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WEC 52 Results: Urijah Faber Kicks Off ‘New Era’ at Bantamweight; Benavidez, Koch Also Dominate

(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…

Main Card
– 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

Preliminary Card
– 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)

Cagepotato Comments

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stopdrinkingpee- November 12, 2010 at 9:30 pm
Yeah, I was afraid Faber might have killed him. Mizugaki was out for a long time before Rosenthal stepped in. Tough angle, I know, but dude, that could have ended really badly. Miragliotta > Rosenthal. I'm with Dana, I wish we could clone Herb Dean...
knee2dahead- November 12, 2010 at 9:03 pm
Eric Koch looks like he just escaped the matrix
itsgalf- November 12, 2010 at 12:57 pm
in Rosenthal's defense he couldn't tell if Mizugaki's eyes were closed or if they were just normally that way
noname- November 12, 2010 at 12:25 pm
I hope Faber does not get the next title shot, he has been winning one fight then losing a title fight for the past couple of years. Other than that the submission was sick and the ref should have jumped in much earlier.
MoTropolis- November 12, 2010 at 10:36 am
Damn you Joe Rogan for introducing the word "Era" into MMA. These fighters are now using it like its going out of style.
k-onda- November 12, 2010 at 9:57 am
Why do I like it so much when dudes refuse to tap? Am I sick?
Sloshy53- November 12, 2010 at 9:37 am
Eric Koch needs a nickname. I suggest "Nosferatu".
PortlandMMA- November 12, 2010 at 9:21 am
I agree, I think Rosenthal is one of the better refs out there. This was just a really unfortunate situation where if he stops it too early every tells him he sucks, or if he stops him too late Mizugaki ends up like he did.
DangadaDang- November 12, 2010 at 9:05 am

Can I get a few more reasons, cause I think the MMA community considers Rosenthal a pretty solid ref
tnbp- November 12, 2010 at 8:37 am
That Faber choke situation was scary. Sitting at home, you could see that he was out pretty quickly but I could see how Rosenthal couldn't tell because Mizugaki's hands were trapped up against the cage. What surprised me was that Faber didn't say something. How many times have we seen a fighter turn to the ref and say, "he's out," while still holding on to a choke? Faber not only didn't alert the ref but he also held onto the choke a few unnecessary seconds as Rosenthal was trying to finally stop it. It was just scary. I was glad to see him come to...
danomite- November 12, 2010 at 8:31 am
I guess there's no better way of announcing your arrival to a new weight class than almost murdering a guy.

We were a Steve Mazzagatti away from witnessing a murder on live tv.

RearNakedSpoon- November 12, 2010 at 8:02 am
I'm sure Rosenthal saw how tight he had it before they rolled over and was surprised he didn't stop it after trying to check Mizugaki's right hand which wasn't attacking Faber arm anymore.

The perfect storm:
Faber didn't want to ease off with the round so near the end
Mizugaki didn't want to tap because the round was so near the end
Rosenthal didn't want to stop it so close to the round end without knowing for sure
Merlin- November 12, 2010 at 7:59 am
Thanks borntoride5656 I'm sure they have a colorful, noisy and bizarre funeral planned for Mizugaki back in Japan
PortlandMMA- November 12, 2010 at 7:55 am
So what happens if Faber beats the winner of the Cruz vs Jorgensen fight and Benavidez is the number one contender?
Shifty-Eyed Dog- November 12, 2010 at 7:41 am
That Swanson/Semerzier fight was SICK!! I'd put it right up there with Garcia/Korean Zombie for Fight of the Year. ...Although, I though Semerzier should've got the win. I had him taking rounds 1 & 3.

and add me to the list of people who thought Mizugaki was D-E-A-D.
Ballkick- November 12, 2010 at 7:39 am
My reasons for thinking Rosenthal is the worst official in MMA keep stacking up.
Shagen- November 12, 2010 at 7:16 am
Faber's post fight speech sounded like the "Goonie's" speech, "It's our time down here."
Fried Taco- November 12, 2010 at 7:10 am
I guess Rosenthal couldn't hear all the couch-refs yelling "He's out! He's out!"
busted_cranium- November 12, 2010 at 6:50 am
Urijah Faber by. . .justifiable homicide?

Get your shit together Rosenthal.
DangadaDang- November 12, 2010 at 6:46 am
I think Rosenthal was just trying to avoid Yves Lavigning that situation, and he did a fine job of it. When they cut away after he finally stopped it I thought Faber had just killed Mizugaki.

Cub Swanson looked good, there I said it. I remember sayin to my buddies during the fight that I've never seen the guy on the right end of a higlight reel or win in t he WEC, so thats nice for him.

Mendes needs to be more confident in his standup. He was doind damn fine against Vasquez, but every time it looked like he rocked him he took him down.
C.B.- November 12, 2010 at 6:25 am
Me either crippler - the fetal position and complete lack of defense might have tipped Rosenthal would think
cripplerfan1988- November 12, 2010 at 6:00 am
Was very impressed with Swanson.
Think Mendes didn't live up to his promises.
Gutted Page lost.
Benavidez back to his best.
Couldn't believe how long Mizugaki was out before the fight getting stopped!
Yazloz18- November 12, 2010 at 5:33 am
Good card. Even Mendes did that crazy flip to try to get into guard in the only main card fight to go to decision
destinationblood- November 12, 2010 at 5:27 am
good fights, i dont remember cub swanson looking so crisp before last night