Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Very Good WEC Card On Tap June 1st

Since its purchase by Zuffa in December of 2006, the WEC has become a legitimately solid fight promotion. Zuffa made the prescient decision to continuing operating the organization as a separate entity with its own roster of fighters and independent matchmaking, primarily to serve as a vehicle for the fighters whose contracts it acquired from the purchase of the World Fighting Alliance, including current UFC light heavyweight champion Quinton "Rampage" Jackson and Urijah Faber. Why that happy fate befell the WEC and not the similarly purchased, and inarguably stronger, PRIDE Fighting Championships is open to debate, but the fact is that PRIDE was shuttered while the WEC has thrived under the ownership of the Fertitta brothers.

Seemingly improving with every show, the WEC has been putting on events in larger and larger venues featuring better and better fighters. Two of the WEC's current divisional champions, Urijah Faber and Miguel Torres, can make reasonable arguments for being the world's premier fighters in their divisions, granting a new level of respectability to the WEC. Those divisions, featherweight and bantamweight respectively, however, have not had the promotional exposure to gain traction with fans, leaving many quality fighters plying their trade in relative obscurity.

But now, with the WEC's Zuffa-endowed advertising budget and a cable television deal with VERSUS, even casual fans of MMA recognize Faber, and to a lesser extent, Torres. June 1st's card features both champions defending their belts, along with a handful of above average undercard fights, making it by far the strongest and deepest card promoted by the WEC to date. Other than Faber Vs. Pulver and Torres Vs. Maeda, both of which have the potential to be excellent fights, keep your eye on Alexandre "Pequeno" Noguiera Vs. Jose Aldo. Noguiera, a superlative grappler and former SHOOTO 143-pound champion, is making his WEC debut, and if the main card bouts stay short and punchy, there's a chance it could air.

Here's the full card:

Main event

WEC Featherweight Champion Urijah Faber vs. Jens Pulver

Main card (televised)

WEC Bantamweight Champion Miguel Torres vs. Yoshiro Maeda
Mark Munoz vs. Chuck Grisby
“Razor” Rob McCullough vs. Kenneth Alexander

Under card (may not be broadcast)

Donald Cerrone vs. Richard Crunkilton
Jeff Curran vs. Mike Brown
Chase Beebe vs. Will Ribiero
Tim McKenzie vs. Eric Schambari
Alex Serdyukov vs. Luis Sapo
Alexandre Noguiera vs. Jose Aldo
Charlie Valencia vs. Dominick Cruz

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