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.
Yahya made waves in his WEC debut when he submitted Canadian veteran Mark Hominick in the first round of their bout at WEC 28 back in March 2007. After falling to Chase Beebe in a failed bid for the WEC bantamweight belt, Yahya traveled over to Japan for K-1’s annual New Year’s Eve show, Dynamite!! 2007.
There he suffered a second-round TKO loss to pound-for-pound phenom Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto. The skilled grappler has since bounced back, last seen earning a quick first-round submission of Yoshiro Maeda at WEC 36 in November.
WEC 40 will be headlined by current WEC bantamweight champion Miguel Angel Torres defending his title against top contender Brian Bowles. Former WEC featherweight title challenger Jeff Curran will also be moving down to the bantamweight division to take on Urijah Faber-protege Joseph Benavidez.
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