WEC 50: Cruz Vs. Benavidez
This is another mid-week WEC show that has very little exposure, but should make the hardcores very happy. It’s also the first of three upcoming shows (not counting Belator) within a span of a week and a half.
Onto the show…
Alongside Todd Harris tonight is Stephan Bonnar.
1. Zach Micklewright vs. Bart Palaszewski
Palaszewski has the single worst hair-do I’ve ever seen. He’s wearing a pink mohawk with the sides torn to pieces. I’m not sure what the significance is, though hopefully there is none and it’s a mistake.
Palaszewski was landing leg kicks early on to the southpaw’s front leg. Micklewright didn’t check them, but instead let the leg move with the kick. Palaszewski was trying to get inside, but it was Micklewright who was landing a lot of the thunder with the hands. Both guys kicked each other in the balls accidentally. Near the end of the round, Palaszewski started landing the bigger and more accurate shots. Good round for both, but Bart wins a close one.
Well, Bart woke up. He landed a huge kick, got inside, Micklewright missed a haymaker and Palaszeweski dropped him with a right hand and it was over.
Winner: Bart Palaszewski by way of 2nd round TKO
2. Brad Pickett vs. Scott Jorgensen
Wow, what a round. And a hard one to score too. Pickett throws the much stronger and stiffer shots, but Jorgensen is scrappy. He landed a lot of shots too. In a crazy scenario, Jorgensen knocked Pickett’s mouth piece out and Pickett took some shots picking it up and putting it back in his mouth. Then against the cage, he smiled. Jorgensen got a takedown and Pickett tried for a guillotine. Hard round to score.
It was another close round until Pickett went for a takedown, didn’t get it and actually ended up on the bottom. They were both landing big shots and stopping each other in their tracks. Pickett throws hard combinations while Jorgensen is looking to land a big shot after throwing some jabs out there. Jorgensen probably wins the round based on the last part of the round where he got the takedown and was going for submissions.
It’s clear now that Pickett is getting the worst of it. His eyes are a mess. Jorgensen is now the quicker fighter and is landing the best shots and getting the takedowns. Pickett might be tired as he’s spending a lot of time on his back trying to go for triangles. Jorgensen is going to win this fight.
Winner: Scott Jorgensen by way of unanimous decision
All three judges had 30-27.
Bonnar and Harris were working the fight of the night angle a little too hard. It was a really good fight, but you can’t even compare it to Leonard Garcia and The Korean Zombie when it comes to action.
3. Chad Mendes vs. Cub Swanson
Swanson is the better stand-up fighter, but oddly he doesn’t look all that good. I think he’s worried about throwing a kick or a punch and getting taken down and that’s exactly what happened. Mendes laid on top of him for the entire first half of the round before they were stood back up because nothing else was happening. Swanson was taken down twice more.
More takedowns from Mendes including a sweet trip throw. Swanson can’t really do much, though he had better luck on his feet in the round. Mendes is just too strong for him.
Mendes threw a right and Swanson goes down, but you can’t tell if he even hit him. I think Swanson thought he was in a bad position and kind of went down from being unbalanced.
Mendes got an easy takedown to start and Cub couldn’t get off his back. Finally he was back up and started swinging for the fences, even landing a nice uppercut, but he was taken down again. Should be an easy win for Mendes.
Winner: Chad Mendes by way of unanimous decision
I’m trying to figure out where Cub won a round, but two judges gave him one round.
4. Anthony Pettis vs. Shane Roller
Really fun and interesting first round. It was the classic striker vs. wrestler. Pettis was the aggressor for most of the round, using his boxing to set up his kicks, which was interesting because kicking should’ve opened him up for takedowns. But that wasn’t the case as his wrestling defense was strong. Roller’s best shots were two punches that landed. Pettis threw a kick that looked like a Chuck Liddell overhand right, but with his right leg. That one seemed to shake up Roller. He got a little cute at the end of the round and ended up on his back because of a kick that left him in a bad spot, but the round ended.
Roller tried to lock Pettis up and take him down, but Pettis ended up on top. When they got back up, it was Roller who pushed Pettis back with big right hands. Roller finally got a takedown with less than a minute left but Roller used the cage to push himself up and somersaulted backwards, taking Roller with him and ended up on top.
Roller finally got the big takedown as he caught him high and slammed him. But Pettis was so slippery on the ground. Roller couldn’t get inside his guard as Pettis’ long legs kept him off and Pettis even closed in on a triangle, but couldn’t get it. They both finally got up. Roller was frustrated at not being able to do anything after the takedown. Roller went for the takedown, but Pettis ended up on top. Roller had a guillotine in, but Pettis escaped it and then put on another triangle with seconds left in the fight and got Roller to tap out. This was my favorite fight of the night so far.
Winner: Anthony Pettis by way of 3rd round submission
Pettis lives up to his “Showtime” nickname.
5. Joseph Benavidez vs. Dominick Cruz
Cruz spent the entire round bouncing around and trying to keep his distance from the very short Benavidez. They were trying to time each other for most of the round. Benavidez landed a nice right hand which was the best punch of the round. Cruz got a takedown with about a minute left which might’ve secured the round for him, but Benavidez was actually doing more from the bottom.
Benavidez was the aggressor again and did his best to shorten the distance between he and Cruz. Cruz did less dancing, but he still did a great job at staying away from Benavidez’s inside power. There wasn’t much going on in the round until Cruz went for a takedown and and Benavidez tried to lock in a guillotine.
Maybe I just like more conventional fighters, but I see Benavidez as wasting no energy, landing the cleanest shots, and doing the most work in the fight by doing less. But still, it’s not like he’s landing a whole lot. Cruz is very elusive. Benavidez landed some nice leg kicks, but Cruz took him down late in the round and probably stole it in the end.
This was Cruz’s most dominant round as he won the wrestling battle again, but Benavidez threw a knee from the clinch that cut Cruz over the bridge of the nose. Bonnar thinks Cruz is up and he probably is, but I’d give Benavidez the first two rounds just based on how aggressive he was and his work from his back.
Benavidez tried to push the pace and Cruz didn’t dance away, but he didn’t really engage all that much either. The story of the fight was that Cruz smartly used his length and his speed to stay out of dodge. Benavidez tried and tried, but couldn’t catch him. Should be Cruz’s fight. I had it 48-47 for Cruz.
Winner: Dominick Cruz by way of split decision
The scores were 48-47 Benavidez, 48-47 Cruz, and 49-46 Cruz.