Report: Mizugaki to Replace Bowles at WEC 40

Photo property of World Extreme Cagefighting.

WEC bantamweight contender Brian Bowles has reportedly withdrawn from his scheduled championship bout against Miguel Angel Torres at WEC 40 on April 5 after suffering a severe back injury during a recent training session.

His replacement will be top-ranked Japanese bantamweight Takeya Mizugaki according to Sherdog.com, which reports that the matchup has been agreed to and the paperwork will be finalized shortly. The Shooto and GCM veteran has also reportedly been offered a five-fight deal with the WEC.

Mizugaki will come into his bout against Torres riding a five-fight winning streak. He was last in action at a GCM event on December 6, earning a second-roung TKO victory over Masahiro Oishi. Mizugaki also owns a career win over veteran Tetsu Suzuki and has drawn with undefeated sensation Masakatsu Ueda.

Lamas Tapped to Replace Injured Crunkilton

Richard Crunkilton. Photo property of World Extreme Cagefighting.

World Extreme Cagefighting has announced that former WEC lightweight title challenger Richard Crunkilton has been forced to withdraw from his scheduled bout against former International Fight League standout Bart Palaszewski.

Crunkilton suffered a knee injury during a recent training session and will be unable to compete at WEC 39, which takes place this Sunday night in Corpus Christi, Texas. Mike Brown will defend his WEC featherweight title against Leonard Garcia in the main event.

Filling in for Crunkilton will be undefeated Brazilian newcomer Ricardo Lamas, who will enter into his late-notice bout with Palaszewski a winner of his first five professional fights. Lamas most recently won a unanimous decision over Christopher Martin at an Ironheart Crown event in November.

A Day in the Life: Bart Palaszewski

In the above video, former IFL lightweight standout Bart Palaszewski walks viewers through a day of training at Jeff Curran’s gym in Illinois and discusses his upcoming lightweight bout at WEC 39 this Sunday night in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Report: Swanson vs. Nunes Set for WEC 40

Cub Swanson. Photo property of World Extreme Cagefighting.

A featherweight bout between WEC veteran Cub Swanson and undefeated Brazilian product Diego Nunes has been booked for WEC 40, which takes place at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago, Illinois on April 5.

Swanson has reportedly confirmed the bout with MMA Junkie, stating that bout agreements have been signed. The California native was last seen in action at WEC 37 this past December, where he snapped a one-fight WEC losing streak by defeating Hiroyuki Takaya via unanimous decision.

Nunes remains undefeated thus far in his professional career. After winning eleven straight bouts in his native country of Brazil, Nunes traveled to North America and landed on the undercard of WEC 37, where he won a unanimous decision over fellow newcomer Cole Province.

WEC 40 will be headlined by Miguel Angel Torres defending his WEC bantamweight title against top contender Brian Bowles. Former WEC featherweight title challenger Jeff Curran will also drop down in weight to take on Joseph Benavidez.

Gamburyan Headed to WEC as a Featherweight

Manny Gamburyan. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

After suffering an injury in the finals of the fifth season of “The Ultimate Fighter” reality show and losing three out of his five UFC bouts, Manny Gamburyan will now be making the switch to World Extreme Cagefighting where he he will compete as a featherweight:

Gamburyan says that the move may only be temporary, but he is still excited for the prospects of fighting at in a lighter weight class. His WEC debut is expected to come in either May or June:

“I don’t know if the cut is going to be hard or easy – I haven’t made 145 in almost 10 years – but I’m going to do it in a good way,” he told MMAWeekly.com on Wednesday. “I’m going to put together a beautiful training (camp).”

Last summer, Gamburyan said UFC co-owners Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta wanted him to make the leap to the WEC’s marquee division after taking on Rob Emerson at UFC 87. But Gamburyan lost, and revised the plan. He would defeat Tavares, challenge two fighters he felt he had unfinished business with (likely Nate Diaz and Sean Sherk), and cut the weight.

The decision to move the 27-year-old was made shortly after the Jan. 31 fight against Tavares. Gamburyan plans on fighting as a lightweight again, but there are plenty of opportunities in the WEC.

The move was a great one by Gamburyan, who has a tremendous skill set, but always came into his fights in the UFC at a disadvantage because of his lack of size for the lightweight division. I wouldn’t expect him to be thrown in against the WEC’s top dogs at 145 lbs right off the bat, but a couple of wins will move him into title contention.

Three Bouts Added to WEC 40

Manny Tapia. Photo property of World Extreme Cagefighting.

Three additional bouts have been added to World Extreme Cagefighting’s upcoming first venture to Chicago, where the promotion will hold WEC 40 on April 5. The show’s main event features WEC bantamweight champion Miguel Angel Torres defending his title against top contender Brian Bowles.

Added to the event’s televised main card is a lightweight bout between Team Takedown member Shane Roller and Maximum Fighting Championship veteran Ben Henderson. Roller has won two straight WEC fights, submitting both Todd Moore and Mike Budnik via guillotine choke, while Henderson did the same to Anthony Njokuani in his WEC debut in January.

