WEC 45 is set to go down this Saturday, Dec. 19, airing live on the Versus Network. Set to square off against Strikeforce in a battle of ratings on the same night, WEC's 45th official event should offer up plenty of exciting fights to leave them the victor.
The main card is about as stacked as it can get for a night of free fights, featuring a potential No. 1 contender bout as the main event. In addition to the crew of familiar faces, the preliminary portion of the card is set to showcase some of the WEC's most recent acquisitions.
Expect another night of high-paced, non-stop action from the card, as the WEC hardly ever fails to deliver a night of exciting fights.
Donald Cerrone vs. Ed Ratcliff— Donald Cerrone
At the age of 26, with only four years of experience under his belt, Ed "9MM" Ratcliff has quickly soared through the lightweight ranks to the top of the WEC.
His lightning-quick hands and explosive power can be compared to a smaller, unrefined version of Vitor Belfort.
Like Belfort, Ratcliff is very skilled in the underestimated art form of karate. Like most karate practitioners, Ratcliff has some very heavy hands that can come in from a variety of angles.
If fighters are able to get into clinch range, "9MM" has the speed and power to shrug off almost any takedown attempt to push the fight back into his realm of striking.
However, like any other fighter, Ratcliff still succumbs to his flaws and finds himself on his back from time to time, which is an area of concern. His jiu jitsu isn't perceived to be top notch, and in his only defeat to Marcus Hicks, Ratcliff proved the critics right by tapping out to a guillotine choke.
His opponent, Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone has all of the necessary skills to capitalize on this flaw.
While he is well known for some brutal muay thai attacks, the Colorado native instills respect into his opponents with his deadly ground game, especially off of his back.
In his last fight against Benson Henderson, Cerrone showed some of the most beautifully slick transitions in the history of the sport. Although Henderson didn't tap from any of the submission attempts, any other fighter would of been hard-pressed to find the same sort of luck.
Cerrone also carries in a serious advantage into this fight, training with some of the sport's most dangerous opponents under the masterful mind of Greg Jackson.
With a never ending gas tank, and the motivation to climb back to the top of the division, expect Cerrone to cowboy up and hand Ratcliff his second professional loss.
Chris Horodecki vs. Anthony Njokuani— Anthony Njokuani
For those who are unfamiliar with Chris "The Polish Hammer" Horodecki, they would think that he must be fresh out of high school, due to his boyish, young looks. But don't let his looks fool you.
Horodecki has become a highly-touted young prospect in his brief MMA career. At the ripe, young age of 22, training with Shawn Tompkins, as well as Xtreme Couture, Horodecki has proven that he is a sponge.
With no official background in martial arts, Horodecki has quickly developed into a very skilled striker. He is extremely light on his feet, shooting in and out, connecting before his opponent can react. He has a large variety of combinations, which keeps his opponent off-balance because of his energetic pace.
Despite being skilled in this area, Horodecki tends to telegraph certain strikes, which could spell disaster against Anthony Njokuani.
One of the larger lightweights in the WEC, Njokuani matches his size with speed and aggression.
Wielding a hostile muay thai attack, he often intrudes on his opponent's comfort zone, causing them to make a mistake.
With every fight, Njokuani appears to be evolving into more of a complete fighter, as evident of his last five wins, all by (T)KO. The only two losses of his career have come to the WEC's top lightweights, Donald Cerrone and Benson Henderson.
At the age of 29, and with the momentum of a freight train, Njokuani could find himself in title talks, with one or two more wins under his belt.
Joseph Benavidez vs. Rani Yahya—Joseph Benavidez
There is no question what the game plan for Rani Yahya is. In any fight featuring the Brazilian, he aims for the takedown, then...he looks to move to a dominant position, then...the systematic break down of his opponent's defenses, and then...the eventual tap due to his large assortment of jiu jitsu goodies.
His last three fights were all won by three different chokes: guillotine, rear-naked, and north-south. This just shows you how accomplished he really is, but wait...there's more!
Outside the realm of MMA, in a world where many cage fighters get their start, Yahya has won his fair share of Brazilian jiu jitsu grappling tournaments.
Despite his excellent submission attack, if Yahya hasn't improved in his stand up, he will always be at a slight disadvantage as his opponent, Joseph Benavidez, is as well-rounded as they come.
The style of Benavidez could be described as a little bit squirrely. Standing at 5'4", he is extremely quick and agile, which he effectively uses in his striking.
Benavidez attacks from an assortment of angles, something he learned over at Team Alpha Male, training with Urijah Faber, Joe Warren, and Danny Castillo.
Even with a strong sprawl, he still finds himself on the ground, but the squirrely Benavidez makes it a strenuous task to keep him down. Plus, even though it wouldn't be wise to grapple with Yahya, Benavidez has some submissions of his own.
Scott Jorgensen vs. Takeya Mizugaki— Scott Jorgensen
Even though Takeya Mizugaki has been labeled as the type to grind out the decision rather than finish his opponent, he is still dangerous in every area.
With a background in Shooto, Mizugaki is also efficient with muay thai, as well as boxing—especially in the clinch.
He usually uses dirty boxing to set up a take down, where he tries to ground and pound his way to victory, but he still lacks the finishing ability.
Either way, Mizugaki always brings everything into a fight, exactly like his opponent, Scott Jorgensen.
Boasting a very polished wrestling resume, Jorgensen can grapple with the best of the bantamweight division as he continues to train in Brazilian jiu jitsu.
Despite his accolades, Jorgensen just goes with the flow of the fight. He'll strike or grapple with his opponent, but when the opportunity presents itself, he strikes like a snake.
His last loss, albeit a highly controversial loss, has really lit a fire under Jorgensen. There's a good chance his momentum hasn't even hit full stride yet.
Bart Palaszewski vs. Anthony Pettis— Anthony Pettis
Muhsin Corbbrey vs. Zach Micklewright—Muhsin Corbbrey
Chad George vs. John Hosman— Chad George
Courtney Buck vs. Brandon Visher— Brandon Visher
Kyle Dietz vs. Brad Pickett— Brad Pickett
Erik Koch vs. Jameel Massouh— Jameel Massouh
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