With “WEC 50: Cruz vs. Benavidez” set to go down tomorrow in Las Vegas, it’s time for MMAFrenzy.com’s writers and staff to offer up their predictions on the card, which is headlined by a rematch between bantamweight champ Dominick Cruz and Joseph Benavidez.
Dominick Cruz vs. Joseph Benavidez
Kris Karkoski: Though Cruz claimed their first meeting, Benavidez has looked much-improved in his most-recent outings, claiming wins over Rani Yahya and former champ Miguel Torres. I expect Benavidez will be able to overcome Cruz’s reach and avoid his biggest punches to get the fight to the ground and earn an exciting decision. Joseph Benavidez via unanimous decison.
Chrisl: Their first fight was a “Fight of the Night,” and I expect no less from these guys. Both can wrestle and both strike. This is a fight that I am going to sit back and enjoy. I am taking Cruz because he won the first matchup and also because these two are just so close in so many categories. Cruz via unanimous decision.
bsbiz: Alright UFC, I’ll see your Clay Guida and raise you one Joseph Benavidez. Benavidez is a whirlwind of fury in the cage with constant unorthodox strikes from odd angles and a good takedown/GnP game that has worked against every professional opponent he’s faced except for his current nemesis, Dominick Cruz. Cruz, whose only professional loss to date is to Urijah Faber in his introduction to the WEC , will try to keep it standing and use his significant reach advantage to keep the mini Tasmanian Devil at bay. Benavidez needs to figure out how to get inside Cruz’s reach and get to his legs or this fight will go similarly to their first encounter.
fr702: I don’t see this fight being any different than their first battle, Dominick Cruz by decision.
Shane Roller vs. Anthony Pettis
Kris Karkoski: If Roller can earn the takedowns this is his fight to lose, but I expect Pettis to have solid takedown defense and keep the fight on the feet enough to win with striking. Anthony Pettis via (T)KO in the third.
Chrisl: This is a fight that will come down to whether or not Roller avoids the strikes on his way in for a takedown. I think he does and extends his win streak to four by submission in the 2nd.
bsbiz: Shane Roller is the fighter we all wish Jon Fitch would be: a top level wrestler who wins by finish as opposed to decision. Roller has compiled a phenomenal record in the WEC, with five wins (four submissions) against only one loss (to current champ Ben Henderson). Anthony Pettis, on the other hand, is trained by legendary kickboxer Duke Roufus, so we know where his strengths lie. However, the added wrinkle is that Pettis is also trained in Jiu-Jitsu, so it may not be the simple case of striker vs. wrestler, but it likely will be.
fr702: This is going to be a crazy fight, both Roller and “Showtime” are really good at subs, but I’m going to pick “Showtime” in round three in a very good fight.
Chad Mendes vs. Cub Swanson
Kris Karkoski: Mendes should be able to get Swanson to the ground, but may have a hard time putting him away. Mendes should be able to earn a unanimous decision to remain unbeaten.
Chrisl: The always-exciting Swanson fights up and comer Chad Mendes. Mendes is fantastic wrestler and Swanson has not faced a wrestler of his caliber yet. Swanson does have some submission wins but not enough for me to think he will hook Mendes once it hits the mat. I think Swanson will find himself swinging at air most of the fight and Mendes wins a hard fought but game 29-28 decision.
bsbiz: I feel kind of bad for Cub Swanson. He’s had a great run in the WEC, compiling a 5-2 record with one loss being to Jens Pulver when he still had his fastball and three submission wins. However, what he’ll always be remembered for is the lightning quick flying double knee knockout by Jose Aldo on his Demolition USA Tour. His opponent, Chad Mendes, is another young man out of the Team Alpha Male stable headed by Faber with a similar background to his other buddies: wrestling with a heavy dose of fists to the face. If Cub Swanson can keep Mendes from taking him down and doing what he do, he can win this fight. However, Mendes will likely fare better.
fr702: Cub Swanson by decision
Scott Jorgensen vs. Brad Pickett
Kris Karkoski: Jorgensen has experience facing tougher competition in the WEC and should find an opening to submit Pickett in the second and likely earn a shot at the bantamweight title.
