by Ricardo Mendoza – MMAWeekly.com
Bart Palaszewski vs. Ricardo Lamas
League standout Bart Palaszewski returns to the WEC as he faces off with late
replacement Ricardo Lamas. Lamas took the fight on less than a week’s notice
after Palaszewski’s original opponent, Rich Crunkilton, pulled out due to
injury. In an interesting twist,
both fighters hail from Chicago, making it a fight for local bragging rights,
although WEC 39 takes place in Corpus Christi, Texas.
Palaszewski is known
for his striking ability on the feet, mixing slick combinations with kicks. The
only knock on him is that he has an ever improving
ground game and he might not do so hot if he’s put on his back. Lamas, on the other hand, is a more
than competent wrestler that likes to push the pace in his fights, often
overwhelming his opponents. He has some solid striking to go along with his
grappling, but he may not want to try his luck on the feet with Palaszewski.
When Palaszewski was
originally scheduled to face Crunkilton, it was more or less a number one
contender shot for the lightweight title, but now it’s likely that only
Palaszewski will get a shot if he wins.
Lamas may have some
pressure on him with this being his WEC debut and that will have some kind of
effect in addition to the late notice. Palaszewski needs to avoid the takedown
and keep the fight on the feet, where he can put Lamas in a world of hurt,
while Lamas needs to get the fight on the ground and work his wrestling. Expect
the fight to be a high paced back and forth brawl for three exciting rounds.
Jose Aldo vs. Chris Mickle
Fast rising Brazilian
featherweight Jose Aldo makes a quick turnaround, as he gets back into the cage
to face off with WEC newcomer Chris Mickle. Aldo comes off an exciting knockout
of Rolando Perez at the last WEC and is being brought back on a quick
turnaround. Mickle is a longtime veteran of the Midwest fighting scene and gets
his first chance at the big time in the WEC.
Aldo has shown in the
WEC that he is a deadly striker, stopping all his opponents with strikes even
though his background is as a ground fighter. He is a double threat and has the
big show experience that Mickle lacks. Mickle’s strength is on the ground,
being a fairly good submission fighter, but he has never faced anyone the
caliber of Aldo.
Aldo really has his
choice of how he wants the fight to play out, as he is well versed on both the
feet and on the ground. He’ll more than likely look to finish the fight on the
feet, so be on the lookout for an impressive knockout from Aldo. Mickle’s best
chance will be to get the fight on the ground and lock on a submission, but
that’s easier said than done.
“Razor” Rob McCullough vs. Marcus
lightweight champion “Razor” Rob McCullough faces off with lightweight title
challenger Marcus Hicks. Both fighters are coming off a loss and need a win to
gain some momentum after an up and down 2008. These two like to bang it out on the feet, so expect them to
trade some serious leather trying to regain some of their former glory.
McCullough is known
for his technical kickboxing ability that enabled him to become the WEC
lightweight champion. Hicks is no slouch on the feet
either with a vaunted boxing ability that added to a solid ground game to
garner a title shot. If the fight were to go to the ground, he would have a
huge advantage over McCullough, who is still learning the ground game.
have a slight edge on the feet because his is more versatile with his striking
than Hicks, who tends to stick to boxing. McCullough will need to avoid the
takedown and start picking apart Hicks with kicks and combinations, while
ducking Hicks’ hooks on the feet. For Hicks to win the fight, he’ll need to
take it to the ground and lock on a submission. Whoever wins the fight will
instantly put himself back into title contention.
Danny Castillo vs. Phil Cardella
Team Alpha Male
lightweight Danny Castillo takes on the WEC debuting local Texan Phil Cardella.
Both fighters have a common opponent in Rafael Dias with Castillo finishing
Dias with strikes and Cardella winning a decision. Castillo will need to keep
the fight on the feet, as Cardella is a decorated black belt in Brazilian
Jiu-Jitsu. Castillo is the far superior striker and he’ll need to use his
wrestling ability to keep the fight on the feet, where he can finish him.
Cardella needs the fight on the ground, where he’ll have an easier time trying
to finish the fight.
Marcos Galvao vs. Damacio Page
Shooto veteran Marcos
Galvao makes his return to the WEC taking on Jackson’s Submission Fighting
fighter Damacio Page. Both fighters are coming off losses in their last WEC
appearance and need a win to stay relevant in the bantamweight division. Galvao
is technically better in every area of the fight, whereas Page is a pure
athlete with power. Page’s best chance will be to catch Galvao on the feet with
brutal power shots, while Galvao needs to slow the pace of the fight and use
his technique to win the fight on the ground.
Johny Hendricks vs. Alex
champion Johny Hendricks faces the toughest test of his career when he takes on
former WEC champion Alex Serdyukov. With the welterweight division in the WEC
being abolished after this event, it seems that this will serve as a qualifier
for a spot in the UFC. Hendricks is improving, but he will need to rely on his
wrestling ability, as Serdyukov is the better striker and isn’t a slouch off
his back. Serdyukov will look to finish the fight with either a submission or
strikes on the feet, while Hendricks best chance will be to overwhelm Serdyukov
or ride out a decision.
Kenji Osawa vs. Rafael Rebello
Shooto veteran Kenji
Osawa looks for his first win on American soil as he takes on the debuting
grappler Rafael Rebello. This is a classic striker versus grappler battle with
Osawa being the striker and Rebello being the grappler. Osawa needs to keep the
fight on the feet, where he can out-strike Rebello with his superior technique.
Rebello wants the fight on the ground where he can work some of his jiu-jitsu
magic. It will come down to which fighter is able to impose his will on the
Alex Karalexis vs. Greg McIntyre
Fighter participant Alex Karalexis faces off with grappling wizard Greg
McIntyre. Both fighters are coming off losses and need a win badly. Karalexis
has the advantage on the feet with technical boxing training, while McIntyre
has the edge on the ground with his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu background. If McIntyre
can’t get the fight to the ground then he will be in for a long and painful
night as Karalexis has improved his takedown defense. Neither fighter can
afford another loss so expect them to go full bore for the victory.
Mike Budnik vs. John Franchi
In-line skater Mike
Budnik continues his venture into mixed martial arts as he faces off with IFL
veteran John Franchi. Budnik will look to get the fight to the ground and work
his improving submission game, while Franchi would prefer to keep the fight on
feet and use his powerful strikes. A lot isn’t expected from this fight, but
one of the best things about mixed martial arts is that two unknowns can put on
an entertaining show.
Justin Haskins vs. Mike Pierce
Coming off a loss in
his WEC debut, Justin Haskins will look to get his first WEC win against the
debuting Mike Pierce. Pierce is a replacement for an injured Douglas Lima, but
he is a more than worthy replacement being the former Sportfight welterweight
champion. Pierce seems to be the
better fighter in all aspects of the fight and will look to punch a ticket to
the UFC with a win. Haskins’ best chance will be to catch Pierce
off guard on the feet and hope that it’s enough to end the fight.