lands a big right and SUPLEXES McCall onto his head. Valencia is throwing crazy leather and McCall is just trying to survive but Valencia takes him down and submits him with a guillotine. WINNER VIA TAP AT 3:19 of R1: CHARLIE VALENCIA. Valencia dedicates the win to his paralyzed brother-in-law. "I knew he was afraid of my right hand once I tagged him with it but I mixed it up a little bit, tried to take him down and do something, I just went where it felt." More WEC live after these commercial messages featuring Filho v. Bonnen!

* Paulo Filho {C} vs. Chael Sonnen (WEC Middleweight Title)

Sonnen says he's not scared of Filho, and that he's looking to compete. Through the translator Filho says he's willing to defend, and that rather than respond to the stupid stuff Sonnen's saying he'll do his talking in the cage where Sonnen will either be broken or knocked out. Sonnen hails from West Linn, Oregon. Sonnen's strengths are listed as world class wrestling and submissions, and since he was an Olympic wrestling alternate that's no doubt true. Filho is one of the greatest sub artists around though so it may be hard for any amount of wrestling to overcome that. Filho hails from Rio De Janeiro, Brazil and comes out to "Party Like a Rockstar." He looks ready to rock and roll as we get a closeup of his title belt at ringside. Sonnen is three inches taller than the 5'8" Filho and has a 4 inch reach advantage at 74" but big fights are definitely Filho's edge. Sonnen's record is 21-8-1. Filho is a perfect 15-0, a victory in every fight he's had. Both men are 185 pounds even. Josh Rosenthal is in charge for this match inside the cage. Here we go!

Sonnen chases punches early but he's not doing much despite the reach advantage. Filho bobs and weaves and throws an overhand right that misses. Filho starts backing Sonnen up towards the cage, misses on a punch and Sonnen gets the takedown. One minute gone by and Sonnen is raining down blows. Filho doesn't seem to be in any danger of getting stopped but Sonnen would definitely be ahead on points right now. Filho clinches to avoid further damage and works to push off the cage. Sonnen avoids upkicks but Filho does manage to get to his knees. Sonnen may want a d'arce choke from this position, Mir is looking for him to get it but Sonnen loses position and has to stand up. Half the round is gone. Sonnen connects with a lying knee but Filho is still standing. Sonnen shoots in for a double leg takedown but ends up in a Filho guillotine. It's not tight enough to submit him but Filho is able to take a break and get his breath instead of taking more blows. Sonnen finally slips out with about 90 seconds left in the round. Sonnen stands up and stays over the top instead of letting Filho get up, successfully avoiding the upkicks and shooting back in. The announcers feel Filho is way too passive for a typical fight from him. Filho grabs a wrist looking for the armbar and Sonnen wriggles his way out as the horn sounds. R1 10-9 for Sonnen in my book which is quite a surprise given Filho's dominance until now.

Time for round two! Sonnen is giving chase with the fists and he's a little wet getting into the cage, which Mir says is intentional because he wants to be too slippery for a submission. You'd think the referee in charge would have caught that and made Sonnen towel off first. Filho pushes Sonnen up against the cage but Sonnen is sprawling crazy nice to avoid a takedown. Filho's head ends up under Sonnen's right arm but it doesn't force a submission. The two break apart and Sonnen is outslugging Filho, but Filho is looking for a chance to submit. Sonnen shoots in for a takedown and gets it, smashing elbows into Filho's head, but being in Filho's guard is an incredibly dangerous place to be. Nevertheless Sonnen is making the most of it throwing leather and contorlling Filho's arms. Three minutes gone by. I don't know what the fuck Filho I'm watching but this is not the Paulo Filho I know. Filho keeps trying to get off the cage but he has nowhere to go. Sonnen connects with a big left to Filho's head. Filho is being dominated with less than a minute to go and clearly the crowd is stunned into silence - either that or they're being so respectfully quiet it's damn near Japanese. Sonnen stuffs any attempt to Filho to get out but all of a sudden Filho snaps on an armbar for a tapout... or does he? It's total chaos and mass confusion. He's yelling "NO" even as the ref thinks he was screaming in pain for a stoppage. The announcers don't get it, I don't either, and we throw to a commercial break.

