by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
The future contenders in the lightweight and bantamweight divisions could be decided at WEC 50 when Shane Roller and Anthony Pettis square off at 155 pounds, while Scott Jorgensen tries to solidify a title shot when battling Brad Pickett in the 135-pound weight class.
The WEC has always shied away from naming any fight a No. 1 contender’s bout, but with lightweight champion Ben Henderson on the sidelines waiting for a new opponent, and the bantamweight title being up for grabs in August, the WEC 50 match-ups are all but officially contenders bouts.
WEC General Manager Reed Harris commented about the situation on Tuesday, and he definitely has his eye on both fights taking place on Aug. 18.
“In my mind both of them are extremely close to getting a title shot,” Harris said.
In the lightweight division, Roller is currently riding a three-fight win streak including a submission victory over knockout artist Anthony Njokuani in his last fight. Anthony Pettis comes in after back-to-back victories over Danny Castillo and Alex Karalexis.
In the other fight, Scott Jorgensen, who was also a possibility to face Dominick Cruz in his first title defense, faces off against British heavy hitter Brad “One-Punch” Pickett, who comes in on a nine-fight win streak with two victories in his first two WEC bouts.
Harris says it ultimately comes down to performance when determining who will get a crack at a title in the WEC. Nothing is ever set in stone, but these fights definitely have title implications around them.
“Obviously it depends on performance, it depends on the fight, if people are injured etc., but I think both of these fights are top contenders fights, and the winners of these fights could possibly fight for titles, I agree with that, yes,” said Harris.
“That’s just our philosophy on all the fighting. We watch fights; we watch how guys do. If a guy just has a semi-good performance and squeaks out a decision, then he may not be able to get a title shot with us.”
Both fights will be featured on the televised portion of the Versus broadcast next Wednesday, and Roller vs. Pettis will serve as the co-main event for the card headlined by bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz defending his belt against Joseph Benavidez.