Las Vegas, NV– This is National Mixed Martial Arts Examiner, Ryan McKinnell, reporting live from The Pearl Room at the Palms for tonight’s WEC 50: Benavidez vs. Cruz.
I will be here all night, cage-side, to bring you all the action as it happens, live! The preliminaries are set to kick off around 6:30 p.m. EST, with the main-card being broadcast live on Versus, at 9 p.m. EST.
So make sure to keep it locked to dampfang.com for all your fight needs and make sure to check back for post-fight coverage later tonight.
Danny Castillo (8-3) vs. Dustin Poirier (7-0)
The round starts with Danny pressuring Dustin with jabs and leg kicks, all the while looking for the inevitable take-down. He briefly scores a nice single-leg but Dustin stands right back up. Now Danny scores the TD with 3:00 left in round 1. He is working peppering ground and pound looking to advance his position. Castillo land a nice sweeping hook from a postured position that stuns Dustin. A few more shots and Dustin curls up and rolls over as Danny lands some heavy shots. Eventually Dustin stands up but Danny has him clinched and he rips him back to the canvas but he ends up in a bad position and Dustin rolls into a fairly tough knee bar attempt. Danny survives the round while landing some nice punches as Dustin gives up the submission. Dominant round for Castillo.
Dustin starts round 2 more aggressive and he looks confident, despite the beatdown in round 1. Danny earns an early take down and he pummels Dustin for the better part of 2 minutes. Dustin tries to escape but is picked up and slammed by Castillo, with authority. With 1:30 left Dustin throws up a really slick triangle that has Castillo in trouble! What a turn of events! Castillo is struggling with :45 left but he escapes! Great job and staying calm and working out of that triangle, by Danny. The round ends, and despite the triangle attempt, I would still give the round to Danny, based on TD’s and control alone.
A nice superman punch by Danny opens the round, but I don’t know how much it actually connected. Danny clinches and forces Dustin to the cage and he’s pummeling away with knees and dirty-boxing. Danny drops levels and earns a nice body lock TD. Once again, while working the GnP, Castillo leaves himself vulnerable to a triangle. Dustin has it locked fairly tight, but not as tight as the first one, but it still doesn’t look good. Castillo escapes into side-control! 1 minute left! Dustin is showing a lot of heart but it looks like Danny is just too strong and too experienced for the newcomer. Round ends with Castillo, most likely, taking all 3 rounds.
THE OFFICIAL SCORECARD READS AS FOLLOWS: 30-27(x2), 29-28, all for your winner, Danny Castillo
Fredson Paixao (9-3) vs. Bryan Caraway (12-4)
The round starts with the typical feeling out process, a few nice jabs by Brian and a solid knee by Fredson to begin the 1st minute. Fredson shoots and eats a nice uppercut by Brian and he falls to the canvas. After a few seconds Fredson regains his composure and stands up. A nice right hook by Brian stuns Fredson a bit and they clinch. Lunging left hook by Brian lands, followed a bit later by a nice lunging right hook. Another nice flurry by Brian marks up Fredson. Fredson once again shoots, but it doesn’t look remotely close. Brain seems to be gaining confidence. A few more hooks! A spinning back kick by Fredson lands but it leaves him vulnerable and Brian follows it up with some nice hooks and feigns. Brian is looking very well-rounded and he ends the round with a surprising take-down.
The round starts with Fredson looking for a single-leg but he is denied. More wild hooks by Brian. A real nice leg-kick by Fredson hurts Brian, and he shows it! Brian’s corner, “Don’t stop punching!” Another leg-kick from Fredson and Brian looks to his corner. Another shot by Fredson and this time he is successful! No doubt it was the previous leg kicks. Brian with a nice up-kick and he stands up. Back on the feet with Brian throwing more wild punches. 2 more shots by Fredson but both are stuffed by Brian. A nice left hook by Brian grazes Fredson’s jaw. At the conclusion of the round Brian lands a few nice punches and scores a nice TD that most likely wins him the round.
The round starts off very slow. A nice leg kick by Fredson about 1:30 in and that’s all to this point. A few peppering jabs and lunging hooks miss for Brian. A wide hook clips Brian on the chin and grabs some reactions from the crowd. With 30 seconds left the fighters turn it up, wild punches from both fighters, most of which are landing for Brian. A few shots by Fredson end the round but both are stuffed. Close round.
