by Ricardo Mendoza – MMAWeekly.com
WEC featherweight champion
Urijah Faber defends his title against former UFC lightweight champion Jens
Pulver. Faber has a 20-1 record and trains out of Ultimate Fitness with Justin
Buchholz. Pulver has a 22-8-1 record and trains out of Miletich Fighting
Systems with Spencer Fisher.
Faber comes off a submission
victory over Jeff Curran at WEC 31. Pulver also comes off a submission victory
over Cub Swanson at the same show.
This is being billed as the
biggest fight in World Extreme Cagefighting history with two of the more
recognizable fighters in MMA today. One thing can be certain, when these two
meet in the cage the arena is going to be off the charts with electricity.
Faber is known to be the
better wrestler of the two fighters, while neither is too well versed in
submissions, once again a slight edge goes to the champion. One thing is for
sure, Pulver has come to be known for his devastating stand-up, especially his
crisp boxing. The key for Pulver in the fight will be whether or not he will be
able to keep it on the feet long enough for him to land that fight ending
Expect Pulver to give Faber
a run for his money, but when it’s all said and done, Faber will be the fighter
who will come out on top. He is just on another level compared to the other
featherweights in the world at the moment. Faber will take the fight to the mat
and unleash a furious ground and pound assault on Pulver throughout the fight,
finally ending it in the second round.
Prediction: Urijah Faber
by TKO in the second round.
WEC Bantamweight Championship
vs. Yoshiro Maeda
WEC bantamweight champion
Miguel Torres makes his first title defense against featherweight King of
Pancrase Yoshiro Maeda. Torres has a 32-1 record and trains out of Torres
Martial Arts Academy in Indiana. Maeda has a 23-4-2 record and trains out of
Pancrase Inagakigumi in Japan.
Torres comes off a
submission victory over Chase Beebe at WEC 32, while Maeda stopped Charlie
Valencia with strikes at the same show.
Torres was originally
scheduled to face off with fellow Mexican Manny Tapia. A knee injury to Tapia put
a halt to that fight and he now faces Maeda. This will be a much tougher test
for Torres with the seasoned striker Maeda, who has fought at higher weight
classes for the majority of his career.
Torres has a distinct advantage
on the ground. He is the better wrestler and submission fighter of the two.
Maeda has shown in the past that his ground game is one of his weaker points as
a fighter. On the feet is where Maeda excels and he has a slight advantage over
Torres, as he uses his reach and kicks successfully on the feet.
Look for Maeda to hurt
Torres on the feet with stinging combinations that will force the champ to take
the fight to the ground and back into his world. Torres will shortly thereafter
lock on a submission to end the fight in the closing stages of the opening
Prediction: Miguel Torres
by submission in the first round.
Light Heavyweight Bout:
Mark Munoz vs. Chuck
Former NCAA wrestling
champion Mark Munoz takes on Midwest slugger Chuck Grigsby. Munoz has a 3-0
record and trains out of Ultimate Fitness with Jeremy Freitag. Grigsby has a
13-3 record and trains out of Iowa.
Munoz comes off a decision
victory over Tony Rubalcava at Palace Fighting Championships 4. Grigsby most
recently stopped Mike Glenn with strikes at MCC 11: Night of Champions.
Munoz has been billed as the
next big thing, being part of this next generation of fighters that enter MMA
with solid wrestling credentials. Grigsby on the other hand has worked from the
bottom to get his chance to display his skills on a bigger stage.
The edge on the ground goes
to Munoz. He is a decorated collegiate wrestler that has adapted his talent to
MMA. Neither fighter is much of a striker, but with experience on his side, a
slight edge goes to Grigsby, who will no doubt look to keep the fight on the
Munoz looks to be the next
big star and a future showdown with current WEC light heavyweight champion
Brian Stann is a promoters dream fight. Expect Munoz to take the fight to the
ground and put a hurting on Grigsby, stopping the fight with strikes in the
Prediction: Mark Munoz by
TKO in the first round.
“Razor” Rob McCullough
Former WEC lightweight
champion “Razor” Rob McCullough faces off with Kenneth “The Black Ninja”
Alexander. McCullough has a 15-4 record and trains out of Team Punishment with
Tito Ortiz. Alexander has a 5-2 record and trains out of Ultimate Fitness with
McCullough comes off a
knockout loss to Jamie Varner at WEC 32, while Alexander fought to a no contest
with Donald Cerrone at WEC 30.
