Event: WEC 53: "Henderson vs. Pettis"
Date: Thursday, December 16, 2010, on the Versus Network
Location: Jobing.com Arena in Glendale, Arizona
Ben Henderson vs. Anthony Pettis
Kid Nate: This is forcing me to pit my heart which is all about Anthony Pettis and his Judo Chop-friendly innovative brand of MMA and my brain which says that Henderson is the more technically sound fighter. Just call me the Scarecrow. Anthony Pettis by Fap worthy capoeira kick.
Brent Brookhouse: Pettis is talented but he is not as talented as Henderson. I also think Henderson holds more tools to be competitive in the totally undeserved title shot the winner gets so I'll be hoping he gets the win. Ben Henderson by decision.
Mike Fagan: It's been close to a month now, and I still don't understand why the winner of this is being given a title shot. Nor do I understand why Henderson/Pettis will be a five-round affair while former UFC champs and top-five light heavyweights Quinton Jackson and Lyoto Machida were limited to 15 minutes. Henderson's probably the most UFC-ready 155er coming from the WEC, but Jim Miller has a better case to fight the winner of Frankie Edgar vs. Gray Maynard. Benson Henderson by submission, round two.
Leland Roling: Pettis has the most upside, in my opinion, while Henderson still baffles me to no end as to how he manages to pull off win after win. He obviously has what it takes to be a high level fighter, but I think he'll get stomped in the UFC by even mid-level competition. Pettis, on the other hand, has a legitimate shot at becoming a talent in the UFC if he continues to progress. With that said however, I think Henderson can pull this off midway through this fight via his uncanny ability to catch opponents being lazy. Benson Henderson via submission, round three.
Dominick Cruz vs. Scott Jorgensen
Kid Nate: I'm not a fan of Cruz' style, but Jorgensen won't have an answer for it. Cruz by decision.
Brent Brookhouse: Cruz has some of the weirdest footwork in the sport. It's not exactly beautiful. But it's certainly weird. Jorgensen is going to look to engage in close but he's not going to get close very often and is going to find himself game, but frustrated. Dominick Cruz by decision.
Mike Fagan: Cruz moves around the cage like the ex-leper in "Monty Python's Life of Brian," and there's something about his footwork that just seems off to me. That being said, I don't think Scott Jorgensen is the man to solve the Cruz riddle, though he's certainly a viable challenger. Dominick Cruz by decision.
Leland Roling: Cruz's footwork will frustrate Jorgensen for most of this fight, and Jorgensen's style just doesn't cut it when his opponent is coming at him in an unorthodox manner. Dominick Cruz via decision.
Donald Cerrone vs. Chris Horodecki
Kid Nate: Horodecki hasn't developed the way you'd expect a guy who was winning titles at 20 to develop. Cerrone will be too much for him. Cerrone by TKO.
Brent Brookhouse: Cerrone isn't quite the technical striker that Njokuani is, but he's still much better and has that same range and dangerous style of kicks. That should be enough. Donald Cerrone by KO, round 2.
Mike Fagan: Uh, Chris Horodecki should be fighting at 145 pounds, if not 135 pounds. Wiki lists a four-inch height disparity, and I'm sure Horodecki will look even smaller than that next to Cerrone. Last time Horodecki fought a guy over six feet who could strike, he ate a head kick while running away. Donald Cerrone by TKO, round two.
Leland Roling: I was wrong about Chris Horodecki the last time he fought, but that hasn't changed my view of him. His striking is improving, but Cerrone is going to bang him out fairly quickly with a distance kicking game. He could probably throw Horodecki to the floor and submit him just as quickly as well, but Cerrone is a bit hard headed. He may just try to punch out Horodecki for the hell of it. Donald Cerrone via submission, Round 2.
Danny Downes vs. Tiequan Zhang
Kid Nate: Another gimme for Zhang. Why this is on the main card I have no idea unless China gets Versus now. Zhang by submission.
Brent Brookhouse: Shouldn't be much trouble here. Tiequan Zhang by submission, round two.
Mike Fagan: I guess Zuffa gave Zhang Tie Quan another fight he can win. Zhang Tie Quan by decision.
Leland Roling: Tiequan Zhang via submission.
Bart Palaszewski vs. Kamal Shalorus
Kid Nate: On paper, Shalorus has the skill set to shut down Palaszewski. I'm going to bet he brings it into the cage with him. Shalorus by decision.
