WEC 26 Undercard Preview

March 22, 2007
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The WEC returns to the Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel on Saturday night to hold its second show under Zuffa’s ownership. They will look to build off the success of their Las Vegas debut with an exciting eleven-bout card. The undercard features two former WEC champions and three UFC veterans. The WEC’s emphasis on lighter weight divisions continues with a pair of featherweight bouts and an exciting bantamweight bout.

LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT BOUT:

Brian Stann and Steve Cantwell at WEC 26

Brian Stann and Steve Cantwell at WEC 26

Brian Stann vs. Steve Cantwell

WEC veteran Brian Stann takes on Jungle Fight veteran Steve Cantwell. Stann has a 2-0 record in MMA and trains out of Xtreme Couture’s Gym with Randy Couture. Cantwell has a 3-0 record in MMA and trains out of Arizona. Stann is coming off an impressive stoppage win over Miguel Cosio at WEC 21. Cantwell is coming off a doctor stoppage victory over Brazilian Leonardo Pecanha at Jungle Fight 7. This fight should bring the heavy leather that fans are accustomed to seeing from the heavier fighters.

Both fighters are relatively inexperienced in MMA but both of them seem to have potential in a scare weight division. Stann has stopped both of his opponents in MMA and that includes a win over IFL veteran Aaron Stark in his MMA debut. Stann is not only an MMA fighter but is also a U.S. Marine.

Cantwell has a pair of wins in Rage in the Cage, including a submission victory over highly touted RITC veteran Richie Hightower. Stann has an advantage when it comes to striking and power, while Cantwell has the better submissions of the two fighters. The winner of this fight instantly puts himself in contention for the title in the WEC’s scarce light heavyweight division. It’s a hard fight to predict but Stann has better training partners then Cantwell and that should give him the edge in a close fight.

Prediction: Brian Stann by decision

Micah Miller and Jesse Moreng  at WEC 26

Micah Miller and Jesse Moreng at WEC 26

FEATHERWEIGHT BOUT:
Micah Miller vs. Jesse Moreng

Hardcore Gym fighter Micah Miller takes on Ring of Combat Lightweight Champion Jesse Moreng. Miller has a 6-0 record in MMA and trains out of the Hardcore Gym with Rory Singer. Moreng has a 8-0 record in MMA and trains out of Arizona Combat Sports under Todd and Trevor Lally. Miller is coming off a submission victory over Josh Lee at Ironheart Crown 11. Moreng is coming off a stoppage win over James “Binky” Jones at Ring of Combat 10. Both fighters enter the fight undefeated, but only one of them will keep their perfect record intact after Saturday night.

A lot of fans have been looking forward to this fight and have been praising the WEC’s excellent matchmaking on this fight. They have paired up two young and talented fighters in what should be a hell of a fight. Neither fighter is yet ready to face off with WEC Featherweight Champion Urijah Faber, but both of these fighters are the future in the WEC featherweight division.

Moreng, to this point, has faced the stiffer competition of the two fighters and holds a win over UFC veteran Jamie Varner. Miller has the better submissions of the two fighters, while Moreng is the more polished striker of the two and loves to implore his wrestling with ground and pound. This could very well turn out to be the fight of the night. In a close fight, Moreng will be able to use his size advantage to pound out a decision over Miller.

Prediction: Jesse Moreng by decision

Alex Serdyukov and Scott Norton at WEC 26

Alex Serdyukov and Scott Norton at WEC 26

WELTERWEIGHT BOUT:
Alex Serdyukov vs. Scott Norton

Former WEC North American Middleweight Champion Alex Serdyukov takes on Washington based fighter Scott Norton. Alex Serdyukov has a 4-3 record in MMA and trains out of Fairtex with Jake Shields. Scott Norton has a 7-0 record in MMA and trains out of Washington. Serdyukov is coming off a close submission loss to John Alessio at WEC 23. Norton is coming off a submsiion victory over Jacob Thompson at XFC: Destruction of Dome 2. Both fighters will look to establish themselves in the crowded WEC welterweight division with a win.

