WEC 53: Results and Reaction From the Main Card As the WEC Closes Shop
On Thursday December 16 the final event in the history of World Extreme Cagefighting took place at the Jobing.com area in Glendale, Arizona.
The WEC will be absorbed into the Ultimate Fighting Championship organization as of January 1, 2011.
The merger will see the creation of two new divisions in the UFC, featherweight (145) and bantamweight (135). The division that the promotions share (lightweight) will see a unification bout in 2011.
Jose Aldo, the WEC featherweight champion, was awarded the newly created UFC featherweight title earlier in December.
The UFC bantamweight champion would be crowned on this card and the WEC's representative for the lightweight unification fight would emerge from this card as well.
With this fight card, the WEC looked to head into the merger with a great deal of momentum.
WEC 53 Main Card
- Lightweight bout: Bart Palaszewski vs. Kamal Shalorus
- Lightweight bout: Donald Cerrone vs. Chris Horodecki
- Bantamweight Championship bout: Dominick Cruz (c) vs. Scott Jorgensen
- Lightweight Championship bout: Ben Henderson (c) vs. Anthony Pettis
Bart Palaszewski vs. Kamal Shalorus
Bart Palaszewski entered this fight with a record of 35-13 while Kamal Shalorus' record stood at 6-0-2.
Shalorus, an accomplished wrestler, dominated the first round after securing a takedown. Shalorus, working from inside Palaszewski's guard delivered some heavy strikes from the ground. The first round clearly belonged to Shalorus.
The second round began as a stand up battle. Shalorus took Palaszewski down during the round, but could not deliver any real damage. Palaszewski regained his feet and the fighters went back to striking. This round could have easily gone either way.
Palaszewski's corner tells him he needs the knockout to win. Unfortunately, he waits far too long to turn up the pressure and Shalorus takes the split decsion win.
With the loss, Palaszewski, a veteran fighter may struggle to make the cut when the WEC joins the UFC.
Donald Cerrone vs. Chris Horodecki
Cerrone's last fight was a grudge match against Jamie Varner. Cerrone dominated that fight and took home the unanimous decision victory.
For his part, Horodecki was coming off a split decision victory over Ed Ratcliff in his previous bout.
Horodecki showed a willingness to exchange strikes with Cerrone in the first round, but when the fight went to the ground it was clear that Cerrone outclassed Horodecki.
Surprisingly, Horodecki's corner told him to go to the ground in the second round and that proved to be his undoing as Cerrone submitted him with a triangle choke.
MMA Weekly reports that Cerrone wants Cole Miller for his first UFC fight. “He beat a good friend of mine, Leonard Garcia, and before I was anything I told him I’m coming for you Cole, and Cole, I’m coming for you.”
Horodecki's future is up in the air as his 2-2 WEC record may prevent him from making the jump to the UFC.
Bantamweight Championship Bout: Dominick Cruz (c) vs. Scott Jorgensen
This fight was to decide who would become the last WEC bantamweight champion and the first UFC bantamweight champion.
The 16-1 champion, Dominck Cruz, was looking to defend his title for the second time while the 11-3 Scott Jorgensen was looking to make history as the first UFC bantamweight champion.
Cruz dominated this fight from start to finish. He was a perpetual motion machine for the entire five round fight, He landed his strikes, takedowns and ground and pound to take home the unanimous decison.
The judge's cards were not needed as both fighters knew the outcome of the fight. Cruz stood in the center of the cage with a huge smile plastered on his face, while Jorgenson looked beaten and dejected.
The one blemish on the new UFC champion's record is a 2007 loss to Urijah Faber and Cruz has called "the California Kid" out in the past. Faber versus Cruz would be a great UFC title fight.
Lightweight Championship Bout: Ben Henderson (c) vs. Anthony Pettis
Ben Henderson walked into the cage with the WEC lightweight champion. Anthony Pettis entered with the hopes that he would leave the cage with Henderson's belt.
Going into the fifth and final round this fight looked to be tied at two rounds apiece and then Pettis delivered an incredible kick that may have been the deciding factor in the fight. To quote Stephan Bonnar, "He ran up the cage like a ninja, it was like something out of the Matrix”
There is no reason to think that Henderson will not be absorbed into the UFC. The issue he faces is a climb back up the rankings in the UFC.
Pettis, the new WEC champion will face the winner of the Frankie Edgar vs. Gray Maynard bout that will take place on New Year's day.
This was a perfect fight to end the run of the WEC.