WEC 41 Preview: The Supporting Cast

June 5, 2009

Jose Aldo and Cub Swanson at WEC 41

Jose Aldo and Cub Swanson at WEC 41

Jose Aldo vs. Cub Swanson

Rising Brazilian featherweight Jose Aldo faces off with Southern California native Cub Swanson. This is essentially a number one contender’s match for the WEC featherweight championship with the winner likely getting the next crack at the title sometime in the fall. Expect some very exciting fireworks in this fight as both fighters enjoy coming forward and never back down.

Aldo has shown that he more than capable to finish a fight at anytime with speed and power in his strikes. Swanson, not be outdone, has also shown that he can bang with the best fighters in the world, but it might not be in his best interest to do so in this fight. Swanson has an advantage when it comes to wrestling and he should use it by putting Aldo on his back and out of the fight. Aldo is a Nova Uniao black belt, known for having a strong top game, but not so much for fighting from his back.

If the fight stays on the feet, it will favor Aldo, who is the much quicker fighter of the two. Swanson needs to get the fight on the ground and put Aldo out of his comfort zone. He needs to dictate the pace of the fight and must be the first to strike, to get Aldo out of his groove. If Aldo is able to get off first then it’s going to be a fairly short night for Swanson.

Donald Cerrone and James Krause at WEC 41

Donald Cerrone and James Krause at WEC 41

Donald Cerrone vs. James Krause

WEC lightweight title challenger Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone takes on WEC newcomer James Krause. Cerrone is coming off an unsuccessful title match against WEC lightweight champion Jamie Varner. Krause is undefeated and will be making his WEC debut. These two like to bang on the feet, so expect
this to be a quick and exciting fight.

Cerrone has shown that he is capable to finish the fight either on the feet or the ground. Although most of wins are by submission, he is a deadly striker. Krause has won the majority of his fights by strikes and he’ll be looking to do the same here. Cerrone is the better fight on the feet and on the ground when it comes to technique and talent, but Krause will be a new challenge as he is an unorthodox fighter.

Another thing that will play into Cerrone’s favor will be his experience and the quality of his competition, which Krause doesn’t have much of. Krause may be undefeated, but he lacks experience on a big stage and his competition has been quite lackluster. These two will trade shots, but Krause will take the fight to the ground after feeling Cerrone’s power, but will quickly be in trouble with Cerrone’s submissions.

Jens Pulver at WEC 41

Jens Pulver at WEC 41

Josh Grispi vs. Jens Pulver

Highly touted young featherweight prospect Josh Grispi faces off with former UFC lightweight champion Jens Pulver. This is an intriguing fight as Grispi will look to use this as a coming out party and Pulver to show that he still has kick left in him. Both fighters like to throw down and will likely do so here.

Pulver has the edge in experience and probably is the more technical fighter of the two on the feet. He still has the ability to put an opponent out by just landing a clean combination. Grispi is the more submission savvy of the two fighters and isn’t too shabby on the feet as he packs some power with his punches. The question though will be if Pulver’s chin can withstand too many clean shots or will it fail him.

Pulver will look to keep the distance and use his technical boxing to get on the inside and land combinations, while keeping the fight on the feet with his wrestling. Grispi needs to use his reach and not let Pulver connect with one of those clean boxing combinations. If he gets in trouble, he’ll need to take the fight to the ground and use his submissions. At the end of the day, it’s a do or die for Pulver, so look for him to come out and leave everything in the cage.

Manny Gamburyan and John Franchi at WEC 41

Manny Gamburyan and John Franchi at WEC 41

Manny Gamburyan vs. John Franchi

Ultimate Fighter 5 runner-up Manny Gamburyan faces off with undefeated featherweight prospect John  Franchi. Gamburyan will be making his long awaited drop to featherweight after dropping two straight fights in the UFC lightweight division. Both are ground fighters, but at this point in their careers,
Gamburyan is the more technical of the two. He will bully Franchi around by using his size and on the ground will likely maul him with ground and pound.

Rafael Rebello vs. Kyle Dietz

American Top Team bantamweight Rafael Rebello takes on the highly touted undefeated Kyle Dietz. Rebello is a late replacement for an injured Charlie Valencia. Dietz will look to keep the fight on the feet, where he can frustrate Rebello, much like Kenji Osawa did. Rebello needs to stick to his roots and take the fight to the ground, where he will have a definite advantage over Dietz. A classic battle between striker and grappler, this fight isn’t likely to go the distance.

Mike Campbell and Anthony Pettis at WEC 41

Mike Campbell and Anthony Pettis at WEC 41

Mike Campbell vs. Anthony Pettis

Former bodybuilder turned mixed martial arts fighter Mike Campbell faces off with Midwest striker Anthony Pettis. Campbell will be moving down to lightweight from welterweight, while Pettis makes his WEC debut after pulling out of his last fight due to injury. Both fighters are strikers and it will show as these two tee off on one another. Campbell is a power striker with boxing, while Pettis is the more technical striker adding kicks and knees. Pettis will use all the tools in his arsenal in an effort to outwork Campbell, who is likely to get frustrated throughout the fight.

Scott Jorgensen vs. Antonio Banuelos

Former NCAA wrestler Scott Jorgensen faces off with Chuck Liddell’s close friend Antonio Banuelos. This is a classic styles clash as Jorgensen is the ground fighter and Banuelos is the striker. Jorgensen should be able to use his superior wrestling to get the fight to the ground and then utilize some brutal ground and pound. Banuelos will need to keep the fight on the feet to use his striking to finish the fight. Look for Jorgensen to keep the fight on the ground and win a lopsided decision.

Frank Gomez vs. Noah Thomas

Jackson’s Mixed Martial Arts bantamweight Frank Gomez takes on Ultimate Fighter 5 participant Noah Thomas. Gomez comes off a quick submission loss to Scott Jorgensen at WEC 38, while Thomas gets another crack in a Zuffa owned organization. Thomas is undefeated as a bantamweight and that’s
what got him a second chance as a last minute replacement. Gomez is the stronger wrestler, but if he takes the fight to the ground then he’ll have to contend with Thomas throwing submissions from his back. The key to the fight will be whether or not Gomez’s submission defense has improved since his last fight.

Rolando Perez vs. Seth Dikun

Brandon Vera trained Rolando Perez faces off with Thomas Denny disciple Seth Dikun. Both fighters are coming off losses at WEC 38, Perez losing to Jose Aldo and Dikun to Charlie Valencia. Perez looked good on the feet before being stopped by Aldo and he should improve on that. He will also
be moving down from featherweight to bantamweight and will be the much bigger fighter. Dikun will look to get the fight on the ground, while Perez will try to keep it on the feet and pick him apart with technique.