(Faber vs. Mizugaki; fight starts at the 6:59 mark, and the nasty finishing sequence begins at 10:49. Props: borntoride5656. Get a look before it’s pulled…)
In the first phase of its two-part farewell tour, the WEC transcended its lame-duck status with yet another thrilling card last night in Las Vegas. Urijah Faber left no doubt in fans’ minds that he’ll be a force at bantamweight, needing less than one round to take out Takeya Mizugaki in the main event. After a few exchanges contested on the feet and in the clinch, Faber snatched a guillotine, then brilliantly transitioned to Mizugaki’s back to secure a rear-naked choke. Mizugaki gamely tried to defend, but eventually passed out rather than tapping; he was asleep for a solid 10 seconds before referee Josh Rosenthal recognized what was up. The victory earned Faber a $10,000 Submission of the Night bonus, which he vowed to split with his teammate Joseph Benavidez.
Following his dominant showing, it appears likely that Faber will get the next bantamweight title shot against the winner of Dominick Cruz vs. Scott Jorgensen at WEC 53. When asked about that matchup following the event, Faber said “[Scott and I] have a good relationship. He’s a guy I helped get into the sport a little bit. We’ve trained a bunch together. He’s mentally tough. I’d rather fight Dominick, but I’m rooting for Scott [to win that fight].”
As for his new home at 135, Faber was psyched: "When I first started fighting there was no 135-pound weight class. So it’s not like I had the choice. I was just the best guy at 145. So now it’s my time to shine down here. I’m at my most competitive weight. It’s my time. It’s a new era baby!"
Faber’s win capped a 3-0 sweep from Faber’s Team Alpha Male squad on the main card. Joseph Benavidez scored one of the most impressive wins of his career when he guillotine-choked Wagnney Fabiano into submission in the second round of their fight. (Remember when Fabiano was murdering people in the IFL at lightweight and featherweight, and was thought to be one of the greatest jiu-jitsu practitioners in MMA? Damn, son.) In the event’s co-headliner, Chad Mendes used takedowns and ground control to frustrate Javier Vasquez en route to a unanimous decision victory.
Also on the main card, Erik Koch — who was originally supposed to face Josh Grispi until Grispi got promoted to a title shot — picked up WEC 52′s Knockout of the Night bonus by putting Francisco Rivera’s lights out with a head kick.
On the preliminary card, Cub Swanson‘s fast-paced three-round bang-up with Mackens Semerzier resulted in a split-decision win for Swanson and $10,000 Fight of the Night bonuses for both men. Anthony Njokuani managed to snap his two-fight losing streak by TKO’ing sacrificial lamb Edward Faaloloto, who came into the fight with just a 2-0 pro record. Plus, Raphael Assuncao got back to his winning ways by outpointing LC Davis. Full results from WEC 52 are below…
– Urijah Faber def. Takeya Mizugaki via technical submission (rear-naked choke), 4:50 of round 1
– Chad Mendes def. Javier Vazquez via unanimous decision (30-27 x 3)
– Erik Koch def. Francisco Rivera via TKO, 1:36 of round 1
– Joseph Benavidez def. Wagnney Fabiano via submission (guillotine choke), 2:45 of round 2
– Demetrious Johnson def. Damacio Page via submission (guillotine choke), 2:27 of round 3
– Raphael Assuncao def. LC Davis via unanimous decision (30-27 x 3)
– Anthony Njokuani def. Edward Faaloloto via TKO, 4:54 of round 2
– Dustin Poirier def. Zack Micklewright via TKO, 0:53 of round 1
– Michael McDonald def. Clint Godfrey via submission (armbar), 2:42 of round 1
– Cub Swanson def. Mackens Semerzier via split decision (29-28 x 2, 28-29)
– Yves Jabouin def. Brandon Visher via unanimous decision (30-27 x 3)