Picks and Predictions for WEC 42: Mighty Mites

By Nicholas Bailey (

If you’re wondering why this card is so hyped, look at these rankings. More top-ten bantamweights are on this card than not, so this event has the potential to wholly change the face of the division. Furthermore, virtually every one of those fighters is an action fighter with great skills, so A+ fights are likely to be on offer. The one shame is that Leonard Garcia, in what is sure to be a fight full of fireworks, is not on the main card.

I do suggest viewers turn off the sound on their television when Miguel Torres appears on screen, unless you enjoy hearing Frank Mir giving him a tongue-bath.

Champ Miguel Torres (-300) vs. Brian Bowles (+285) (for WEC bantamweight title)

It’s the bowl cut vs. the wolf cut in a battle for divisional supremacy. Torres has looked like an invincible champion, but Bowles has enormous talent, entering the big leagues in only his 4th pro fight and dominating ever-tougher competition, culminating in beating the super-talented Will Ribero at his own game. In this fight, we’ll see if Bowles really has such insane ability that he can just storm to the number one slot in a division, or if he’s going to have to absolutely destroy some more contenders and get more experience before he’s ready to be the bantamweight kingpin.

Torres is an incredibly tough test for anyone, as his range on the feet is used to the utmost and coupled with good power. Moreover, despite a fairly weak wrestling game, nobody wants to take him down, as he’s just as dangerous on the mat. He’s basically bulletproof on the feet, as shown in a five-round slugfest with the hard-hitting Mizugaki, and it’s hard to imagine anyone in the division aside from Rani Yahya is capable of submitting him, which leaves the only way to unthrone him a very difficult one—outlast and outpoint such an aggressive and finish-oriented fighter for five rounds. That’s a challenge.

Bowles has good striking, but if Torres can work the same game he did against Manny Tapia, he will completely embarrass the challenger. Torres has a fantastic jab, throwing out fast, hard, accurate, and very long punches from far outside most fighters’ range. However, Bowles is fast and powerful, so if Torres decides to go punch for punch and let his emotion dictate his style, as he did against Mizugaki, he could get busted up again and stands a chance of getting dropped in a flash KO.

Against Mizugaki, however, Torres was operating under the impression that the Japanese fighter couldn’t take his punches, and may simply have been hunting for a KO to his own detriment, as Rampage Jackson did against Keith Jardine. Torres will surely bring more respect for Bowles into this fight, and has been diligently working on his jab, so you can expect a clinical destruction.

Bowles is aggressive and even if he’s getting hammered, he won’t just go into a defensive survival mode, so Torres is going to wear him down with continual punishment, eventually TKOing him or bashing him up and catching a submission. Miguel Torres by TKO round 3.

Joseph Benavidez (-270) vs. Dominick Cruz (+215)

Benavidez had his coming out party at the expense of Jeff Curran. In that fight he showed lightning speed, both in his hands (although he rarely threw anything in significant combinations) and in his takedowns and top control. He’s a very active fighter, but he doesn’t seem to have the kind of finishing ability that others do.

Cruz is coming off a very strange bout with the unheralded Ivan Lopez. A match which saw Lopez’s cup come completely out of his jockstrap and bounce around the ring, with a couple close calls afterwards where Cruz nearly took Lopez down directly onto his own protective device. Strange stuff.

Cruz is a solid fighter, but he’s just outmatched here. Benavidez will be in the drivers seat the entirity of this fight and position himself to fight the top guys in the division. Joseph Benavidez by decision.

Danny Castillo (+175) vs. Ricardo Lamas (-205)

It’s unclear why this fight is on the main card. Lamas is a good deal better than Castillo, but Castillo is good enough on the ground to defend himself off his back and lose a clear 30-27 decision due to being controlled from the top. That’s not likely to set the television screen on fire, which makes it all the more strange that someone that just throws down like Leonard Garcia (who is also being paid more than these two put together, most likely) is not being put on the televised portion of the card. Ricardo Lamas by decision.

Jeff Curran (+160) vs. Takeya Mizugaki (-195)

Mizugaki really made a huge splash in his very gutsy performance against champion Miguel Torres, showing he’s very dangerous on the feet as well as a very big and strong bantamweight. Curran is starting to slide into the role of gatekeeper to the stars, and will continue to serve in this role in this fight. Curran is pretty good in every aspect of the game, the kind of guy that can protect himself and not get overwhelmed from any position.

