World Extreme Cagefighting

World Extreme Cagefighting

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(Pettis’ superior stand up won him the WEC belt and a shot at UFC gold. Go here to see the full gallery of Paul Thatcher’s best shots from the fights.)

At FIGHT! Magazine, we believe there is a need for a completely objective and unbiased ranking system for fighters to replace the myriad subjective rankings that have become skewed, in many instances, by fighter popularity. In an effort to address this issue FIGHT! Magazine brings you its computerized rankings system which takes into account a fighters strength of opponent, strength of performance, and frequency of activity. Go here for a detailed explanation of how FIGHT!’s rankings work.

The curtain fell on World Extreme Cagefighting last night in Glendale, Arizona, marking the end of a nine-year run that saw the promotion turn Lemoore, Calif. into a proving ground for top-shelf MMA talent, popularize sub-lightweight divisions in the U.S., and grow from a regional show to a nationally-televised sister company to the UFC. WEC 53 was the final card and was filled, appropriately enough, with frenetic fights, fantastic finishes, and moments that will become a part of MMA lore. Go here for full results, and read on for a detailed analysis of the impact WEC 53 had on FIGHT!’s rankings.

The night’s headline match featured reigning champion Benson Henderson and challenger Anthony Pettis in a bout that would not only determine the final WEC Lightweight Champion, but the top contender for the UFC Lightweight Championship. Pettis took a unanimous decision with a dizzying array of strikes, moving from #25 to #8 in the Lightweight Rankings. Henderson lost his belt and his spot in the top 10, falling from #7 to #17. If you’re wondering how Pettis could defeat Henderson but still be ranked lower than Henderson was before the fight, keep in mind that FIGHT!’s rankings are not relative – rank is determined by score along, which is determined by a fighter’s performance, frequency of activity, quality of opponent, and strength of promotion.

In other lightweight action, Donald Cerrone gained one spot, from #19 to #18, with a win over Chris Horodecki, who falls from #83 to #86 and might be looking at a move to Featherweight if he was to hang on in the big leagues. Bart Palaszewski was on a nice three-fight run before losing a decision to Kamal Shalorus – Palaszewski falls from #52 to #61, while Shalorus creeps up from #41 to #36. Former WEC Lightweight Champion Jamie Varner continued his slide, losing by submission to Shane Roller and crashing from #64 to #93 with the loss. Varner, who hasn’t won a fight since January of 2009, may need to rack up a few wins on the regional circuit before taking on the higher level of competition in the UFC. Roller moves into the top 25 with the win, jumping from #39 to #25. Jungle Fight veteran Yuri Alcantara won what amounted to a UFC tryout against Ricardo Lamas, moving from #65 to #29, while Lamas crashes from #67 to #109. In the final ranked lightweight bout of the evening, Danny Castillo beat Will Kerr and moved from #104 to #67, while Kerr enters the rankings at #154.


(Dominick Cruz defended the WEC Bantamweight crown for the last time and picked up a UFC belt at the same time. Go here to see the full gallery of Paul Thatcher’s best shots from the fights.)

The WEC’s final Bantamweight Championship bout was also contested at Jobing.com Arena, and Dominick Cruz put on another masterful performance. Challenger Scott Jorgensen was game but never put Cruz in any serious danger. Cruz defended the WEC belt for the final time, was awarded the inaugural UFC Bantamweight Championship, and held on to his #1 Bantamweight ranking in the process. Jorgensen suffered little in the poll, slipping from #6 to #7.

