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WEC announces Miguel Torres vs. Manny Tapia for title on Dec. 3; will drop middleweight and light heavyweight divisions in 2009

World Extreme Cagefighting made two major announcements via its website on Friday morning.

First, the promotion has formally announced that Miguel Torres will defend his WEC bantamweight title against Manny Tapia on Wednesday, December 3 at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.

Tickets for the event will go on sale on Monday, Oct. 6 at 1 p.m. ET.

The promotion also announced that the Dec. 3 show will be the final time it promotes fights in the light heavyweight and middleweight divisions. In 2009, the WEC will only promote fights in the welterweight (170 lbs.), lightweight (155 lbs.), featherweight (145 lbs.) and bantamweight (135 lbs.) weight classes.

Torres won the title at WEC 32 in Albuquerque, N.M. this past February when he submitted Chase Beebe with a guillotine choke at 3:59 of round 1. The jiu-jitsu black belt hails from East Chicago and has a career MMA record of 34-1.

Torres and Tapia had been scheduled to fight at WEC 34 in Sacramento this past June but Tapia was forced to pull out of the fight due to injury. Torres instead defended his title against Yoshiro Maeda and retained the belt after a doctor called a stop to the fight following the third round due to a swollen eye sustained by Maeda.

Tapia is a veteran of 11 career fights and is undefeated with a record of 10-0-1. He is 2-0 while competing for the WEC with wins over Brandon Foxworth and Antonio Banuelos.

The WEC’s decision to discontinue its middleweight and light heavyweight divisions means that fighters such as current WEC light heavyweight champion Steve Cantwell and middleweight champion Paulo Filho could be relocated to the UFC. Other fighters such as Brian Stann, Chael Sonnen, Mark Munoz, and Jake Rosholt are candidates to be transferred as well.