Now I'm just editorializing during the commercial here but this may go down as one of the worst stoppages in history. I didn't see Sonnen tap, he was clearly telling the referee NO saying he didn't want the stoppage just because he was in an armbar. You can argue Filho would have finished the fight with said armbar but he didn't ACTUALLY finish Sonnen. Nevertheless if the referee's stoppage is allowed to stand Filho is going to pick up a win in a fight that he was almost completely dominated in, which makes about as little sense as is humanly possible.

Joe Marinez: "Ladies and gentlemen the end comes 4:55 into Round 2, verbal submission via armbar for THE WINNER AND STILL UNDEFEATED MIDDLEWEIGHT CHAMPION OF THE WORLD PAULO FILHO." The crowd is booing and loudly chanting BULL-SHIT! BULL-SHIT! Quite frankly I agree with them 10,000%. They should be yelling even LOUDER. Filho's translator says that Sonnen gave him some trouble early but he's trained to be in trouble and never give up. Sonnen is with Frank Mir: "He put me in a submission, he did a good job of securing it but I didn't tap. I proclaimed no over and over. I'm very disappointed. I'm also disappointed at getting caught in a submission though, that's my fault. I was having good success against the fence. He overcame me, he's the champion for a reason." He's being gracious in defeat but this one goes down as one of the all-time dumbest things I've ever seen in a cage in MMA anywhere, especially since there were only five seconds left in the round and he clearly would have survived until round three. WEC has some serious explaining to do. Jens Pulver v. Cub Swanson is next after this commercial break.

We come back and Jens Pulver is singing the praises of WEC up and down, as Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan explain his transition from UFC to WEC. Pulver puts over the fact he was 7-0 at 145 and says "I don't ever want to lose at this weight. EVER! This is strictly for me. I'm not worried about any fighter except the guy who has the belt. That's it." Jens is shadowboxing for the camera backstage as we go to another commercial. We come back and Pulver says he feels personally disrespected by Swanson for saying he ducked a fight due to injury. "If you're gonna say all that (shit) make sure you beat my ass. If I get the space, if I get that moment, you won't get back up." Ouch!

* Jens Pulver vs. Cub Swanson

Cub Swanson comes out to Kanye West's "Good Life." Swanson's strengths are listed as excellent conditioning, a strong guillotine and a long reach. Next up is Jens Pulver, who comes out to his custom "Lil' Evil" music. Pulver's keys to win are listed as his knockout power and the fact he's undefeated as a featherweight. Swanson is determined to notch the first loss in Pulver's career at this weight but it remains to be seen if that will happen. Tale of the tape shows Pulver 8 years older at 32, otherwise the stats are virtually identical other than Swanson weighing one pound more as Pulver is 145 even. Swanson is 11-1 and fights out of Orange County, CA. Pulver's record is 21-8-1 and he fights out of Bettendorf, IA. Steve Mazzagatti is our referee in charge. "Obey my commands, protect yourselves at all times. Let's hook 'em up!"

Round one is underway - "BRING IT ON, C'MON!" Swanson immediately shoots in for a single leg on the right but Pulver sprawls to avoid it and ends up on top with a choke. Swanson is in deep trouble and taps out on his back in what has to be less than 30 seconds! Swanson should never have gone for the takedown. Evil had the guillotine so tight even Swanson's attempt to roll to his back just made it worse. PULVER IS YOUR UNOFFICIAL WINNER. We'll have the official time and announcement next!

We're back with Joe Martinez. "Ladies and gentlemen the fight ends at 35 seconds of round #1. Submission by anaconda choke for your WINNER IN HIS WEC DEBUT: JENS 'LIL EVIL' PULVER!" Pulver: "Cub Swanson I can't thank you enough. I know you're disappointed now but we had some heated conversations, we both needed that, everybody knows about the left hand, enough of the left hand. 145 I'm not going to let you down. I know you guys love your boy, but I love this sport so I love you guys too. I don't want to wait more than three months so whoever wins the title fight tonight, let's go!" Faber may be next on Pulver's list!

We're back at cageside where Todd Harris is interviewing Carlos Condit. "I'm real antsy tonight man. I've had a long layoff, I'm just ready to get back in there and do my thing! I've been training like a madman, running up hills, carrying people, grappling, doing muay thai, all of the above. I'm still waiting to see somebody who wants to go toe to toe with me, I haven't found anybody yet. I'm very comfortable at welterweight, I love the WEC, I want to fight the best in the world and the best fighters are in WEC." He'll be back on February 13th in the next live Versus event. We'll get another dark match fight in Brian Bowles vs. Marcos Galvao next!