THE OFFICIAL SCORECARD READS AS FOLLOWS: 29-28 CARRAWAY, 29-28(x2) Paixao for your winner via split-decision, Fredson Paixao
Dave Jansen (14-1) vs. Ricardo Lamas (8-1)
The round begins with Dave looking to establish distance with some real nice leg kicks that seem to bother Lamas. A return leg kick by Lamas sends a snap through the Pearl. A clinch now against the cage with Dave landing nice knees to Ricardo’s body. Nice combo’s by Lamas as he goes to the body and back to the head with a nice right hook that lands solid. Jansen shoots but is unsuccessful. The fighters trade nice leg kicks and a bit later Jansen shoots a single-leg and is successful. Instead of punching, Jansen is looking to better establish his position, as he is trying to keep Ricardo on the ground. Ricardo is doing a good job of posting however and is able to stand up. And the round ends. I have no idea how to score that last round. Very close to an even round.
A lead right starts the round off for Lamas, and he stuns Jansen a bit. Jansen shoots but is shrugged off by Lamas, and Ricardo is looking vicious in this second round. A front-choke/standing guillotine by Lamas tires Jansen out, but he is able to escape. An aggressive Jansen tries a double flying knee but nothing happens. Looked good though. Jansen pressures Lamas against the cage and earns a very nice TD. Lamas tries to stand up but he gets caught in a real solid front choke, however, he is able to muscle out of it and escape. A spinning back fist by Lamas misses and Jansen shoots for the TD, and gets it. Lamas basically stands right back up after the TD and I’m now seeing that Jansen is cut above the left eye. In a flurry Jansen manages to pick Lamas up with a body lock, and slam him to the canvas. Lamas is working a Kimura from the bottom, but Jansen steps over and is working elbows to Lamas’ body from half-guard. A scramble from the submission attempt and Jansen ends up in Lamas’ guard, as the round ends. Jansen finished strong and probably wins the round.
Jansen starts the round off with another TD and is still controlling about a minute in. Lamas does a nice job at posting but in the process gives up his back. Jansen is looking to flatten him out, but they are against the cage a bit. Lamas has Dave’s hands trapped, so he can’t separate and punch him, but on the flip side of that, he is leaving his hands right under his neck for a RNC. Now it seems as if Jansen is looking for the choke with vigor. Lamas does an amazing job at powering out however and he flips over into Jansen’s guard! Now Lamas, in a beautiful transition mounts Jansen and has a beautiful mounted guillotine! Somehow Jansen escapes through sheer toughness and they stand up! Lamas throws up a standing guillotine and Jansen falls! Jansen is struggling but manages to pull out! Jansen is bleeding bad! And the round ends! Almost impossible to score that last round. This was a very, very, very close fight. Despite the blood from Jansen etc…
THE OFFICIAL SCORECARD READS AS FOLLOWS: 29-28(x3) all for your winner, Ricardo Lamas.
Javier Vazquez (14-4) vs. Mackens Semerzier (5-1)
“Showtime” Javier Vazquez, starts the fight off with an early take-down and is looking for his bread and butter, the submission. Vazquez takes Mack’s back and is looking for a RNC, or possibly an arm-bar. Mack gains a little control and manages to move Javi back to his half-guard. Unlike the Wagney Fabiano fight, Mack looks lost on the ground. He is flailing from position to position, while the dangerous Vazquez looks for any mistake. Punches from Vazquez form a postured position. A slow, but technical round for Javi.
A very aggressive Mackens starts the round with some nice shots. In a scramble, however, Mackens is thrown to the canvas by Javi and in a split-second, Javi takes his back while standing. Vazquez sinks his arm under the chin and forces a rear-naked choke tapout at 1:35 of round 2.
Anthony Njokuani (12-3) vs. Maciej Jewtuszko (7-0)
Maciej starts the fight off with a flying switch kick, that looks good, but gets him punched in the mouth by an Anthony straight counter-right. Anthony works some punches while standing over Maciej, but nothing too significant. The fighters clinch and in a brutal exchange of uppercuts, Maciej floors Njokuani with a brutal uppercut! A few follow up shots and that’s all she wrote. Njokuani may have been able to continue, but he did do a face plant on the mat, so no complaints here as far as the stoppage goes. At 1:36 of round 1 via TKO, your winner, Maciej Jewtusko.
