WEC 52 Results: 10 Things We Learned Thursday Night
WEC 52 is in the books, and what a hell of a night it was!
Urijah Faber made his debut at Bantamweight against Takeya Mizugaki, while teammates Chad Mendes and Joseph Benavidez had their respective bouts with Javier "Showtime" Vazquez and Wagnney Fabiano.
The main card, as well as the one prelim that aired, had it's share of surprises, as did the rest of the card, so let's not waste too much time.
Rather than just the Faber fight, I'm going to give you an idea of the Faber-Mizugaki fight and the other nine things to have been picked up from the event.
10. Let Joe Martinez Tell You Who's Fighting
There was a handful of WEC action Thursday night, from the last of the Featherweights to the Bantamweights and Lightweights, but one thing about it all is that the veteran voice of the WEC was there to announce it all.
Joe Martinez will probably remain with Golden Boy Promotions under whatever capacity he may find himself to be, but in my eyes, he'll always be to the WEC what Bruce Buffer is to the UFC:
The only voice you'd want to hear announce every decision and introduce every fighter to ever hit the Blue Canvas.
Also... who introduces Urijah Faber any better than Martinez?
Aside from Buffer, I can't think of anyone.
9. Demetrious Johnson Doesn't Need To Bank On The Creation Of a 125-Lb Division
In the UFC and in the WEC, certain guys get brought up in discussion as far as dudes who people think might benefit from a drop in weight or a jump up in weight.
In the WEC, Joseph Benavidez and Demetrious Johnson hold such a distinction.
I'll touch on "Joe-B Wan Kenobi" later, but Demetrious Johnson proved himself worthy as a WEC Bantamweight in a hard fought effort against Damacio Page.
The first two round were 1-1 in my book, tying them at 19-19 on my scorecard. One of them needed a finish in order to win, and they needed it sometime in the third round.
Who'd have though that a guillotine from Johnson would have been the finish?
Well, Johnson had to have thought so, once he got Page's neck and started cranking it.
Page had no second option -- he had to tap and supply Johnson with what was a well-earned victory by submission.
We don't know where this victory takes Johnson, but don't be surprised if this fight with Page was his first step towards becoming a serious future Bantamweight title contender.
8. Cub Swanson and Mackens Semerzier Can Make For Some Fireworks
Still think Cub Swanson's "that guy Jose Aldo knocked out in eight seconds"?
Still think Mackens Semerzier is just "another small dude"?
These two may be low on the list, but they did achieve one of the highest honors that any fighter can receive, and that's the honors of being a part of the "Fight of the Night".
You have to see the fight for yourself to know what it is, but be warned: you will see a three-round war that sees both men go back-and-forth from bell to bell.
After you watch this fight, you will begin to understand why everyone is making a big deal about The Merger.
The UFC wants the best fights in the world and they want the best fighters in the world?
Well, now they've got them, and things are only going to get better from here on out.
Still don't believe me?
Watch this fight and prove me wrong.
7. Joseph Benavidez Is Still Hungry For The Gold
It's pretty wild what a loss to a champion will do for you.
Joseph Benavidez's last fight was against Dominick Cruz in which he dropped a split decision to the champ, so he knew he had to get a hot streak going against Wagnney Fabiano.
Meanwhile, Fabiano was riding a two fight win streak since moving to Bantamweight and looked pretty good at 135.
He did look pretty good for the first round he fought against Benavidez, but then people started seeing what he meant when he said he "eats BJJ black belts for breakfast."
He took the fight to the ground and looked for every opportunity to submit Fabiano, even getting two guillotine attempts early on in the second round.
The third time proved to be a charm, and once it sunk in, Fabiano was done.
Sure, it doesn't put Benavidez back in position for a shot at the winner of Cruz-Jorgensen, but Benavidez realizes that one fight after losing in a title fight doesn't get you another crack at the crown.
Benavidez may need a few wins in the UFC before he finds himself back in the Bantamweight title picture, but the only thing we know for sure is that it's not going to be Urijah Faber that Benavidez will eventually have to face (unless Benavidez leaves Team Alpha Male).
The best plan of action is to wait and see what happens next, and then hopefully the UFC will have an opponent lined up for him.
