Redemption. It’s a word that bantamweight Joseph Benavidez has had etched in his brain since last August. You see, when the 25-year-old first locked horns with Dominick Cruz last summer, the two engaged in three of the most action-packed rounds in World Extreme Cagefighting® history. Unfortunately for Benavidez, he came up just short on that sizzling August night and was handed the first and only loss of his professional career.
On Wednesday, August 18 from The Pearl at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, Benavidez gets another crack at Cruz. WEC officials announced today that Benavidez will challenge Dominick Cruz for the bantamweight title in a hotly-anticipated summer showdown. Plus, former featherweight champion Urijah Faber makes his 135-pound debut as he takes on Japanese striking sensation Takeya Mizugaki.
This epic summer event will be held in conjunction with the MAGIC trade show, the men’s fashion industry’s premier convention – held at The Las Vegas Convention Center and The Mandalay Bay Convention Center, August 17-19.
“When Dominick and Joseph fought last August, it was one of those fights that kept you on the edge of your seat,” WEC General Manager Reed Harris said. “Now we get to see the Cruz-Benavidez rematch with even more at stake – the world title. If that wasn’t enough, we’ll get to see Urijah Faber take on Takeya Mizugaki in a fight that has the potential to be one of the best of the summer.”
Tickets for WEC: Cruz vs. Benavidez go on sale Thursday, June 17 at 10 a.m. PT and will be priced at $246, $171, and $96. A special Internet ticket pre-sale will be available to WEC newsletter subscribers on Wednesday, June 16 starting at 10 a.m. PT. To access this presale, users must register for the WEC newsletter through wec.tv. Tickets will be available at The Pearl box office, online at ticketmaster.com, all Ticketmaster locations, or charge by phone at 1-800-745-3000. Ticket prices do not include service charges.
Cruz vs. Benavidez 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.
Arguably the most dynamic striker in the 135-pound division, San Diego, Calif.’s Dominick Cruz (15-1) prides himself on his unorthodox standup and aggressive wrestling. After defeating Benavidez last August, the 25-year-old scored a second-round TKO stoppage over previously-unbeaten Brian Bowles in March to secure the bantamweight championship. Undefeated at 5-0 since dropping to 135 pounds three years ago, Cruz expects to put on a similar performance as he did when he clashed with Benavidez last year.
“Let’s keep it real: styles make fights and both of the last two guys he has fought stood right in front of him,” Cruz said. “You can’t stand in front of him, you have to use footwork and move. Joseph can’t match my footwork and I have a reach advantage on him. That doesn’t guarantee me the win, but it allows me to dictate a lot of the fight. I fought him once and not a lot of his game has changed. He has definitely improved, as I have, every single day. But there are a lot of tricks up my sleeve that I will use against Joseph for this fight.”
Training out of the same camp as WEC stars Urijah Faber and Chad Mendes, Sacramento, Calif.’s Joseph Benavidez is coming off two of the most impressive feats in recent memory. Last December, the 25-year-old scored a phenomenal knockout victory over jiu-jitsu ace Rani Yahya. Then, just three months later, Benavidez became the first man to ever submit former bantamweight champion Miguel Angel Torres. Now, with Cruz in his crosshairs, Benavidez plans to avenge his only loss and capture the world title.
“Those are two of the main goals in my career, to win the title and avenge that loss on the same night,” Benavidez said. “He’s a tough fighter, but I’m a different fighter since I fought him last. I think he had a great night and I had a bad night, and it was still really close, so if I fight like I’m capable of I have no doubt I will come out with the victory.”
One of the top lighter weight fighters of all-time, former featherweight champion Urijah Faber has defeated some of the sport’s best names. From Jeff Curran to Jens Pulver to Raphael Assuncao, the 31-year-old served as the 145-pound kingpin for over two years. Now, “The California Kid” has his sights set on winning a championship in the loaded bantamweight division. Up first for the Sacramento, Calif. native is Takeya Mizugaki, one of the division’s most talented athletes.
“I’m excited to take this fight at 135-pounds and test myself against the best bantamweights in the world,” Faber, who owns a record of 23-4, said. “Mizugaki is really tough, but I’m ready to make an impact and work toward becoming a champion again.”
Japanese star Takeya Mizugaki burst onto the scene last year, waging a five-round war with then-champion Miguel Angel Torres. Since that time, the 26-year-old has become one of the most feared bantamweights in the world. Having defeated Rani Yahya in his last fight in January, Mizugaki (13-4-2) is prepared to rudely welcome Faber to the 135-pound weight class.
“I never shy away from tough fights, so I’m excited to fight Urijah,” Mizugaki, who holds a master’s degree in electrical engineering, said. “Urijah’s first fight in this division won’t be an easy one. I plan on beating him on Aug. 18.”
Remaining bouts for WEC: Cruz vs. Benavidez will be announced at a later date. For more information, visit www.wec.tv. Follow WEC at http://twitter.com/WEConVERSUS.
About World Extreme Cagefighting®
The WEC brand is recognized as one of the premier mixed martial arts organizations in the United States. WEC, founded in 2001, is the sister organization of the Ultimate Fighting Championship® and today features the most prominent light weight fighters in the world. Owned and operated by WEC Holdings LLC., and headquartered in Las Vegas, Nev., the WEC produces live and taped events annually that are distributed through the Versus network.WEC programming is also available on Fox Sports en Espanol. In addition to its U.S distribution, WEC programming is shown on The Score network in Canada, Setanta Sports in Australia, Globosat in Brazil, and Cadena Tres in Mexico. For more information and current WEC fight news, visit wec.tv. World Extreme Cagefighting® and WEC® are registered trademarks, trademarks, trade dress or service marks owned exclusively by WEC Holdings, LLC in the United States and other jurisdictions and are licensed to WEC Productions, LLC.
VERSUS, the fastest growing sports cable network in the country, prides itself on super-serving passionate sports fans across all platforms (VERSUS.com, VERSUS on Demand and VERSUS HD). Now in more than 75 million homes, the network is the cable television home of the National Hockey League (NHL), IZOD IndyCar Series, Tour de France, World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) and Professional Bull Riders (PBR). VERSUS also airs NASCAR, NBA, UFC, college football and college basketball programming. The network is home to the best outdoor programming on television and airs original programs not available anywhere else, including The Daily Line, Sports Soup and Sports Jobs with Junior Seau. VERSUS, a wholly owned company of Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ: CMCSA, CMCSK), is distributed via cable systems and satellite operators throughout the United States.
About The Pearl:
The Pearl is Las Vegas’ premier concert theater boasting accommodations for up to 2,500 ticket holders. Featuring a stage just four feet from the floor and the furthest seating area being a mere 120 feet from the stage, The Pearl offers the utmost in intimate viewing of your favorite acts. Private and semi-private skyboxes are located on each side of the venue offering private bars, lounges and restrooms. The Pearl is a marvel of modern technology using only top quality sound and video equipment throughout. Hard wired to The Studio at The Palms, The Pearl allows artists to create a cost-effective live album with efficiency and without additional venue set-up. For more information, please visit www.palms.com.
Every August and February, the fashion industry converges in Las Vegas for the most influential event in the business – the MAGIC Marketplace. MAGIC is the fashion industry’s premier meeting place. The August 2010 MAGIC marketplace will run from August 17 – 19. For up-to-date exhibitor listings, seminar scheduling, travel support and registration information, please visit www.magiconline.com.