by Ricardo Mendoza – MMAWeekly.com
MMAWeekly’s Ricardo Mendoza breaks down Wednesday night’s World Extreme Cagefighting fight card, which airs live from New Mexico on the Versus network.
WEC WELTERWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP BOUT:
CARLOS CONDIT VS. CARLO PRATER
WEC welterweight champion Carlos Condit defends his title against Texan Carlo Prater. Condit has a 21-4 record and trains out of F.I.T. NHB with Coty Wheeler. Prater has a 21-5-1 record and trains out of Thugjitsu with Rocky Long.
Condit comes off a submission victory over Brock Larson at WEC 29, while Prater won a decision over Keith Wisniewski at Art of War 3.
Condit will look to avenge an earlier loss in his career to Prater, only this time there is more at stake with the title on the line. Prater finally gets a chance to showcase his skills in a bigger organization after fighting in smaller organizations for the majority of his career.
Becoming one of the better welterweights in the world over the last two years, Condit has strung together an impressive streak and became the champion in the process. Prater will look to become a champion by once again defeating Condit.
Condit is the better striker of the two, especially when he throws the knees in the clinch. Prater is the better wrestler of the two, but Condit has the edge in the submission department, being more explosive from his back.
Condit will come out on top this time around, controlling the fight on the feet and keeping Prater on his toes by throwing out submissions one after another. Prater will stay tough, but won’t mount enough offense to overcome Condit, who should win a comfortable decision.
Prediction: Carlos Condit by decision.
WEC LIGHTWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP BOUT:
ROB MCCULLOUGH VS. JAMIE VARNER
WEC lightweight champion “Razor” Rob McCullough defends his title against Ultimate Fighting Championship veteran Jamie Varner. McCullough has a 15-3 record and trains out of Team Punishment with Tito Ortiz. Varner has a 13-2 record and trains out of Arizona Combat Sports with Jesse Moreng.
McCullough comes off a knockout victory over UFC veteran Rich Crunkilton at WEC 30, while Varner stopped Sherron Leggett with strikes at WEC 29.
This is an interesting match-up. McCullough once again faces another fighter that could put him on his back and in danger. Varner left the UFC because he felt that he could become a champion in the WEC and make more money in the long run.
McCullough looked impressive in finishing a very tough Crunkilton in his first title defense, drawing him into a striking battle that put him out of his element. Varner needs to keep his cool and not be drawn in to the same trap that Crunkilton was.
McCullough has the advantage on the feet, although Varner is a decent boxer in his own right. On the ground, Varner is the better wrestler, although neither has a real advantage when it comes to submissions.
Varner will control the fight early on by taking McCullough down and out-positioning him with wrestling, but McCullough will survive to the next round. He will takeover once the fight is back on the feet and it will be lights out for Varner, who will get sucked into a striking battle.
Prediction: Rob McCullough by KO in the second round.
WEC BANTAMWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP BOUT:
CHASE BEEBE VS. MIGUEL TORRES
WEC bantamweight champion Chase Beebe defends his title against Midwest submission fighter Miguel Torres. Beebe has an 11-1 record and trains out of Gilbert Grappling with Clay French. Torres has a 20-1 record and trains out of Torres Martial Arts in Illinois.
Beebe comes off an impressive decision victory over Rani Yahya at WEC 30, while Torres submitted Jeff Bedard at the same show.
This is battle of Midwest fighters, pitting a solid wrestler in Beebe against a solid submission fighter in Torres. More than likely the majority of this fight will play out on the ground with the fighters having two different strategies.
Beebe really proved himself to be one of the better bantamweights in the world by overcoming all of the submission attempts from Yahya. Torres looked good in his WEC debut, quickly submitting Bedard without much effort.
On the feet, neither fighter holds an advantage over the other, but Beebe is the better wrestler, while Torres is the better submission fighter. Its all going to come down to who can execute their game plan and prevent the other from doing so.
One thing that Beebe has over Torres is experience in a five-round fight and that will play a factor. Look for Beebe to take the fight to the ground and pound away on Torres, while Torres will look to lock on a submission on the ground. At the end of the day, Beebe will wear out Torres throughout five rounds and win a decision.
Prediction: Chase Beebe by decision.
MANNY TAPIA VS. ANTONIO BANUELOS
Former King of the Cage flyweight champion Manny Tapia takes on former WEC bantamweight champion Antonio Banuelos. Manny Tapia has a 9-0-1 record and trains out of Millenia Jiu-Jitsu with Mac Danzig. Antonio Banuelos has a 14-4 record and trains out of The Pit with Chuck Liddell.
Tapia comes off a stoppage victory over Brandon Foxworth at WEC 27, while Banuelos won a lackluster decision over Justin Robbins at WEC 29.
The winner of this fight will more than likely get the next crack at the WEC bantamweight championship. Both fighters are willing to exchange and that should make this fight one to watch with excitement.
Tapia has crisp boxing and is a really good submission fighter, while Banuelos is a better wrestler and more complete striker. Aggression will play a factor in the fight, as the fighter who pushes the pace will have the edge.
Tapia looks to be on the right track now, while Banuelos looked to be gun shy in his last fight and that will be the deciding factor in the fight. Tapia will push the pace and keep Banuelos away from his comfort zone, catching him with a combination to finish the fight.
Prediction: Manny Tapia by KO in the first round.
HIROYUKI TAKAYA VS. LEONARD GARCIA
K-1 Hero’s and Shooto veteran Hiroyuki Takaya makes his WEC debut against UFC veteran Leonard Garcia. Takaya has a 9-4-1 record and trains out of Wajyutsu Keisyukai Takaya Gundan in Japan. Garcia has a 10-3 record and trains out of Jackson’s Submission Fighting with Duane “Bang” Ludwig.
