by Ryan Bennett – MMAWeekly.com

WEC has had a knack for producing future UFC stars. Chris Leben, Mike Swick, Nick Diaz, James Irvin and Mike Kyle are just a few of the names that cut their teeth early in their careers on the way to the UFC. Not to mention, Ricco Rodriguez, Frank Shamrock, Shonie Carter, Yves Edwards, Chris Lytle, Joe Riggs, Dan Severn and countless others have either competed or still compete for the company that may be the best unkept secret in MMA.

I remember calling the main event of Chris Leben vs Mike Swick and saying on the broadcast on HDNet that these were two names that I believed would be in the UFC very soon. As history proved later, they would both be in the UFC and have made an impact in the sport early on.  Now I’m telling you two years later that the main event next Friday between Scott Smith and Justin Levens is the best fight we’ve seen as far as two young fighters since the Leben vs Swick fight two years ago.

Smith who trains with James Irvin is a stocky, muscular, extremely tough fighter who James Irvin called “the hardest hitter I’ve ever faced”. The UFC veteran also said he has been dropped in training with the power that Smith generates as Smith is gearing up for the championship showdown.

Levens, who trains under legendary UFC fighter Marco Ruas, may be more recognized by his unique black and red hair style then maybe his fight game. That is until you see him actually fight. You quickly recognize that Levens is clearly the future of this sport and he reminds me of a Georges St.Pierre type as far as how well rounded he is, in a Mayhem Miller type body.  He is the new breed we’ve been hearing about in MMA. As many of you know, I do the broadcasts for WEC in addition to my K-1 and Rumble on the Rock broadcasting duties.

K1, known for it’s kick boxing, more than MMA matches, may have the biggest budget in all of combatant sports.   But I’m telling you right now, I am more excited to see what happens between these two fighters in the WEC than I was for this past weekends Genki Sudo vs Kid Yamamoto clash that I called from Japan. That’s how good these two young fighters are.

I’m sure these two fighters could both win the Ultimate Fighter TV Show if it took place today…they are that good, but for the select few who want to see the future of MMA, then do what you have to do to get to Lemoore California next week. Or watch it on HDNet nationally LIVE next Friday.  It’s going to be that good.

Here is the rest of the card that Matchmaker Scott Adams and Reed Harris have put together for the WEC show which is one of the best young organizations in the world today. Did we mention Chute Box up and comer Jorge Olivera is fighting UFC veteran Tiger White, or more UFC veterans Richard Crunkilton, Mike Kyle, Shonie Carter, and Chris Lytle all on this stacked card.  It’s going to be a great show.

The broadcast will be LIVE on Friday Night January 13th on HD Net. If you don’t have HD Net then call your cable or satellite company because there is nothing better than LIVE MMA on High Def.

WEC And Tachi Palace Hotel & Casino and HDNet present

WEC XVIII”Unfinished Business” January 13th at 6:45p.m.

The Palace Indian Gaming Center – Lemoore, CA.

1. WEC Preliminary Heavyweight Fight (265) Josh “Machine” Green vs Rafael “The Real Deal” Del Real


2. WEC Lightweight Fight (155) John “Guns” Gunderson vs Nathan Diaz (Cesar Gracie)

3. Nick Ertle (Cesar Gracie) vs Richard “Cleat” Crunkilton Orlando, FL 155lbs/5’7″ (AKA)

WEC Welterweight Fight (170)

4. Savant Young Los Angeles, CA vs Chris “Light Out” Lytle Integrated Fight Team Boxing

WEC World Championship Welterweight Fight (170) Swing Fight

5. Shonie “Mr. International” Carter Chicago, IL vs Mike Pyle Las Vegas, NV WEC Champion

World Championship Fight Light Heavyweight (205) Main Event of LIVE SHOW HDNet

6. Justin “The Executioner” Levens Marco Ruas Vale Tudo vs Scott “Hands of Steel” Smith Capital City Fighting Alliance

Start of 2nd Show HDNet Tape Delay

WEC Light Weight Fight (155)

7. Albert Rios Los Angeles, CA vs Casey Olsen The Pit Fight Team

WEC Heavyweight Fight (265)

8. Devin Cole Medford, OR vs Mike Kyle San Jose, CA AKA

WEC Light Heavyweight Fight (205)

9. Jorge Oliviera Chute Box vs Vernon “Tiger” White Lions Den Fight Team

WEC World Championship Heavyweight Fight (265)

10. Brian Olsen New London, CT vs Lavar “Big” Johnson AKA Fighting