LAS VEGAS – WEC matchmaker Scott Adams offered a shot at his featherweight championship to five fighters, but none were interested in meeting title-holder Urijah Faber.
Faber proved why on Sunday at the Hard Rock Hotel, scoring a first-round submission of Chance Farrar after a more difficult than expected bout.
Farrar, who like Faber is a former college wrestler, extended the champion like he hadn't been extended before, but Faber managed to find a way to slip on a rear naked choke.
Faber, who defended a title for the 16th consecutive time, took Farrar's back after the fighters had been grappling on the ground. It wasn't long before Farrar had to submit.
Former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir, a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu expert doing color analysis for Versus, was amazed by the ground fighting.
"That was one of the most technical grappling matches I've ever witnessed," Mir said.
Faber, who is one of the strongest fighters in the sport, praised Farrar for his competitiveness.
But Faber still was too much for Farrar.
"You have to do what you have to do to find a way to win, and that's what I was able to do," Faber said.
DAZED, NOT CONFUSED
Rani Yahya charged out of his corner Sunday and dove at Mark Hominick in an almost amateurish attempt to get the fight to the mat. Hominick, a noted striker, caught Yahya with a hard shot that left Yahya woozy.
But Yahya managed to get the fight to the mat and made quick work of Hominick, stopping him on a rear naked choke at 1:19 of the first round.
"I'll be honest; he hit me and I don't remember anything that happened in the fight," Yahya said.
Watching a replay of his choke, he said, "I don't remember this. I don't remember any of this. He hit me hard, man."
But that one punch was all the heavily favored Hominick did. After the ineffective early attempts to get the bout to the ground, Yahya managed to get behind Hominick and jumped on his back.
It wasn't long before he forced the fight down and slapped on the fight-ending choke.
KARALEXIS SEES IT THROUGH
Alex Karalexis' face looked like a loser, but the WEC lightweight turned in a solid performance and scored another victory by dominating Josh Smith at the Hard Rock Hotel.
Karalexis' left eye was closed as the fighters were battling on the inside early in the first round. But it hardly seemed to bother the one-time carpenter from Boston, who punched his way to a victory by majority decision.
Smith slapped a triangle choke on Karalexis in the second round, but in a feat of strength, Karalexis lifted Smith to shoulder level, carried him across the cage and slammed him into the mat.
But for the most part, it was Karalexis' strikes and his ground-and-pound attack that led the way.
He said he had difficulty seeing after the shot to his left eye and said it impacted his performance.
"I couldn't see, and that's why those upkicks landed," said Karalexis, who said the eye was closed by the first punch of the fight.
STANN STOPS ZELLNER
Brian Stann won a silver star for extraordinary heroism while leading a Marine platoon fighting in Iraq in 2005. If he continues as he has been in mixed martial arts, he soon may wear the gold of a championship belt.
Stann was impressive Sunday in his biggest pro fight, stopping Craig Zellner at 4:57 of the first round of a light heavyweight bout at the Hard Rock Hotel on a WEC card.
Stann and Zellner spent most of the round trading punches, but Stann was both quicker and the harder puncher. He knocked Zellner down after a back-and-forth exchange and went to the ground-and-pound.
Referee Jon Schorle stopped it with three seconds left in the first round.
"I hit him and I saw his head kind of wobble," Stann said. "I knew I had stunned him before, and I figured, 'Hey, this is the time. Suck it up. Put him out. Win the fight right now.' That's what I did."
NEW OPPONENT, NO PROBLEM FOR LARSON
Brock Larson wore an orange T-shirt with the word "Dominance" emblazoned on the front. And that also described his brief performance against Kevin Knabjian.
Larson blasted Knabjian with a crushing overhand left just 10 seconds into the fight, then pummeled a defenseless Knabjian on the ground until referee Steve Mazzagatti stopped it.
Larson was supposed to have fought WEC welterweight champion Carlos Condit on Sunday, but Condit was injured and the bout was postponed. Nonetheless, Larson showed championship form in making short work of Knabjian.
"I knew if I hit him with a left that he was going to go down," Larson said. "And that was a hell of a left."
ALESSIO WINS AGAIN
In his first fight since losing to Condit in a bid for the welterweight title, John Alessio wasted little time in getting rid of Alex Serdyukov.
Alessio, who scored a submission victory over Serdyukov last year, got another one Sunday when he snapped on a guillotine choke and forced the Russian to tap at 1:19 of the first round.
Alessio, who said he left his fight in the gym when he met Condit on March 24, was aggressive from the beginning.
Serdyukov shot in on Alessio and tried for a takedown, but Alessio slapped on a guillotine and Serdyukov quickly tapped.
"It's my move, man," Alessio said of the guillotine choke. "I have a really good guillotine."
SWANSON DOMINATES MILLER
Cub Swanson and Micah Miller made no secret of their dislike for each other Sunday before their featherweight bout at the Hard Rock Hotel.
Each delivered plenty of punishment, but it was Swanson who won a unanimous decision. All three judges scored it 30-27 for Swanson, who showed striking skills to go with his submission expertise.
Swanson nearly knocked out Miller with his straight right. Miller was supposed to be the striker, but Swanson got the better of the standup. He crushed Miller with a powerful overhand right late in the fight and then ripped him with a five-punch combination.
That knocked Miller to the mat and Swanson snapped on a choke, but time expired before he got the submission.
"I've concentrated a lot on my stand-up because my ground game is pretty good," Swanson said.
Charlie Valencia had the bigger reputation, but Brian Bowles dominated the fight and won via tapout due to a rear naked choke Sunday at 2:50 of the second round.
A submission specialist, Bowles took control of the fight in the first round, catching an onrushing Valencia with a powerful overhand right. Valencia went down, and Bowles essentially was in command until the submission.
"I just shut my eyes and swung," Bowles said of the right he landed.
Bowles said he enjoys striking, but he showed the strength of his game by maneuvering Valencia for the choke. He cinched it deep, and with the hooks in, there was nowhere for Valencia to go. He was forced to tap.
BEDARD REMAINS UNBEATEN
Jeff Bedard and Mike French traded submission attempts for three rounds, but Bedard had a few more and pulled out a unanimous decision in the card's opener.
The fighters rolled from one attempt into the other in what the unbeaten Bedard called the worst performance of his career.
"I resigned my teaching job to be able to do this full-time," Bedard said after improving to 10-0. I was a part-time guy, fighting only four months of the year. This was my worst performance in 10 fights.
"That's not to take anything away from Mike French. He's a tough guy, but I didn't do ground and pound like I normally do."