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WEC 40 Review

April 6, 2009 |

Torres Earns Decision, and Respect

By Nicolas Bauer

Miguel Torres was originally slated to fight Brian Bowles, but found himself in the toughest fight of his career against Takeyo Mizugaki. Mizugaki was making his WEC debut, but showed little signs of nervousness as he pushed the bantam-weight champ until the final bell. Torres did a great job of out striking Mizugaki early in the fight, but Mizugaki managed to withstand numerous onslaughts from the champion and managed to land a number of good quality body-shots, knees and power punches. Things seemed to be going well for Torres until a cut was opened on his forehead midway through the fight and gave Mizugaki the confidence he needed to continue. Torres showed the resolve and determination of a true champion as he persevered through the blood and continued to throw everything at the challenger to his throne. In the end Torres was awarded the unanimous decision victory, 49-46, 49-46, and 48-47. Mizugaki cried after the scores were announced but he has nothing to be ashamed of. He managed to take one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the sport to a very close 5-round decision and if you didn’t know about him before, you definitely will be watching him again in the future.

In the co-main event, and possible number one contender match in the bantam-weight division, Joseph Benavidez took the unanimous decision win over former feather-weight contender and WEC veteran Jeff Curran. Benavidez managed to out strike Curran along with mixing up some take downs and a good amount of top-position control. Curran appeared to have won the first round with his clean technical striking. As the fight wore on at a torrid pace, Benavidez applied continuous pressure and didn’t let Curran find his rhythm on the feet after the first round. It appeared that Curran was landing clean with relative frequency but was frustrated by the constant attack of Benavidez. Once Benavidez managed to land a power punch that stunned Curran, the fight seemed to change. Curran wanted to answer with a power shot of his own and seemed to stray from what was working for him. Two judges had it 30-27 for Benavidez while the remaining judge saw it 29-28. Not to say that Benavidez didn’t win the fight, but it was much closer than 30-27.

In light-weight action, Ben Henderson improved to 9-1 with a first-round TKO victory over Shane Roller. Roller had control early and landed a big counter-right that dropped Henderson against the cage. Roller quickly moved in for the kill and went for his guillotine choke that had ended two previous fights in the WEC, but Henderson miraculously recovered fast and locked up and inside single-leg to reverse position. Roller battled back to the feet and the two exchanged again. Henderson showed no ill effects of the knockdown and displayed poise and patience to land a well timed combo that dropped roller. Henderson jumped on top and swung for the fences. Roller attempted to gain control of Henderson’s body but couldn’t lock up his hands and the ref was forced to stop the bout due to unanswered punches.

Feather-weight Rafael Assuncao proved that he is worth the hype as he earned a unanimous decision victory over Jameel Massouh. Assuncao controlled the action throughout the fight and landed a nice right hand that dropped his opponent to the canvas. Massouh proved that he has a good chin as he recovered and even managed to almost secure a heel hook. Assuncao never let that position happen again and earned the nod from the judges.

In preliminary action light-weight Anthony Njokuani defeated IFL veteran Bart Palaszewski by TKO stoppage in the second round. Njokuani used his reach advantage via the jab to space Palaszewski who needed to get inside. A straight right hand from Njokuani dropped Palaszewski in the opening frame but the crafty veteran gutted it out and got back to his feet. The second round brought more of the same as Njokuani floored Palaszewski again. Palaszewski did his best to cover up but in the end did little in the way of intelligent defense forcing the ref to stop the bout.

Feather-weight Wagnney Fabiano showed that he is more than capable of fighting on his feet as he earned a unanimous decision over Fredson Paixao, 30-27 across the board. Rani Yahya did what he does best, make short work of those not equipped to deal with his submission skills. That is what Eddie Wineland found out the hard way at 1:07 of the first round. Yahya took Wineland’s back off a scramble and sunk in the rear naked choke. And Akitoshi Tamura won a hard-fought victory over Manny Tapia.

The WEC continues to deliver a quality product, for a price that can’t be beat, and showcase some of the most talented fighters in the world.

WEC 40 Review

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