Wednesday, December 15, 2010
FIGHT BLOG: WEC 53 Preview
For those who didn't read the last blog, today is World Extreme Cagefighting's final event before getting merged into the UFC. I also recommend you look that one over as well.
Anyway, there will be two titles on the line, as Dominick Cruz and Scott Jorgensen will fight for the WEC Bantamweight title and Benson Henderson will take on Anthony Pettis for the lightweight title.
These fights also have UFC implications. The WEC Bantamweight Champion will instantly become the first UFC Bantamweight Champion, and the WEC Lightweight Champion will receive the next title shot in the UFC, facing the Gray Maynard/Frankie Edgar winner in a unification bout.
Before we get to the big fights, though, let's run down the undercard:
Bantamweight bout: Renan Barao v. Chris Cariaso - This should be an honor for these two to open the final show ever for WEC, and I expect a good matchup. I'll give the edge to Barao by unanimous decision.
Lightweight bout: Ricardo Lamas v. Yuri Alcantara - I've seen these guys a couple of times before on past programming, and I feel like Lamas has a slight edge. I have him winning by 2nd-round submission.
Lightweight bout: Danny Castillo v. Will Kerr - Not much that I can say about this one, as I only have their bios to go off of. I'll lean Castillo because he at least has a little more experience, and I'll go by unanimous decision.
Bantamweight bout: Eddie Wineland v. Ken Stone - Wineland has the greater experience in WEC, but I'll go with the prospect to steal a 1st-round flash TKO.
Bantamweight bout: Brad Pickett v. Ivan Menjivar - Pickett needs a win to gain some momentum heading into the UFC, and I think he rebounds from his loss to Jorgensen with a 2nd-round knockout.
Lightweight bout: Jamie Varner v. Shane Roller - Both guys have the potential to do very well in the UFC, but Roller needs the win more and Varner has been struggling. I go Roller by unanimous decision.
Lightweight bout: Zhang Tie Quan v. Danny Downes - I just realized that there are no featherweight fights on this card. It looks like that division is already UFC. Anyway, I was very impressed with the China-native's debut, and I'll give him the win by unanimous decision.
Let's look at the main card:
Lightweight bout: Bart Palaszewski v. Kamal Shalorus - OK, explain to me how this got on the main card ahead of Varner-Roller. Apparently it's charity day for the main card opener.
Anyway, Shalorus has a game that relies on lay-and-pray, which doesn't work as well in lighter weights (thank the Lord). I expect a more complete game to come out on top and Palaszewski to win by 3rd-round TKO.
Lightweight bout: Donald Cerrone v. Chris Horodecki - The last time I saw Horodecki, he was getting KO'ed by a roundhouse while running away. The last time I saw Cerrone, he was exacting vengeance on Jamie Varner. I've got to say I like Cerrone better in this fight, and I'll take that by unanimous decision.
And... here we go!
WEC/UFC Bantamweight Championship bout (5 rounds): Dominick Cruz (c) (16-1) vs. Scott Jorgensen (11-3)
Cruz's unconventional style was certainly something to behold when he slipped past Joseph Benavidez in his last fight, but it leaves him open in the later rounds, which was seen when Benavidez started making the rounds tougher to call late in the fight.
Jorgensen's been on a tear lately, and is definitely capable of finishing a fight. I think Cruz would take this on points, but Jorgensen is the only one of the two with a proven record of ending a fight.
If Jorgensen wins it will be late in the fourth round or early in the final round, but I think Cruz avoids it and slips though on a split decision.
WEC Lightweight Championship bout/ UFC Lightweight Championship No. 1 contender's bout: Benson Henderson (c) (12-1) vs. Anthony Pettis (11-1)
This is a matchup of two truly complete fighters. Henderson has proven he can stand and bang with people, but he also has excellent wrestling. Pettis is a 3rd-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do, but he won submission of the night with a triangle choke at WEC 50.
This is definitely a match to end WEC with, and both guys can take this. Ultimately, though, Bendo has been waiting his turn for the UFC to come calling, and he's going to take it.
My final pick for WEC is Henderson to win the title, and the title shot, via 4th-round submission.