That was a great night of free fights! Each and every time the WEC seems to outdo itself. The WEC rolled through Chicago, home of BW champion Miguel Torres, for the first time tonight.
There were five very exciting fights and Miguel Torres finally get tested. Let's dig into the action and see how my picks went:
Rafael Dias vs. Mike Budnick: Dias wins by unanimous decision. I got the pick wrong. This could spell bad news for Budnick who we may not see back in the WEC for awhile after his third loss in a row. This was a nice bounce back win for Dias.
Manny Tapia vs. Akitoshi Tamura: Again I was off on this pick. Tamura picks up the unanimous decision. Tamura beats a very tough fighter and appears back on track. Unfortunately for Tapia this is two tough losses in a row.
A third loss could spell major trouble for Tapia. It will be interesting to see what's next for him.
Rani Yahya vs. Eddie Wineland: Yahya picks up the easy submission (RNC) victory in round one. I was way off on this fight.
Wagnney Fabiano vs. Fredson Paixao: I picked this fight right on the nose as Fabiano picks up the unanimous decision win.
Dominick Cruz vs. Ivan Lopez: Again I'm right on the money as Cruz picks up the unanimous decision victory.
Bart Palaszewski vs. Anthony Njokuani: In the fight between two guys whose last names I can't spell (and the only under card fight shown) Anthony picks up the TKO victory in the second round. I was way off on this one.
I thought Bart would be smart enough to take the fight to the ground. Unfortunately he tried to stand and strike and Anthony was the better striker.
This was a nice bounce back win for Anthony. Bart could be in serious trouble of losing his contract if he loses his third fight in a row.
Rafael Assuncao vs. Jameel Massouh: Assuncao picks up the unanimous decision victory. I got the pick right but not the prediction.
Assuncao was just the better fighter. Jameel has a great chin and a very active guard. Unfortunately Assuncao was just on another level in terms of skill. Jameel looked great on paper but he needs more fights like these to get to the level of Assuncao.
Shane Roller vs. Ben Henderson: This was a crazy fight! Roller had Henderson in trouble quickly only to have the tables turned on him and Henderson picked up the TKO victory in the first round. I got this fight wrong.
Some people might've found the stoppage to be early or controversial. I agreed with the stoppage. Henderson had Roller hurt and Roller wasn't fighting back. I thought it was the right call.
Jeff Curran vs. Joseph Benavidez: Benvidez picks up the unanimous decision victory here. I got this pick wrong too.
Benavidez was just the more active fighter. The first round could've gone either way. After that though Benavidez just kept getting Curran to the mat and controlled him while also displaying strong striking skills.
This was a great showing for Benavidez against a top 10 FW in Jeff Curran coming down in weight. Unfortunately for Curran, unlike his counterpart Tamura, his drop down to 135 was not very successful. This leads me to wonder what's next for Curran. Does he continue to fight at 135 or move back to 145?
After two losses in a row at 145 and now a third at 135 it's tough to see where he fits. He can't fight for a title at 145 having lost to the champion and number one contender already. Now he lost to a top 10 BW. Jeff Curran may not have a home in the WEC for long.
Miguel Torres vs. Takeya Mizugaki: In the words of famous wrestling announcer Jim Ross "what a slobber knocker!" These two warriors went toe to toe for five rounds and beat the hell out of each other.
Torres won the unanimous decision but it was great to see him finally pushed for his belt. Not that he needs any extra motivation but maybe this was a wake up call that not every fight will be a cake walk and it will push him to get even better, which quite honestly, would just be scary.
He went toe to toe with Takeya like I thought through the first three rounds. After a cut Torres tried to go to the mat more often but Takeya smartly would have none of it. However, Torres still got the better of the exchanges on the feet and stayed active enough to earn the points in the judges' eyes.
I got the pick right but not the prediction. This was a great showing for both fighters. Torres keeps his P4P status and Takeya proves his worth in BW division even with the loss.
This was an excellent night for the WEC. There were some great fights and some great finishes. The only question I have with the program running so long is: I don't know why they showed the Njokuani fight or at least they should've showed the Yahya win instead (which was shorter). Otherwise I had no complaints.
I had a pretty terrible night going 4-6 plus two bonus points for getting the predictions right. This is the first time I can remember being under .500. Oh well, you can't win 'em all.
Stay tuned for my TUF 9 episode two recap and my Strikeforce preview later this week. Until then,
Soccer kicks and head stomps...