Two of the sport’s most well-rounded athletes have officially agreed to meet on August 9 in a bout that could very well determine the next bantamweight title challenger. Undefeated Joseph Benavidez of Sacramento, Calif. takes on once-beaten Dominick Cruz of San Diego, Calif. at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in a fight that already has fans buzzing.
“When we discussed making this bout, we knew that it had the potential to produce fireworks,” WEC General Manager Reed Harris said. “Both Joseph and Dominick boast speed and power and both guys like to finish fights. That’s a recipe for a really exciting bout.”
Tickets for the fight, which is headlined by a 135-pound title clash between champion Miguel Angel Torres and Brian Bowles, are on sale now and priced at $40, $55, $85, $100, $125, $175, and $225. Tickets may be purchased by calling Ticketmaster Charge-By-Phone at 1-800-745-3000 or by visiting the Hard Rock Box Office. Tickets also are available online through www.wec.tv or www.ticketmaster.com.
WEC: Torres vs. Bowles will be televised nationally live on VERSUS beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT. All of the network’s live WEC events are presented in HD and Spanish language SAP where available. For more information and how to find VERSUS in your local viewing area, visit http://www.versus.com/findversus.
A fast-paced, crisp striker with good grappling skill, the 24-year-old Benavidez (10-0) burst onto the WEC bantamweight scene last December with a unanimous decision win over Danny Martinez. The New Mexico native, who now trains out of Urijah Faber’s camp in Sacramento, followed up the win over Martinez by dominating tested veteran Jeff Curran in April en route to a second consecutive decision victory. With two WEC wins under his belt, Benavidez hopes to catapult himself into title contention with a win over Cruz.
“Cruz is someone I’ve looked at for a while,” Benavidez said. “I felt like a clash with him would happen in the future. Once he dropped to 135, I thought he would pose problems for anyone. He’s as dangerous as anyone in the division. This is a fight between the top two contenders. I’m pretty sure whoever wins this will be going for the title.”
With victories over Charlie Valencia, Ian McCall, and Ivan Lopez in his WEC career, Cruz, also 24 years old, has earned the right to fight the bantamweight’s best. Training with UFC veteran Brandon Vera at the Alliance Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif., Cruz (13-1) has refined his standup game and become one of the better strikers in the WEC. Given that his only career loss came at the hands of Benavidez’s training partner Urijah Faber in 2007, Cruz is hoping to get revenge by defeating Benavidez on August 9.
“I think he’s a very good athlete with a lot of natural talent and that’s what has gotten him as far as he has,” Cruz said. “I’m going to beat Joseph Benavidez because I am a more complete MMA fighter and I’m just as athletic and in better condition than he is. I have nothing but respect for him. I’ve seen all of his fights and he looked real impressive against Curran. But MMA comes down to style matchups. It’s all about how you fight somebody that leads to the win. I think a lot of people haven’t gone at him with the right game plan. I will.”
Remaining bouts for WEC: Torres vs. Bowles will be announced at a later date. For more information about current WEC fight news, visit wec.tv.