World Extreme Cagefighting will present its last event this Thursday, with a stacked WEC 51 fight card, which will feature WEC Lightweight title fight between Ben Henderson and Anthony Pettis, and Dominick Cruz who will defend his WEC Bantamweight Title against Scott Jorgensen. The event will celebrate 9 years of WEC history, what was an inseperatable part of Mixed Martial Arts as a sport and culture. WEC 53 will be the last farewell from a promotion that had its own highs, lows, dramas, magic during all these years.
WEC 53 will take place this Thursday on December 16th, at the Jobing.com Arena in the Phoenix suburb of Glendale, Arizona. The event will be headlined by two title fights, as Ben Henderson will defend his Lightweight title against Anthony Pettis, and Dominick Cruz will look for a second title defense, this time facing Scott Jorgensen.
So, before the first tear goes down your cheek, let’s look back at history of WEC, and what made it one of the most enjoyable shows in Mixed Martial Arts.
If you guys want to see an all-out war, the first encounter between Olaf Alfonso and John Polakowski is the fight you simply have to see. When Polakowski took the fight against Olaf Alfonso on a two-hour notice, he didn’t know about what he’s signing up to. Broken noses, blood all over the place, you name it. This was probably not the most technical, but surely one of the best fights in the history of the sport. Both fighters left everything inside the cage, to the enjoyment of local crowd in Lemoore, California. This fight was a turning point in WEC history. It was a declaration that there’s another player in the game, a player who puts up an exciting fight that leave the fans screaming for more.
Mike Brown Shocks the World (WEC 36, November 5th 2008)
WEC 36 was originally scheduled for September 5th 2008, but was postponed due to a threat of the devastating Hurricane Ike. But who knew that the event will be a home to another hurricane, when Mike Brown viciously knocked out the untouchable Urijah Faber in the middle of Round 1. Before the fight, Urijah Faber defended his WEC Featherweight title five times and was on an incredible 13-fight winning streak. Faber was considered by many as one of the Top 5 Pound for Pound fighters in the World during that time, as the victory of Mike Brown sent shockwaves around the world of Mixed Martial Arts. This fight completely changed the landscape of Featherweight division in MMA, opening doors for more exciting fighters into the stage and attracting more attention from the media.
WEC Go Mainstream (WEC 41, June 7th 2009)
Urijah Faber recovered well from defeat against Mike Brown at WEC 36, with a quick submission victory over the old rival Jens Pulver. Faber was back on track, and everything was set for the epic rematch against Mike Brown. WEC 41 is when things started to get big for World Extreme Cagefighting, as Zuffa heavily promoted the show, making it one of the most successful nights in WEC history. The numbers were revolutionary: 13,027 fans in attendance, for a total gate of $815,415. Little bit more than a year since WEC 41, Zuffa will make a decision to merge WEC into the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Alongside Urijah Faber, Miguel Torres was widely considered unbeatable in WEC. Miguel Torres was 5-0 in WEC (3 title defenses), holding a monstrous 17-fight winning streak. The Champion finally met someone of his caliber in Brian Bowles, who shocked the world with a quick right hand that sent Miguel Torres down to the canvas. Bowles was quick to finish the fight via a Ground and Pound, in what was final changing of the guard in WEC. It was a whole new world since WEC 42 with new stars and new champions, as WEC continued its growth in the World of Mixed Martial Arts.
WEC on Pay-Per-View (WEC 48, April 24th 2010)
WEC 48 was one of the last, but surely the biggest events in promotion’s history. It was promotion’s first PPV card, headlined by a Featherweight title fight between Jose Aldo and the local hero Urijah Faber, as Ben Henderson defended his title against Donald Cerrone in the co-main event. The ARCO Arena in Sacramento, California was packed with 12,555 excited fans, as around 200,000 watched the event at home. It was a WEC product with UFC covering, what turned out to be a huge success. With fights like Aldo vs. Faber, Korean Zombie vs. Leonard Garcia and Gamburyan vs. Brown, WEC 48 experiment proved Zuffa that merger is a necessary step, which would benefit everyone – from fighters to the promoters.