* Marcos Galvao v. Brian Bowles

Bowles says he wants Galvao to fight his fight and get frustrated. Galvao says he's fought best in Japan but he'll fight great in the U.S. He's here to win, beat Brian and get a title shot in that order. Tale of the tape - Bowles is 27, Galvao is a year younger. Both are 5'7". Bowles gives up 2 pounds to Galvao weighing 134, but has a 4 inch reach advantage at 70.5". Bowles has a 4-0 record and hails from Athens, GA. Galvao hails from Rio De Janeiro and has a record of 9-1. Mario Yamasaki is our referee in charge. "Let's go, come on!"

The newcomer Galvao is in the black trunks, Bowles is in the white. Bowles and Galvao end up in the cage and Yamasaki gives a warning for an unintentional low blow and stops the fight. Yamasaki comes over and tells him to be careful as we see the replay of the knee. 50 seconds gone by as Galvao snaps off a kick. He's trying to stay out of Bowles punching or takedown range but Bowles is charging ahead with combos. Galvao tries to aim a knee at the head and misses. Bowles backs him up 90 seconds in with another flurry of punches. Center of the cage now as they circle for range. Galvao shoots in for a takedown and Bowles easily stuffs it. Galvao aims knees to the midsection and tries to get position but Bowles gets the underhooks and takes control. Galvao wants a judo throw but it misses and they both end up back on their feet. Round's half over now. Bowles chases with punches again. The announcers are complimenting a big elbow and noticing that Galvao is becoming predictable with his defensive moves. Yamasaki encourages more action. Bowles responds by letting loose with combos, but Galvao is not getting rocked. 1 minute to go. Galvao tries to come in with big knees but Bowles connects with leather. Galvao gets the takedown but Bowles gets back up. 25 seconds to go. Bowles keeps testing Galvao's range but nothing happens. We're headed for round two!

We see the replay of the Brian Bowles wicked elbow as we head into round two. Bowles is a little bloody on his nose though, possibly from one of Galvao's knees. "LET'S GO, C'MON!" Bowles starts chasing right away with the fists. Galvao tries to shoot but Bowles sprawls and escapes easily. Mir compliments his textbook takedown defense. Galvao regroups after eating a big left. Bowles chases with lefts and rights and knocks Galvao down! Yamasaki rushes in to see if he's defending himself. Galvao escapes but just barely and he's staggering on his feet. Bowles comes in again and Galvao is only backing up at this point. Bowles is just stalking his prey like a bobcat and Yamasaki says ENOUGH IS ENOUGH after one more big right hand punch. WINNER VIA TKO at 2:09 of R2: BRIAN BOWLES. Mir interviews him: "Sherdog had that guy ranked #2. How do you feel right now!" Bowles is ecstatic. "I knew I didn't want to go to the ground with him, I watched video and I knew he swing a little wild, I knew he was open for the right hand so I threw it." That you did Bowles! We get another promo for "Sports Unfiltered" with Dennis Miller to follow tonight's show but coming up next is our main event - Urijah Faber v. Jeff Curran. Stay tuned!

We're back at the Hard Rock for the five round main event! Mir says Urijah Faber is the best fighter in the world pound for pound. He compliments his wrestling base, his strikes, his body slams, and how powerful and explosive he is. Meanwhile Harris says Jeff Curran won't back down from any fight. Mir notes he's a Gracie black belt with the ability to finish fights with his hands. "Really an excellent showcase of skills all the way around." Harris notes Faber has only been beaten once though, and says we should all "Sit back and enjoy." Thanks Harris, we will! Curran: "I'm so ready to come out and kick this kid's ass, go to war, guns blazing." Faber: "Curran's coming into my world, in my neighborhood, and beat me up in front of my friends. That's not going to happen. WEC is my world and I'm here to stay."