Three fights were contested at 135 pounds on the undercard, and all three could have title implications in the next 12 to 18 months. Renan Barao is relatively unknown in the U.S., having fought in the WEC only twice, but the Shooto Brazil vet scores well in our poll, coming into his fight against Chris Cariaso at #10 and leaving with a win at #4. Cariaso falls from #15 to #24 with the loss. After losing the WEC Bantamweight Championship to Chase Beebe in 2007, Eddie Wineland went underground for two full years. He returned to the WEC and lost to Rani Yahya, but since then he’s been on a tear, winning four straight including his “KO of the Night” victory over unranked WEC newcomer Ken Stone. Wineland moves from #11 to #8 and figures to be a player in the UFC’s new Bantamweight Division. In the final ranked bout of the evening, Brad Pickett continued his methodical climb up the rankings with a win over one-time UFC vet Ivan Menjivar. Pickett slides from #16 to #13 with the decision win, while Menjivar actually gains ground, moving from #36 at Featherweight, where he last competed, to #32 at 135.

No other ranked fighters appeared on the card.


(Brad Pickett and Ivan Menjivar put on a classic WEC-style barnburner. Go here to see the full gallery of Paul Thatcher’s best shots from the fights.)

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At approximately 12:30 a.m. EST on Fri., Dec. 17, FIGHT! Magazine will present live streaming video of the WEC 53: Henderson vs Pettis post-fight press conference live from Jobbing.com Arena in Glendale, Ariz. The card features the final WEC Lightweight Championship bout between current champion Benson Henderson (#7 Lightweight) and challenger Anthony Pettis (#25) and the final WEC Bantamweight Championship bout between current champion Dominic Cruz (#1 Bantamweight) and challenger Scott Jorgensen (#6). The winner of Henderson vs. Pettis will immediately challenge the winner of Edgar vs. Maynard for the UFC Lightweight Championship while the winner of Cruz vs. Jorgensen will be installed as the first-ever UFC Bantamweight Champion. Immediately following the weigh in, TUF winner, former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion and fan favorite Forrest Griffin will participate in a fan Q&A session. The main card of WEC 53 will air live on Versus at 9 p.m. on Thurs., Dec. 16. Check back on Fri., Dec. 17 for full results and analysis of how WEC 53 affected FIGHT!’s rankings.

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At 7 p.m. EST, FIGHT! Magazine presents live streaming video of the official weigh ins for WEC 53: Henderson vs Pettis live from Jobbing.com Arena in Glendale, Ariz. The card features the final WEC Lightweight Championship bout between current champion Benson Henderson (#? Lightweight) and challenger Anthony Pettis (#?) and the final WEC Bantamweight Championship bout between current champion Dominic Cruz (#1 Bantamweight) and challenger Scott Jorgensen (#6). The winner of Henderson vs. Pettis will immediately challenge the winner of Edgar vs. Maynard for the UFC Lightweight Championship while the winner of Cruz vs. Jorgensen will be installed as the first-ever UFC Bantamweight Champion. Immediately following the weigh in, former WEC Featherweight Champion Urijah Faber (#3 Bantamweight) and Carlos Condit (#8 Welterweight) will participate in a fan Q&A session. The main card of WEC 53 will air live on Versus at 9 p.m. on Thurs., Dec. 16. Check back on Fri., Dec. 17 for full results and analysis of how WEC 53 affected FIGHT!’s rankings.

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(Water? Check. Protein powder? Check. Hemp protein? Check. Whole mackerel? Check.)

Each week FIGHT! brings you the best from our friends around the web.

– Ailing Cruz, Upstart Jorgensen Aim for History Books at WEC 53 (Versus MMA Beat)

– Check Out Genghis Con’s Awesome Looking New MMA Reality Show (Cage Potato)

– ‘Strength and Honor’: Ben Henderson vs. Anthony Pettis Hype Video (MMA Scraps)

– Stefan Struve Wants to Get to 280 Pounds for Lesnar, Carwin, Etc. (MMA Fighting)

– The 10 Best Fights in WEC History (Heavy.com/MMA)

– Frank Mir vs. Brendan Schaub Expected for March 2011 (LowKick)

– Jens Pulver Not Done Yet, Plans to Fight in January (Five Ounces of Pain)

– Roger Huerta Saves Little Girl’s Life, Proves Status As Superhero (SBNation.com/MMA)

– Fedor Emelianenko: If I Never Fight In The UFC, They Will Be Sorry, Not Me (MMA Convert)

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(Interview by Danny Acosta. Video shot and edited by Rick Lee.)

