While Strikeforce were putting on a great event in San Jose, the WEC were also putting on a great night of fights in Las Vegas.
The bout between Donald Cerrone and Ed Ratcliff wasn’t necessarily the most high profile fight the organization have ever put on in the main event slot, but with two fighters like these it was always going to be entertaining.
As expected Cerrone was looking to stand and trade blows with Ratcliff from the first bell, and his iron chin was tested early by the karate stylist, causing Cerrone’s knees to buckle. If it phased him he didn’t let it show, and began to have more success as he continued to push the pace.
It’s always unfortunate when a fighter gets inadvertently caught by a groin strike, but three is far more serious. Though he fought on, Ratcliff’s performance must surely have been hampered in some way by the repeated knees he took from Cerrone in the first two rounds.
At the same time, though he was deducted two points for the fouls, it seemed to help rather than hinder Cerrone, giving him extra drive and purpose to get the job done inside the regulation time.
And indeed he did just that, relentlessly stalking his tiring opponent, and after being close to finishing him on a couple of occasions, he eventually managed to get Ratcliff to the ground long enough to rack up another submission win via rear naked choke.
Once again Cerrone proved that he never features in a boring bout, and he walked home with another ‘Fight Of The Night’ award to prove it.
It quickly became clear in the Chris Horodecki fight that the height and reach advantage enjoyed by his opponent Anthony Njokuani was indeed going to be a major factor. He struggled to find a home for his kicks and punches, while eating some coming the other way.
Horodecki wisely moved to plan B, attempting to get in close and wrestle with Njokuani, but it was not long before things took a turn for the worse. After a scramble Horodecki lost focus for a moment, turning his back on his opponent, and he lived to regret it as Njokuani swiftly launched a vicious head kick that connected cleanly and dumped him in a heap on the mat.
Though he somehow stayed concious, a few more punches from the Nigerian was all it took to bring an end to the fight. It was a highlight reel moment for Njokauni, and helped earn him the third ‘Knockout Of The Night’ award in a row. It also marks him out as a fighter who could well be a top contender in the WEC lightweight division.
Horodecki certainly didn’t make the kind of impact that he would have hoped in his debut for the WEC, and will no doubt be haunted for some time to come by the basic error that ended his night so abruptly.
Joseph Benavidez was quick to highlight Rani Yahya’s lack of striking acumen, and the power in his own hands in the first round of their bout, rocking him with a right hand and then quickly finishing the job by raining down blows from inside the dazed fighters’ guard.
Coming off a loss, Benavidez will undoubtedly be relieved to have made it past a potentially tricky opponent in relatively short order. The result takes him to 3-1 in the WEC, and breaks Yahya’s three fight win streak.
There have been some doubts over Takeya Mizugaki’s chin since his arrival in the WEC, but after his fight last night there can certainly be no questioning his heart.
Despite being the less technical striker, Scott Jorgensen dropped the Japanese fighter twice in the first round. He was unable to finish him however, and the fight progressed to the second, where he continued to press the action.
In the third the plucky Mizugaki made a late bid to steal the fight, including taking Jorgensen down and at one stage even briefly putting him into the crucifix position. Jorgensen escaped however and weathered the storm to claim the unanimous decision victory.
Jorgensen now stands at 8-3 in his mixed martial arts career, while Mizugaki falls to 1-2 in the WEC, 12-4-2 in his pro career.
The battling performance from both men was rewarded as they also earned the second ‘Fight Of The Night’ award of the evening.