(NOW FOR THE MAIN CARD LIVE ON VERSUS AT 9 p.m. EST)
Bart Palaszewski (34-13) vs. Zack Micklewright (7-0)
Bart enters the cage sporting a bright-red mohawk, must still be trying to stand out with 47 pro fights, all of which are pretty darn exciting, mind you. The round opens with pawing jabs from both fighters. A few huge hooks from Zack while Bart is against the cage, and they clinch. A exchange of groin shots by both fighters, about a minute apart, halt the action briefly. More wild swinging with Bart getting the better of it, with a real solid right hook, followed by a snapping body-kick that is blocked a bit by Zack. The round ends with a nice flurry by both fighters, but nothing significant. 10-9 Bart.
Bart opens the round in brutal fashion with a flurry of punches that pin Zack up against the cage. A body kick then opens up Zack for a huge right hook from Bart that drops him, and referee Steve Mazzagatti steps in and halts the action at :31 of the second round. And your winner, at :31 of round 2 via TKO, Bart Palaszewski
Scott Jorgensen (10-3) vs. Brad Pickett (19-4)
As the fighters enter, everyone knows that this fight will be an epic clash of brawlers with exceptional technique. Pickett lands the first significant strike that drops Scott. Scott gets back up and tags Pickett with a solid straight right. Now the fighters clinch against the cage and are looking for position. Scott shoots for a brief TD, but Pickett is able to stand right back up. A lead uppercut by Pickett puts a nice welt under Scott’s right eye. A nice left hook by Pickett wobbles Scott a bit. Scott shoots in for a powerful double-leg and is successful. Scott transitions to side-control and is looking to mount. Elbows from Scott as he continues the onslaught. Brad gets up and throws a flying knee that seems to land somewhere near Scott’s body. More wild swinging as the round ends. Impossible to score, literally dead even.
A solid straight right by Scott opens the round. More wild swinging by both fighters, and a solid body shot by Pickett. Pickett seems to be using his jab a bit more now, trying to disrupt Scott. A nice left/right by Brad. Scott shoots for a double-leg but is shrugged off. Now it’s Pickett’s turn but he is shrugged off, and in the separation, Pickett lands a knee to Scott’s groin that halts the action. After the restart, more bombs by Pickett that seem to jolt Scott. Now Scott fires back and the crowd goes crazy! Scott earns a nice sweep take-down and is in Brad’s guard. Bard is doing his best to stay active from the bottom. He eventually gets teh stand up as the round comes to an end. I would give that round to Pickett for damage done and strikes thrown.
More jabs form Pickett start the round as he looks to control the distance. This is a real technical battle, with lots of head movement and solid footwork and feigns. A nice counter uppercut by Pickett. Some solid shots by Scott, followed by a nice take-down. Pickett is staying busy, trying to post and stand up, but to no avail as of 3:00. Pickett is trying for submission’s from the bottom but nothing is really happening. Pickett scrambles to his feet and he seems to be cut around the right eye. Scott earns another TD from an overly aggressive Pickett. Pickett is relentless from the bottom as he is trying to work his hips and throw up a submission or work an escape, but he is still getting beat this round. Scott transfers into side-control and is landing some nice elbows. Scott is doing a great job of controlling the action with knees and elbows from side-control. PIckett posts but Scott takes his back and slams him back to the canvas. Pickett turns into Scott and takes position as the round ends! The crowd cheers! That round goes to Scott, for sure.
THE OFFICIAL SCORECARD READS AS FOLLOWS: 30-27(X3) FOR YOUR WINNER, SCOTT JORGENSEN
Chad Mendes (7-0) vs. Cub Swanson (14-3)
Swanson starts with a TON of head movement. Maybe he’s taking a note from Dominick Cruz on how to stifle a wrestler? Apparently that wasn’t enough as Mendes tags Cub with a solid right amidst a nice flurry and eventually gets a take-down and is now in side control. An elbow from side-control is about all Mendes has managed to muster about 2 minutes in. Ref Josh Rosenthal stands them up. I don’t like standup’s in advantageous positions, but this one I agree with–Mendes was doing nothing. An aggressive Swanson gets taken down after a kick to Mendes’ body. Swanson manages to stand up and is stalking Mendes. Swanson is looking OK, but he needs to slow down and quit the bravado. The round ends with Mendes taking it.
