by Ken Pishna
When Ruben “Warpath” Villareal steps into the cage with Bas “El Guapo” Rutten tonight, it will be with just slightly more than 48 hours notice. Warpath and his camp were contacted on Thursday about the possibility of facing Rutten in his return fight after Kimo Leopoldo, Rutten’s original opponent, was forced out of event due to a failed drug test.

The WFA was working on various avenues to make sure that all of their tracks were covered, talking with Wes Sims, Warpath, and a couple of other unnamed fighters as possibilities. But in the end, it was Warpath who got the nod to fight Rutten, due as much to logistics as anything. According to Warpath, “Some good people reached out to us, and when good people reach out, you step up and do your part. So, that’s pretty much what we did. Bas is a good person. I’m healthy right now.”

A lot of people will probably condemn the WFA for keeping the fight with a lesser opponent, but Warpath is a fighter with a lot of heart who won’t back down. Warpath will give Rutten the best that he has, even though he knows that his game is a limited one. “I’ve been hit by some of the hardest hitters in the world, and I know I can take a punch,” said Warpath. “Bas is a great submission fighter. If he’s willing to step up in the middle of the ring and throw blows, it’s going to be an exciting fight because that’s what I do. I throw blows. Bottom line is this is going to be a good, hardcore brawl.”

In the end, Warpath has helped keep the fight card more intact and gives Rutten a chance to make his return and see if he still has the desire to make this more than a one-time shot. Say what you will, but Warpath has a warrior’s spirit, as he displayed in his three-round draw with Don Frye just two months ago, and he’ll give Rutten everything he’s got in tonight’s bout at the Forum.