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WEC 35: Condit vs. Miura Preview

With the strength of its sub-155-pound talent. Three of the organizations heavier champions will take to the cage to defend their titles, with each bout presenting unique scenarios that promise an exciting night.

Carlos "Natural Born Killer" Condit (22-4-0) vs. Hiromitsu Miura (9-4-0)

The Natural Born Killer has apparently waged war against the WEC welterweights, steadily dismantling each of his last four opponents in a combined time of less than 15 minutes. His cage prowess is a fearsome, combining technical striking and a quick, overwhelming ground game. He's pushed himself into most top ten lists despite fighting in a relatively talent-sparse division, and has been impressive enough to warrant fantasy match-ups against the UFC's top athletes.

Miura is coming off a quick and impressive victory, finishing up-and-comer Blas Avena within three minutes. He has heavy hands and overall striking skill that keeps him in a fight until the last moment. Though he isn't known for offensive grappling, he has never been submitted in his career, despite a spending a considerable amount of time on the ground with Jason "Mayhem" Miller in his UFC debut.

This fight is in Condit's hands. If he keeps it on the feet, the fight should be relatively even, with a slight power advantage going to Miura. If it goes to the ground, Condit should have no problem dominating, and may even get a stoppage. After a competitive first round that plays out mainly on the feet, the Natural Born Killer will finish the fight in the second with a series of punishing strikes from mount. Add another name to his hit list.

Brian "All American" Stann (6-0-0) vs. Steve "The Robot" Cantwell (5-1-0)

Brian Stann captured WEC gold in just his sixth overall professional bout, stopping Doug Marshall with heavy punches in just 95 seconds. In fact, he's stopped all of his opponents with those dynamite hands of his. Apparently, this man punches hard.

Steve Cantwell has finished his last two opponents impressively, with his most recent bout ending in a rear-naked choke victory over Tim McKenzie. He's demonstrated solid striking and capable grappling, and has looked vastly improved in each outing.

Expect this fight to play out somewhat differently from the one-sided beating The All American put on back in March of 2007. Cantwell's striking has become more versatile and his overall game has improved leaps. However, as stated, Brian Stann hits hard. Cantwell may be able to score for a while, but Stann is bound to land eventually. The Robot will go down hard, and if he isn't already in sleep mode by then, Stann will follow up on the ground to get the stoppage mid-way through the first.

Jamie "The Worm" Varner (14-2-0) vs. Marcus "The Wrecking Ball" Hicks (8-0-0)

Jamie Varner showed a great game plan and formidable boxing as he dethroned "Razor" Rob McCullough in his last outing. He now has a chance to cement his place atop the WEC lightweight division with a win over contender Marcus Hicks.

Hicks has finished all of his opponents within two rounds and has a chance to both keep his undefeated record intact and grab some gold while he's at it. Not a bad deal.

This fight can go either way and it may simply come down to the old, clichéd contest of "who wants it more". Varner has the skills to outpoint and maybe even finish Hicks on the feet. He'll have a sizeable reach advantage and a solid wrestling base. Hicks has the power in his hands to at least keep Varner worried and the ability to finish the fight from nearly any position on the ground.

Unfortunately, it looks like Varner may drop this one. Hicks will land one of his powerful hooks and The Worm will probably shoot in to wait out the ringing in his head. A few seconds later, he'll find himself tapping to a crushing guillotine choke.

Brian Bowles (5-0-0) vs. Damacio "The Angel of Death" Page (10-3-0)

Brian Bowles busted onto the bantamweight scene with a stunning domination and submission of Charlie Valencia back in June of last year. He then followed that up by welcoming Shooto standout Marco "Louro" Galvao to the WEC with a second round KO. He's a young, talented, well-rounded fighter that appears to be putting himself in position to challenge current bantamweight fighting machine Miguel Torres.

The Angel of Death scored a hard fought unanimous decision over Scott Jorgensen in his WEC debut. His strong wrestling and ground control earned his the win, and he looks to keep the ball rolling with a win on Sunday.

Bowles should take this one. He'll have a reach and power advantage on the feet, and should be able to stuff Page's takedowns and take dominant position. A battered and bruised Page will succumb to a rear-naked in the second.

Micah "Maverick" Miller (9-1-0) vs. Josh "The Fluke" Grispi (8-1-0)

What happens when you take two hungry up-and-comers, give them a chance to showcase their talent on television, and leave future title implication dangling in the air? An awesome fight, that's what.

The pace should be frantic and the bout should go back-and-forth. Grispi may have a slight advantage standing, and Miller's technical grappling should give him a slight edge on the ground. It could really go either way, but I'll pick "The Fluke" to get a close but unanimous nod from the judges.

Rest of the Card:

170 lbs. | Brock Larson vs. Carlo Prater
170 lbs. | Blas Avena vs. Dave Terrel
155 lbs. | Shane Roller vs. Todd Moore
155 lbs. | Mike Budnik vs. Greg McIntyre
135 lbs. | Scott Jorgensen vs. Kenji Osawa

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