(Even the undercard of the WEC’s historic final card is stacked with exciting fights. RIP WEC, you won’t be forgotten. Bottom pic props David West.)
Although most people think that undercard bouts are of little consequence, one dark match on tonight’s final WEC 53 card will have great ramifications to the futures of its combatants, and if my hunch is correct, could potentially be a barnburner that will hopefully make it on the Versus broadcast.
According to a story from the East London Advertiser, the winner of tonight’s bantamweight bout between El Salvador-born Canadian Ivan Menjivar (21-7) and Brit Brad Pickett (19-5) will earn a UFC contract while the loser will go home empty handed.
Menjivar, who has faced a slew of UFC and WEC veterans including Joe Lauzon, Urijah Faber, Georges St-Pierre, Bart Palaszewski, Jeff Curran and Jason Black in his nine-year career has already experienced fighting in the UFC Octagon, having lost a hard fought decision to Matt Serra at UFC 48.
Despite not having the experience that Menjivar has, Pickett, who picked up Fight of the Night honors for his UFC 50 decision loss to Scott Jorgensen (who is fighting Dominick Cruz tonight for the inaugural UFC 135-pound strap), does have the advantage of already having three fights in the WEC and of having kept active the past seven years since he began fighting. Menjivar returned to the cage in June from a four-year absence from competition he spent rehabbing an injury and raising a family to fight under the W-1 banner and defeated Aaron Miller by a first round triangle.
By cutting either fighter, the UFC could be throwing away a hot marketing commodity for their next UK and Canadian shows as both "One Punch" and "The Pride of El Salvador" have solid fan followings in their respective countries.
The fact that one of the two prospects will be let go by Zuffa only strengthens the argument that although the WEC-UFC merger will mean better caliber of fights for fans, the sad reality is it will also mean less job security for fighters, regardless of how well they perform since the UFC roster is overflowing with talent.