Takaya comes off a stoppage victory over Antonio Carvalho at Shooto “Back to Our Roots 6,” while Garcia lost a decision to Cole Miller at UFC Fight Night 11.
Both fighters will be making their WEC debut. This will also be Garcia’s first fight as a featherweight. Takaya is one of the better 145-pound fighters in the world and he now gets a chance to prove that in front of an American audience.
Garcia is a tough, scrappy fighter and has held his own in the UFC, but was overcome by a size advantage in his fights. That won’t be a problem anymore. Takaya is an excellent striker and has great takedown defense, which could be a problem for Garcia.
Takaya will batter Garcia on the feet with his precious and powerful shots, while defending all of Garcia’s attempts to get the fight on the ground. Garcia will take a beating, but will survive until the end of the fight… but it won’t be pretty.
Prediction: Hiroyuki Takaya by decision.
MARK HOMINICK VS. JOSH GRISPI
Former TKO featherweight champion Mark Hominick takes on New England fighter Josh Grispi. Hominick has a 15-7 record and trains out of Team Tompkins with Shawn Tompkins. Grispi has a 6-1 record and trains out of Massachusetts with Alex Karalexis.
Hominick comes off a dominating decision win over Danny Martinez at TKO 31, while Grispi knocked out Spencer Paige at FFP: Untamed 18.
Hominick didn’t have an impressive debut in the WEC, quickly being submitted by Rani Yahya and not being able to show his abilities. Grispi is a highly touted prospect coming out of New England and now gets to showcase himself on a big stage.
Both fighters are primarily strikers, but Hominick should have a slight edge because of his technique and experience. Grispi has been touted by Karalexis as being an amazing prospect, hitting hard and often.
If this turns out to be a striking war as expected, then Hominick will come out on top, using precise and accurate shots to break down Grispi on his way to a stoppage victory.
Prediction: Mark Hominick by TKO in the first round.
CHARLIE VALENCIA VS. YOSHIRO MAEDA
Former King of the Cage bantamweight champion Charlie Valencia takes on King of Pancrase featherweight champion Yoshiro Maeda. Valencia has a 9-3 record and trains out of Valencia Freestyle Fighting in California. Maeda has a 22-42 record and trains out of Pancrase Inagakigumi in Japan.
Valencia comes off a submission victory over Ian McCall at WEC 31, while Maeda comes off a draw with Jong Man Kim at DEEP: Protect Impact in Osaka.
The win over McCall put Valencia back on track and a win over Maeda will put him back in title contention. Maeda will be making his debut in the bantamweight division and his U.S. debut in the WEC.
Valencia has a solid overall game, both on the feet and on the ground. Maeda is a excellent striker with an average ground game, but he will now fight guys his own size or smaller.
Although Maeda is considered a choke artist because of his losses to Charles “Krazy Horse” Bennett and Joe Pearson, they were both much bigger then Maeda, which Valencia won’t be. Look for Maeda to pressure Valencia throughout the fight and finish him off with strikes.
Prediction: Yoshiro Maeda by TKO in the first round.
MICAH MILLER VS. CHANCE FARRAR
American Top Team fighter Micah Miller takes on former WEC featherweight title challenger Chance Farrar. Miller has a 9-1 record and trains out of American Top Team with Cole Miller. Farrar has a 5-1 record and trains out of California.
Miller comes off a decision victory over Steve Kinnison at Premier X-treme Fighting, while Farrar comes off a submission loss to Urijah Faber at WEC 28.
Miller lost a close decision to Cub Swanson and is one of the best young prospects in the WEC. Farrar looked good in his short, but unsuccessful WEC debut.
Miller will have a long reach advantage over Farrar and has the edge in submissions, while Farrar has an advantage in wrestling.
Farrar will take this fight to the ground and will look to pound on Miller and that will be his first mistake because Miller will lock on a submission to end the fight.
Prediction: Micah Miller by submission in the first round.
DAMACIO PAGE VS. SCOTT JORGENSEN
K-1 Hero’s veteran Damacio Page takes on former NCAA wrestler Scott Jorgensen. Page has a 9-3 record and trains out of Jackson’s Submission Fighting with Joey Villasenor. Jorgensen has a 4-1 record and trains out of Idaho.
Page comes off a knockout victory over Rod Montoya at Extreme Challenge 74, while Jorgensen won a decision over Chris David at ShoXC: Berto vs. Noons.
Taking this fight on only three days notice, but was already training for a bout on Feb. 28, Page should be prepared. Jorgensen is a standout college wrestler and has shown potential to be a great MMA fighter.
Page is strong and a wild striker, but Jorgensen is a skilled wrestler with lots of technique. Jorgensen will take this fight to the ground and keep it there, pounding out a decision over Page.
Prediction: Scott Jorgensen by decision.
COTY WHEELER VS. DEL HAWKINS
New Mexico fighter Coty Wheeler takes on Arizona fighter Del Hawkins in a battle of the southwest. Wheeler has a 6-1 record and trains out of F.I.T. NHB with Carlos Condit. Hawkins has a 22-12 record and trains out of Team Thunder in Arizona.
Wheeler comes off a stoppage loss to Ian McCall at WEC 30, while Hawkins comes off a submission victory over Brandon Foxworth at IFO: Fireworks in the Cage 4.
Wheeler didn’t have a good debut in the WEC. He was dominated from start to finish en route to being stopped. Hawkins will look to impress in his WEC debut.
Hawkins has the edge in the wrestling department, while Wheeler is the better submission fighter. The fight is fairly even on the feet. Hawkins will take the fight to the ground and Wheeler will redeem himself by submitting Hawkins in front of his home crowd.
Prediction: Coty Wheeler by submission in the first round.