As always last night’s WEC 50 event was filled with entertaining fights, but perhaps most pleasing was the performance of lightweight contender Anthony Pettis who, in my opinion, was the star of the show.
I’ll be honest I thought Shane Roller’s wrestling was going to prove to much for him to handle, but in fact he did a great job of shutting out his takedowns and even getting some of his own. That’s a great sign for Pettis who also showed his trademark eye-catching yet effective strikes during the bout which are quickly making him a fan favorite. The icing on the cake of course was the slick submission in the dying seconds of the fight, highlighting just how well rounded a fighter he is becoming.
The 23 year-old now goes to 4-1 during his 14 month spell in the WEC, with his only loss being by a controversial split decision against Bart Paleszewski.
Next up for the appropriately nicknamed ‘Showtime’ appears to be a title shot against current lightweight champion Ben Henderson, which could be the first of many headline bouts in his future.
Pettis wasn’t the only up and coming fighter to catch the eye last night though. Even in defeat I thought Brad Pickett also did his reputation no harm with a ‘Fight Of The Night’ performance against Scott Jorgensen.
Pickett is quite a character and became something of a draw for the Cage Rage promotion back in the UK a few years ago, and I think he could become a dependable main card fighter for the WEC as well.
Chad Mendes also notched up his third win for the WEC. There’s no doubt he’s going to go a long way with his excellent wrestling, but he’s still a work in progress. It remains to be seen whether he can live up to the hype and evolve into the kind of dynamic and exciting fighter that made his team-mate Urijah Faber a star.
Finally a special mention must go to Maciej Jewtuszko who, in his WEC debut no less, became the first man to TKO Anthony Njokuani, the dangerous Nigerian striker who had recently notched up three consecutive ‘Knockout Of The Night’ awards. The fact that he did this in just 96 seconds makes it all the more impressive.
Jewtuszko is now 8-0 in his MMA career with an even split of four submission and four knockouts on his record and though it’s early days yet, is certainly one to keep an eye on.
(Note: I’ve not mentioned Dominick Cruz, Joseph Benavidez or Scott Jorgensen here since I feel they are already well established names for the promotion.)