These two fighters
previously met in 2002 with Alexander winning a convincing decision over the
then-inexperienced McCullough. A lot more is at stake this time with the winner
putting himself into title contention.
Alexander is the better
ground fighter of the two, both in wrestling and in submissions. McCullough on
the other hand has the edge on the feet being a decorated kickboxer, but he may
be a bit gun shy after just being knocked out.
These two will put on a show.
Alexander will get the fight to the ground and work over McCullough with ground
and pound, but McCullough will be able to get back to his feet and inflict his
own damage. It comes down to who will be able to inflict the most damage when
they have the advantage and McCullough will do so, winning a narrow decision.
Prediction: “Razor” Rob
McCullough by decision.
Jeff Curran vs. Mike
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black
belt Jeff Curran takes on UFC and Bodog Fight veteran Mike Brown. Curran has a
29-9-1 record and trains out of Team Curran with Nate Mohr. Brown has a 16-4
record and trains out of American Top Team with Din Thomas.
Curran comes off a
submission loss to Urijah Faber at WEC 30, while Brown submitted Manny Reyes
Jr. at Premier X-treme Fighting.
This is going to be an
interesting fight, as both fighters will bring their A game in order to impress
and put themselves into title contention. More than likely the majority of the
fight will be played out on the ground.
Curran has the edge on the
ground being the better fighter in submissions, but it’s pretty even in the
wrestling department. On the feet, both fighters have shown that they are more
then willing to trade, but neither has a distinct advantage over the other.
Plain and simple, the fight
will come down to who will have the better position on the ground and can
outwork their opponent in either submission attempts or ground and pound.
Curran should be able to use his jiu-jitsu to sweep from bad positions and
score enough points in the judges’ eyes to take a decision.
Prediction: Jeff Curran
Chase Beebe vs. Will
Former WEC bantamweight
champion Chase Beebe faces off with Brazilian fighter Will Ribeiro. Beebe has
11-2 record and trains out of Hellhouse with Clay French. Ribeiro has a 9-1
record and trains out of Minotauro Team with Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira.
Beebe comes off a submission
loss to Miguel Torres at WEC 32, while Ribeiro comes off a knockout victory
over Andre Lobo at Shooto Brazil 5.
Beebe looks to get back on
the winning track and start his road back to the title that he held for almost
a year. Ribeiro has a shot to make an instant splash in the WEC by taking out a
Beebe has the edge on the
ground, being a better wrestler and having a tendency to avoid submissions for
the most part. Ribeiro is primarily a striker, but has been working on his
ground game with the Nogueira brothers in preparation for his stateside debut.
Ribeiro will hurt Beebe on
the feet, but the only issue is that after he hurts Beebe will he be able to
finish him or will he end up on his back and take a pounding. Look for Beebe to
keep the fight off the feet as much as possible and pound out a decision.
Prediction: Chase Beebe
Donald Cerrone vs. Danny
Kickboxer turned MMA fighter
Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone takes on WEC newcomer Danny Castillo. Cerrone has a 7-0
record and trains out of Jackson’s Submission Fighting with Duane “Bang”
Ludwig. Castillo has a 5-0 record and trains out of Ultimate Fitness with
Cerrone comes off a no
contest against Kenneth Alexander at WEC 30, while Castillo submitted Isiah
Hill at Cage Combat Fighting Championships: Mayhem.
Cerrone was originally
scheduled to fight UFC veteran Rich Crunkilton, who was forced out because of
injury. Castillo steps into this bout on a week’s notice. This should prove to
be an interesting fight between undefeated up and comers, gauging how good they
On the feet, Cerrone has the
advantage because of his kickboxing experience and Castillo is still learning
his craft as a striker. It’s hard to gauge who is the better fighter on the
ground because Cerrone has finished all of his MMA fights by submission, but
Castillo has shown he is also well versed on the ground.
This should be an
entertaining fight. Look for this fight to go to the ground early and for
Castillo to unleash some heavy strikes. Cerrone will stay composed and lock on
a submission from his back, where he is most dangerous in ending the fight.
Prediction: Donald Cerrone
by submission in the first round.
Tim McKenzie vs. Jeremy
Longtime WEC mainstay Tim
McKenzie moves down to middleweight to face off with newcomer Jeremy Lang.
McKenzie has an 11-5 record and trains out of Lodi, California. Lang has a 12-0
record and trains out of Iowa.
