by Ken Pishna – MMAWeekly.com
World Extreme Cagefighting on Monday made two prominent bouts official for its Arnold Fitness Classic weekend event in Columbus, Ohio, announcing opponents for Miguel Torres and Jens Pulver. MMAWeekly.com in late December reported the likelihood of both bouts.
Torres (37-2), a former WEC bantamweight champion, faces top-ranked contender Joseph Benavidez. The bout marks Torres’ first fight since getting KO’d by current champion Brian Bowles at WEC 42 last August.
Benavidez (11-1) is coming off an impressive TKO stoppage of Rani Yahya at WEC 45 in December. His only loss was a unanimous decision to Dominick Cruz, who will be challenging Bowles for the title in Columbus.
“Benavidez is probably the top contender at 135 right now and I want to prove that I’m still the best in this division. I want to earn my way back to the belt,” said Torres.
“I have envisioned us fighting for a long time,” Benavidez said. “I’m really looking forward to proving myself against someone people have considered a legend and the best in the world.”
Pulver (22-12-1) returns to face Javier Vazquez, both having a lot on the line in this one, namely their careers.
Pulver is coming off his fourth straight loss, to Josh Grispi at WEC 41 in June, and may have to call it quits if he doesn’t get a win. It’s something he openly contemplated following that last loss.
“I think I just ended in the same place I started,” Pulver told an appreciative Sacramento, Calif., crowd after the fight. “I’m not saying I’m done yet, but it’s been incredible. Thank you for making an old man feel good. I love you guys very much.”
Vazquez (13-4) has lost both of his fights since making his WEC debut late last year. Both losses were via split decision, to L.C. Davis at WEC 42 and Deividas Taurosevicius at WEC 43.
“I wanted this fight seven or eight years ago,” Vazquez said. “So I’m really excited that the opportunity is finally here. He is such a big name in this sport and I respect him a lot. I’m glad this fight is happening because it could prove to be a turning point in my career.”
It’s more than likely the winner of Torres vs. Benavidez will get a shot at the title in his next bout.
WEC general manager Reed Harris didn’t confirm it, but layed the groundwork, saying, “Joseph Benavidez and Miguel Torres both want a shot at the winner of the Brian Bowles-Dominick Cruz title fight, so we expect these two to leave it all in the cage when they collide in Columbus on March 6.”