At 34, the future seems uncertain at best for former UFC
lightweight champion Jens Pulver.
The popular and distinguished veteran suffered his third
consecutive defeat at WEC 38 on Sunday at the San Diego Sports
Arena in San Diego, Calif., as he submitted to a first-round
guillotine choke from one-time featherweight king Urijah Faber.
Neither of his past two losses has advanced beyond the second
minute, leading many to wonder whether or not the time has come for
“Little Evil” to call it a career.
“It sucks,” Pulver told WEC.tv. “I just lost three fights in a row.
I don’t know what to do.”
Pulver (22-11-1) appears comfortable with his place in mixed
martial arts history, despite having lost five of his past six
bouts. The four men to whom he has lost in that stretch own a
cumulative record of 64-13-1. His extended drought -- interrupted
only by a quick submission victory against Cub Swanson at
WEC 31 in 2007 -- began with his surprising knockout loss to
Lauzon 28 months ago.
“The legend’s all fine and good,” Pulver said. “Down the road,
that’ll be a great thing to have, and it’s a wonderful commodity,
but I want to be a fighter. I want to be competitive.”
His rematch with Faber lasted just 94 seconds. After he buckled
from a body shot, Faber swarmed him with punches and locked in the
seated guillotine choke that finished the fight. It was only
Pulver’s second submission loss in the last eight years.
“That body shot hurt, and I fell under a guillotine,” he said.
“What can I do?”
What’s next for Pulver remains unclear, even as he works under the
watchful eye of revered MMA trainer Matt Hume.
“I just want to get back to the drawing board,” Pulver said. “I’m
going right back to Seattle, and I’m going to continue to train.
I’m coming -- again.”
Champion Under Fire
Varner left the San Diego Sports Arena as a champion under
fire, even though his World Extreme Cagefighting lightweight title
was fastened safely around his waist.
Varner (16-2, 2 NC) won a controversial split decision from
Cerrone in the WEC 38 main event after their showdown ended
prematurely when the unbeaten challenger struck the champion with
an inadvertent illegal knee in the fifth round. Unable to continue,
Varner drew a chorus of boos from disgruntled fans, many of them
believing he had asked for and found an easy way out of the
Under California State Athletic Commission rules, the match went to
the judges. Two of the three scored it in Varner’s favor, allowing
him to retain the title.
“I want to win unanimously,” Varner told WEC.tv. “I don’t want to
get booed by the crowd. I’ve worked too hard for that.”
The 24-year-old Varner (16-2, 2 NC) has made two successful title
defenses during his five-fight winning streak. A rematch with
Cerrone seems almost certain. Up until the foul, the two traded
barbs in a competitive match that saw both of them marked by
close-quarters combat. Varner scored almost at will with takedowns
against the relentless Cerrone and cut the Jackson’s Submission
Fighting standout with a crisp right hand in the third round.
“I know I was taking it to him,” Varner said. “I hurt him a bunch
of times. I hurt him with my left hook. I hurt him with my right
hand. I hurt myself hitting him with my right hand.”
Even Varner admitted the finish left a lot to be desired.
“I love to train,” he said. “I love to fight. I love to win, and I
love to win unanimously, not bulls--t ways like this.”
WEC Awards $30K in Post-Fight
Aldo poised to become the next great featherweight?
Aldo won his sixth consecutive bout at WEC 38, as he knocked out
Perez with a knee and ground strikes, earning a $7,500
“Knockout of the Night” bonus. Just 22 years old, Aldo (13-1) has
finished all three of his WEC opponents with strikes and has
quickly emerged as a contender for the featherweight crown.
Spawned by the same Nova Uniao camp that has produced top UFC
middleweight contender Thales Leites
and world-ranked featherweight Wagnney
Fabiano, among others, Aldo has shown dynamic striking ability
since he burst on the scene with a technical knockout victory
Franca Nogueira in June. A Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, he
has yet to showcase the grappling skills that made him a BJJ world
The WEC’s post-fight generosity extended beyond Aldo’s hand.
Despite the fact that their five-round title bout ended in
controversy, Varner and Cerrone banked matching $7,500 “Fight of
the Night” bonuses. In addition, Faber picked up a $7,500
“Submission of the Night” bonus after he coaxed a tapout from
Pulver 1:34 into round one of their rematch. It was Faber’s 11th
submission win in 24 career fights.
This & That
Varner, despite his split decision win at Cerrone’s expense, still
has not gone the distance in a fight in nearly six years. Jesse Moreng
was the last man to push the Arizona Combat Sports product to the
limit at a Rage in the Cage show in April 2003 … Four fighters
entered the cage at WEC 38 with unblemished records, and three of
them -- Cerrone, Frank Gomez
Campbell -- left it after suffering their first defeats. Only
welterweight prospect Edgar Garcia,
who smashed through Hiromitsu
Miura in 78 seconds, remained unbeaten … Nine of the 20
fighters who competed at WEC 38 were making their promotional
debuts. They went a combined 4-5 … Since he entered the WEC in
2006, five of Faber’s eight fights have ended inside one round …
Miletich Fighting Systems product Jesse Lennox
has finished all 10 of his wins by knockout, technical knockout or