This seems to be a showcase fight for Serdyukov then an actual competitive fight. Serdyukov is an extremely talented fighter with a record that doesn’t do him justice. His three losses have come to two UFC veterans and a much bigger fighter that he shouldn’t have fought in the first place. Norton hasn’t fought in nearly two years and the ring rust is going to catch up to him in this fight. Serdyukov could be a force for years to come in the WEC welterweight division if he is built up the right way by the WEC. Serdyukov shouldn’t have any trouble with Norton and should stop him early.

Prediction: Alex Serdyukov by TKO in the first round

Antonio Banuelos and Charlie Valencia at WEC 26

Antonio Banuelos and Charlie Valencia at WEC 26

BANTAMWEIGHT BOUT:
Antonio Banuelos vs. Charlie Valencia

Former WEC Bantamweight Champion Antonio Banuelos takes on former KOTC Bantamweight Champion Charlie Valencia. Antonio Banuelos has a 13-3 record in MMA and trains out of The Pit with Chuck Liddell. Charlie Valencia has a 7-2 record in MMA and trains out of Valencia Freestyle Fighting. Banuelos is coming off a dominant decision victory over Mike French at WEC 25. Valencia is coming off a stoppage loss to Cub Swanson at KOTC: BOOYAA. Whoever wins this fight could very well be the next challenger for the WEC Bantamweight Championship.

Banuelos has been on a tear in the WEC since being knocked out by WEC Bantamweight Champion Eddie Wineland at WEC 20, turning in two dominant performances against Cole Escovedo and Mike French. In both of those fights, Banuelos used crisp striking and relentless ground and pound to dominate his opponents. Valencia has lost two straight fights since returning to MMA earlier this year but was competitive in both fights up until losing. Banuelos has some serious momentum coming into this fight as he looks to regain his WEC Bantamweight Championship. Valencia is moving down to his natural weight division, but Banuelos will be too much for him, in what should be an exciting fight.

Prediction: Antonio Banuelos by TKO in the third round.

Tommy Lee and Cub Swanson at WEC 26

Tommy Lee and Cub Swanson at WEC 26

FEATHERWEIGHT BOUT:
Tommy Lee vs. Cub Swanson

Hellhouse fighter Tommy Lee takes on KOTC veteran Cub Swanson. Tommy Lee has a 18-5 record in MMA and trains out of the Hellhouse with Clay Guida. Cub Swanson has a 9-1 record in MMA and trains out of Joe Moreira BJJ with Joe Moreira. Lee is coming off a decision victory over Norman Alexander at CFC 1: Explosion. Swanson is coming off a knockout victory over Chuck Kim at Beatdown in Bakersfield. Both fighters will be making their WEC debuts and will look to leave an impression in the WEC featherweight division.

Swanson has fought at both lightweight and featherweight throughout his career, so he should be the bigger fighter of the two. He avenged his only loss earlier this year and has been recently been focusing on his striking at OC Muay Thai. Lee comes from a wrestling background and has won the majority of his fights by decision. Lee is a tough opponent for Swanson but he should be able to get past him. Swanson is the better fighter overall and hasn’t faltered against tough competition like Lee has in the past. Lee is susceptible to submissions and that’s going to be his undoing in this fight.

Prediction: Cub Swanson by submission in the second round

Tiki Ghosn and Dave Terrel at WEC 26

Tiki Ghosn and Dave Terrel at WEC 26

WELTERWEIGHT BOUT:
Dave Terrel vs. Tiki Ghosn

Xtreme Couture fighter Dave Terrel takes on UFC veteran Tiki Ghosn. Dave Terrel has a 4-1 record in MMA and trains out of Xtreme Couture’s Gym with John Alessio. Tiki Ghosn has a 9-5 record in MMA and trains out of Team Punishment with “Razor” Rob McCullough. Terrel is coming off a decision loss to KOTC Welterweight Champion Aaron Wetherspoon at KOTC: Destroyer. Ghosn is coming off an injury loss to Pat Healy at WEC 19. Both fighters will be looking to get back on the winning track on Saturday night.

