Saturday night, WEC 45: Cerrone vs. Ratcliff goes down at the Palms in Las Vegas. You can check out some of the very best lighter weight fighters in the world on Versus at 10pm ET.
Brett Jones: I like Jorgensen a lot. His style seems to be based around aggression, and while that doesn’t always lead to success, it does seem to always make for exciting fights. That being said, Mizugaki is too precise a striker to allow Jorgensen to mount any significant offense. Mizugaki should be able to pick Jorgensen apart for the better part of this fight, though Jorgensen is tough and should be able to hang in there to a decision. Takeya Mizugaki via unanimous decision
Spencer Kyte: This could prove to be the best fight of the weekend. As much as I like Scotty Jorgensen – which is a lot – Mizugaki went five rounds with Miguel Torres and that is all I need to know in handicapping this bout. It’s going to be a super high energy bout, but Mizugaki has too much experience. Mizugaki by UD
Jeremy Botter: We had former Boise State product Jorgensen on The Takedown on 1560 The Game last weekend. He was preparing to attend an “Ugly Christmas Sweater” party, where all attendants simply try to show up with the ugliest sweater possible. Jorgensen said he had a sweater in the closet that would easily beat the epic Fedor Sweater. Perhaps Fedor draws a mystical power of some kind from his sweater; I can’t think of any other logical reason for wearing that thing. If that’s the case, it stands to reason that Jorgensen may be able to draw power from his ugly sweater as well. He’ll need everything he can get his hands on to beat Takeya Mizugaki, a fighter notable for making his WEC debut in a championship match with Miguel Torres. Jorgensen is a tough competitor, but I’m not sure he has enough tools in the chest to beat Mizugaki. Takeya Mizugaki by decision.
Mizugaki 3, Jorgenson 0
Brett Jones: This fight reminds me a lot of Chase Beebe v. Rani Yahya, wherein Yahya looked like a world beater for the first five minutes of the fight, only to gas out and become a practice dummy to a superior wrestler. The difference is that Benavidez is a bit more agressive striker than Beebe and probably not as good of a wrestler. I could actually see that helping or hurting Benavidez in this fight, but I feel that ultimated Benavidez will manage to avoid Yahya’s early onslaught of submission attempts and drag Yahya beyond the point at which he’s effective. Joseph Benavidez via unanimous decision
Spencer Kyte: The Team Alpha Male member Benavidez looks to bounce back from his first career loss, but Yahya is no slouch. Dude will submit his own mother if she gives him an opening… okay, maybe not his own mother, but just about anyone else. I smell an upset… Yahya by Submission, Round 1
Jeremy Botter: Yahya is a slick submission artist and perennial contender at the ADCC championships. He’s riding a three-fight win streak on the back of those submission skills, with each victory coming by way of some variant of a jiu-jitsu choke in the first round. He’s the kind of guy that will strike fear into the heart of wrestlers like Joseph Benavidez.
Benavidez, a Urijah Faber disciple, keeps a maddening pace in the cage. His lone pro setback came in his last fight, a decision loss in a contenders match to Dominick Cruz. He’ll have the striking edge in this bout, but will only remain effective if he can keep the fight standing. If it goes to the ground, as I expect it will, Yahya will finish the fight. Rani Yahya by submission, round one.
Yahya 2, Benavidez 1
Brett Jones: It’s absurd that Njokuani got into martial arts because he wanted to learn the high kicks of Tae Kwon Do to improve his break dancing and because he was a big fan of Jean Claude Van Damme. Despite these things, Njokuani has become a pretty good fighter, only losing to Donald Cerrone and Ben Henderson in 13 career fights. Njokuani has developed an effective kickboxing style, which has led him to knock out Bart Palaszewski. The IFL rival of Horodecki went to two split decisions with Njokuani’s opponent. Though that favors Njokuani on paper, Horodecki only has one loss in 14 career fights, and he’s beaten every opponent he’s faced. Njokuani has only lost via submission, and while Horodecki is coming off of his first submission victory, I don’t think he’s the right guy to exploit Njokuani’s weakness on the ground. This fight should stay standing for as long as it lasts. Anthony Njokuani via TKO, round 2
Spencer Kyte: As a Canadian, I’m almost compelled to pick Chris Horodecki, especially since we’ve both called London, Ontario home. As an objective journalist, I can’t let national ties cloud my judgment… nor can I ignore the fact that Njokuani has smashed on his last two opponents and his two career losses came to interim champ Ben Henderson and headliner Donald Cerrone.
Horodecki is still super-young and I wouldn’t be shocked if he pulled the upset, but it’s head over heart for me here – Njokuani by TKO, Round 2
Jeremy Botter: This is the fight I’m most looking forward to. Horodecki is a hardcore fan favorite, and his debut has been highly anticipated by fans and WEC brass alike. He has just one loss in fourteen career pro fights and was one of the standout fighters in the now-defunct International Fight League.
Anthony Njokuani has one of the most fascinating personal histories in the sport. A Nigerian native, Njokuani’s family fled the country when war broke out and moved to a suburb of Dallas, Texas. Njokuani became a top-notch dancer, and dancing somehow led to being a professional fighter. His only career losses came at the hands of Donald Cerrone and Ben Henderson.
Njokuani has faced a stiffer level of competition than Horodecki, at least in recent years. That experience in tough bouts should give him a significant edge here, and he’ll use his kickboxing skills to hurt Horodecki early and often. Anthony Njokuani by TKO, round two.
Njokuani 3, Horodecki: 0
Brett Jones: Ratcliff has no chance. Zero. I like Ratcliff, but he’s a one-dimensional striker who Cerrone will take down and submit in the first round. I suppose Ratcliff’s tenure with WEC is the reason why he’s in the main event against Cerrone, but wouldn’t it make more sense to put Ratcliff against another one dimensional striker in Anthony Njokuani and let Horodecki, who the audience for this event is sure to know, fight Cerrone? Oh well, enough of my fantasy match making. Donald Cerrone via Submission, round 1.
Spencer Kyte: Ratcliff is solid, but Cerrone is head-and-shoulders better than him. Everywhere. All day. Cerrone by whatever he wants sometime in the first round.
Jeremy Botter: Ratcliff is being fed to the wolves in this bout. Cerrone is coming off a tough loss to Ben Henderson, a loss that derailed his plans for a much-anticipated championship rematch with Jamie Varner and sent him cruising to the bantamweight division, where he’ll fight after this bout is over. Ratcliff literally does one thing well (striking), and Cerrone likely has an edge in that category as well. “Cowboy” won’t want to risk the chance of another loss, especially when he has his eyes set on a title fight with Jose Aldo. He’ll take Ratcliff to the mat as soon as he sees an opening, and a submission victory is nearly automatic from there. Donald Cerrone by submission, round one.
Cerrone 3, Ratcliff: 0