World Extreme Cagefighting has gone through many changes since its creation in 2001. Its first show featured a main event of Dan Severn facing Travis Fulton, it would later be the home of Frank Shamrock after his parting with the UFC and in 2006 it would be bought by Zuffa and turned into a UFC farm system.
But through all that time the WEC was known for one thing: Putting on fantastically exciting fights. Across the entire history of the promotion thrilling fights have been the rule, not the exception. As the book closes on the WEC this Thursday, its merger with the UFC is bittersweet. On one hand, it is fantastic for the Featherweight and Bantamweight fighters to get the recognition and paydays the the UFC logo will bring them, but on the other hand the promotion that gave me my first real introduction to MMAis fading into MMA history.
WEC 34 was held on June 1, 2008 and is one of the finest shows to ever be put on in the blue cage. I had watched Countdown shows on Spike before, and had watched fights on-line but WEC 34 wast the first time I sat down to watch a full MMA event and I was in for a treat.
The card would feature 11 men who at some point in their career would fight for a WEC title. Dominick Cruz would make his Batantamweight debut, Mike Thomas Brown and Jose Aldo both made their WEC debuts and Donald Cerrone would notch his first WEC win, and that was just the prelims.
Jose Aldo was faced with Alexandre Franca Nogueira in a meeting of WEC newcomers, and Jose Aldo put on an impressive performance.
Aldo vs Nogueira (link to video)
Dominick Cruz and Mike Thomas Brown both won unanimous decisions, while Donald Cerrone squared off with Danny Casillo and won with an impressive first round stoppage.
Cerrone vs Casillo (link to video)
On the main card 'Razor' Rob McCullough bounced back from losing his WEC Lightweight title with a spilt decision win over Ken Alexander and Mark Munoz won a Light Heavyweight match via KO.
The main event was heavily hyped, featuring WEC poster-boy and Featherweight Champion Urijah Faber against former UFC Lightweight Champion Jens Pulver, and while the fight was excellent it was over shadowed by the Co-Main Event.
Faber vs Pulver (link to video)
The WEC Bantamweight Champion Miguel Torres was prepared to defend his title for just the second time. Counted among the world's top pound-for-pound fighters at the time for his amazing 14-fight winning streak, his excellent kick boxing, outstanding jiu jitsu and his heart.
Facing him was Japan's Yoshiro Maeda, bringing a 23-4-2 record over from various Japanese promotions including Pancrase, DEEP and PRIDE.
The result was a brawl that would be nominated for Fight of the Year and remains to this day one of the best fights I have ever seen. Toe-to-Toe striking, dynamic grappling and dueling ankle locks, this fight had it all. I have posted the full fight on this article, the first part of the fight is above and the second part is in this link.
This Thursday is the last WEC event before the merger with the UFC is enacted, if you have are new to the sport or just not really followed the WEC take some time out of your Thursday night and enjoy some MMA history in the making.
Originally Posted on Sprawl and Brawl