Ghosn was dominating Pat Healy for the entire fight until he was injured in the third round and hasn’t fought since. Terrel was unimpressive in his last fight as he ran away from Wetherspoon for the majority of the fight, refusing to engage with Wetherspoon after being hurt on the feet. Neither fighter should factor much in the WEC welterweight division anytime soon nor does it seem that they were brought in to be a serious threat. When matched with the right opponent Tiki can put on an exciting fight and that’ not the case here. Terrel hasn’t shown anything in his fights to warrant a spot on this card and his last opponent Aaron Wetherspoon would have made for a much better opponent for Tiki. This is going to be a cakewalk for Tiki and he should be able to knockout Terrel with ease.

Prediction: Tiki Ghosn by knockout in the first round.

Brock Larson and Erik Apple at WEC 26

Brock Larson and Erik Apple at WEC 26

WELTERWEIGHT BOUT:
Brock Larson vs. Erik Apple

UFC veteran Brock Larson takes on famed KOTC announcer and fighter Erik Apple. Brock Larson has a 19-1 record in MMA and trains out of Minnesota. Erik Apple has a 9-0 record in MMA and trains out of Ruas Vale Tudo with Justin Levens. Larson is coming off a decision victory over Keita “K-Taro” Nakamura at Ultimate Fight Night 8. Apple is coming off a TKO victory over Ray Elbe at Total Combat 16. This fight has different implications for both fighters, which makes it an interesting fight.

Larson with a win here could very well earn a shot at the WEC Welterweight Championship, while Apple looks to prove himself against stiff competition. Apple has always had tons of hype behind him but on Saturday night we will find out if it’s warranted or not. It’s interesting that Larson is now fighting in the WEC after just haven won in the UFC, but he requested it because he feels that he needs more polishing before returning to the UFC.

Apple showed off his striking skills in his last fight and will try to do the same here. Larson barley squeaked past Nakamura in his last fight and should improve on his last performance with a win here. Apple has tons of potential but the lack of quality opposition should comeback to haunt here as Larson should be able to grind out a decision.

Prediction: Brock Larson by decision.

Joe Riggs and Hiromitsu Miura at WEC 26

Joe Riggs and Hiromitsu Miura at WEC 26

MIDDLEWEIGHT BOUT:
Joe Riggs vs. Hiromitsu Miura

UFC veteran Joe Riggs takes on HEROS veteran Hiromitsu Miura. Joe Riggs has a 25-9 record in MMA and trains out of Elite Performance with Jeremy Horn. Hiromitsu Miura has a 6-3 record in MMA and trains out of The Armory with Hermes Franca. Riggs is coming off a knockout loss to Diego Sanchez at Ultimate Fight Night 8. Miura is coming off a knockout victory over Ryo Kakigawa at HEROS 7. Both fighters are primarily strikers, so expect an exciting slugfest.

Riggs will be making his return to the WEC after mixed results in the UFC. All of his losses in the UFC were to quality opponents with his two losses at welterweight coming to top five fighters in the division. The change of scenery should serve him well and he returns to middleweight where he believes he will be strongest because he doesn’t have to cut such a large amount of weight.

Miura has been training at The Armory for the last couple of months and now gets a chance to shine in front of an American audience. Both fighters are strikers and that is where Riggs will have the advantage because of the serious power he has in his hands. Riggs has more experience and has faced tougher competition then Miura, who has underachieved against quality opposition in the past. In what should be an exciting slugfest, Riggs should come out on top with an impressive knockout.

Prediction: Joe Riggs by knockout in the first round.

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