WEC 50 Results: 50 Down, Many More To Go
First and foremost, the WEC put on a show that not only lived up to expectations, but bested them exceedingly.
This seems to be a reoccurring trend with the UFC's sister company. A great majority of their fights have a non-stop pace offering exciting back-and-forth exchanges.
In short, dull moments inside the WEC's octagon are very rare.
Obviously most of the credit goes to the fighters who leave their hesitations outside the cage just to please the loyal fans, but a large dose of admiration needs to go out to WEC's match maker Sean Shelby.
Fans always walk away from a WEC card with a pleasant vibe and a smile on their face; well most fans, as some people are only happy when they have something to complain about.
Whether it's throwing former champions to the younger, hungrier wolves or dropping hot prospects into the deep waters of their divisions, Shelby's high-risk approach to match making is paying off as the WEC wave slowly builds.
Dominant champions Miguel Torres and Urijah Faber have fallen to lesser-known fighters and remained the faces of the WEC while their opponents begin to build a name for themselves.
One of the fighters that began building a name for himself after an impressive victory over Torres was Faber's Alpha Male teammate Joseph Benavidez.
Do you think Sean Shelby is better than Joe Silva?
Headlining the WEC 50 card, Benavidez not only looked to avenge his only loss to the man, but also to dethrone Dominic Cruz and become the bantamweight champion.
The fight was an action-packed, back-and-forth war (thanks Shelby!) that saw both warriors take some serious punishment throughout all five rounds. As the final bell sounded, both men looked like they could of gone at least another three rounds with the energy they had.
Although the fight kept the fans on their toes, and ended in a split decision, it was pretty clear that Cruz's non-stop footwork and superior wrestling landed him his first bantamweight title defense.
That being said, Benavidez is one tough warrior that will be a staple of the WEC for many years to come.
Evident by all of his pre-fight staredowns, Benavidez is dwarfed by many of his bantamweight counterparts, but he still hangs tough. However, consider that his only two losses have come from the current champion and it's hard to see him elevating himself to the next plateau.
If the WEC's ambitions of a flyweight division come to fruition, and if he isn't too stubborn to cut weight, Benavidez could likely become the WEC's most dominant champion.
That's all speculation though as there hasn't been any confirmation of the WEC adding another weight class to their company, but it is a thought.
On to another Alpha Male fighter from the WEC 50 card as featherweight wrestler Chad Mendes used his vastly superior wrestling to out-point Cub Swanson through three rounds.
Since joining the WEC, Mendes has been surrounded by a hype train that's steadily building steam with one-sided victories, and with his effective control over Swanson, another shovel of coal went into the firebox.
Although he has controlled his fights easily, fans should slow down on the Mendes hype until he actually beats somebody in the featherweight top ten.
Anyways, flash back to Cruz. He has settled the score with Benavidez and now needs a new challenger, and it appears another fighter of the night may have secured that position. A fighter that should of been headlining along side Cruz in the WEC 50 main event.
Riding a four-fight win streak (over Benavidez's two), Scott Jorgensen came into his WEC 50 bout with the hard-hitting Brit Brad Pickett with the title shot in his sight.
Before we move on, major props must be delivered to Pickett. After being clipped by Jorgensen, Pickett's mouthpiece hits the floor and instead of looking for a pause in the action, he simply picked it up and placed it back in his mouth... all while eating another Jorgensen punch.
Thank you for being an old school warrior Pickett, but back to Jorgensen.
After a 15 minute slug fest, the fight was left in the hands of the judges. The stand-up war was grueling and tough to call, but the grappling advantage went to Jorgensen as he used his wrestling background to edge out Pickett in points.
Winning seven of his last eight over some tough bantamweights, with a controversial loss mixed in, Jorgensen should be the next contender in line for the title shot; no if's, and's, or but's about it.
Jorgensen brings in a tough, underestimated wrestling attack, similar to Cruz. He brings in a deep arsenal of strikes, similar to Cruz. Plus, Jorgensen is the type to push the pace, similar to Cruz.
Also consider that there is nobody else in the WEC 135-pound division that has been consistent enough to earn the right for the title shot.
Why shouldn't Jorgensen get the title shot?
Speaking of title shots to be, how about the lightweight stand-out, Anthony Pettis?
After putting on a highlight reel of finishes on his resume, Pettis received his toughest test to date as he took on the man who many believed was the next true WEC lightweight contender, Shane Roller.
Many believed that Roller's wrestling background would be too much for the Duke Roufus trained striker, but a very effective sprawl kept Pettis off of his back for a majority of the fight.
Pettis even scored a few takedowns of his own over the grappling standout Roller, but on the ground it looked like Roller only needed the slightest of mistakes to sink in a submission and score the win.
However, every time Roller appeared to have something locked in, Pettis would explode out of the hold and wind up in an advantageous position. And to the surprise of many WEC fans, Pettis even sunk in a submission of his own, finishing Roller with a triangle choke with just nine seconds left in the fight.
With only one split decision loss on his record and a three fight win streak, it would appear that Pettis is a lock for the next crack at WEC lightweight champion Ben Henderson, but another WEC 50 fighter may object to that statement.
Bart Palaszewski had an impressive victory himself on the same night over Zack Micklewright.
The first round saw both fighters judging the rhythm of their opponent's movement, with some nice exchanges here and there.
Then the second round came with an aggressive approach from Palaszewski as he goes on the attack, soon finishing Micklewright with a flurry of strikes and earning him his fourth straight victory and third inside the WEC.
With Pettis being one of the names in Palaszewski's win streak, some might see it as a crying shame if Pettis gets the next title shot over Palaszewski, but one must examie all of the facts before crying wolf.
In Pettis' win streak, he has defeated fighters who were only one or two fights away from a title shot. The likes of Danny Castillo, Alex Karalexis and Shane Roller boost up his resume just a little bit more than Palaszewski's.
Sure, the opponents that Palaszewski defeated in his win streak were on nice little streaks of their own, but none of them had any big victories under their belt, including Pettis at the time.
In the sport of MMA, a noisy mouth can get you a little bit further as well. With Pettis calling out the champion, and Palaszewski taking the "respect the fans" approach, the title shot appears to be a lock for Pettis, but don't be surprised if Palaszewski gets the nod.
On one final note, fans need to be on alert about Maciej Jewtuszko. Although the fight wasn't aired on television, Jewtuszko's quick and dominant work over stand-out striker Anthony Njokuani should put other WEC lightweight's on notice.
But similar to Mendes, Jewtuszko needs to beat somebody in the top ten before his hype train deserves mention.
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