WEC 21: McCullough and Franca Victorious

By: Greg Savage
Jun 16, 2006



HIGHLAND, Calif., June 15 — “Razor” Rob McCullough (Pictures) proved more than sharp enough Thursday night before an estimated 2,000 fans at the San Manuel Indian Bingo and Casino.

McCullough scored a hard fought stoppage over Ryan Healy (Pictures) when a cut forced the doctor at ringside to call a halt to the bout 1:52 in the first of their three-round engagement.

McCullough had his way with Healy from the get go, scoring repeatedly with low kicks to the inner and outer thigh on Healy’s lead left leg. It was apparent that Healy — whose background is boxing — had no answers for the low kicks, as the effects of the repeated blows began to show in his quickly developing limp.

Healy, on the wrong end of the stand-up exchanges, shot in for a takedown but was rebuffed when McCullough circled off the cage and away from the Reno, Nevada-based fighter.

In the next exchange McCullough landed a jarring elbow that sent Healy careening to the canvas, where the “Razor” was quick to follow.

McCullough said after the fight it was either the right hand or a hammer fist that opened up the gash over Healy’s left eye that eventually ended the contest.

Referee Herb Dean (Pictures) called for the doctor to check the cut, and despite pleas from Healy and his corner the doctor waved off the fight, giving Huntington Beach’s McCullough his sixth straight win and tenth in 11 fights.

Nathan Diaz (Pictures) controlled his match with the always tough Joe Hurley (Pictures) from the opening bell until Hurley tapped out to a fight-ending triangle choke at 2:03 of the second round. Diaz took the fight to the mat and spent the entire first frame working within Hurley’s guard. Although there was not a whole lot to show for it by way of damage, Diaz outclassed him winning the first round 10-9 on the Sherdog.com scorecard.

The fight ending sequence began with Diaz jumping to guard with a guillotine choke sunk in deep. Hurley — not one to tap early — struggled his way out only to find himself in deeper trouble. Diaz latched on with a triangle choke that caused Hurley’s corner to throw in the towel after he went unconscious. Hurley actually woke up and tapped out, officially ending the bout.

WEC lightweight champion Hermes Franca (Pictures) used his superior ground skills to hold on to his belt after Brandon Olsen took him down to open their title fight.

Franca avoided the majority of Olsen’s strikes and latched onto an arm, forcing the challenger to tapout to the armbar. Franca retains the WEC lightweight title with a submission win at 40 seconds of the first round and appears poised to return to the UFC.

Justin Eilers (Pictures) spent the first half of the opening stanza of his fight trying to get back to his feet after a Jimmy Ambriz (Pictures) takedown in the opening moments of their heavyweight match. Once he did, Eilers pounded away at the body of Ambriz with knees and punches, softening him up for the following rounds. Sherdog.com scored the first round 10-9 for Eilers.

It was a wise strategy, as Ambriz could not answer the opening bell for the second round. The ringside doctor was seen examining Ambriz’s left shoulder and Jimmy Lennon Jr. announced he had a torn bicep tendon. Justin Eilers (Pictures) wins by medical stoppage after one round of action.

Brian Stann needed just 16 seconds to dispatch Miguel Cosio (Pictures) in their bout scheduled for three, three-minute rounds. The active duty Marine landed a series of straight rights to the jaw of Cosio, the final one putting Cosio down for good and gave Stann the TKO victory.

Richard Crunkilton (Pictures) absorbed a couple right hands from Adam Lynn (Pictures) en route to a dominating performance. “Cleat” dropped Lynn about a minute in to the bout with a left high kick-straight right combination that would have ended the fight against a lesser opponent.

Lynn struggled to regain his composure as Crunkilton continued to unload to his downed opponent. Crunkilton continued to score with takedowns and crisp strikes. Sherdog.com scored the opening frame 10-8 for Crunkilton.

The second period began with a seemingly revitalized Lynn landing a big right hand that prompted “Cleat” to swing back wildly. In the ensuing exchange, Crunkilton answered a Lynn elbow with one of his own, depositing his foe to the mat. After a brief flurry from the top, Crunkilton was able to attain the mount and eventually secured the tap inducing rear naked choke at 1:20 of the second round.

In a back-and-forth affair, Joe Martin (Pictures) and hometown favorite Mike Penalber (Pictures) battled for the entire nine minutes of their three round bout. Highlights included a near heelhook submission by Penalber as well as a couple of impressive slam takedowns. The gritty Martin — who refused to give in to the painful heel hook — did everything he could to answer but in the end Penalber was just too much.

Officially the judges had it 2-1 (30-27, 30-27 and 28-29) in favor of Mike Penalber (Pictures). But judge Cecil Peoples told Sherdog.com that his score of 29-28, which was read for Martin when it was meant for Penalber, made what should have been a unanimous decision into a split verdict. Sherdog.com scored all three rounds for Penalber.

Kyle York defeated Jason Glaza by referee stoppage at 46 seconds of the first round. York jettisoned Glaza with a right hand that relieved him of his faculties. This should have been a knockout but was announced as a TKO.

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