WEC 35, which took place on Aug. 3, 2008, is memorable today for several reasons. For one, it is a historical curiosity, as the last Zuffa-promoted event to feature three title fights, and the only one in the nearly 15-year span between UFC 33 in September of 2001 and the sale of the Ultimate Fighting Championship to WME-IMG in July 2016. (Since the buyout, UFC 205 and UFC 217 have duplicated the feat.)
However, WEC 35 was more than the answer to a future trivia question. Despite featuring relatively little of the Zuffa-era World Extreme Cagefighting’s bread and butter, i.e. the featherweight and bantamweight divisions, it exemplified the relentless action for which the promotion was rightly beloved. The last nine fights of the 10-fight card ended in stoppages, including six straight first-round finishes.
In the main event, Carlos Condit defended his welterweight belt by crushing Hiromitsu Miura with a knee and follow-up punches in the fourth round of a surprisingly wild, back-and-forth battle, extending his preposterous 100-percent finish rate to the first 23 wins of his career. Steve Cantwell dethroned light heavyweight champ Brian Stann in the co-main event with a second-round knockout, while Jamie Varner made quick work of Marcus Hicks to retain his lightweight belt. (As a corollary to the earlier bit of trivia, UFC 217 is the only event in the promotion’s history in which three belts changed hands.)
At the time WEC 35 took place, it had been just over a year and a half since the Zuffa acquisition. The primary changes had been the replacement of the original five-sided cage with an octagonal enclosure; the relocation of the promotion’s de facto home base from the Tachi Palace in Lemoore, California, to the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas; and a gradual phasing out of the heavier weight classes. The latter transition meant that WEC 35 was the final appearance in “the little blue cage” for Condit, Cantwell and Stann, all of whom would make their UFC debuts shortly.