It’s just before 1am in the east and because of work, I am just now catching the card on the replay. Now thanks to some media slips (and some smack talk) I know some of the outcomes so I’ll give you my instant reactions as the fights happen (on the replay) then update the pick standings. This post will continuously update as we go through the event.
Bart Palaszewski vs. Zack Micklewright
Someone’s win streak will come to an end. I’m the only one who went with the young prospect over the Polish vet. Confused by Bart’s red mohawk… oh, Nashville’s in the top 3 to get a WEC event. There ya go, Armando.
Bruce Buffer doing the ring announcer, wonder if that’s gonna continue for WEC events not in Vegas…
Both guys throwing some serious leather to start here. Zack throwing more and Bart doing a good job of getting away and delivering some good counter punches. Working the hooks and uppercuts. Now we’re even in the nutshot department. Bart throwing and Zack showing he’s got a jaw. Flurry to end the round. Both guys came out fast and hard and kept that pace up the whole round. Not much in the way of takedown attempts, just one from Zack.
Bart unloads the high kick, fast flurry, and a HUGE right! Micklewright is out! Left hook set up the body kick, the body kick brought the hands down, the right hook turned the prospect’s light out.
Palaszewski KO – 0:31
Scott Jorgensen vs. Brad Pickett
Pickett rocking the trash ‘stache… Pickett knocks Jorgensen back and down…twice! Both on low kicks. Jorgensen reeling again, but recovers well. Pickett’s looking to end fast. In the clench and I think this favors Jorgensen here. Pickett get rocked now! Mouthpiece gone, then picks it up, puts it back in and gets nailed as he puts it in. On the ground and Pickett’s got a guillotine, but its not tight and Scott passes to side control. Here’s where Jorgensen is stronger. Back to feet. Flying knee by Pickett! Both guys look good coming out. Pickett came out aggressive and dominant early.
Jorgensen stuff a takedown, slips a little right in on the way back up. Good uppercut from Young Gun. Both guys are throwing solid combos. Not a whole lots landing, about 1 in 3, but still good. Pickett’s got good head movement and Jorgensen EATS a huge right. Pickett backs off. There goes Pickett’s mouthpiece again. Pickett stuffs a takedown. Another nut shot? Here we go again. Bombs being thrown. Both guys’ jaws are impressive. Jorgensen scores some points, stuffing Pickett then controlling on top. Pickett tries the guillotine, but Jorgensen’s defense is good. Here comes some ground and pound and some good elbows. Passes to side control. That takedown and ground control should be enough to give Jorgensen the edge this round, although both rounds have been very close.
Jorgensen 10-9 (19-19 draw)
Instant classic, well put. Both eating punches, the quick head movement is slowing but the hands are not. Pickett slips a good up elbow in there. Jorgensen with the take down, even as Pickett had the underhook to stuff it. Young Gun in Pickett’s guard and throwing and controlling. Pickett’s got a good guard but Jorgensen is still landing from the top. Back standing. Good left from Pickett, Jorgensen gets the single leg. Pickett’s bleeding from the left eye kinda bad. Jorgensen controlling from inside Pickett’s guard, escapes another triangle. Knees to the body as Jorgensen takes side control. Elbows from the top, slips a guillotine. Jorgensen looks like he wants to ride the last 30 seconds out. Takes Pickett’s back and a suplex. Pickett works to the top. But its too little, too late. Jorgensen take a close 3rd round in what could be Fight of the Night and should be a Fight of the Year candidate.
Jorgensen 10-9 (My card: 29-28 Jorgensen)
Official Decision: 30-27, 30-27, 30-27 – unanimous decision for Scott Jorgensen
Chad Mendes vs. Cub Swanson
Once again I’m on my own, believing that Cub Swanson can stay on track towards a title shot. Mendes works to the ground, landing some shots from the top, passes to side control but seems content to hold Cub down. Cub’s trying to take away much of Mendes’ options. Josh Rosenthall stands them up and Mendes comes up with a good right. Cub landing strikes but Mendes takes him down again and Cub scrambles up. Cub defending on the ground well, but Mendes scores well with takedowns and ground control. Cub goes for a BIG flying knee near the end of the round.
Mendes with a quick takedown to start the round. Back up, and both guys dodge strikes. Cub stuffs a takedown. Good head movement from Cub. Cub’s throwing strikes from some crazy angles. Mendes gets another takedown. Swanson’s guard is good, but Mendes passes again. Swanson scrambles, almost gets away, but Mendes gets back on top. Swanson landed more this round, but Mendes has controlled the round on the mat.
10-9 Mendes (20-18 Mendes)
Another round starting takedown from Mendes. Swanson needs to scramble and land a big shot if he wants the win here. Back on the feet and as soon as Swanson lands a few solid punches, Mendes takes him down. Swanson working the rubber guard and almost has an omoplata and Mendes pulls out of it. Both guys throwing good strikes while on the ground. Cub slipping in some good punches. Cub goes for the big knee and gets SLAMMED for his effort. Mendes will end the fight on top of Cub and that’s all she wrote.
10-9 Mendes (My card: 30-27 Mendes)
Official decision: Chad Mendes via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
Anthony Pettis vs. Shane Roller
Immediately into the clench and Pettis stuff the takedown and gets away. We’re back in the clench, Roller has Pettis on the fence. Takedown and Pettis again scrambles out and back up. Pettis lands a hard right and pins Roller on the fence now. Pettis hits a HUGE spinning axe kick that caught Roller in the back of the head! It looks like it surprised him more than it hurt him, but still. Pettis ends the round with another attempted rolling kick.
