WEC 50 Picks & Predictions

The WEC puts on its next show tonight as WEC 50: Cruz vs. Benavidez 2 takes place from Las Vegas.

The card features a WEC Bantamweight Championship bout between Dominick Cruz and Joseph Benavidez along with a lightweight contest between Shane Roller and Anthony Pettis.

The main card airs live on Versus at 9PM ET. Here are my picks for the winners.

WEC Bantamweight Championship Bout – Dominick Cruz (15-1) vs. Joseph Benavidez (12-1): This fight is a rematch of a bout that happened a little over a year ago where Cruz won a unanimous decision. Now Cruz is the champion and Benavidez is the challenger and in this fight, look for Benavidez to get the nod. He underestimated Cruz and his wrestling in the first fight and anticipated more standup, which left him flat footed and allowed Cruz to control the fight. This time around, Benavidez should be able to dictate the pacing and placement of the fight. I like Benavidez to win by submission in round four.

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WEC Featherweight fighter Chad Mendes chats with The Scores Report

Chad Mendes believes he can be one of the best mixed-martial artists in the world.

On Wednesday, he will have his chance to prove it.

Sporting a 7-0 record in his young pro career, the WEC Featherweight faces his toughest challenge in Cub Swanson in WEC 50: Cruz vs. Benavidez, live on Versus at 9PM ET.

I got a chance to speak with up-and-coming fighter and ask him about his big fight with Swanson, as well has training with guys like Urijah Faber and Joseph Benavidez, and his sponsorship with AMP Energy.

The Scores Report: Hey Chad, how is everything going?

Chad Mendes: Everything is great, just excited for my next fight.

TSR: Well before we get to your fight with Cub Swanson, talk about your last fight in which you defeated Anthony Morris at WEC 48, a pay-per-view event that took place Sacramento, where you train. What was that whole experience like and by winning by submission in the first round, was it the best performance of your career?

CM: Well, I took that fight on short notice and when the WEC asked me to fill in for an injured fighter, I had to say yes. I got in a solid week of training and went over techniques and a game plan and I really worked on the arm-in guillotine choke. I was having dreams about getting that choke in and when the fight happened, it was just like I had dreamed and the choke was there, so I sunk it in and got the win. In terms of fighting in Sacramento, that was just unbelievable. The crowd was nuts and there was so much energy in the building. It was a great feeling.

TSR: How big is this upcoming fight with Cub Swanson, who has fought some of the best in the world, including current featherweight champion, Jose Aldo?

CM: Every fight is big, but this is clearly a huge step in my career. Fighting Cub is a great honor for me. He is a tough guy and faced all the top opponents. He is a real scrapper and he pushes a tough pace. I am expecting a war and not matter what happens, fighting a guy like Cub can only make me better.

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Joseph Benavidez looking to avenge loss and earn WEC Gold

E. Spencer Kyte of HeavyMMA.com breaks down Joseph Benavidez’s mission on Wednesday night in Las Vegas, when he steps into the cage with Dominick Cruz.

Most fighters have two goals in mind when it comes to the sport. One is to where championship gold around their waist, and since making through an entire career unbeaten is about as likely as winning the lottery, being able to avenge any losses incurred along the way comes in a close second.

Wednesday night in Las Vegas, Joseph Benavidez will have the opportunity to kill two birds with one stone as he steps into the cage with Dominick Cruz, the WEC bantamweight champion and the only man to hold a victory over the Team Alpha Male trainee.

“This is huge, man,” stated the 26-year-old 135-pound contender about the opportunity that awaits him later this week at The Pearl at The Palms. “It’s the world championship which is the goal – should be the goal of any fighter – and definitely is for me. That’s why I train. Right under that on the list is to avenge my only loss, and I get to do it both on the same night.”

Benavidez and Cruz first faced each other in August 2009. As a protégé of WEC poster boy Urijah Faber and coming off an impressive decision win over savvy veteran Jeff Curran four months earlier, the then-unbeaten Benavidez entered the fight as the favorite.

Read the full article here.

WEC Bantamweight No. 1 Contender Joseph Benavidez chats with The Scores Report

A year ago, few knew who Joseph Benavidez was. Even the hardcore MMA fans knew little about the 5-foot-4, 135-pound bantamweight that trains out of Ultimate Fitness in Sacramento, California.

On Aug. 9, 2009, Benavidez suffered his lone loss of his career to Dominick Cruz and since then has rattled off back-to-back wins, including a second round submission win over Miguel Torres on March 6 that put him on the map.

Now, with the MMA eye clearly on him, Benavidez looks to avenge his loss to Cruz this Wednesday at WEC 50 when he challenges Cruz for the WEC Bantamweight title from the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas. The event can be seen live on Versus starting at 9PM ET.

I got the chance to speak to Benavidez and ask him about his title match, having his teammate Urijah Faber drop down to his weight class, and his sponsorship with AMP.

The Scores Report: Joseph, thanks for your time. I know you have a busy schedule.

Joseph Benavidez: Not a problem.

TSR: Tell me about when you found out you were getting the title fight and a chance to face Cruz again.

JB: I kind of felt like I was going to get the fight after I beat Miguel Torres and shortly after the WEC 48 Pay-Per-View event, I found out I was getting it. It was 50-50 at one point but I knew I deserved the fight and I pleaded my case some what and the WEC made their choice to have the rematch and the feeling was just unreal. Becoming champion is the reason most people fight and I felt like I took the right steps to get this opportunity. I remember when I got the contract to sign, I had this feeling that I was going to become champion. That really means everything to me. My goal is to be the best and the hardware will be cool to have, but the recognition that you are the best in the world is really what I am after. When I win that fight, my name will be in history forever.”

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It’s official: WEC 50 to have 10-Fight Lineup

Jeremy Botter of Heavy.com writes that WEC 50 is now set, as the official lineup will have 10 fights.

World Extreme Cagefighting has finalized the 10-bout card for “WEC 50: Cruz vs. Benavidez 2.”
WEC officials made the announcement today.

The event — headlined by a bantamweight championship bout between Dominick Cruz and Joseph Benavidez — takes place Aug. 18 at the Pearl at the Palms Casino & Resort in Las Vegas.

“We are really excited to bring the best lighter weight fighters in the world back to the Palms,” WEC General Manager Reed Harris said. “All 10 fights on this card are dynamic and we expect to put on another one of the year’s most memorable events.”

The Versus-televised event will feature four bouts in addition to the headlining title fight: Shane Roller vs. Anthony Pettis, Cub Swanson vs. Chad Mendes, Scott Jorgensen vs. Brad Pickett and Bart Palaszewski vs. Zach Micklewright. Featured preliminary bouts include Anthony Njokuani vs. Maciej Jewtuszko and Javier Vazquez vs. Mackens Semerzier.

The event was originally scheduled to include Urijah Faber’s bantamweight debut, but an injury forced the former featherweight champion off the card.

Read more MMA news here.

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