We hate to say we told you so (no we don’t) but Brad Pickett’s undercard bout with Ivan Menjivar at WEC 53 turned out to be a pretty good scrap. According to people who were on the scene in Glendale on Thursday night, the unaired prelims for this event were pretty epic. Maybe that’s what induced the live crowd to boo every takedown and cheer every Jesus reference during the televised portion of the card. Or maybe Arizona just sucks, who knows. We’re still waiting for the emergence of video evidence of the slam Eddie Wineland laid on Ken Stone – which briefly caused rumors to circulate through the arena that Stone had a broken neck. (He didn’t. He was fine.) – but for now we’ll have to make do with this pleasing little three-rounder. Spoilers (if you can call them that four days after the event) are after the jump.
Anyway, the first minute or so of Pickett vs. Menjivar is pretty standard but after Pickett counters a spinning backfist with a double leg takedown they start picking up the pace. Kind of hard to believe that the old OG Menjivar is making his WEC debut in the organization’s final show. Dude’s been fighting as a professional since Christ was a blue belt. He actually throws four backfists in the first round of this fight, probably to his detriment. Near the end of the first he appears to have Pickett in a bit of trouble with traditional punches (bo-ring!), and promptly throws two more backfists which allow Pickett to grab another takedown and likely salt away the round with some hard ground and pound shots in the final minute.
In round two, Menjivar comes out a bit more conservatively – only one backfist during the first couple of minutes – and it seems to pay dividends for him. Just before the halfway point in the round he absolutely lights Pickett up with a series of punches and knees that have the English fighter on the brink of naptime. Smartly, Pickett finds an opportunity to exploit Menjivar’s apparently very crappy takedown defense with another doubleleg. He weathers the storm and even threatens with a couple of submission tries, but score that round for Menjivar.
The pace slows a bit to begin the third, but this time it’s Pickett’s turn to blast away at the midway point. He hurts Menjivar with a couple of hooks – Ivan falls back on what he knows and spins aimlessly for his buddy the backfist – and then Pickett follows it up with a flying knee that somehow doesn’t seem to have much effect. Pickett continues to potshot Menjivar until the final bell … and it’s enough to for him to claim a unanimous decision (29-28 on all three cards) which a small portion of the Arizona fans (naturally) boo. Real classy, guys.