While Wednesday’s WEC card (9 p.m. ET on Versus) lacks marquee name such as Jens Pulver or Urijah Faber, it could be the promotion’s best card from top to bottom since Scott Adams and Reed Harris sold the promotion to Zuffa in 2006.
Fans attending the 10-bout show in Albuquerque at the Santa Ana Star Center will want to make sure they arrive early so they can view the card in its entirety. While the WEC’s television production is outstanding, those who are unable to attend the show will be missing out on some great undercard bouts.
With three evenly matched title bouts scheduled for the show, it’s highly doubtful that the TV audience at home will be presented more than four fights. Thankfully, the cameras will be rolling the entire night with all the matches not shown Wednesday likely to appear on a future episode of WEC WrekCage on Versus.
The card will also mark the first time a WEC show has taken place outside of the friendly confines of the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas while under Zuffa ownership. The decision to venture to Albuquerque is a smart one, as it is not only one of Versus’ highest rated markets for the WEC but it is also the home town of reigning welterweight champion Carlos Condit. The exposure of the event will also highlight the fact that New Mexico is a hot bed for up and coming MMA prospects, as Condit is not the only fighter on this card with local ties.
In anticipation of the event, ProElite.com (SamCaplan.ProElite.com) has a full preview of the show.
Carlos Condit (21-4) vs. Carlo Prater (21-5-1) for the WEC welterweight title - These two fighters have met one time prior during “Fight World 2″ in 2004. Prater won that matchup via triangle choke submission at 2:51 of round 1. The past win over Condit no doubt played a large part in Prater being granted an immediate title shot despite having not competed in the WEC previously. Opinions on Prater are mixed, with some feeling he is an underrated welterweight prospect while others perceiving him as an overrated commodity who has failed to show a lot of growth as a fighter.
Those who subscribe to the latter belief must not have seen Prater’s most recent fights for the Art of War promotion. During the first Art of War show in March, Prater recorded a unanimous decision victory over Anthony Lapsley, who is also considered a strong welterweight prospect. Then, at Art of War 3 in September, Prater won a split decision victory over Keith Wisniewski, a fighter who he had lost to on two previous occasions.
While Prater is a legit prospect who belongs in the WEC, it still remains to be seen if he’s a championship caliber fighter. His fights vs. Lapsley and Wisniewski both went to a decision. And while he has impressive wins over the likes of Spencer Fisher and Melvin Guillard, he also lost in disappointing fashion to Derrick Noble and Drew Fickett. He’s proven to be a solid fighter who for whatever reason hasn’t been able to put everything together on a consistent basis and go to the next level.