by Ricardo Mendoza – MMAWeekly.com
Contrary to previous reports indicating that World Extreme Cagefighting would head to Sacramento, Calif. in March, MMAWeekly has learned that the promotion will return to Las Vegas at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on March 26.
Initial reports indicated that WEC would head to Sacramento to hold its March event, due to a headline bout featuring hometown fighter Urijah Faber defending his featherweight championship against former UFC lightweight champion Jens Pulver.
For whatever reason, the bout did not materialize – although indications are that the bout will likely take place this summer – and the event was relocated back to the WEC’s home base of Las Vegas.
Paulo Filho defending his middleweight championship against Chael Sonnen for the second time in three months will now headline the event. These two met at the last WEC with Filho winning by armbar, but not without controversy. The fight was stopped soon after Filho locked on the armbar, but without any indication of Sonnen giving up.
In the co-main event, light heavyweight champion Doug Marshall will defend his title against U.S. Marine Brian Stann. Marshall comes off a submission victory over Cuban Ariel Gandulla at WEC 31, while Stann enters the fight undefeated at 5-0.
In a No. 1 contenders match, Xtreme Couture welterweight John Alessio takes on powerful wrestler Brock Larson with the winner likely getting another crack at the welterweight championship.
Carlos Condit is the current 170-pound titleholder and will be defending his belt against Carlo Prater on Feb. 13 in Albuquerque, N.M.
Shooto standout Kenji Osawa will make his WEC debut as he takes on American Top Team fighter Chris Manuel in a bantamweight bout.
In an intriguing lightweight bout, Texan submission fighter Marcus Hicks takes on eccentric striker Ed Ratcliff. Hicks comes off a submission victory over Scott McAfee at WEC 30, while Ratcliff stopped Ultimate Fighter alumnus Alex Karalexis at WEC 31.
In a middleweight bout, Team Wildman fighter Bryan Baker takes on the debuting Nissen Osterneck.
The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
Las Vegas, Nev.
March 26, 2008
WEC Middleweight Championship: Paulo Filho vs. Chael Sonnen
WEC Light Heavyweight Championship: Doug Marshall vs. Brian Stann
Welterweight Bout: John Alessio vs. Brock Larson
Bantamweight Bout: Kenji Osawa vs. Chris Manuel
Lightweight Bout: Marcus Hicks vs. Ed Ratcliff
Middleweight Bout: Bryan Baker vs. Nissen Osterneck