Storylines Abound for WEC 47
The MMA world is just beginning to sizzle as we enter March. With the major promotions having multiple cards loaded with title fights, stacked pay per views and even a big CBS show on the way, some might have overlooked WEC 47 today in Columbus, Ohio. I certainly did not. The WEC always delivers and these little guys are ready to entertain you once again. There are plenty of very interesting questions that are going to be answered tonight, and plenty of solid MMA stories to be made. Here are my top 4.
Zuffa Returns to Columbus – For the past three years, the UFC has always held an event in Columbus, Ohio during the world renowned Arnold Sports Festival. This year, it’s the WEC’s turn to bring the excitement. Who can forget legendary performances like Randy Couture’s dominance of Tim Sylvia at UFC 68, Anderson Silva’s epic title bout with Dan Henderson at UFC 82, or even hometown hero Matt Hammil’s highlight reel knockout of Mark Munoz at UFC 96. What WEC moment will forever be etched into our memories this time around?
Brian Bowles’ First Title Defense – Brian Bowles shocked the world with his first round knockout of Miguel Torres last August at WEC 42. He’s currently 8-0 with none of his fights having gone the distance. At just 29 years old, he has the skillset to be a champion for a long time. Many say though, that you aren’t really the champion until you successfully defend your belt, and his opponent is no pushover. Dominick Cruz is 14-1 in his career with his lone loss being to Urijah Faber for the featherweight title nearly three years ago. Since moving down to bantamweight, Cruz has gone 4-0 in the WEC to earn another title shot and he has all the tools to make this an incredibly exciting fight. An interesting wildcard is Brian Bowles’ hand, which he broke in his victory over Torres. Will he retain his highlight reel power and is he 100% recovered? He’ll need to be to get a win over Cruz.
Lil Evil’s Last Hurrah? – Jens “Lil Evil” Pulver is one of the most inspirational and tearjerking stories in all of mixed martial arts. The guy is simply one of the most emotionally honest fighters in the sport and has overcome so much. It has really hurt to watch him go 1-6 in his last seven fights. He picked up a quick win in his WEC debut and had a very entertaining 5 round war against Urijah Faber for the featherweight title where he came up short. Since then, he has lost three straight fights all within the first round with none of them lasting more than 1:34. Pulver is making one last attempt to stay competitive in the featherweight division with his fight against Javier Vasquezand is even the subject of a documentary called “Driven” that has been following his comeback trail and telling his life story. Vasquez is a tough jiu jitsu grappler, and Pulver wouldn’t have it any other way. He’s said in the past that if he found himself in a “gimme” fight, he would call it a career. Pulver was the UFC’s first lightweight champion and has career wins over Caol Uno, Joe Stevenson and even BJ Penn. With a solid resumé like that, it’s incredibly difficult to call it quits. There is no one I’m going to be rooting for more on this card than Jens Pulver, and I have a feeling the Columbus crowd will feel the same way.
How Will Miguel Torres Respond to His First Loss in over 5 Years? – Miguel Torres was on an absolute roll until Brian Bowles put up a roadblock last August. His 17 fight win streak over a 5 1/2 year period was the greatest mixed martial arts feat by anyone who’s name doesn’t rhyme with Belianenko. After the loss, Torres left his hometown Chicago gym and began working around the USA with some of the best training camps like Robert Drysdale for jiu jitsu, Kurt Pellegrino for wrestling and Mark DellaGrotte for kickboxing and Mauy Thai. His normally bubbly personality on twitter has become much more serious and focused since the loss. This isn’t a quick rebound fight either, his opponent Joseph Benavidez is a top contender at bantamweight and is one of Urijah Faber’s top protégés. Whoever wins this fight will most likely face the Bowles-Cruz winner later this summer for the bantamweight title. In a recent video interview, Torres said that how a fighter responds to a loss defines his career. This fight will certainly be a huge career defining moment for Torres.