Thursday, July 30, 2009

WEC 42: Overdue and Under the Radar

With all the speculation and discussions of contract negotiations between Fedor Emelianenko and the UFC, not to mention a top-heavy fight card at UFC 101 the night before, a fight that could very easily turn out to be the best the month has to offer is receiving very little time in the spotlight.

Headlining WEC 42 is a battle for the Bantamweight title between champion and Pound-for-Pound mainstay Miguel Torres (37-1) and Brian Bowles (7-0) that was originally supposed to happen back at WEC 40 in April.

What turned out to be a small setback for Bowles became a massive win for fight fans, as the injured member of Athens, Georgia's Hardcore Gym was replaced by Japanese veteran Takeya Mizugaki, who combined with Torres for what is an early front runner for Fight of the Year.

Stop and think about that for a minute: the fall-back option to this fight was a five round war that earned a 4.61 out of 5 from voters at MMA Ratings.

It's not like it was a GSP-type domination either; Mizugaki took two rounds on my scorecard while the judges ended up seeing it of 49-46, 49-46, 48-47 all in favor of Torres. Believe me, those numbers don't do justice to what a great fight this was.

Now we get the originally scheduled fight and I for one can't wait.

Everything about this fight feels eerily similar to the first bout between Urijah Faber and Mike Thomas Brown.

Faber was reigning supreme as the King of the Featherweights, earning praise across the board as a Pound-for-Pound fixture and becoming more of a household name with each notch in the win column.

Brown was the less experienced, far less flashy opponent who was supposed to be another victim of "The California Kid" and his vast arsenal of weapons.

We all know what happened next.

Now Torres is in that Faber position and Bowles will be looking to do his best Mike Brown impersonation.

While some, including Torres, are quick to point to Bowles' relative lack of experience inside the cage as a stumbling block, part of me can't help but think that his inexperience will serve him well in what is easily the biggest fight of his life.

Some certainly get stage fright and crack under the pressure of the spotlight, but others aren't affected at all. They walk onto the biggest stage available and put on the performance of a lifetime.

Who am I to say that just because Brian Bowles has only seven fights to his name that he's going to be unable to hang with Miguel Torres?

Remember, no one thought Brown could hang with Faber the first time and now he's done so twice.

That being said, Torres is the clear favorite in this tilt and with good reason.

He hasn't lost a fight since 2003, decision to Ryan Ackerman that he later avenged. In the nearly six years since that defeat, Torres has taken on all comers and shown a sublime mix of skills inside the WEC Octagon.

Some fighters are knockout artists, readying a big right or left that can end your night in a hurry. Others are submission specialists, able to make you tap in any number of ways, while others still are grinders, guys that are ready and willing to go the distance and pull out a victory.

Miguel Torres is all three and that is what makes him so uniquely dangerous.

In five fights with the WEC, the Hammond, Indiana native has two wins by TKO, two submission victories and one win that went to the scorecards.

Add all this up, not to mention the fact that the fight is available live and free on Versus, and you have the makings of one outstanding fight.

And yet somehow this title clash is still off the radar for many fight fans who are engulfed in a storm of Fedor, the UFC and the wake of Affliction's sudden collapse.

Consider yourself notified: Torres vs. Bowles has the potential to be a monster of a fight and one you don't want to miss.

Feel free to return to Fedor Watch now.

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