- WEC 40 FIGHT CARD CONFIRMED FOR CHICAGO

March 13, 2009
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Press Release courtesy of WEC
World Extreme Cagefighting recently confirmed the remaining bouts for WEC 40: Torres vs. Mizugaki, live from the UIC Pavilion in Chicago, Ill., on Sunday, April 5. WEC 40 will be televised live nationally on VERSUS beginning at 9:00pm ET/6:00pm PT.

In addition to the electric main event between WEC bantamweight champion Miguel Angel Torres (35-1) and Japanese striker Takeya Mizugaki (11-2-2), and the 135-pound co-feature clash between Joseph Benavidez (9-0) and Jeff Curran (31-10-1), nine more exciting bouts fill out WEC’s inaugural trip to the Windy City.

Before the co-main events get underway, lightweights Ben Henderson (fighting out of Glendale, AZ) and Shane Roller (fighting out of Las Vegas, NV) lock horns in a battle between two accomplished wrestlers. After making his WEC debut in January with a submission win over Anthony Njokuani, Henderson looks to continue his rise in the 155-pound division by defeating Roller. Defeating Roller will be no easy task though. The Tulsa, OK native is a three-time Division I All-American wrestler and currently riding a five-fight winning streak. Roller, undefeated in the WEC with wins over Todd Moore and Mike Budnik, is rapidly climbing the lightweight ladder and looks to get one step closer to the title with a win over Henderson.

Brazilian Raphael Assuncao (fighting out of Marietta, GA) makes his long-awaited WEC debut when he tackles the well-rounded Jameel Massouh (fighting out of Milwaukee, WI). Touting a 12-1 record, Assuncao is a feared 145-pound competitor whose arrival spells trouble for the featherweight elite. Known for his slick groundwork, Assuncao will have his hands full with former Pancrase star Massouh. A winner of 21 of 25 bouts since launching his professional career in 2005, Massouh is a well-rounded fighter with a unique blend of knockout power and submissions.

Undefeated lightweight Anthony Pettis (fighting out of Milwaukee, WI) makes his WEC debut against Nigerian-born striker Anthony Njokuani (fighting out of Las Vegas, NV). Pettis, 6-0 in his two-year professional career, will face a stern test in the Muay Thai savvy Njokuani. With a record of 22-0 as a professional kickboxer, the 6’0″ Njokuani is in search of his first WEC win and hopes to use his potent leg kicks to derail Pettis.

With three straight victories since losing to then-featherweight champion Urijah Faber in 2007, the supremely-conditioned Dominick Cruz (fighting out of San Diego, CA) hopes to entrench himself in the bantamweight division with a win over newcomer Ivan Lopez (fighting out of San Diego, CA). Since moving to the 135-pound weight class in 2008, Cruz has pounded out unanimous decision wins over Charlie Valencia and Ian McCall. Undefeated at 9-0, Lopez has taken the bantamweight scene by storm with superior kickboxing and submission skills. Born in Tijuana, Mexico and now fighting out of the American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, CA, Lopez is looking to make a name for himself in the WEC with a win over Cruz.

Cub Swanson (fighting out of Orange County, CA) has stopped 10 opponents in 15 professional fights with an array of knockouts and submissions. The 25-year-old looks to continue that impressive streak when he takes on the precision-punching Diego Nunes (fighting out of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil). Nunes, a former professional soccer player and Brazilian Muay Thai champion, looks to extend a streak of his own, as the 26-year-old seeks score his second consecutive WEC win in Chicago. Nunes earned a unanimous decision victory over Cole Province in December.

Fighters who have had the misfortune of going to the ground with decorated Brazilian jiu-jitsu artist Wagnney Fabiano (fighting out of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) have had a difficult time avoiding the black belt’s submission attempts. The grappler has won six of his last seven bouts by submission, including a victory over Akitoshi Tamura in December. The 33-year-old featherweight contender will look to earn his eighth straight victory when he battles similarly gifted grappler Fredson Paixao (fighting out of Las Vegas, NV). A fellow Brazilian, Paixao is dangerous on the ground and has won eight of 10 professional bouts.

An intriguing bantamweight bout pits local product Eddie Wineland (fighting out of Highland, IN) against submission ace Rani Yahya (fighting out of San Diego, CA). The 24-year-old Wineland is a former WEC bantamweight titleholder who boasts competent wrestling and striking. Those skills will be put on display against Yahya, who is coming off an impressive first round submission victory over Yoshiro Maeda last November.

Rugged 135-pound contender Manny Tapia (fighting out of Chino, CA) looks to rebound from a December loss to champion Miguel Torres when he takes on Osaka, Japan’s Akitoshi Tamura. Tamura, who is coming off a hard-fought three rounder with Wagnney Fabiano, is hungry to gain his first WEC win and will look to use his submissions and kickboxing to stymie Tapia.

An intelligent ground and pound specialist, featherweight Cole Province (fighting out of Edmond, OK) hopes that his collegiate wrestling background will allow him to outmuscle American Top Team product Rafael Dias (fighting out of Coconut Creek, FL). Dias, a former law student who trains at one of the top gyms in the country, will almost certainly match Province’s ground attack with a solid grappling game of his own. With both fighters searching for their first WEC wins, the Province-Dias clash has the potential to be a war.

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