There were a few things noticeable by their absence at last weekend’s WEC. One was the booing which has punctuated UFC events in recent weeks. The other was any mention of the term WEC by any member of the commentary team.
There are two obvious conclusion to be drawn from this. First off: Fights involving smaller guys are quite simply a lot more fun; and secondly: Zuffa is well aware of this fact and are going to incorporate WEC into the UFC at the earliest available opportunity.
Who can blame them? Why would you buy a UFC card carrying an outside possibility of action when you could invest in a WEC card which basically guaranteed it?
This is what fight fans are thinking and now that the WEC is quite blatantly making the UFC look bad its days are clearly numbered. WEC fighters consistently attempt the type of audacious combinations which are conspicuous by their absence in the ‘safety first’ style of fighting which is showcased all too often in the UFC.
Fights are fought at a far more frantic pace which means that – with both fighters exchanging regularly throughout every round – there is normally one clear cut winner at the end of the fight.
The televised portion of the main card was refreshingly free of controversy. Every single fight was won decisively, and in the majority of cases, dramatically. This is what MMA is all about: The best fighters in the world going all out for victory from the moment the opening bell rings.
There were no fights which ground to a mind numbing halt on the feet because one man was too afraid to exchange with the other. There were no fighters content to remain in a dominant position without attempting to do damage in order to ‘grind’ out a decision.
Instead there were superman punches, spinning back kicks, spectacular submissions and the sort of entertainment which has been at a premium in recent UFC events. If you wanted to introduce an outsider to MMA this would be the event which you wanted them to watch.
The WEC has become far too valuable a commodity to continue to exist independently from the UFC and UFC events will be improved dramatically with the introduction of at least a couple of lighter weight classes. If the heavier guys continue to disappoint, they may find themselves slipping down the cards as the likes of Jose Aldo, Urijah Faber and Dominick Cruz step up to steal their limelight.
Many might have questioned Zuffa’s intentions after buying WEC and immediately stripping it of almost all its first class fighters. Those questions were answered emphatically on Saturday night in Sacramento. Zuffa’s decision to use WEC as an incubator to nurture the greatest talent which existed outside of the existing UFC weight classes and bring it to the attention of the mainstream was entirely exonerated by WEC 48.
Last weekend’s WEC was the ultimate advert for MMA and Zuffa now have a considerable asset on their hands. The inevitable amalgamation with the WEC has the potential to make the UFC a much more entertaining place. The existing UFC headliners should be looking nervously over their shoulders as fight fans begin to say, ‘We have seen the entertainment on offer in WEC cards. Why should we settle for anything less?’