WEC 40 combined a wealth of up and coming talent along with some of the sports most established and respected combatants to put together another exciting night of fights that produced some expected results, and others, not so expected. Let’s take a look at some of the significant storylines created by last nights event.
Miguel Torres confirms once again that he is without a doubt one of the sports most gifted fighters with hard fought win over Takeya Mizugaki
The war waged between these two 135 pound warriors on Sunday night was one of those gem fights that only happen every so often. Amazingly, WEC bantamweight champion Miguel Torres has been turning those once in a lifetime fights into a routine as of late. The fight was the type of fight that people will look back upon years from now when referring to the greatest 135 pound battles of all time. It was the type of contest that further cemented the legacy of one of mixed martial arts greatest fighters of all time.
The heart displayed by both men was immeasurable as both were struck with clean, powerful blows throughout the course of the five round championship match up, only to continue forward. It wasn’t the first time that Torres has been forced to dig deep to pull the win out of his hat, but like the champion he is, he adjusted to not being able to take the fight to the canvas and wound up dominating the powerful striker at his own game.
Mizugaki has absolutely nothing to hang his head about. If anything, the hard fought, closely contested bout with the division’s top rated fighter will move up in rank among most top ten polls.
Joseph Benavidez should start getting ready for the winner of Miguel Torres vs. Brian Bowles
Urijah Faber protege, Joseph Benavidez, clearly established himself as the divisions clear cut number two ranked contender, with the number one ranked contender, Brian Bowles, expected to face Miguel Torres for the championship in August. Once the dust settles from that long talked about match up Benavidez will without a doubt be next in line.
Benavidez showed exactly why he is so highly regarded by training partners and MMA insiders alike as he looked impressive while constantly pushing forward on his way to a unanimous decision win over the much more experienced, Jeff Curran. He displayed a chin of iron as he took some of the best blows Curran had to throw, only to continue to press the action and bring the fight to the dangerous veteran, who was making his bantamweight debut in the WEC.
Outside of Brian Bowles and the current bantamweight king, Miguel Torres, there’s not much for Benavidez to prove in the WEC. It will be interesting to see where this rapidly rising prospect ends up in a years time.
Benson Henderson advances to contender status with stoppage victory over Shane Roller
Ben Henderson showed a ton of raw talent and opened quite a few eyes when he managed to bounce back from being extremely rocked by a Roller punch in the early moments of the opening round.
Floored by a punishing hook to the chin, Henderson found himself immediately on the receiving end of a nasty guillotine at the hands of the former Division I All-American wrestler. The same fight ending guillotine that had made short work of Roller’s previous two opponents in the cage.
Showing all of the trademarks of a contender with true championship potential, Henderson did what the Team Takedown fighter’s prior two opponents could not, he fought his way out of the submission and flattened Roller with a vicious series of punches.
The ferociously aggressive lightweight prospect makes no mystery as to his intentions in the sport. Lightweight division first, all of mixed martial arts next.
“The reason why I’m here is to be known as the pound for pound best fighter on the planet,” said Henderson in an exclusive interview with FiveOuncesOfPain.com in the days leading up to his bout with Roller.
It’s going to be interesting to see how the future unfolds for Henderson and one thing is for sure, the WEC’s lightweight division just got a little more interesting.
Should Wagney Fabiano fight the winner of Mike Brown vs. Urijah Faber II?
Or should fearsome Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt knockout artist, Jose Aldo, be next in line for a shot at the WEC’s featherweight championship? Should they fight each other in a number one contendership match? I have a good feeling that we will find out the answer to that question in the coming weeks. Regardless of what the executives of the WEC end up deciding, their featherweight division is no longer a one trick pony.
Fabiano looked good against Fredson Paixao, showing a different side of his game as he chose to keep the fight primarily standing for the first two rounds of the contest, before going back to his slick jiu-jitsu roots in the third while dominating his foe on the canvas on his way to the convincing unanimous decision victory.
Fabiano is definitely one top prospect that is ready to take that next step up in competition in the very near future.
Anthony Njokuani could make some waves in due time
With the proper path laid out in front of him, Njokuani seems to have the potential to make a big impact in the future of the WEC’s lightweight division. The dangerous striker used to spend his time in the 170 pound division before making the drop to 155, which makes his size and strength a serious factor inside of the cage.
Is it just me, or did Njokuani remind anyone else of lightweight version of UFC welterweight contender, Anthony Johnson? Their striking style, build, and post victory celebration all seemed to be surprisingly similar.
Njokuani is a fighter that I have not seen much footage on, but I will definitely be anxiously anticipating his next appearance with the WEC.
Rani Yahya is back
Well, sort of, I don’t know if it’s fair to say that Yahya had ever really arrived,so to speak. An extremely dangerous submission fighter with a knack for finishing his bouts, Yahya has submitted twelve of the thirteen men he has beaten in mixed martial arts. After dropping consecutive fights to Chase Beebe and Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto in 2007, the crafty jiu-jitsu player made tonight’s victory over Eddie Wineland the second on his road back to title contention, this time in the WEC’s talent rich bantamweight division.
The rear naked choke Yahya was able to sink in on Wineland came suddenly. Yahya managed to take Wineland’s back in the early moments of round one before taking the fight to the canvas where he sunk in the fight winning choke at the 1:07 second mark.
Judging on his complete dominance of a fighter like Eddie Wineland it’s apparent that Yahya needs a step up in competition in his next bout to see where he stacks up in the WEC’s increasingly stacked 135 pound weight class.