No. 6-ranked bantamweight and No. 1 WEC contender Scott Jorgensen is supremely confident going into his fight with Dominick Cruz (#1) and has choice words for the champ. Jorgensen will face Cruz in the final WEC Bantweight Championship bout at WEC 53: Henderson vs. Pettis on Dec. 16 in Glendale, Ariz. The winner will become the final WEC Bantamweight Champion and the first UFC Bantamweight Champion when the promotions merge in 2011. Check back on Fri., Dec. 17 for full analysis of how WEC 53 affected FIGHT!’s rankings.

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(Interview by Danny Acosta. Video shot and edited by Rick Lee.)

Anthony “Showtime” Pettis (#25 Lightweight) is eager to see where he stands at the highest levels of the lightweight division when he meets Benson Henderson (#7) at WEC 53 on Dec. 16. The winner will get an immediate title shot against the winner of Frank Edgar vs. Gray Maynard after the WEC is absorbed into the UFC in 2011. Check back on Fri., Dec. 17 for full results and analysis of how WEC 53 affected FIGHT!’s rankings.

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(Video shot and edited by Rick Lee.)

Danny Acosta spent a day with WEC Champion and top-ranked Bantamweight Dominick Cruz and spoke with him about training, competition, his childhood, family life and and what it means to be a champion. Cruz will face challenger Scott Jorgensen (#6 Bantamweight) in the final WEC Bantweight Championship bout at WEC 53: Henderson vs. Pettis on Dec. 16 in Glendale, Ariz. The winner will become the final WEC Bantamweight Champion and the first UFC Bantamweight Champion when the promotions merge in 2011. Check back on Fri., Dec. 17 for full analysis of how WEC 53 affected FIGHT!’s rankings.

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AMP Energy is inviting fans to a live chat with superstar fighters Urijah Faber (#3 Bantamweight) and Chad Mendes (#7 Featherweight) hosted by Pro MMA Radio host Larry Pepe on AMP Energy’s USTREAM channel on Tues., Dec. 14 at 9 p.m. EST/6 p.m. PST.

Faber and Mendes will field questions from fans about WEC 53: Henderson vs. Pettis at Jobing.com Arena in Glendale, Ariz., a site selected by fans during the AMP Energy Hometown Takedown promotion. Henderson vs. Pettis is the WEC’s last card before the promotion merges with the UFC in 2011.

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amp_livechat

AMP Energy is inviting fans to a live chat with superstar fighters Urijah Faber (#3 Bantamweight) and Chad Mendes (#7 Featherweight) hosted by Pro MMA Radio host Larry Pepe on AMP Energy’s USTREAM channel on Tues., Dec. 14 at 9 p.m. EST/6 p.m. PST.

Faber and Mendes will field questions from fans about WEC 53: Henderson vs. Pettis at Jobing.com Arena in Glendale, Ariz., a site selected by fans during the AMP Energy Hometown Takedown promotion. Henderson vs. Pettis is the WEC’s last card before the promotion merges with the UFC in 2011.

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The UFC’s next blockbuster event is more than a week away but this weekend is filled to the gills with meaningful fight cards. In fact, Dec. 4 was shaping up to be the biggest day ever for UK MMA before a snowstorm hit Newcastle, so let’s take a quick look at what’s going down over the next three days.

Thurs., Dec. 2

tachi_palace_fights

Two noteworthy events will be held tonight on opposite coasts as Tachi Palace Fights 7 pops off in Lemoore, Calif. The card is stacked with UFC vets James Irvin, John Alessio, Jay Silva, Seth Baczynski, and Tim McKenzie as well as Strikeforce and Dream vet Darren Uyenoyama. Allessio’s scrap with Phil Collins is for the vacant TPF Welterweight Championship and Cole Miller’s kid brother Micah will square off with Isaac De Jesus for the TPF Featherweight Championship. But the star of the show is Shooto South America Flyweight Champion Jussier da Silva – “Formiga” is widely regarded as the top 125er on the planet, and tonight will be his U.S. debut. He signed a four-fight deal with TPF, but if Dana White keeps his word about adding flyweights to the UFC, da Silva could be the next small guy to graduate from Lemoore to Zuffa’s cages. You can watch the fights live on MMAJunkie starting at 8:30 p.m. EST.

