It may not have the big-name fighters of the UFC but the WEC once again delivered a strong overall card during WEC 42, highlighted by one of the year’s biggest upsets, as Brian Bowles scored a first-round TKO over pound-for-pound king Miguel Angel Torres.
Dominick Cruz and Joseph Benavidez put on three rounds of non-stop action that saw Cruz emerge victorious when it was all said and done. It was believed Cruz would be the next in line to fight Torres but Bowles had other ideas.
Here is a look at all of the night’s action:
Jameel Massouh vs. Leonard Garcia
Garcia didn’t come out as aggressively as I expected him to after the loss to Mike Brown. However, two minutes in Garcia dropped Massouh with a vicious right hand. Garcia went in for the kill but surprisingly Massouh was able to not only recover but get up and take Garcia down later in the round.
The round actually ended with Massouh on top of Garcia dishing out some ground and pound. Still, Garcia won the round by landing the big right hand.
Massouh took Garcia down again in Round 2 but almost got caught in a guillotine. He was able to get out of it and control Garcia for much of the round. Massouh actually almost choked out Garcia but gave up the hold for some reason and allowed his woozy opponent to catch his breath.
Still, it was a pretty convincing round for Massouh.
The two fighters entered Round 3, most likely even on the judge’s scorecard. Neither fighter dominated the third round but I gave it to Massouh because I thought he was the more active, aggressive of the two fighters. However, neither guy separated themselves.
This was a very close fight and a tough one to score. I gave it to Massouh, 29-28. Two judges disagreed, however, scoring it 29-28 for Garcia and giving him the split decision win.
Takeya Mizugaki vs. Jeff Curran
It was obvious from the start that Curran wanted to take this fight to the ground but Mizugaki did a great job of preventing that from happening. He showed tremendous takedown defense early on in the bout, not letting Curran implement his gameplan.
Mizugaki then flipped the script, taking Curran down and administering some ground and pound. Curran almost caught Mizugaki in an arm bar but wasn’t able to lock it in all the way.
I gave the first round to Mizugaki for the way he controlled Curran both offensively and defensively.
Curran opened up Round 2 with a lot of leg kicks and looked to show off his boxing skills, which seemed to be just fine with Mizugaki.
Mizugaki took Curran down to the mat and once again started to unleash some hard ground and pound punches. Both fighters were very active and Curran even had a guillotine sunk in at the end of the round but Mizugaki never appeared to be in real trouble.
I had it two rounds to none for Mizugaki heading into the third.
Curran again tried to take Mizugaki down but just like before, it was Curran who ended up on his back. Curran wasn’t doing a terrible job; Mizugaki just appeared to be bigger and faster.
Just when it looked like Mizugaki had the fight in the bag; Curran caught him in a triangle and almost choked him out. The only thing that saved Mizugaki from tapping in my opinion was the bell.
I had to give that round to Curran for his work from the bottom and his late triangle submission attempt that almost pulled out the win.
I scored the fight 29-28 for Mizugaki but Curran did work a lot from his back, so I can respect if some people saw it differently. One judge did but it was enough, as Mizugaki scored a tough split decision over Curran. A very good technical fight put on by the WEC.
Ricardo Lamas vs. Danny Castillo
Both fighters came out on the attack. Neither Castillo nor Lamas looked like they wanted to take the fight to the ground, even though both guys are very good wrestlers.
Lamas connected with a big head kick but Castillo responded with a combination to the head. Neither fighter did much damage in Round 1 but I gave a slight advantage to Lamas because I think he scored more with his body kicks.
Lamas started to establish himself early in Round 2 with nice combinations and head kicks. Castillo tried a couple of takedowns but failed and his pace started to slow down due to the blows he took. Lamas began to break down Castillo with his body and leg kicks.
Then, just as Lamas looked like he was taking control of the fight, Castillo unloaded a straight right hand that landed square on Lamas’ chin. Lamas fell to the mat; Castillo pounced and went in for the kill. The referee stepped in and stopped the fight.
What a turn of events. After a furious first round, Castillo looked as if he was tiring but a beautiful straight right found its mark and floored Lamas, who was fighting a brilliant fight up until that point.
Hey, that’s why it’s MMA. One punch can end a fight at any time and a perfect straight right gave Castillo a TKO win and handed Lamas his first career loss.
Joseph Benavidez vs. Dominick Cruz
As expected, Benavidez and Cruz came out with their hair on fire. Cruz took Benavidez down early but didn’t pounce on him. After a flurry by Benavidez, Cruz brought him down to the mat and then had to fight off a guillotine attempt.
Like always, Benavidez connected with a lot of leg kicks. It was a frenetic pace between these two fighters that resulted in a lot of combinations and kicks connecting. However, I gave Round 1 to Cruz because he took Benavidez down a couple of times. It was the only thing that separated the fighters in the first round in my eyes.
Cruz hurt Benavidez early in Round 2 with a nice combination to the head but Benavidez did a nice job of tying him up to prevent further damage. Benavidez started to have trouble with Cruz’s reach advantage, as he got tagged every time he came in.
It was a very strong round for Cruz, as he used his long reach advantage to frustrate Benavidez.
Round 3 continued to be non-stop action. Cruz connected on a big head kick that floored Benavidez. You could almost see the frustration on Benavidez’s face. He just couldn’t get inside on Cruz, no matter how hard he tried. He did everything he could. Cruz was just the better man on this night.
I’m a big Benavidez fan but this was a bad match-up for him. The announcers said it was a tough fight to call. I disagreed. I thought it was an easy fight to score. I gave all three rounds to Cruz. The judges agreed with me for the most part, scoring the fight 30-27, 29-28, 29-28 in favor of Cruz.
Brian Bowles vs. Miguel Angel Torres
Torres got rocked early and almost went down. Bowles then took Torres down to the mat and connected with a few short elbows.
Torres came back with a combination but got rocked again and went down. Bowles pounced and unleashed two vicious left heads. Torres is out. Bowles shocks the world and puts an end to Miguel Angel Torres’ reign of terror in the WEC’s bantamweight division.
Wow, talk about your shockers. Not that Torres lost because Bowles is a very good fighter but the way he lost. This was a dominant first round for Bowles to begin with and for him to finish Torres was most impressive. There is a new king in the bantamweight division and his name is Brian Bowles.