Top Canadians square off at WEC 59 in Edmonton

(Added on Jun 18, 2010)

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There are bragging rights and a fair bit of history on the line Sunday, when Canadian featherweights Mark (The Machine) Hominick and Yves (Tiger) Jabouin finally face off at WEC 49 in Edmonton.

The two 145-pounders have been on a collision course for years. Their long-awaited clash is set for Rexall Place in the co-main event of World Extreme Cagefighting’s first show outside of the U.S.

“This has been going on almost eight years for the two of us,” said Hominick, a native of Thamesford, Ont.

“We fought in kind of rival promotions (in Quebec) so the fight never happened, but there was always talk of people always wanting to see it.”

Said Jabouin: “Hominick used to be the hero in Montreal, the town I fight out of. He was champion of TKO (a now-defunct promotion) for so many years. I have a lot of respect for him.”

Still Jabouin admits fighting another Canadian on the WEC’s first card north of the border was not his first preference, even though he knows the high-profile matchup is a great opportunity.

In the main event Sunday, former lightweight champion Jamie Varner faces Kamal Shalorus with the winner earning a title shot.

The Hominick-Jabouin fight was supposed to happen in XMMA but the promotion folded. Then it was scheduled for January in the WEC but Jabouin broke his nose in training.

“Things happen for a reason,” offered Hominick. “Now we’re on the big stage and we’re on the main card and it’s going to happen.”

History aside, Hominick (17-8) is happy to fight someone who likes to stand and trade blows. Both men have kickboxing backgrounds.

While Hominick won his last fight by submission, he acknowledges often thinking defensively in the cage in a bid to keep the fight on the feet.

Not this time, he hopes.

“I get to really show what I’m about … I don’t think either if us are looking to go to the ground.”

Jabouin, 31, is healthy once more and, thanks to his work with acclaimed strength and conditioning coach Jon Chaimberg, believes he has the cardio to keep up with the Energizer Bunny-like Hominick.

As for his nose, he had to protect the broken beak from impact for about six weeks but still managed to keep up with the rest of his training.

Jabouin (14-5) is coming off a split decision loss in October to Raphael Assuncao.

“It was a really, really close fight,” he said. “So I’m not disappointed, I think it could have gone either way.”

Outside the cage, the Haitian-born fighter has had one eye on his birthplace in the wake of the devastating earthquake in January. His father still lives there and will have to rebuild his house.

“It’s only material possessions that have been touched,” he said. “Everybody I know there is healthy. Thank God for that.”

As for Hominick, he’s just happy to be fighting for the second time in 2010. He didn’t fight at all in 2009.

The demise of Affliction as an MMA promoter, coupled with an injury, meant Hominick was out of action for almost 18 months.

In just one example, he was slated to fight Deividas Taurosevicius under the Affliction flag. When that didn’t happen, it was shifted to the WEC — only to have Hominick sidelined.

“But I was doing training camps the whole time, so it wasn’t like I took a year and a half off,” he said. “I was in the gym, I just didn’t have the ring time.”

Still he admits it was emotionally draining, training for fights that never happened.

Hominick, 27, finally returned to action in January with an efficient first-round submission victory over Bryan Caraway in the WEC.

While he had put the hours in the gym, Hominick was concerned about ring rust. And there was a lot of pressure to succeed.

“I knew I need a big performance,” said Hominick.

He got it, posting a win that he says revitalized his career. “Just reminding people I’m here and I’m here to stay.”

-The Canadian Press

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