Curran comes out first and is billed from Woodstock, IL. His keys to win are that he's a black belt and has excellent striking ability, plus his lengthy fight experience enables him to be in a title fight and not have any nerves. The cornermen grease him up and offer him a last drink of water before he steps inside the cage. Time for The California Kid to come out! "We Fly High, no lie, you know it. BALLIN'!" Faber's keys to winning are displayed on the screen - he takes risks, has excellent wrestling, and has outstanding conditioning. All that's left now is the tale of the tape and the in-ring introductions. Curran is two years old, both men are a half foot shorter than six even, and there's only a half pound of difference between them with Faber having the edge at 144. Joe Martinez has the mic. "This is the moment we've all been waiting for! 5 rounds for the WEC Featherweight Championship of the world!" Curran fights out of Island Lake, IL and has a record of 31-8-1. The champ Faber fights out of Sacramento, CA and has a professional record of 19-1. Our referee in charge is Mario Yamasaki.

* Urijah Faber {C} vs. Jeff Curran (WEC Featherweight Title)

"LET'S GO, C'MON!" Faber and Curran both go for kicks and their legs collide. Curran gets the takedown and has the mount but Faber has his left knee through to block. They're dead center of the cage right now and Faber is bucking to try to get out but this only puts Jeff Curran on top of his back. Faber has his right shoulder up to block but Curran could go from the bodylock to a choke. Faber is staying calm though and not panicking. Faber is rolling to his side to try and slip out. 2 minutes gone by. Curran flips him to the other side and hammers down with fists. Faber is controlling his hands for the most part but Curran is riding him the whole time. Yamasaki keeps watching for a choke but Curran is unable to sink an arm in. Faber once again gets the elbow up to block fists and Curran switches to looking for an armbar. Faber once again avoids the submission. 90 seconds left in the round and Faber stands up with Curran on his back and slam his head backwards into the mat. Finally Faber has slipped out thanks to that move and now he's reverse position and is on top of Curran! 50 seconds to go and Curran is pushed up against the cage. Faber may not be able to steal the round this late but he's survived several dangerous positions so he has to be happy just to be getting to round two. Faber is smacking Curran around with elbows and stands up to snap off a few kicks just before the horn sounds to end R1. I'm going to say 10-9 Curran but I could understand a judge seeing it the other way.

Round two begins! "LET'S GO, C'MON." Faber tries to charge in and Curran stuffs the takedown with good sprawl. Bodylock up against the cage. Faber pulls out and explodes with a big right elbow. Faber has underhooks but he's being warned not to hold the fence. ANOTHER BIG ELBOW this time from the left. Curran tries to go for a judo throw but even though it fails he does get Faber off of him. Faber is on the ground and may actually be attempting a submission here, trying to wrap a leg around Curran's head, but content to punish him with the leg when he can't by striking him in the face with it. One of them or possibly an elbow opened up Curran's nose. Curran is getting pressed up into the cage as Faber rolls on top. Mir predicts he'll posture up and start the ground and pound at any time as half the round has gone by. Yamasaki warns he will stand them up if there's not more action. Curran keeps trying to hold him down and that's a good idea because whenever Faber pops up he wallops Curran. Faber decides to stand up and see if he can come over the top with a punch. Curran goes for an upkick in the process. Less than a minute to go and Faber is kicking Curran in the hamstrings since he won't get up. Curran does get up and Faber throws a knee to the head standing on one leg. Curran gets caught and Faber sinks in the choke, he's got nowhere to go because that kick rocked him. Mir: "He did some stuff straight out of the Matrix!" Have to agree. UNOFFICIAL WINNER: URIJAH FABER.

We'll have an official decision shortly. Faber is all smiles as he gets toweled off and handed some ring gear. Curran comes over to give him a hug and respect, Faber does the same. MArtinez: "4 minutes and 34 seconds of round two. Submission by guillotine choke. YOUR WINNER AND STILL WEC FEATHERWEIGHT CHAMPION OF THE WORLD, THE CALIFORNIA KID... URIJAHHHHHHHHH FABER!!" Faber: "I am making things up in there. Curran is an amazing fighter, I hope this brings some recognition to him as well, he deserves it. You know I get my back taken on purpose all day long. I don't care man. 5 rounds, 25 minutes, there's no way I'm getting choked out. Jens Pulver, it's gonna be an honor to fight that guy. Let's do it, make history!" Faber celebrates moving up to 21-1 as the rest of his team joins him in the cage. We get another promo for February 13th next year, Carlos Condit in action on Versus, and Harris thanks us for watching tonight. "Sports Unfiltered" is next. Good night everyone!

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