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.
The WEC rebounded from a lackluster show on November 5th with a solid effort. Only four fights were shown in the allotted time which was somewhat of a disappointment. Miguel Torres once again looked impressive in defeating challenger Manny Tapia to retain his bantamweight title. In a battle of fellow bantamweight contenders, Brian Bowles and Will Ribeiro fought the best fight of the night that was televised, with Bowles finally sinking in a deep guillotine for the victory. Wagnney Fabiano also notched another solid win in a very technical grappling affair that saw minimal action on the feet.
Results courtesy of MMA Junkie
Miguel Torres def. Manny Tapia via TKO (strikes)—Round 2, 3:04
Wagnney Fabiano def. Akitoshi Tamura via submission (head-arm choke)—Round 3, 4:48
Brian Bowles def. Will Ribeiro via submission (guillotine choke)—Round 3, 1:11
Joseph Benavidez def. Danny Martinez via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Johny Hendricks def. Justin Haskins via TKO (strikes)—Round 2, 0:52
Mark Munoz def. Blas Avena via TKO (strikes)—Round 1, 2:26
Diego Nunes def. Cole Province via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 30-27)
Bart Palaszewski def. Alex Karalexis via TKO (strikes)—Round 2, 1:11
Cub Swanson def. Hirouki Takaya via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Shane Roller def. Mike Budnik via submission (guillotine choke)—Round 1, 1:01
The WEC is set to promote their latest event, this time emanating from the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, NV. The featured fight will be for the bantamweight championship, as title holder Miguel Torres looks to tangle with the dangerous and undefeated Manny Tapia. Four of the world’s top 10 ranked bantamweights will be competing as well as an extremely intriguing matchup between top 10 ranked featherwights in Akitoshi Tamura and Wagnney Fabiano. The WEC continues to put on solid cards featuring many of the world’s best in the lighter weight classes.
The broadcast on the Versus network begins at 8pm EST. Here’s the card as it stands now before weigh ins.
Miguel Torres vs. Manny Tapia
Brian Bowles vs. Will Ribeiro
Akitoshi Tamura vs. Wagnney Fabiano
Joseph Benavidez vs. Danny Martinez
Johny Hendricks vs. Justin Haskins
Mark Munoz vs. Ricardo Barros
Bias Avena vs. Kevin Knabjian
Diego Nunes vs. Cole Province
Bart Palaszewski vs. Alex Karalexis
Hiroyuki Takaya vs. Cub Swanson
Shane Roller vs. Mike Budnik
Barring any last minute injuries or weight issues, the fight card is set for December 3rd’s WEC 37 at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, NV. The card will feature MMAonTap’s #1 ranked bantamweight, WEC Champion Miguel Torres, taking on undefeated challenger Manny Tapia. This fight has been a long time coming as Tapia has made it no secret that he’s wanted the challenge of taking on Torres. Unfortunately, injuries have slowed Tapia in the past.
Main Card Live on Versus:
Miguel Torres vs. Manny Tapia for WEC Bantamweight Championship
Brian Bowles vs. Will Ribeiro
Wagnney Fabiano vs. Akitoshi Tamura
Joseph Benavidez vs. Danny Martinez
Justin Haskins vs. Johny Hendricks
Ricardo Barros vs. Mark Munoz
Blas Avena vs. Kevin Knabjian
Diego Nunes vs. Cole Province
Alex Karalexis vs. Bart Palaszewski
Cub Swanson vs. Hirouki Takaya
Shane Roller vs. Mike Budnik
Las Vegas, NV (USA) – With two spectacular wins that sky-rocketed him into the pound-for-pound stratosphere, WEC® bantamweight champion Miguel Angel Torres has been one of 2008’s great success stories. But the only man standing between him and likely recognition as Fighter of the Year is one of his greatest rivals, Manny Tapia, an unbeaten contender who has been waiting six months for his shot at the 135-pound weight class’ greatest prize. The World Extreme Cagefighting® organization is pleased to announce that on Wednesday, December 3rd, at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, these two warriors will finally meet in an explosive contest guaranteed to produce fireworks.
Wanderlei Silva. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Here’s a little mix of news and notes that we missed over the past few days…
Jackson-Silva III Likely for UFC 91
Amidst lingering rumors that the two were set to rematch later this year, it seems that former UFC light heavyweight champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson will reportedly indeed take on longtime PRIDE middleweight title holder Wanderlei Silva at UFC 91 on November 15 according to MMA Junkie.
Sources within the Wolfslair camp, which Jackson recently joined after parting ways with trainer Juanito Ibarra, have said that Jackson has agreed to the fight and has already begun training. Attempts to contact Wolfslair co-owner Anthony McGann for confirmation by MMA on Tap were unsuccessful.
Jackson and Silva have fought on two separate occasions and Silva was victorious in both fighters. Silva stopped Jackson with strikes in the first round of their original meeting at PRIDE Final Conflict 2003 and then scored a second-round knockout of him at PRIDE 28 four years ago.
Yoshiro Maeda. Photo property of World Extreme Cagefighting.
Less than 24 hours after it was announced that Manny Tapia would be forced out of his scheduled WEC featherweight title bout against Miguel Torres due to a knee injury, Pancrase veteran Yoshiro Maeda has confirmed to Sherdog.com that he will indeed come in as an injury replacement and take on Torres in his first title defense.
Maeda, the current featherweight King of Pancrase, knocked out Charlie Valencia with a body kick in February and has not lost since being submitted by former WEC title contender Joe Pearson at a PRIDE event in November 2006.