Standup war and then Pettis shoots in for the takedown. Pettis controlling the wrestler, working well in Roller’s guard. Throwing strikes well from the top, scoring points for control and the strikes. Pettis slips out of the triangle and then Roller comes up firing and rocks Pettis and looks like he’s gonna control the rest of this round. Take down then Pettis slips out, stands up and lands a big right. They both look rough then Roller ducks under a huge spinning kick from Pettis. I think that last flurry is enough to even up the fight.
10-9 Roller (19-19 draw)
Both land punches early and Roller with the takedown, immediately to side control. Pettis has a triangle and Roller slides out, but barely. Pettis goes for the armbar now and again Roller is able to get out. Back into half and looking for the guillotine. Roller’s been easily controlling the round. Pettis is staying in it with his submission attempts. Back standing. Both are tired, the pace has been heavy. Pettis dropped Roller’s hands with a leg kick then rocked him with a right then shoots in. Pettis needs to stay in control to take this round. Roller’s got the guillotine in as Pettis shot in. Escapes. Roller with the push pass and Pettis now with the triangle, it’s deep and IT’S OVER!
Anthony Pettis via triangle choke – 3:48 of the 3rd Round
Dominick Cruz (c) vs. Joseph Benavidez – Bantamweight Championship
IIIITTTTSSSS TIME! Cruz had got excellent movement, getting great angles to stick and move. Keeping out of Benavidez. Cruz trying to control on the fence, working good knees from the clench. Back to the center. Benavidez throws some solid hooks that land as Cruz comes in with the leg kick. Cruz firing some crisp, clean punches, working his reach advantage but can’t land anything significant. Benavidez sitting back, looking for a place to counter and Cruz gets in with the takedown. Benavidez is mad over here in Vegas. Benavidez striking well from the closed guard. The takedown seals a close first round for the champ.
Benavidez lands big when Cruz comes in again for the leg kick. He’s down but scrambles up fast. Benavidez is bleeding from a cut on his hairline. Both guys still dancing fast. Some combos exchanges, but nothing significant landing. Benavidez attacking forward with the knee, Cruz able to scramble away. Benavidez throwing bombs then shoots in and Cruz dances away. Another shoot and Cruz able to sprawl. More dancing and Cruz able to land a flying knee right on Benavidez’s jaw, but Benavidez able to come right back. Benavidez has spent the whole round moving forward. Cruz gets a takedown under 15 seconds, but Benavidez gets right up. This time, I don’t think the last second takedown is enough to give it to the champ and we have an even fight.
10-9 Benavidez (19-19 draw)
Cruz comes out firing hard this round, but gets his takedown attempt stuffed. Again, bombs being thrown but nothing major landing, Benavidez stuff another takedown attempt. I don’t know how they’re going to be able to keep this pace up into the championship rounds, but they have been furious through 13 minutes. Grappling on the fence now, control has changed about 3 times. Cruz starting to work the jab. Benavidez checks a leg kick, then came back to land 3 shots. Cruz has to stop going in with the straight leg, he’s been caught and hit every time, at least 5 times so far. Another last second takedown by Cruz. That one came with about 12 seconds left and with this round as close as it was, that’s got to give it to Cruz.
10-9 Cruz (29-28 Cruz)
Into the championship rounds. The question is if either man can push the frantic pace of the first 3 rounds. Cruz comes out going for the single leg and gets the takedown. Benavidez working for a triangle, but its quickly stopped. The Firefox dictionary really needs to start recognizing “takedown”. Cruz still on top after nearly 2 minutes. Benavidez working for the hip escape, but Cruz is staying active. He wants to finish. Benavidez with the armbar attempt, almost gives up his back, and they’re back up. No, Benavidez shoots for the single leg. Well defended. Slides out of a guillotine attempt. On the fence now. Good knee to the head of Cruz. Benavidez with a throw but Cruz right back up. Now the champ’s bleeding, probably from that knee. Benavidez has the guillotine, but the blood makes it easy for Cruz to pull out. The cut on Cruz is on the bridge of the nose. Cruz down and now in side control and WHY IS THERE AN EAS TEST NOW!!!!!! WTF!
Well, there was about 15 seconds left in the round, but still. Cruz had control most of the round and had Benavidez reeling on his back.
10-9 Cruz (39-37 Cruz)
The challenger needs to finish and Cruz is the one that comes out aggressive. Gotta give it to him for not laying back and working for the decision. Both connect with bombs at the same time a la Rocky! Damn. Cruz stuffs Benavidez again. He’s looking a little more hesitant and Cruz comes in with the knee but just misses. Cruz still moving with a ton of speed and energy, looking for good striking angles. Benavidez nails a spinning back fist, Cruz’s chin is a rock. Hell, Benavidez’s is a rock. They’re throwing bombs but I don’t see either man being able to finish, they are just that tough. Under 90 seconds and more hands thrown back and forth. Benavidez slips during a combo, looking a little sloppy going for the home run. Under 30 and here comes the flurry. Cruz cuts it off with a takedown and that should seal the deal. Cruz trying to finish with ground and pound but the horn sounds. Unbelievable fight, incredible pace, amazing chins on both guys. I don’t know what else to say, catch the replay of this event. They’ll probably run it all weekend long on Versus.
10-9 Cruz (My card: 49-46 Cruz retains)
Official Decision: Dominick Cruz via split decision (48-47, 47-48, 49-46)
Another great card from the WEC, which will hopefully get even more respect in the MMA community. WEC 51 will be even better looking at the stacked card coming up on Sept. 30. Now let’s look at our picks. I went for an upset or two and it cost me, Armando and Steelers narrowly missing a sweep. Not my finest streak so far, but there’s still time to claim the monthly title and of course it all builds to December and the 2010 Champion. For now, I’m out. It’s 4 in the friggin’ morning.