6. The Name
I've seen a few of Cro Cop's head kicks, I've seen those scary battle-axe-like blade that Pat Barry calls shins connect with the legs of another man to the point of the opponent actually being unable to continue, and I've seen Chan Sung Jung get knocked out with a head kick.
What I haven't seen was a guy make a name for himself by delivering a head kick to a relatively unknown fighter and follow it up with strikes but Erik Koch did just that.
It wasn't Josh Grispi, but it was still memorable enough for us to remember the name "Erik Koch", and it could be a name we remember for a long time.
5. Javier Vazquez Needs To Journey Into Another Dimension
Javier "Showtime" Vazquez proved an equation that people have yet to shut the hell up about since Royce Gracie was actively fighting in MMA:
If you stick with one dimension of fighting, chances are you're going to get beat up at your own game.
He provided a pretty solid offense from the bottom after catching Chad Mendes in his rubber guard, but aside from that, Vazquez showed very little offense, whereas Chad Mendes was able to blast Mendes with a few powerful shots on the feet.
So keep that in mind, fans of the Internet Mixed Martial Arts Community...
4. Chad Mendes ISN'T a Lay-and-Pray Artist
That's right, boys and girls: Chady Mendes didn't take a fifteen-minute nap on Javier Vazquez.
After a few takedowns, especially in the middle and near-end of the fight, Mendes even landed some hard shots, but I think the difference was in the mere stand-up of both men.
Vazquez is tough, but he didn't have much of an answer on the feet in the third round, and that was what I thought made the difference.
Both men landed shots on the ground, but Mendes proved more effective on the feet and that's where all three judges saw this fight as Mendes' fight.
3. Takeya Mizugaki Isn't Dead, But He May Be Just a Tad Inconsistent
Look Mizgaki's picture in the eyes and try to tell yourself that deep down, you saw the submission coming.
Tell yourself, "Yeah, I thought Faber would make Mizugaki pass out. That was so predictable"
Now let me ask you something...
Who are you bullsh*tting?
Mizugaki, like others in the MMA community, thought Faber would look drained at 135.
Faber was supposed to be knocked out byy Mizugaki in what was to be his Bantamweight debut, but that didn't exactly happen.
Faber got Mizugaki's back in round one eventually got the choke in, and had many a person thinking "WHAT THE F**K?! IS MIZUGAKI DEAD?!"
He is far from dead -- actually he regained consciousness before the official decision, but so far the young Japanese warrior has dropped to three tough SOBs in Faber, Scott Jorgensen, and Miguel Torres.
Does it make him a gatekeeper?
No, he's not a gatekeeper... he's just inconsistent right now.
He just needs to post up a few wins in a row and then maybe he'll become a contender again.
2. The California Kid Is a Bantamweight Nightmare
Which fighter is so deadly and scary that he'll throw a Vitor Belfort-like series of jabs, show a Randy Couture-like aggression in the clinch, and can pull out a sick submission that looks like it could kill his opponent?
That would be Urijah Faber, and he did all three against Mizugaki.
If you though that he looked good against some of the best at Featherweight, watch this fight with Mizugaki (provided you actually missed the fight)
The performance Urijah Faber had was just as good if not better than any performance he gave off at Featherweight.
After this fight, Faber could be a force in the 135-pound class for a long time.
1. The WEC Refuses To Disappoint In The First Of Its Last Two Events
Enough said, but I'll elaborate anyway.
With the Lighterweights and the caliber of Lightweights in the WEC, you never get a negative aura.
Actually, the phrase "quality over quantity" applies here.
With the merger and the possible addition of a 125-pound division, you'd think maybe the UFC is making a mistake that many see in Boxing, which is the addition of multiple weight classes.
In my eyes, it's the opposite of a problem -- the addition of the Lighterweight divisions already established in the WEC is actually more of a benefit than a hindrance because although there are two more classes for UFC fans to follow, the quality of the fights are at a high because of how unpredictable the Feather-and-Bantam-weights are.
If WEC 52 was any indication, and if WEC 53 proves to be an indication, the Merger could prove itself to be the best thing to happen to the UFC in quite some time.