Tuesday, December 15, 2009
This Saturday at The Pearl at The Palms in Las Vegas, Nevada, the WEC goes live-to-air on Versus.
For those who are somehow still unaware or uninterested in the WEC, give your head a shake.
While the acronym of the UFC's little brother officially stands for World Extreme Cagefighting, it very well could mean "Wickedly Exciting Carnage" or something similar because without fail, the WEC constantly delivers entertaining fight cards and it's time more people paid attention.
Coming in a week after UFC 107 will be an excellent opportunity for a direct comparison, especially considering that last week's UFC show was one of the better events in recent memory.
Guaranteeing for fights on the televised portion of the program, the four bouts brought to viewers via Versus this weekend are sure to create fans of first-time viewers and re-affirm why longtime followers like myself prefer the WEC to their larger, more publicized partner under the Zuffa banner.
Opening the show will be a full throttle battle between Japanese star Takeya Mizugaki (12-3-2) and former Keyboard Kimura interviewee Scotty "Young Guns" Jorgensen (7-3-0).
Mizugaki has been impressive in both of his WEC bouts to date, going the distance with then Bantamweight champion Miguel Torres in what could be Fight of the Year, as well as out-pointing Jeff Curran in a controversial decision last time out.
For Jorgensen, there are only two speeds: fast and faster.
The Boise State wrestling product comes out like a fireball and doesn't stop until the bell sounds or his opponent is finished. Last time around at WEC 43, the latter was the case, as former TUF competitor Noah Thomas didn't make it out of the first round.
A battle of contrasting styles takes the cage next, as Team Alpha Male member Joseph Benavidez (10-1-0) looks to rebound from the first loss of his career against Rani Yahya (15-4-0).
Benavidez, like Alpha Male leader Urijah Faber, is a tremendous wrestler who had his ten-fight winning streak snapped by Bantamweight title challenger Dominick Cruz at WEC 42. Previous to that bout, Benavidez had defeated the aforementioned Jeff Curran in dominating fashion.
This time around, however, Benavidez might want to keep this fight standing, as his opponent is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu master and winner of the 2007 ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championship in the Under 66 kg class.
Plan and simple, Rani Yanya likes to submit people and he's done so with alarming ease as of late. Three straight Submission of the Night awards and first round finishes are all you need to know about Diego Sanchez' teammates tactics heading into this bout.
Second billing on the show goes to the improving and impressive Anthony Njokuani (12-2-0) and Canadian baby-faced assassin Chris Horodecki (13-1-0).
Though he looks about 16 at most, the 21-year-old Horodecki is a Shawn Tompkins trainee with wins over Bart Paleszewski and Ryan Schultz under his belt from his days dominating the IFL. While he was upset in the finals by Shultz, "The Polish Hammer" has since rebounded with back-to-back wins, including a first round submission of William "The Bull" Sriyapai in June.
Njokuani has earned consecutive Knockout of the Night awards in stopping Muhsin Corbbrey and Bart Paleszewski, and his two career defeats came to Donald Cerrone and Ben Henderson. The Texas native can cement himself as being next in line for a title shot with a win over the Canadian on Saturday.
Headlining the show is two-time lightweight title challenger Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone taking on 7-1 Ed "9mm" Ratcliff.
Not to take anything away from Ratcliff, a young fighter who has shown flashes of potential, but this fight looks like prime bounce-back material for the Greg Jackson-trained Cerrone.
While Ratcliff has three wins in four tries since joining the WEC, Cerrone has faced the best of the lightweight division and both of his defeats are considered controversial by some. He possesses an impressive all-around game and looked like a monster after his last defeat, dominating James Krause from the opening bell and submitting him before the first round ended.
The lineup may not contain many names that are as familiar as their UFC counterparts, but over the last year, no company has put forth more exciting events than the WEC.
Saturday night, the four fight lineup available to you on Versus is as good as anything offered by the UFC on Spike as of late, if not better and come Sunday morning, fight fans will be talking about what went down in Las Vegas at WEC 45.
You don't want to be left out of the conversation, do you?