Brent Brookhouse: Palaszewski is being thrown under a bus that is better than him at fighting. Kamal Shalorus by decision.
Mike Fagan: Bigger mystery: Kamal Shalorus's age or whether he'll eschew his legit wrestling creds to strike. Let's say he's 37 and uses his wrestling? Kamal Shalorus by decision.
Leland Roling: Kamal Shalorus via decision.
Undercard picks in the full entry.
Under card (May not be broadcast):
Jamie Varner vs. Shane Roller
Kid Nate: I've got a lot riding on this fight. In order to justify my faith in Anthony Pettis being on his way to the top, I've got to believe that Shane Roller is a top tier fighter. If he beats Jamie Varner he'll be a long way towards proving it. Roller by decision.
Brent Brookhouse: Varner doesn't deal well with guys who don't allow him to have space. I figure Roller gets some good work done in the first round but doesn't have the gas to keep up with Varner who will take over in rounds two and three for a decision. Jamie Varner by decision.
Mike Fagan: Hm. Varner has had problems with guys who can outwrestle him, but Roller's a part of the failed Team Takedown experiment. Jamie Varner by decision.
Leland Roling: Roller either looks great or gasses hard and has to pull off a miracle to stop everyone from throwing him under the bus. Varner, while not the greatest wrestler in the division, has enough cardio and drive to escape Roller's relentless takedown game and break him. Jamie Varner via decision.
Ivan Menjivar vs. Brad Pickett
Kid Nate: Ah alas, it's not 2004 anymore. Menjivar was once one of the best men his size in MMA but four years off isn't any way to prep for Brad Pickett, who's currently one of the best fighting today. Pickett by decision.
Brent Brookhouse: What Nate said really carries some weight. Menjivar is a guy who will never get the recognition he deserves for his peak. He's just not going to be able to keep up with Pickett for three rounds though. Brad Pickett by decision.
Mike Fagan: I'd say Menjivar can't take 4 years off and jump into the WEC, but he's fighting a Brit. Ivan Menjivar by decision.
Leland Roling: Wow... Ivan Menjivar, huh? Brad Pickett is a legit fighter who will impress in the UFC, and he should win easily in this showdown. Brad Pickett via decision.
Ken Stone vs. Eddie Wineland
Kid Nate: Stone is a highly touted and very green wrestler who trains out of American Top Team. Wineland is a former WEC champ with some vicious punching. Wineland by decision.
Brent Brookhouse: Wineland should win this on paper, but I have a feeling that Stone edges out a really competitive decision. Ken Stone by decision.
Mike Fagan: Remember when Eddie Wineland was the bantamweight champ? Me either. Eddie Wineland by decision.
Leland Roling: Eddie Wineland has proven power, and sharp mechanics on the feet. His footwork should cause Ken to have problems taking him down, and I fully expect Wineland to land the knockout blow in this match-up. Eddie Wineland via TKO.
Yuri Alcantara vs. Ricardo Lamas
Kid Nate: Alcantara is carrying a heavy load of hype amongst the nerd-o-scenti but Lamas is a really tough wrestler-boxer. Lamas by decision.
Brent Brookhouse: Probably the toughest call on the card for me. I'm going to go with the guy I've seen more. Ricardo Lamas by decision.
Mike Fagan: Look out, there are llamas! Ricardo Lamas by decision.
Leland Roling: Tough call as Alcantara hasn't truly faced a guy who can wrestle like Lamas. Alcantara has beaten some tough prospects in Brazil however, and he seems to find ways to win. Yuri Alcantara via decision.
Danny Castillo vs. Will Kerr
Kid Nate: Will Kerr won't be making it to the UFC. Castillo by KO.
Brent Brookhouse: Both guys should probably be cut come merger time. Danny Castillo by decision.
Mike Fagan: Danny Castillo, I guess. Someone might be a merger casualty here. Danny Castillo by decision.
Leland Roling: Danny Castillo via decision.
Renan Barao vs. Chris Cariaso
Kid Nate: Barao is for real. Barao by submission.
Brent Brookhouse: Renan Bario by submission, round 1.
Mike Fagan: I'll take the Brazilian with the three-inch height advantage and 24 fight unbeaten streak. Renan Barao by submission, round two.
Leland Roling: Renan Barao via submission