Chrisl: Pickett is a monster prospect facing one of the best bantamweights in the world. I like Jorgenson and think he is very deserving of his ranking. However, I think Pickett can pull the upset. I see this going to decision with Pickett putting Jorgenson in trouble but not finishing. 29-28 Pickett
bsbiz: This is likely to be the contender match for the headliner and the winner of that fight’s next opponent. In fact, it could just as easily have happened that Benavidez and Jorgensen could have switched positions on this card. Jorgensen will have to figure out how to avoid Pickett’s “One Punch” power (see what I did there?) and dangerous submission game while Pickett will have to figure out how to get the Jorgensen and his strong wrestling background into dangerous submission positions. The key to this fight will be how well Jorgensen does on his feet. If he can hold his own and not be forced to go for takedowns out of desperation, he should win this fight and challenge the winner of the main event for the title.
fr702: Jorgensen will sink in a first-round rear naked choke to move closer to a title shot.
Zach Micklewright vs. Bart Palaszewski
Kris Karkoski: The rising prospect Micklewright faces a tough test in overcoming the experience of Palaszweski, but should be able to do enough to earn a split decision.
Chrisl: This is a gatekeeper versus prospect matchup. Palaszewski is on a win streak and has the experience edge here. However, I think Micklewright is hungry and puts Palaszewski away by tKO in the first.
bsbiz: In a matchup of the talented youngster vs. the wily old veteran, how well the youngster handles the pressure of the situation is likely to be a huge factor in determining the outcome. Bart Palaszewski has been there, seen it all, done it all, and has several drawers full of the t-shirts to prove it while Zach is making his main card debut in his second WEC fight. However, Zach is also a Miletich Man, so he has someone in his corner who very well may have seen even more than Bart has. If Zach can implement the Miletich Plan, he should fare well.
fr702: The WEC is really trying to build up Palaszewski, who is a solid fighter with power and subs and lives for the big fight, but this isn’t a big fight, so I’m going with Micklewright by decision
Anthony Njokuani vs. Maciej Jewtuszko
Kris Karkoski:Anthony Njokuani via (T)KO
Chrisl: Anthony Njokuani
bsbiz: Welcome to the WEC, Maciej. Here, we’ll give you a guy who can brutally knock you out with kicks or punches. He is a little susceptible to submissions though. Have fun. Let us know how it goes.
fr702: Anthony Njokuani by split decision
Javier Vazquez vs. Mackens Semerzier
Kris Karkoski: Javier Vazquez via split decision
Chrisl: Javier Vazquez
bsbiz: In what will probably be the most unpopular fight of the night due to the general audience not being fans of technical grappling contests, two submission specialists will tangle (maybe literally). If it’s on the ground, let’s hope The Mazz isn’t reffing. Either that or it will be a brutal standup war.
fr702: Mackens Sermerzier by unanimous decision
Ricardo Lamas vs. Dave Jansen
Kris Karkoski: Ricardo Lamas via unanimous decision
Chrisl: Dave Jansen
bsbiz: Two really good wrestlers fighting? Look for either a snoozefest on the ground with two guys patty-punching or a standup war (see above).
fr702: Coin flip
Bryan Caraway vs. Fredson Paixao
Kris Karkoski: Fredson Paixao via submission
Chrisl: Fredson Paixao
bsbiz: If Bryan Caraway wasn’t wrestling based, I’d like his chances more. However, he will get to go home to Miesha Tate, so it’s hard to say if he can really lose here..
fr702: Fredson Paixao via round-two guillotine
Danny Castillo vs. Dustin Poirier
Kris Karkoski: Danny Castillo via unanimous decision
Chrisl: Danny Castillo
bsbiz: Castillo is fighting for his WEC relevancy and possibly career. Going against a KO specialist in Poirier, he’d better get to Poirier’s feet and use his Team Alpha Male Wrestling to grind out a win.
fr702: Danny Castillo via unanimous decision