Across the country in Rhode Island, UFC and Affliction vet Dan Lauzon re-emerges on the regional circuit to take on Wai Kru fighter Damien Trites at “Snow Brawl.” Lauzon needs an impressive win on the small stage if he wants to get back to the big leagues.

Fri., Dec. 3

Tampa Bay’s XFC returns to the hi-def airwaves on Dec. 3 as Jarrod “Wild” Card defends his XFC Featherweight Championship belt against Luis Palomino. American Top Team’s Mario Rinaldi will face Christopher “Beast Boy” Barnett in a feature fight and Kim Couture-killer Marianna Kheyfets will be back in action. You can watch the main card of XFC XIII live on HDNet this Fri., Dec. 3 at 9 p.m. EST.

On the other side of the state, Art of Fighting will host AOF 10: Blackout in Jacksonville, Fla., where UFC veteran Rob Emerson will fight Eric “It’s A Wrap” http://www.artoffighting.tv/ Up the coast in New Jersey, Lou Neglia’s Ring of Combat will host its 33rd event featuring a slew of prospects from 125 on up.

Sat., Dec. 4

strikeforce_henderson_babalu

Stateside, the biggest fights on Saturday night will go down in St. Louis, Mo., where Strikeforce: Henderson vs. Babalu pits #8-ranked Light Heavyweight Dan Henderson against #5-ranked Light Heavyweight Renato Sobral. Top-ten heavyweight Antonio Silva will face late replacement Mike Kyle while Scott Smith and #14-ranked welterweight Paul Daley will likely engage in an free-swinging dustup. A middleweight scrap between Robbie Lawler (#24) and Matt Lindland (#32) and a vet-versus-prospect bout between Benji Radach vs. Ovince St. Preux round out the main card.

tuf_12_finale

In Las Vegas, the UFC wraps up the season 12 of The Ultimate Fighter at the Palms. Jonathan Brookins and Michael Johnson vie for the TUF title and Stephan Bonnar faces Igor Pokrajac in the main event. In other main card action, #9-ranked middleweight Demian Maia looks to start climbing back to contention against Kendall Grove and hot prospect Rick Story (#20 welterweight) faces Johny Hendricks (#21). The UFC also launches its new featherweight division with several bouts contested at 145, headlined by Leonard Garcia and TUF 12 contested Nam Phan.

Two other WEC vets will be in action on Sat. but not in Las Vegas. Jeff Curran will headline XFO 37 in Lakemoor, Ill. The UFC, Pride, WEC, IFL, and Bellator vet faces David Love in the main event. Fellow Bellator vet Felice Herrig will also appear on the main card. South of the equator, #20 middleweight Paulo Filho co-headlines Bitetti Combat 8 against Yuki Sasaki. Glover Teixeira headlines the card against Hans Stringer.

Across the pond, the UK was poised for a huge night until inclement weather forced the cancellation of BAMMA 5. But that still left cards in Liverpool, where Olympian MMA Championships http://www.fightmagazine.com/mma-events/fightcard.asp?eventid=705 will crown heavyweight and bantamweight champions, and London, where Cage Warriors, Cage Rage, and UFC vet Ross Pointon returns from a two-and-a-half-year hiatus at UCMMA: Kings of the Cage. The promotion will also crown featherweight and bantamweight champions on Sat. as well as staging its first women’s MMA bout.

Check back in with Fightmagazine.com tomorrow for results and rankings analysis of Tachi Palace Fights 7, check in on Sunday for results and rankings analysis coming out of Strikeforce and The Ultimate Fighter 12 finale, and check in Monday morning for rankings analysis from the rest of the regional action this weekend.

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