by Ken Pishna – MMAWeekly.com
Rani Yahya stepped into the cage on Saturday night at WEC 45, looking to add to his three-fight winning streak. Joseph Benavidez had other plans, however.
After losing to Dominick Cruz his last time out – the first loss of his career – Benavidez wasted no time righting his ship. Known for a strong grappling game, Yahya appeared to be setting up for a takedown by trading punches with Benavidez, but left himself open for a crushing overhand right.
The Benavidez sledgehammer found its mark, dropping Yahya to his back. Benavidez followed him down and landed a couple more right hands before the referee stepped in and stopped the bout.
“The key was to stay on my feet as long as I could,” said Benavidez after the fight, showing respect for Yahya’s world-class submission game.
Miguel Torres is set to return March 6 at the promotion’s Columbus, Ohio, event. Benavidez could be on tap to face the former WEC bantamweight champion.
Asked what he thought of such a bout, Benavidez responded, “Hey, you know, I’m here to fight the best there is, whatever the WEC wants.”
Scott Jorgensen did everything he could to put Takeya Mizugaki away early in their bantamweight bout on Saturday night, but it wasn’t to be.
He dropped Mizugaki in the opening seconds with a right hook, and then again late in the round with an onslaught of power right hands that had Mizugaki all but unconscious. Inexplicably, Mizugaki dug deep in his heart and finished not only the round, but the entire fight.
Jorgensen maintained the upper hand through most of the fight, winning the stand-up, scoring with takedowns, and driving knees to Mizugaki’s body when they clinched.
Mizugaki fought back hard in the third round, finally managing to take Jorgensen down and scoring with a strong ground and pound attack, but it was too little too late for the Japanese brawler.
“I knew he could throw. I knew he could land some solid strikes. The plan was to stay mobile,” said Jorgensen after earning a unanimous decision.
Asked if he had a message for current 135-pound champion Brian Bowles, Jorgensen simply stated, “I’m coming.”