This will undoubtedly go down as the best card of the year that got the least promotion. I'm not sure I've ever watched a WEC event and been unhappy by the time it was over. Then again, I'm one of a very few. The numbers for the previous 8 WEC events have been horrific. Via Cagewriter:
WEC 50 (Cruz vs. Benavidez II): 316,000 viewers
WEC 49 (Varner vs. Shalorus): 324,000
WEC 48 (Aldo vs. Faber): n/a (aired on PPV)
WEC 47 (Bowles vs. Cruz): 373,000
WEC 46 (Varner vs. Henderson): 640,000
WEC 45 (Cerrone vs. Ratcliff): 330,000
WEC 44 (Brown vs. Aldo): 414,000
WEC 43 (Cerrone vs. Henderson): 419,000
With how little promotion this card has received and the fact that the major MMA websites and blogs have all but ignored it until a day or two ago, this card will be lucky to beat out WEC 46. Even if it doesn't, which would be a damn shame, it's a hell of a card that you'll enjoy if you tune in. In we go with the predictions, which will be shortened due to time constraints.
Jose Aldo vs Manny Gamburyan - With the amount of upsets and near upsets going down this year in MMA, I won't count anybody out of any fight. That said, Gamburyan doesn't stand much of a chance, if any. I struggle to think of a guy who is more dynamic than Aldo in all of MMA. He's only going to get better. After this fight, when he destroys Manny, fans will be saying there isn't anyone who can beat him. Think about this. When Anderson Silva defeated Rich Franklin for the title at UFC 64 and became widely accepted as one of the best pound for pound fighters in the world, he was 31 years old. Aldo just turned 24 on the 6th of this month. Won't be long until the whispers of him fighting in the UFC turn into shouts. Aldo via KO in Round 1.
Donald Cerrone vs Jamie Varner - These two have talked so much shit since their first fight, it's to the point that I just want them to get it over with. The first fight ended in such a way as to make a rematch inevitable. After 4 rounds of war, the 5th round saw Cerrone land an illegal knee to a downed Varner. The fight went to the scorecards because Varner claimed he was unable to continue and he ended up retaining the Lightweight title by technical split decision. Varner has a reputation for whining when things don't go his way. Cerrone is an overly aggressive fighter that always leaves it all out there. He's the pick. Cerrone via unanimous decision.
Miguel Torres vs Charlie Valencia - This feels like a fight to get Torres back on the winning track. After winning 37 of 38 fights to start his career, he's now lost two in a row and in need of a big win. It seems almost cruel to say that but even winning that many fights means nothing if you go on a 3 fight losing streak. I don't think the WEC wants that to happen. Valencia is a good fighter sure but he's never going to be great. He's got the skills to compete and potentially make it interesting but Torres should get back to his winning ways. I will say that I hope he's not having any mental issues after his last two fights. He looked a little shell shocked against Benavidez. I hope that killer instinct is back. Torres via submission in Round 2.
Chan Sung Jung vs George Roop - You remember Sung Jung, right? The guy that had that sloppy war with Leonard Garcia? Yeah, he's back and apparently better than ever. He's corrected a deviated septum for this fight so we may even see an improved version of the Korean Zombie. In a twist of irony, George Roop's last fight was also against Leonard Garcia, at WEC 47. That fight went to a draw, which should have been the score for the Jung-Garcia fight, but both won Fight of the Night. Using simple MMA math, what can we deduce from this? Nothing, really. Just that this will be fun and it's probably a toss up. Sung Jung via unanimous decision.
Leonard Garcia vs Mark Hominick - Well, speak of the devil. Mr. Garcia is just everywhere, isn't he? That's actually a good thing because he is incapable of a boring fight. The fact that he is so willing to stand in the pocket and trade with no matter who is standing across from him is good for us fans but bad for his career. Hominick has quietly been making a name for himself and is currently riding a three fight winning streak. If he can avoid getting sucked into an all out brawl, he can win this fight. That's what I'll go with it. Hominick via split decision.
Quick undercard picks after the jump
Zhang Tie Quan vs Pablo Garza - I really hope Quan wins this fight. If for nothing else than the fact that it might go some way to advancing Chinese MMA here in the States. I don't know much about him but I hope that changes. A quick look at his record reveals that he's 11-0, all finishes. Hoping for the best in this one.
Mike Brown vs Cole Province - You know you've got a stacked card when Mike Brown is fighting on the prelims. Much like Miguel Torres, he's being given this fight as a way to bounce back. That's not to take anything away from Province, but for the purposes of this fight he's a glorified jobber.
Chris Horodecki vs Ed Ratcliff - That baby face on Horodecki is begging to be punched. Ratcliff's nickname is 9 MM. How do you pick against a guy like that? His aggressiveness will win him this fight.
Tyler Toner vs Diego Nunes - Here's the thing about Nunes. He came into the WEC having won all 11 of his career fights and he finished every single one of his opponents. Of his 4 WEC fights, he's won 3 but they've all gone to decision. Time for him to finish a fight inside the blue cage.
Antonio Banuelos vs Chad George - Funny thing about these two guys. They both are coming off of losses to Scott Jorgensen. George was choked out and Banuelos lost by decision. So I'll take Banuelos, if only just for kicks.
Demetrious Johnson vs Nick Pace - Johnson lost his WEC debut and with another loss would likely be gone from the promotion. Pace is making his debut. Score one for the guy fighting with more desperation, which should be Johnson.