If you rely on this site for MMA news — terrible idea, by the way — you’d hardly be aware that World Extreme Cagefighting is holding an event tonight at the Santa Ana Star Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Apologies; we had other things to deal with. But if the last WEC show was any indication, you could be in store for a wild time if you tune into Versus beginning at 9pm ET/6pm PT, especially since three championship belts are on the line. Here’s what the matchups look like:
Carlos Condit (champion) vs. Carlo Prater (for WEC Welterweight Title)
Rob McCullough (champion) vs. Jamie Varner (for WEC Lightweight Title)
Chase Beebe (champion) vs. Miguel Torres (for WEC Bantamweight Title)
Manny Tapia vs. Antonio Banuelos (bantamweights)
Leonard Garcia vs. Hiroyuki Takaya (featherweights)
Josh Grispi vs. Mark Hominick (featherweights)
Del Hawkins vs. Coty Wheeler (bantamweights)
Charlie Valencia vs. Yoshiro Maeda (bantamweights)
Micah Miller vs. Chance Farrar (featherweights)
Scott Jorgensen vs. Damacio Page (bantamweights)
Let’s take a look at that main card, shall we?
— Garcia vs. Takaya: The last time I remember seeing Leonard Garcia, his face was being punched into burger by Roger Huerta at UFC 69. Following his rough UFC debut, Garcia beat Allen Berubie, lost a decision to Cole Miller, and decided to drop to a more competitive weight of 145 and join the WEC. But he won’t have an easy time against “Streetfight Bancho,” who has been in the cage with stars like Gilbert Melendez, Genki Sudo, and Gesias Calvancante during his residencies with Shooto and K-1. Sure, he lost to those guys, but experience counts, and we think his striking power will be too much for Garcia to handle.
— Tapia vs. Banuelos: If Manny Tapia wins this fight, he could be next in line to challenge for the bantamweight belt after the dust settles on Beebe/Torres. The jiu-jitsu specialist was a destroyer in King of the Cage, racking up an 8-0-1 record before winning his WEC debut last May against Brandon Foxworth. Banuelos is a good friend of Chuck Liddell‘s, and even though he’s got the Iceman and John Hackleman feeding him pointers at The Pit, his recent fight history — four wins by decision and two losses by first-round knockout — raises some concerns. Not being able to finish a fight will hurt him against someone as aggressive as Tapia. We’re thinking this is one of those “loss by first-round knockout” kind of nights for Banuelos.
— Beebe vs. Torres: Miguel Torres is one of the best fighters you’ve never heard of. The Indiana native has been kicking dudes’ asses since 2000, and his current 13-fight win streak includes nine victories by submission. Though he’s younger and less experienced, Chase Beebe is equally adept on the ground, and boasts nine submissions of his own over 12 fights. His two WEC matches turned into hard-fought decisions against tough competition (including Rani Yahya at WEC 30), so he’ll be incredibly eager to hear the sound of an opponent tapping again. It’ll be awesome to see these two guys try to impose their wills on one another. Our prediction: Torres submits Beebe and takes his belt in a fight-of-the-night performance.
— McCullough vs. Varner: After going 1-1 in the Octagon, Jamie “The Worm” Varner jumped ship to the WEC for the chance to become a champion. Unfortunately, his plans will likely be dashed against the tough-as-nails bruiser that is “Razor” Rob McCullough. McCullough is a Team Punishment striker who doesn’t like to take matches out of the first round. Varner has great submissions, and if he can get the fight on the ground he’ll be able to put McCullough in trouble. But if the fighters stay on their feet, it’ll be a short night for Varner. We’ll say second-round KO/TKO for Razor.
— Condit vs. Prater: The backstory here is that Prater previously beat Condit in a Fightworld match in 2004. But these days, Condit is on a different level. This is Prater’s first match in a mid-range organization after being stuck in the locals his entire career, while Condit’s been sharpening his teeth in Pancrase and the WEC for the last year-and-a-half — and winning every fight. We see him avenging his loss without much difficulty, via first-round submission.