Mizugaki showed he is very tough by gunfighting with Torres, but there are still questions about his chin after Kenji Osawa dispatched him with what did not appear to be particularly splendid punches. Curran is a solid boxer, so if Mizugaki just tries to make a brawl of it, we’ll see if that was just a fluke or if he really does have a trick chin.

Overall, Mizugaki should be the bigger, stronger man, the harder hitter, and able to take down Curran and control him from top if things get too hairy. Takeya Mizugaki by decision.

Leonard Garcia (-450) vs. Jameel Massouh (+375)

While the odds (and likely the result) of this fight paint a picture of a blowout domination, Jameel Massouh is not someone to be overlooked. He hung tough with Rafael Assuncao and is a very skilled and durable fighter. This is just a horrible style matchup for him. Massouh has some striking chops, but he’s still very hittable, relying primarily on his chin instead of his defense. Against a fighter like Garcia, that’s a recipe for disaster, as Garcia will just throw four-seam fastball pitches right into his face until he crumples. On the ground, Garcia is too skilled for Massouh to work his very respectable submission game, so this is just going to be a case of tough luck for the young fighter. Leonard Garcia by KO round 1.

Fredson Paixao (-165) vs. Cole Province (+140)

Paixao has many of the typical shortcomings of pure BJJ converts—poor gas and weak standup, but at least he’s tough as hell. Province is woefully overmatched in this fight, which should be a good demonstration of Paixao’s massive BJJ skills. Fredson Paixao by submission round 1.

Marcus Hicks (-110) vs. Shane Roller (-110)

It’s always fun to remember how Marcus Hicks is a bowling ball of a man with crushing power in his guillotine. Roller is a skilled wrestler that has a dangerous guillotine of his own, and is coming off a bit of bad luck in his TKO loss to Benson Henderson, a fight that could have gone either way.

Hicks is a powerhouse, so he has a chance of doing the same, but his tiny arms and wrestling disadvantage will make it hard for him to accumulate much damage on Roller. Furthermore, while Hicks is good offensively, he has very little head movement and is quite hittable, as shown in his fights with Jamie Varner and Rob McCullough.

If Roller doesn’t fall into a guillotine, he should be able to land takedowns on Hicks and wear him down to a control decision. This is an excellent test for Roller, as mistakes will be punished. Shane Roller by decision.

Phil Cardella (+285) vs. Ed Ratcliff (-325)

Ratcliff throws an interesting variety of karate strikes, and is quite devestating and effective with them, but he has real deficiencies on the ground. Cardella isn’t an A-level fighter, but he does have an aggressive and accomplished submission game, so if he can get Ratcliff down or create a scramble, he should be able to lock something up and put him away. Phil Cardella by submission, round 1.

High-variance play, since Ratcliff will tool Cardella if the fight stays on the feet, but it’s well worth a play.

John Hosman (+550) vs. Rani Yayha (-700)

Yayha is as successful a one-dimensional fighter as you’ll find, and he doesn’t even try to cover for his deficiencies by adopting a conservative style. The guy is nothing when it comes to striking, wrestling, or cardio, but he’s a completely lights-out submission freak. The Chase Beebe fight is quintessential Rani. He absolutely dominated the first round with ruthlessly aggressive submission attempts, failed to actually finish, blew out his gas tank, and got hosed for the remaining rounds. Fortunately for Rani, most fighters get finished in that first round, and this fight should be no different.

Hosman is a good fighter, but he’s primarily a wrestler, and if he gets tangled up with Rani, it’s going to be game over. Rani Yayha by submission round 1.

LC Davis (+110) vs. Javier Vazquez (-115)

LC Davis is a good prospect, but this is a bad style matchup for him. Vazquez, for all his foibles, is a very slick sub fighter that can snatch a submission and finish very quickly. Davis, unfortunately, gives up position far too easily for this to be a good style matchup for him. He’ll probably control Vazquez early, but the minute he makes a mistake, Vazquez will take the back and finish. Javier Vazquez by submission round 1.

My plays

1u on Cardella at (+285) to win 2.85u


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