McKenzie comes off a
stoppage loss to Steve Cantwell at WEC 33, while Lang won a decision over Brian
Monoghan at a Warrior Fight Promotions show.
McKenzie was originally
slated to face Eric Schambari, but an injury forced the change to the fight,
giving the undefeated newcomer Lang a chance at the big times. By moving down
in weight, McKenzie hopes to have much better success then he did at light
Outside of being undefeated,
not much is known about Lang except that he has a wrestling background and hasn’t
faced any tough opposition so far in his career. McKenzie should have the edge
on the feet and in experience in fighting on the big stage.
This is pretty much do or
die for McKenzie. A loss to a newcomer will ensure his exit from the WEC and
any other big show until he can rack up a string of wins on smaller events.
With that being said, look for McKenzie to have extra motivation and overwhelm
the newcomer Lang with strikes midway through the fight.
Prediction: Tim McKenzie
by TKO in the second round.
Alex Serdyukov vs. Luis
Russian fighter Alex
Serdyukov takes on Brazilian striker Luis Sapo. Serdyukov has a 7-4 record and
trains out of the Jake Shields Fight Team with Jake Shields. Sapo has a 9-1
record and trains out of the Bulldog Team in Brazil.
Serdyukov most recently won a
submission victory over Ryan Stonitsch at WEC 33, while Sapo comes off a
decision victory over Jorge Patino at Midway Fight.
This should be an exciting
fight as both fighters are willing to trade on the feet without much regard.
Whoever wins this fight will be putting themselves into title contention in the
thin WEC welterweight division.
Both fighters are well
versed on the feet, but Sapo has more experience and should be technically
better than Serdyukov, who is more of a wild striker with power. On the ground
Serdyukov has the advantage being a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and showing
his submission skills in past fights.
Serdyukov has been one of
the more talented fighters in MMA, but has had a string of bad luck. He now has
put together a string of wins and will look to add to that against Sapo. These
two will trade shots for the majority of the fight, but Serdyukov will take it to
the ground and submit Sapo midway through the fight.
Serdyukov by submission in the second round.
Jose Aldo vs. Alexandre
Nova Uniao fighter Jose Aldo
takes on former Shooto lightweight champion Alexandre Franca “Pequeno”
Nogueira. Aldo has a 9-1 record and trains out of Nova Uniao with Vitor “Shaolin”
Ribeiro. Nogueira has a 13-4-2 record and trains out of Club de Luta in Brazil.
Aldo comes off a decision
victory over Shoji Maruyama at the Pancrase Neo Blood Tournament 2007 Finals,
while Nogueira knocked out Shuichiro Katsumura at K-1 Hero’s 9.
This is going to be an
interesting fight between the up and comer Aldo and the established veteran
Nogueira, both trying to make an impact in the United States. More than certain
is that the fight will hit the mat as both specialize in ground fighting.
Both are well rounded and
are more then willing to trade on the feet, which could turnout to be the
deciding factor in the fight because they are equally matched on the ground.
Nogueira is better at submissions, but Aldo is the better fighter at
positioning and probably holds the edge in takedowns as well.
Fans should expect an
excellent display of ground fighting with numerous submissions attempts and
reversals. In the end, Aldo’s aggressiveness on the feet and his superior
position on the ground should be able to edge out Nogueira’s submission attempts
to win a decision.
Prediction: Jose Aldo by
vs. Dominick Cruz
Former King of the Cage
champion Charlie Valencia takes on Total Combat veteran Dominick Cruz. Valencia
has a 9-4 record and trains out of Ultimate Fitness with Joseph Benevides. Cruz
has a 10-1 record and trains out of California.
Valencia comes off a
stoppage loss to Yoshiro Maeda at WEC 32, while Cruz knocked out Kenneth Aimes
at Total Combat 27.
These two were originally
scheduled to fight at WEC 31, but Cruz was forced off because of an injury.
They will now finally get a chance to meet in a fight that should produce some
intense fireworks on the feet.
Valencia is the better
wrestler of the two and probably has a slight edge in submissions over Cruz,
who has shown that he prefers to strike on the feet. Even though Cruz likes to
bang, Valencia isn’t a slouch on the feet and will trade strikes with anyone.
Valencia has shown the he
has the tools to be one of the better fighters in the division, but luck hasn’t
gone his way. Cruz has been impressive, but against lesser competition. With
that being said, Valencia and Cruz will trade on the feet, but Cruz will hit
the canvas first as his lack of quality opposition will catch up to him.
Valencia by TKO in the first round.