WEC 43 will be taking place in San Antonio, Texas on Saturday, October 10th from the AT&T Center. It will feature a main event Interim Lightweight Championship bout between Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone and Ben Henderson along with match-ups featuring Rich Crunkilton, Rafael Assuncao, and Damacio Page. This is probably one of the more poorly promoted cards since the main event doesn't have high name recognition, but as we all know -- the lighter weight class action can run at a torrid pace.
In our first preview of the fight card, I'm going to focus solely on the extensive list of preliminary bouts. While these won't be televised, we will hopefully be graced with the presence of a few preliminary bouts on the televised portion of the card since I feel some of these bouts deserve main card status over the current selection.
In lightweight action, Brazilian jiu-jitsu purple belt and Lloyd Irvin product Muhsin Corbbrey (7-3) will make his WEC debut against former WCL fighter and Muay Thai expert Anthony Njokuani (10-2). Corbbrey has a much more well-rounded skill-set on paper, but I'm a bit skeptical that he can pull off a win against such a seasoned striker. While Corbbrey does have legitimate jiu-jitsu skills on the floor, it seems like this battle will be tailor-made to produce a stand-up war. Corbbrey has professional boxing experience and battles in the Muay Thai arena as well, but Njokuani is a tested Muay Thai fighter with lengthy reach and power. He's produced enough highlight reel knockouts to consider him an adept striker to even the untrained eye.
Corbbrey should come into this bout looking to take this fight to the ground, but Njokuani's athleticism could make that a tough test. While Ben Henderson was able to catch Njokuani in a guillotine choke at WEC 38, it wasn't without a constant battle by Njokuani to reverse positions and make a ground battle a difficult conclusion. Corbrrey's conditioning is also a valid question in this match-up, and I think Njokuani has the edge in that department as well. I'll take Njokuani via TKO in a stand-up battle in this one.
In a squash match that was created out of the injury of former squash match recipient Erik Koch, WEC featherweight and former IFL featherweight champion Wagnney Fabiano (12-1) will take on newcomer Mackens Semerzier (5-0). Fabiano is a product of the famous Nova Uniao camp in Brazil that has produced fighters such as Jose Aldo, Thales Leites, Vitor Ribeiro, and Leonardo Santos. He's a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu who has won six of his twelve wins via submission and has shown some knockout power in a limited capacity.
Semerzier has fought mainly on the East Coast and is classified as submission grappler. There in lies the huge problem for Semerzier. He hasn't fought top notch competition by any means, and his list of wins doesn't even compare to that of Fabiano's laundry list of talent he's faced. Fabiano should easily outgrapple Semerzier in this contest and win via submission.[UPDATE] by Nick Thomas - WEC 43 betting odds are up:
Main Card Bouts:
Donald Cerrone (10-1) -370 vs. Ben Henderson (9-1) +305
Rich Crunkilton (18-2) -115 vs. Dave Jansen (12-0) -115
Raphael Assuncao (13-1) -375 vs. Yves Jabouin (14-4) +305
Damacio Page (11-4) -325 vs. Will Campuzano (6-0) +265
Anthony Njokuani (10-2) -245 vs. Muhsin Corbbrey (7-3-0) +195
Scott Jorgensen (6-3) -300 vs. Noah Thomas (13-5) +240
Wagnney Fabiano (12-1) -700 vs. Mackens Semerzier (3-0) +500
Manny Tapia (10-2-1) -170 vs. Eddie Wineland (14-6-1) +140
Charlie Valencia (10-5) -350 vs. Coty Wheeler (10-1) +280
Deividas Taurosevicius (10-3) -145 vs. Javier Vazquez (13-3) +115
Javier Vazquez (13-3) will make his sophomore debut in the WEC following his split decision loss to L.C. Davis at WEC 42 in only his third fight back following a retirement after his ShoXC win over JC Pennington. His slick submission arsenal and technical acumen on the floor should be able to hold off Deividas Taurosevicius (10-3).
Taurosevicius should be able to provide a lengthy test for Vazquez on the floor in terms of being able to fend off his grappling ability for awhile, but Vazquez is the better grappler on the ground. While I'm not sure whether Vazquez can actually submit Taurosevicius, I think he can take this one by decision.
Scott Jorgensen's unfortunate split decision loss to Antonio Banuelos at WEC 41 had a lot of fans screaming "robbery". Regardless of how you felt about the fight, Jorgensen (6-3) is set to return against Ultimate Fighter Season 5 contestant Noah Thomas (13-5). Thomas is infamously known for being involved in the world's most technical street fight with Marlon Sims and being ejected from the show.
Jorgensen should be able to redeem his loss to Banuelos in this contest as he has fought some very stiff competition in his short MMA career along with displaying decent wrestling ability and striking. Thomas will look to take this fight to the ground, the only real place I feel he has a chance to win this fight. He has some wrestling ability, but I think Jorgensen is good enough in the wrestling department to stuff takedowns and defeat Thomas over three rounds with his punching.
A guaranteed slugfest in Eddie Wineland (14-6-1) vs. Manny Tapia (10-2-1) takes place within the confines of the bantamweight division that will surely end via a violent knockout. Wineland and Tapia both have solid power in their hands, but Tapia has faced some stiffer competition in both Miguel Torres and Akitoshi Tamura. Tapia probably possesses more one punch power as opposed to Wineland's progressive peppering, so I'll take Tapia via a wild, looping knockout punch.
Charlie Valencia (10-5) will bring his strong wrestling and boxing into a bantamweight bout with BJJ fighter Coty Wheeler (10-1) in Wheeler's return to the WEC following a 1-1 stint back in late 2007/early 2008. I don't expect an upset coming from Wheeler here as he had problems against Ian McCall, a fighter that Valencia easily defeated. While that isn't a premonition to how this fight will go, Valencia has a much more well-rounded skill-set to draw from with solid punching, good wrestling ability, and a fast pace. He should be able to dominate Wheeler in this fight, and who knows -- maybe he'll throw the German Suplex... with release into the mix once again.