Fresh off of suffering his first professional loss in a failed bid to dethrone Tapia from atop his bantamweight perch back in December is Manny Tapia, who will take on a more experienced opponent in Japanese veteran Akitoshi Tamura. “Ironman” fell in his WEC debut at WEC 37 as well, losing a hard-fought battle to Wagnney Fabiano.

Joining Tapia and Tamura on the preliminary portion of the card will be a featherweight clash between Rafael Dias and Cole Province. Both fighters were defeated in their WEC debuts: Dias fell to Danny Castillo via second-round TKO at WEC 36 while Province dropped a decision to Diego Nunes at WEC 37.


Wineland Set to Return to WEC Against Yahya

Eddie Wineland. Photo property of World Extreme Cagefighting.

After a year of fighting in smaller shows, former World Extreme Cagefighting bantamweight champion Eddie Wineland will likely make his return to the organization against jiu-jitsu champion Rani Yahya at WEC 40, which is scheduled to take place April 5 in Chicago, Illinois.

MMA on Tap was able to confirm the bout with sources close to the fight. Both fighters have agreed to the matchup and it is expected to be finalized shortly.

Wineland originally defeated Antonio Banuelos to claim the vacant WEC bantamweight title at WEC 20 three years ago and Zuffa opted to keep Wineland as their title holder when they purchased the promotion soon after.

However Wineland fell in his first and only title defense, losing a hard-fought unanimous decision to Chase Beebe at WEC 26. He has since won two straight fights, most recently defeating Wade Choate at a Corral Combat Classic event in November.

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Complete Card for WEC 39 Announced

Mike Brown. Photo property of World Extreme Cagefighting.

World Extreme Cagefighting has announced the complete fight card for its upcoming next event on March 1 in Corpus Christi, Texas. Mike Thomas Brown will defend his WEC featherweight title against Texas product Leonard Garcia in the show’s main event.

A previously rumored featherweight bout between Jose Aldo and newcomer Chris Mickle has been confirmed for the event as a late addition, and placed on the four-fight main card.  Other fights confirmed for the televised main card on Versus include Richard Crunkilton vs. Bart Palaszewski, former WEC lightweight champion Rob McCullough vs. Marcus Hicks, and Johny Hendricks vs. Alex Serdyukov.

Notable undercard bouts include top-ranked featherweight Marcos Galvao returning to take on Damacio Page and one-time “Ultimate Fighter” cast member Alex Karalexis going up against Greg McIntyre.

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Rafael Assuncao Inks Deal With WEC

Junior and Rafael Assuncao. Photo property of the American Fight League.

World Extreme Cagefighting’s featherweight division just keeps getting deeper and deeper. The organization has reportedly signed Rafael Assuncao, who owns career victories over the likes of Joe Lauzon and Jorge Masvidal, to a multi-fight deal that will have him make his promotional debut this spring.

However even though the signing further bolsters the WEC’s most competitive division, it also comes from with a downside: Assuncao’s manager, Malki Kawa, tells MMA Junkie that his client won’t be challenging for the WEC featherweight belt as long as Mike Brown, his training partner at American Top Team, has the belt:

However, should Assuncao establish himself in the division and should Brown defend his title, don’t expect the two fighters to square off in the future.

“Hopefully, we’ll get one or two fights against some solid competition and put ourselves in line to challenge for the title,” Kawa said. “Rafael will be training with American Top Team, so he wouldn’t want to challenge Mike Brown for the title. He hopes Mike continues to have a great run as champion, but if circumstances change at some point, he would definitely like to challenge for the title.”

I understand where Assuncao is coming from. He’s carrying the same mentality that many others in the sport do when it comes to fighting teammates. Hell, I wouldn’t be too fond of the idea of fighting someone that I train with everyday either. However in this situation, it’s a dilemma that could end up affecting the division, especially if Brown holds on to the belt longer than most expect him to, because Assuncao certainly has the skills to be able to shoot right up to the top of the heap in the WEC’s featherweight ranks.

If both Brown and Assuncao start riding respective winning streaks and the money is right, I’m willing to bet that they would be willing to put their friendship aside temporarily in order to save the WEC’s featherweight title situation from going into the toilet. Otherwise, their relationship may end up clogging up things. Fortunately, there are plenty of featherweights waiting to challenger Brown and prevent the aforementioned from happening.

Faber Leads WEC 38 Salaries

Urijah Faber. Photo property of World Extreme Cagefighting.

The California State Athletic Commission has released the official list of fighter salaries stemming from World Extreme Cagefighting’s latest event, which took place on January 25 at the San Diego Sports Arena.

Jamie Varner successfully defend his WEC lightweight title after an illegal blow from Donald Cerrone ended their contest early, while Varner was ahead on the scorecards. Former WEC featherweight champion Urijah Faber also took a step closer to regaining his belt, dispatching of Jens Pulver for the second time in the past year.

Remember that this is only the base salary that a fighter received. Bonuses, deductions, and other undisclosed fees are not included.


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