by Ricardo Mendoza – MMAWeekly.com
On Saturday night, three titles will be on the line at World Extreme Cagefighting 26. WEC Bantamweight Champion Eddie Wineland defends his title against Midwest fighter Chase Beebe. WEC Featherweight Champion Urijah Faber makes his second consecutive title defense as he takes on Dominic Cruz. In the main event, Rumble on the Rock Welterweight tournament finalist Carlos Condit squares off against Ultimate Fighting Championship veteran John Alessio for the vacant WEC Welterweight Championship.
WEC BANTAMWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP BOUT:
Eddie Wineland vs. Chase Beebe
Eddie Wineland has an 11-4-1 record in MMA and trains out of Duneland Vale Tudo with Keith Wisniewski. Chase Beebe has a 9-1 record in MMA and trains out of Gilbert Grappling with Joey Gilbert. Wineland is coming off a decision victory over Dan Swift at Total Fight Challenge 10. Beebe is coming off a submission victory over Mike Bennett at King of the Cage: Hard Knocks. Wineland will be making his first title defense and he has a tough task ahead of him with Chase Beebe.
This is a very dangerous fight for Eddie Wineland because Beebe won’t be afraid to stand-up with him. Even if Wineland is getting the better of Beebe on the feet, Beebe won’t have a problem taking the fight to the ground where he is more comfortable. Wineland has only fought once since winning the title, while Beebe has fought eight times in that same span. Most consider Wineland’s win over Antonio Banuelos at WEC 20 to be a fluke, but we’ll find out on Saturday night whether or not he is the real deal. I doubt that Wineland has ever faced as good a wrestler as Beebe. Beebe will be the bigger fighter since he is moving down in weight to fight Wineland. This is going to be an exciting fight, it could go either way but I’m going with the upset here and picking Beebe by decision in a five round war. I see both fighters exchanging on the feet, but Beebe should be able to take it on the ground and control the fight from there.
Prediction: Chase Beebe by decision
WEC FEATHERWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP BOUT:
Urijah Faber vs. Dominic Cruz
WEC Featherweight Champion Urijah Faber makes his second consecutive title defense as he takes on Total Combat Featherweight Champion Dominic Cruz. Urijah Faber has a 17-1 record in MMA and trains out of Capital City Alliance with Scott Smith. Dominic Cruz has a 9-0 record in MMA and trains out of Southern California. Faber is coming off a dominant stoppage of Joe Pearson at WEC 25. Cruz is coming off an exciting decision victory over Shad Smith at Total Combat 18. The WEC is quickly trying to establish their featherweight division by buliding a solid stable of fighters and this fight will no doubt help their cause.
Faber is considered to be the best featherweight in the United States and displayed in his last fight why he rightfully deserves to be recognized as such. Cruz is the former Total Combat Lightweight Champion and is the current Total Combat Featherweight Champion, but without a doubt is facing the toughest fight of his young career on Saturday night. Faber has already stated that he wants to face the best featherweights in the world and that would mean the WEC bringing in talent from Shooto like ‘Lion’ Takeshi Inoue, Hatsu Hioki, Antonio ‘Pato’ Carvalho and Rumina Sato. Cruz should be able to put up a good fight with Faber, but in the end Faber is just going to be too much for the young fighter. Faber will once again show his dominance in the featherweight division with an impressive performance on Saturday night.
Prediction: Urijah Faber by TKO in the second round
WEC WELTERWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP BOUT:
Carlos Condit vs. John Alessio
In the main event, ROTR Welterweight tournament finalist Carlos Condit squares off against UFC veteran John Alessio for the vacant WEC Welterweight Championship. Carlos Condit has a 19-4 record in MMA and trains out of F.I.T. NHB with Thomas Schulte under the tutelage of Tom Vaughn. John Alessio has an 18-9 record in MMA and trains out of Xtreme Couture’s Gym with Mac Danzig. Condit is coming off a submission victory over Kyle Jensen at WEC 25. Alessio is coming off a submission victory over Brian Gassaway at WEC 25. Both fighters are evenly matched and we could see something special on Saturday night, in what could end up being a fight of the year candidate.
It was evident at WEC 25 that they wanted to match up these fighters for the vacant WEC Welterweight Championship, when both were given less than stellar competition in order to assure that this fight would happen. It’s hard not to look forward to this fight because they match-up so well with each other and, in my opinion, this is the biggest fight in WEC history. If both fighters perform up to par, it could be the fight that elevates the WEC to the next level. Condit has been on an absolute tear in the last year with his only real setback being a loss to Pat Healy in June. He went 3-0 in Pancrase in 2006 and was on the path to becoming the next challenger for the Welterweight King of Pancrase before settling with the WEC. Alessio was impressive in his UFC debut against Diego Sanchez giving him his toughest fight to date in the UFC. He fought an absolute war with Alex Serdyukov at WEC 23 and came up short against Thiago Alves at Ultimate Fight Night 7. On the ground, both fighters are evenly matched up, but Condit has the edge on the feet and should be able to exploit that to his advantage. It’s going to be a close fight, but I’m giving the edge to Condit in what should be a five round classic.
Prediction: Carlos Condit by decision