Cub starts the round very aggressive, throwing high kicks and wild hooks. He seems to be jawing at Mendes too, but I can’t hear anything. Cub doesn’t seem to concerned with Mendes’ power or striking. He should be. A straight right by Mendes stumbles Cub a bit, and Chad shoots for a TD and is successful. He now is looking to pass, he is briefly in half-guard but Cub returns him to guard. Cub is wrapping Chad up and is looking to force a stand up. Elbows from the top by Mendes keep the action from putting me to sleep. The round ends with Cub finally managing to stand up but nothing really happened. 10-9 Chad.
Cub starts the round with a bum-rush and is immediately taken down. You would think he would have learned by now. At the end of the last round, Cub seemed to smile at Mendes, as if to say, “damn, your wrestling is on point.” A nice uppercut by Mendes followed up by a very explosive double-leg takedown. Cub is using the rubber guard, but to be honest, it’s almost laughable. Cub does have Mendes briefly in a precarious omaplata, but he manages to escape. Mendes is now close to full mount and is working an arm-triangle, all he needs to do is step over–he lets go. It’s fairly obvious that Mendes is going to be OK with grinding out a fairly lackluster decision. A few shots from Mendes to keep the action ‘active.’ Swanson manages to miraculously stand up, but in crystal ball fashion, he lunges forward with a flying knee and is slammed to the floor by Mendes. Cub ends uup standing up and throws a few nice combos, but once again leaves himself open to the take-down and is put on his butt. The round ends.
THE OFFICIAL SCORECARD READS AS FOLLOWS: 30-27, 29-28(x2) all for your winner, Chad Mendes
Anthony Pettis (11-1) vs. Shane Roller (8-2)
This fight truly could be a carbon copy of the last scrap. With the wrestler, Roller, trying to control the explosive striker, Pettis. The round starts off slow as both fighters are cautious of what gameplan could play out. Roller shoots and eats a stiff straight right from Pettis. Uppercut/right hook by Pettis pins Roller against the cage, and Pettis rushes in to secure a body lock, he is now looking for a possible TD. Roller manages to grab Pettis’ head for a standing guillotine and lands a few knees as they eventually separate. Roller is stalking landing a few shots. They separate and Pettis tries a huge wheel kick that barely misses! He follows that up with a flying knee that misses, but the crowd gets to see what Pettis can do given an opportunity. A spinning back fist, followed by a sick, rolling, Capoeira kick, that barely misses Roller’s face. Nothing landed in that exchange but what a way to end. Roller’s round.
A snapping leg kick by Pettis starts the round off. Roller swings a wild right hook that Pettis ducks under and scores a nice take down. Pettis is trying to stay busy so Herb Dean doesn’t stand them up. A few elbows and punches, nothing significant. Pettis is going body/body/head as he pummels Roller. Both fighters stand up and Roller opens up with a vicious attack on Pettis with solid hooks that stun Anthony, followed by a beautiful front-kick that sends Pettis reeling into the cage. One minute left and Roller gets a TD into full mount! Pettis with a SICK roll-under escape that sees him now in Roller’s guard! The round ends with a nice shot landed by Roller after Pettis let him up. Tough to score, as Pettis controlled 3 1/2 minutes of the round. 10-9 Pettis.
Roller opens the round by scooping Pettis up and slamming him to the canvas. Very reminiscent of Hughes/Trigg 2, minus the drama! Pettis is workign well from the bottom but he is still getting beat. 3 minutes left. Roller briefly leaves himself open for a triangle/arm bar combo, but he escapes without much problem. Now a scramble, and Roller ends up in side-control. Pettis stands up and Roller looks very, very tired, he looks up to the clock. Roller swings wildly and misses. A solid body kick by Pettis followed by a straight right stuns Roller a bit. Pettis follows up with a nice take-down. One minute left. Roller manages to stand up, but Pettis takes him right back down but falls into a guillotine! He rolls out and is now on his back! Roller lunges in for a postured hook but he falls right into a triangle! It’s tight! Roller taps with ten seconds left in the round! Great ending!
