The WEC has earned a great reputation as an organization that puts excellent fight cards together. A big part of that is the fact that the WEC focuses on smaller weight classes (155-pounds and below) and have many of the top rated fighters in those divisions. WEC 50 ended up providing the perfect mid-week dose of excitement on Wednesday night, including a Bantamweight title fight. Check out the full details and results below.
Scott Jorgensen defeated Brad Pickett by unanimous decision. What I said in my pre-fight prediction article was that I expected a really good scrap out of this fight. I felt that Jorgensen would seize the opportunity to move into top-contender status with a win, but Pickett was going to be a handful. True to form, Pickett was throwing bombs in the first round and Jorgensen had to be careful. He got a take down and then side control, but Pickett was able to get back up. Both fighters landed big strikes early in the second round. I thought Pickett was getting the better of it, though. Jorgensen may have been picking up momentum, but he really turned the tables when he got on top of Pickett for the latter part of the round. Honestly, there were more momentum changes than I could keep track of. It was a really competitive fight and that continued right into the third round. Jorgensen got a nice take down earlier in the round. Pickett was trying to get submissions from the bottom, but Jorgensen’s defense was solid and he got side control and battered Pickett for most of the round. Pickett reversed with about 10 seconds left, but I definitely thought Jorgensen had the fight based on the third round.
Chad Mendes defeated Cub Swanson by unanimous decision. Usually, the wrestler vs. submission guy fights go the wrestler’s way. It was based on that logic that I picked Mendes in this fight, plus the fact that his striking and submission skills are rapidly improving as well. Mendes landed a couple of punches early in the first round, then got a take down and side control. The ref didn’t think he stayed busy enough, so he stood them back up. Mendes got more take downs in the round and held his own on his feet. Mendes dominated the second round as well, getting multiple take downs and controlling position. It got to the point, by the end of the fight, where Swanson could hardly throw a kick or punch without getting taken down. Mendes put on a wrestling clinic and proved once again, that his sport is probably the best base for an MMA fighter.
Anthony Pettis submitted Shane Roller with a triangle choke in the third round. Pettis is one of the most dynamic young strikers in the sport of MMA right now. I went ahead and picked him to win this fight, but I’ll be honest and admit that I wasn’t feeling absolutely confident about. Roller’s wrestling and submission skills ensured that we’d see how good Pettis’ take down and submission defenses are. I have to say, that in the first round, Pettis passed every test. Roller came hard with take down attempts and even some good strikes, but Pettis defended all of them and landed a ton of strikes himself. Things went fairly well for Pettis in the second round. He actually ended up on top of Roller for a while, but it looked like things might go sideways when Roller got on top and mounted him. Somehow, Pettis used the cage to flip over, somersaulting to end up in top position and go back on the attack. Roller landed a couple of serious punches that looked like they hurt, but I still would have said that Pettis carried the round. They threw everything they had at each other in the final round. Pettis got a take down, Roller got a take down, Pettis landed some big shots and it kept going. Finally, with less than 20 seconds remaining in the fight, Pettis locked up a triangle and Roller tapped with 9 seconds left in the fight. It was amazing. Pettis wasn’t able to pull out all of his flashy striking tricks in this fight, but it was his most impressive victory due to the quality and skill set of Roller.
Dominick Cruz defeated Joseph Benavidez by split decision to defend the WEC Bantamweight Championship. As much as I love watching Benavidez fight, I didn’t think he was going to be able to win this one. Just like in their first fight, his size and range disadvantages were going to be a very big deal. He’s powerful, so there was always a chance he could get in there and land a big punch or the take down that could set up a win. But Cruz proved really adept at avoiding that stuff the first time they fought and I felt he’d be able to do so again. Despite what Stefan Bonnar was saying on the broadcast, I liked the way Benavidez approached the first round. He was countering instead of constantly rushing into the fire. Cruz finished the round with a take down and stayed on top, but it was a close round. Those usually go to the champ. The second round was really close again. I continued to be impressed by Benavidez, but really had no idea how the judges were scoring it. It was more back and forth in the third, but I really felt Benavidez was landing more. Cruz opened the fourth with a take down, but Benavidez got out after a couple of minutes. Cruz got cut by a knee during one of the standing exchanges later in the round, but I still think he carried the fourth. It could have easily been two rounds apiece going into the fifth, so the final round was conceivably for all the marbles. They let it all hang out and it was another close one. I fully expected Cruz to carry the decision, because to beat the champ, you have to beat him decisively.