Five Conclusions from WEC 53
With WEC 53 now in the books, the promotion officially merges with the UFC, and the doors close on the WEC. With the merger, Anthony Pettis will face with winner of UFC 125‘s Lightweight title bout between Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard in a title unification bout. As of last night, Dominick Cruz successfully defended his WEC Bantamweight title, and was also rewarded with the first ever UFC BW title. With the merger, influx of talent from overseas, as well as the now seriously stacked Lightweight division; the UFC has ensured that WEC’s memory will live on, as the two companies finally become one.
Anthony Pettis is a worthy UFC Lightweight Challenger
Last night, Anthony Pettis stole the show, surprising many by taking the belt from wrestling stand out Ben Henderson. Despite losing the 1st two rounds, Pettis’ rallied from the third round onwards, to take the belt from the former Champ. With his explosive stand up, coupled with his ability to stuff some of Henderson’s takedowns (a better wrestler than Maynard in my eyes) ensures he will give either Frankie Edgar or Gray Maynard a worthy challenge when the dust settles after their January 1st fight. Pettis proved he can hang with the best in his win last night, and showed some insane stand up/ free running skills.
Dominick Cruz deserves to be ranked on any P4P list
Dominick Cruz proved last night proved he is the best. From completely dominating Scott Jorgenson, Cruz showed he can hang with the best that the 135lbs division has to offer. And as the new Japanese talent looking in, Cruz needed a win last night to cement his status. With an impressive record of 17-1, (only losing to Urijah Faber at the peak of his power) and an impressive 8-fight winning streak, Dominick Cruz is surely one of the best Mixed Martial Artists in the World.
WEC may be gone, but it won’t be forgotten
Last night delivered the type of card fans of the promotion were used to, with an impressive array of Knockouts, submissions and barn burners fans expect. As always, WEC delivered. With cards like last night, and even individual parts like Anthony Pettis‘ “Matrix kick”, the WEC will never be forgotten, and deserves in the future to be regarded the way that PRIDE is now. From epic barn burners (Korean Zombie vs Garcia, Brown vs Faber) to gut wrenching submissions (Benavidez’ bloody Guillotine Choke vs Torres) moments like these stay with the fans forever, making sure that WEC will always be remembered.
UFC bonuses just got a lot harder to earn
Dana White recently stated that UFC guys are going to work harder to earn fight bonuses following the UFC – WEC merger, as last night’s event proved his words were nothing but truth. WEC is known for its fast paced, action filled scraps, giving Reed Harris a tough time to decide who gets the prestigious prize money. With the influx of talent in the lighter weight classes, there are going to be a lot of previous winners missing out, due to the frantic pace often exhibited in WEC fights.
Dana White needs to name Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber as TUF 13 coaches
While The Ultimate Fighter is hugely important for the fighters involved, it is also equally important for the coaches. The amount of exposure these guys get is second to none. Introduction of former WEC fighters is necessary for their marketing to casual MMA audience. Were White to do it, in my eyes, a super fight between Urijah Faber and Dominick Cruz seems most logical and likely. There’s a lot of TUF-worthy bad blood between the two, which will fit well in the standard setting of the show.
Photos: SBNation Arizona