by Ricardo Mendoza- MMAWeekly.com
(pictured: Urijah Faber; photo by Dave Mandel)
World Extreme Cagefighting makes its national TV debut on Sunday night with a live two-hour broadcast on Versus Network. In the main event, WEC Featherweight Champion Urijah Faber defends his title against Total Combat veteran Chance Farrar. Also scheduled to appear are UFC veterans Mark Hominick and Alex Karalexis.
In this second of a two-part preview to WEC 28, Ricardo Mendoza breaks down the fights of the live telecast on Versus. (Other undercard bouts could possibly be shown if time permits.)
WEC FEATHERWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP BOUT:
URIJAH FABER VS. CHANCE FARRAR
In the main event, WEC Featherweight Champion Urijah Faber defends his title against Total Combat veteran Chance Farrar. Faber has an 18-1 record in MMA and trains out of Capital Fighting Alliance with Scott Smith. Farrar has a 5-0 record in MMA and trains out of the Lister Training Center with Dean Lister. Faber successfully defended his title at WEC 26, submitting Dominic Cruz. Farrar comes off an impressive knockout of Shad Smith at Total Combat 19.
This should be Faber’s toughest title defense to date in the WEC, as he easily ran through his first two opponents, but will have his hands full with Farrar.
Farrar is a decorated wrestler, being a former NAIA National wrestling champion and will probably be the toughest wrestler that Faber has faced in his MMA career. Faber has been on a tear in the featherweight division for the past year, and Sunday shouldn’t be any different, but he will in for a tough fight. Farrar will no doubt give Faber problems early in the fight, but Faber is just too skilled and talented to not come out on top against the less experienced Farrar. In what should be an exciting fight while it lasts, look for Faber to slowly impose his will over time and overwhelm Farrar late in the fight with his brutal aggression.
Prediction: Urijah Faber by TKO in the fourth round.
MARK HOMINICK VS. RANI YAHYA
In the co-main event, UFC veteran Mark Hominick makes his WEC debut against ADCC Champion Rani Yahya. Hominick has a 13-6 record in MMA and trains out of Team Tompkins with Sam Stout. Yahya has an 11-2 record in MMA and trains out of Rickson Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. Hominick comes off a heart breaking decision loss to Hatsu Hioki at TKO 28. Yahya easily submitted the overmatched Louie Moreno at Palace Fighting Championships 2.
This is a classic clash of styles with Hominick being the striker and Yahya being the grappler. Hominick is a natural featherweight, but is 2-0 in the UFC as a lightweight and opted to switch the remainder of his contract to the WEC to fight at his natural weight.
Hominick’s kryptonite in the past has been grapplers, and if he isn’t on his top game, he could very well end up on the wrong side of a submission against Yahya. Yahya is an accomplished grappler, having just won ADCC at sixty-three kilograms (139 pounds), submitting grappling legend Leo Vieira in the finals. Yahya’s only recent loss was a quick submission loss to HEROS 2006 Tournament Champion at 154 pounds, Gesias “JZ” Calvancanti.
This fight comes down to whoever can strike first, whether Hominick can land a big shot that puts Yahya out or if Yahya can get a takedown and work his ground magic on Hominick. Yahya should be able to get the takedown against Hominick. He will take a couple of shots on the way but will finish Hominick late in the fight.
Prediction: Rani Yahya by submission in the third round.
ALEX KARALEXIS VS. JOSH SMITH
Ultimate Fighter alumni Alex Karalexis looks to continue his success in the WEC as he takes on the debuting Josh Smith. Karalexis has an 8-2 record in MMA and trains out of Las Vegas. Smith has a 5-2 record in MMA and trains out of Next Generation with Chris Brennan. Karalexis thoroughly dominated WEC veteran Olaf Alfonso en route to a stoppage victory at WEC 25. Smith last saw action at BATH 2: Extreme Gladiator Challenge, stopping Tony Dalasta.
Karalexis has looked very good in his last couple of fights in the WEC, beating Thomas Denny and then putting a serious beating on Olaf Alfonso. He now moves down to lightweight and will look to make a serious run at the WEC Lightweight Championship.
Smith was tabbed to make his WEC debut at the first Zuffa-run WEC event in January, but his fight was scrapped and now he’s matched against a tough fighter in Karalexis. Smith is a crafty submission fighter and will look to take the fight to the ground, but Karalexis will no doubt be ready for it.
Karalexis has really improved since he was on the Ultimate Fighter and he will continue that on Sunday, stopping the inexperienced Smith.
Prediction: Alex Karalexis by TKO in the second round.
LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT BOUT:
CRAIG ZELLNER VS. BRIAN STANN
In the opening fight of the live TV card, Craig Zellner meets US marine Brian Stann. Zellner has a 4-1 record in MMA and trains out of Fit NHB with Carlos Condit. Stann has a 3-0 record in MMA and trains out of Pennsylvania. Zellner last fought a little over year ago, stopping Anthony Aparicio at Fight World 9. Stann made quick work of Steve Cantwell at WEC 26, stopping him with strikes.
Stann has tons of potential and could become the next big star in MMA. The WEC has recognized this and is doing an excellent job in building him up to a potential future title shot against current WEC Light Heavyweight Champion Doug Marshall.
Zellner has been away from the cage for a little over a year and ring rust will be a factor in this fight. Stann has some serious power in his hands and should put that on display on Sunday night.
Don’t blink… this fight is going to be over quickly. Stann should be the first one to pounce and capitalize en route to victory.
Prediction: Brian Stann by TKO in the first round.