HCF Postpones May 10th Event
From a press release sent out today:
Due to the fact that the due diligence process has been extended on our impending re-structuring, we are officially postponing our May 10 fight card. We hope our exclusive fighters will understand. We are confident this new corporate structure will be in every athlete’s best interest.
The event was slated to be Hardcore Championship Fighting’s biggest yet. A light heavyweight bout between Renato “Babalu” Sobral and Mauricio Alonso has been signed. Assuerio Silva, David Loiseau, and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira were also rumored as possible participants at the event.
CBS Announced Next CBS Event Date
Adam Swift of MMA Payout points out that CBS has announced July 26th as the date for the second Elite Xtreme Combat televised show on the network. No additional information was revealed concerning the event however. A list of possible fighters or a potential venue for the show are still unknown at this time. The event will be the second on a current four-show contract over the next twelve months with CBS.
Kang Talks Discussions With UFC
From our friends at MMA Junkie:
“Yes, we were negotiating with the UFC,” Kang said. “I would have loved to fight in the UFC. I would love to fight in North America and not have to travel 12 hours for a change. At the end of the day, it came down to where I want to be represented at the moment and who was offering the best contract.”
The best contract, it seems, was one that would allow the half-Korean fighter to compete in South Korea’s SpiritMC organization on an annual basis. Kang has fought 10 times in the organization since 2004, winning all 10 fights, and is still the SpiritMC heavyweight champion.
“SpiritMC was only asking that I fight for them once a year,” Kang said. “That’s one of the things that I really, really wanted to do—to keep my SpiritMC title and keep my fan base in Korea, which is really important to me.”
Manny Tapia weighs-in for WEC 32: Condit vs. Prater. Photo property of World Extreme Cagefighting.
Update 4/15 10:00 AM: Sherdog.com reports that Tapia may have suffered a meniscal tear and is expected to undergo arthroscopic surgery in the coming days. Tapia could likely be replaced by Pancrase veteran Yoshiro Maeda, who was agreed to come in as an injury replacement according to MMA Mania.
A knee injury suffered by undefeated bantamweight contender Manny Tapia has forced him to pull out of his scheduled title bout against current WEC champion Miguel Torres.
World Extreme Cagefighting announced the news on their official website earlier this evening.
The two were scheduled to clash at the organization’s next event in June. Tapia suffered the injury during a recent training session. There is currently no timetable for his return. A replacement opponent for Torres is expected to be announced shortly.
Tapia recently won a razor-close, split decision over Antonio Banuelos at a WEC show in February. The longtime King of the Cage veteran is currently riding a nine-fight winning streak and has yet to lose in his professional career.
Torres submitted then-champion Chase Beebe with a guillotine choke at the same event in February to claim the bantamweight belt. Like Tapia, Torres is also currently enjoying quite the winning streak - He has not lost since losing a unanimous decision to Ryan Ackerman in 2003, a span of 14 fights.
Urijah Faber weighs-in for WEC 28: Faber vs Farrar. Photo property of World Extreme Cagefighting.
World Extreme Cagefighting officially announced their self-proclaimed “most important featherweight bout of all-time” earlier today as WEC featherweight champion Urijah Faber will clash in a highly-anticipated fight against former UFC lightweight champion Jens Pulver on June 1st in Sacramento, California.
In addition to Faber-Pulver, newly crowned WEC bantamweight champion Miguel Torres will make his first title defense against undefeated top contender Manny Tapia in the co-main event. Former NCAA Division I wrestling champion Mark Munoz will also make his WEC debut at the event.
Faber remains undefeated inside the confines of the WEC, successfully defending his featherweight belt four consecutive times so far, including a submission win over top-ranked Jeff Curran in December.
However Pulver may provide Faber his toughest test to date, at least in terms of style. The Miletich Fighting Systems product joined the ranks of the WEC coming over from the Ultim ate Fighting Championship this past fall. Pulver made a splash quickly, needing just 35 seconds to submit Cub Swanson at WEC 31.
Despite rumors that the event would be the first WEC show to be broadcast on pay-per-view since Zuffa purchased the organization, it will indeed be shown on Versus.
Jamie Varner throws a left hook at Rob McCullough during their championship bout at WEC 32: Condit vs Prater. Photo property of World Extreme Cagefighting.
Some thoughts and notes from last night’s WEC 32: Condit vs Prater…
Good Show, Good Production
Last night’s event was definitely fun to watch. The televised bouts had a lot of everything - spectacular knockouts, slick submissions. Even the most boring fight on the broadcast had a highlight reel ending. The main thing that I wanted to touch on was the production. Sam Caplan makes a great point when he says that last night’s show was perhaps the best MMA show he’s ever seen on basic cable. I couldn’t agree more.
The commentating was great. Aside from Frank Mir’s screams of excitement once in a while during a bout, he did fantastic as always. Even Urijah Faber guest commentating during the Torres-Beebe fight was interesting to listen to. He came off as being a lot more than just a California surfer like I’m sure the casual fans portray him as.
Did anyone else notice that their was a semi-entrance where the fighters came out last night? Granted it was only a lit-up WEC sign above the curtain but still, it’s at least a start for those out there who still long to see a Zuffa-promoted event use the ramp again.
Strange Judging in Tapia-Banuelos
I realize it was a pretty even fight for the most part but how that one was scored a draw confuses the hell out of me. Antonio Banuelos did a good job of controlling the third round but I still thought that Manny Tapia earned a unanimous decision for the first two, even though a split call was more likely.
I’m still surprised that no one scored a 10-8 first round for Tapia. He knocked Banuelos down twice in the round and came very close to finishing him. Just like in the Bisping-Hamill fight, Cecil Peoples gave the fight to the wrong person again.