Last June, Antonio Banuelos and Scott Jorgensen competed in a bantamweight bout that was all action from start to finish and saw Banuelos earn a split decision victory. Since then, Banuelos defeated Kenji Osawa at WEC 44 in November while Jorgensen has reeled off three straight victories over the likes of Noah Thomas, Takeya Mizugaki and Chad George. Both appear to be in line for a title shot against Dominic Cruz in the near future so it only makes sense for the two to step in the cage for a highly anticipated rematch on WEC’s first pay per view card on April 24th.
Banuelos was originally scheduled to face Damacio Page, but when Page was forced off the card with an injury, it only made sense to put Jorgensen in as his replacement. “I’m really excited about the fight knowing I have to fight Scott again,” Banuelos said regarding the switch from Page to Jorgensen. “The way I fight and the way he fights, we hold nothing back and this will be a barnburner.”
Banuelos – who trains with the likes of Jake Shields and Chuck Liddell at The Pit – is quite confident that the rematch will be just as explosive as the first encounter. There may be a little added pressure to perform considering that this will be the first fight that airs on the PPV. This is something that Banuelos knows and says that he will come out as a much more complete fighter this time around.
“I think I’ve improved leaps and bounds. I’ve been working on my hands and my ground game. I’m always trying to get better,” he says. “With a guy like Scott you have to train on pretty much everything and not focus on one thing.” Banuelos reveals that his conditioning will also be top notch – something that many were not aware of when he fought Jorgensen the first time. “I actually got split above my eye about two weeks before the fight. I had slow down my training a lot and I felt it later in the first fight. I have been able to push it hard all the way this time,” he says.
With the Bantamweight division being loaded with talented fighters by the names of Bowles, Torres, Benavidez, Page, Mizugaki, Yahya and others both fighters know that to remain in title contention, a victory is a must.
“I think me and Scott are in contention with all these guys,” the Cali native says when asked about the unpredictable Bantamweight picture. “Scott is on a win streak and he’s beaten a bunch of good guys. I’m on a win streak myself. We’re both up there and we’re the top contenders. I think the winner of this should be the top contender.”
It’s the biggest stage for the WEC to date and the opportunity to prove that the WEC is on par with their bigger brother’s at the UFC stares them right in front of the face on Saturday night. It’s an opportunity that Banuelos thinks can carry the company into the mainstream and prove that the little guys are full of action.
“WEC is only going to go up from here,” he says. “The PPV is really going to show the world that we’re great fighters. All the cards they’ve had, there haven’t ever really been boring fights. There are fireworks on every card they have. With my fight and the title fight of Aldo and Faber it’s a great lineup.” He chuckles a bit before summarizing everything that he’s trying to say.
“We’re here to prove that the lighter weights are badasses.”
On Saturday, we’ll all find out.