WEC is back tonight with its last show of 2008. The main event of the evening will see the Bantamweight title on the line as Champion Miguel Torres (34-0) defends against Manny Tapia (10-0-1).
There are four fights scheduled to air on the live broadcast, so lets get right to it. Todd Harris and Frank Mir are our commentary team tonight.
Looks like Joseph Benavidez vs. Danny Martinez is up first.
1. Joseph Benavidez vs. Danny Martinez
Benavidez is coming off a big win in DREAM back in July, they were really pushing him as a future break out star on that show. He is from Faber’s camp and is undefeated at 8-0. Martinez is 12-2 with most of his fights being on smaller shows. The biggest name on his record is Mark Hominick, who he dropped a unanimous decision to last year.
There’s a new female ref for this one. Benavidez got much the better of the first round. He was controlling the action on the feet, utilizing some good punch combination’s, throwing four and five punches each time. He also had a lot of success with his front kick. Martinez was badly rocked once in the round, but Benavidez was slow to react. Martinez changed up his strategy and started pressing for the take down, but Benavidez sprawl is excellent and he’s having none of it. The one time Martinez got him down, he got straight back to his feet. Benavidez then reversed the next take down attempt with a nice judo throw, and was working for a shoulder lock as the round came to a close.
In the second round, Martinez had already resorted to loading up on his punches and was just looking for that one big shot. Benavidez took him apart, changing levels and mixing up his strikes between punch combo’s, kicks and knees. Another dominant round for Benavidez.
The final round was looking like more of the same, but Martinez landed a couple of big knees in the clinch midway through the round, which had Benavidez retreating. Knowing he was behind on the scorecards, Marinez poured on the pressure as the clock ran down. He showed good heart in the final round but he left it far too late. Benavidez should take this easily.
Winner: Benavidez (Unanimous Decision)
2. Brian Bowles vs. Will Ribeiro
Both these guys are coming off huge wins. Bowles just submitted the highly regarded Damacio Page of Tapout series fame. Ribeiro just edged a split decision victory over former Bantamweight champion Chase Beebe.
A cagey start from both men. The first round is mainly a boxing match. Bowles scored with a good uppercut early and worked some decent dirty boxing in the clinch. Ribeiro landed one nice spin kick to the body, but Bowles has outboxed him for most of the round, despite Ribeiro having the far better boxing credentials. Ribeiro tried shoot for the take down, but Bowles grabbed a guillotine and rolled over on top. Choke looked to be in very tight, but Ribeiro somehow survived it.
Bowles took him down in the second round, and controlled the action on the ground. The fighters pretty much neutralized each other and referee Yves Lavigne eventually called the stand up. Back on the feet, Ribeiro tried to grab a guillotine and pull guard but the round expired before he had a chance to lock it in.
Ribeiro shot for a take down again right at the start of the round. Just like in the first round, Bowles was quick to try for the guillotine but this time he secures it and Ribeiro is forced to tap.
Winner: Bowles (submission: Round 3)
3. Wagnney Fabiano vs. Akitoshi Tamura
Fabiano is one of the former IFL fighters. He was undefeated in the IFL, and his only career loss was to Jeff Curran back in 2006. Tamura is a Shooto veteran with a record of 12-6-2. He is coming off a huge submission win over Rumina Sato.
Fabiano came out to the Rocky music, always good.
First round was a pure Jujitsu battle. Tamura pulled guard right at the opening bell, and remained on his back for the full round. Fabiano was working for the pass, but Tamura did an awesome job of defending. Very little striking on the ground. Fabiano threw the occasional punch, but more as a distraction than as an actual offensive weapon. The two guys were working hard for position so it was not stood up, but a VERY slow round none the less.
Second round is more of the same. This time it was Fabiano who took it to the ground. They again battled for position with Fabiano always in control. Tamura tried use the rubber guard but Fabiano fought it off and eventually got back to half guard. With one minute left in the round, referee Mazzagatti stood them back up at last. And yes…Fabiano took it right back to the ground. This fight is very technical, but it still sucks to watch.
Tamura pulls guard and we have more defensive jujitsu. Fabiano tries to inject life in to the fight finally by throwing some decent punches and elbows on the ground. He manages to create an opening in Tamura’s defense and ties up a nice head and arm triangle forcing the tap.The live crowd hated this fight, and i can’t disagree with them. This was not a fight that i recommend anyone should watch.
Winner:Fabiano (Submission: Round 3)
4. Miguel Torres vs. Manny Tapia
Both men came out to mariachi music, Torres music was the better of the two.
Tapia takes the center of the ring, and its Torres moving around him. Its evident very early that Torres jab is going to be a huge factor in this fight. The reach advantage is allowing him to snap Tapia’s head back with his lead jab, while remaining out of danger himself. Tapia is trying to get inside so that he can work. Virtually all of his strikes are targeting the body, but he’s not landing cleanly enough to create problems for Torres.
Torres took a big flip bump in the middle of the round. I believe he was going for some kind of awesome flip kick, but sadly it didn’t land. Torres is back using his jab to control the action, while unleashing the occasionally flurry of strikes when an opening presents itself. Stylistically this is looking like a very difficult match up for Tapia. He really struggled to find his range in the opening frame.
Torres is mixing it up more in the second round, interchanging between kicks and punches effortlessly. He drops Tapia for the first time with a stiff right. Tapia struggles back to his feet, but is met by a Jab, Left Hook, right straight combo which sends him straight back to the canvas. Torres followed up with some ground and pound, but it really wasn’t needed. Tapia was done. The Referee stepped in quickly and saved him from further Punishment. Another excellent performance from the champ.
Winner: Torres (round 2: KO)
Solid show as usual from WEC.
Photo of Miguel Torres by Hard For The Yard