THE OFFICIAL SCORECARD READS AS FOLLOWS: YOUR WINNER VIA TRIANGLE SUBMISSION AT 4:51 OF ROUND 3, ANTHONY PETTIS
Joseph Benavidez vs. Dominick Cruz
This is a re-match tha tI love to see as both fighters have improved exponentially since their first scrap. Cruz opens looking very fleet of foot and quick, same thing goes for Joseph. They clinch and Cruz lands some nice knees to Joe’s body, against the cage. Cruz goes for a leg kick and Joe counters with a beautiful straight right that stuns Cruz. Joe is doing a great job of keeping his distance and fighting a smart fight. No sooner do I type that, as Cruz shoots on Benavidez and scores a nice TD with about a minute left in round one. The round ends with Cruz in Benavidez’s guard. 10-9 Benavidez
It seems as if Cruz starts this round a little more wild. He throws a low kick and whiffs badly, almost falling to the canvas in the process. Joe seems to be doing a good job at cutting Cruz off and not letting him get too tricky with his footwork. Benavidez is cut above the eye, near the head. I have no clue when that happened. With the way they are lunging forward, it might have been a head butt. A nice high kick by Joe grazes Cruz’s face. A nice right hook by Joe stuns Cruz but he recovers almost instantly. More wild shots by Benavidez just barely miss. Cruz still looks dangerous though, as he is hoping around and looking very fresh. In fact, both fighters seem as if it’s the first minute. I can’t say I’m surprise though. Cruz shoots at the end of the round but is stuffed by Joe. 10-9 Benavidez
Cruz starts teh round off looking like he did in their first fight–aggressive, quick and focused. Nice peppering jabs by Cruz seem to be disrupting Joe a bit. Joe is missing a lot more on his strikes. Joe shoots but is shrugged off by Cruz. A nice leg kick by Joe and a nice little flurry of punches to follow, don’t know how much landed though. A high-kick by Joe clips Cruz in the head as he was trying to escape a clinch. Cruz is rushing in and Joe is now timing that with strikes. Joe gets a little wild at the end of the round and gives up a nice TD to Cruz. Tough to score, but I’ll say 10-9 Joe.
Benavidez starts the round off a little too wild and is taken down by Cruz. They stay that way for the first 2 minutes and then Joe rolls Cruz over and is now controlling him against the cage. In a scramble to their feet Cruz briefly leaves his neck out and Joe locks up a guillotine. Cruz escapes rather easily and now they are clinched against the cage. A nice knee to the head of Cruzz from the clinch. In the melee it seems as if Cruz has been cut in the forehead. Cruz earns a nice take down with about a minute left in the round. They stand up and not much happens for the last 20 seconds. Another tough round to score, but I’ll say 10-9 Benavidez
In typical bantamweight fashion, neither fighter is spent at the start of round 5. A stuffed shot by Cruz starts the round. A few peppering shots from both fighters but nothing significant after a minute in. A double flying knee by Cruz that sees the champ fly over Benavidez’s whole body. Once again, looked cool, but no damage done. A leg kick caught by Joe, who then follows up with a spinning back fist that grazes Cruz’s head. They are winging punches as the clock reaches 1:30 left. A nice right hook by Benavidez clips Cruz and this fight is getting more away from the champ by the second. Benavidez lands a nice combo as the round comes close to the end. A little wild however and Benavidez gives up a take down at the very end. Now I don’t know what fight I just watched, but Benavidez looks like he thinks he lost and Cruz is very happy? I have the last round 10-9 Benavidez and he may have won every round?
THE OFFICIAL SCORECARD READS AS FOLLOWS: 48-47 BENAVIDEZ, 48-47 CRUZ, 49-46 CRUZ, FOR YOUR WINNER VIA SPLIT-DECISION, DOMINICK CRUZ
(NOTE: I must have been focused too much on play-by-play because it felt like Benavidez dominated that fight. I have to admit, I felt a bit off tonight! Keep it locked here for WEC 50 post-fight coverage.)