World Extreme Cagefighting® proudly confirms the remaining bouts for WEC: Torres vs. Bowles live from The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino on Sunday, August 9. Tickets for Torres vs. 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. 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.
In addition to the bantamweight title bout between champion Miguel Angel Torres (36-1) and Brian Bowles (7-0), nine other bouts round out a stacked card in Las Vegas.
With Torres and Bowles trading leather in the main event to determine the sport’s best bantamweight, two other top 135-pounders will meet to determine the next probable title challenger. Sacramento’s Joseph Benavidez (10-0), a pupil of former featherweight champion Urijah Faber, brings his exciting style to The Joint at Hard Rock to face San Diego’s Dominick Cruz (13-1). A speedy, precision-punching New Mexico native, Benavidez is coming off the biggest win of his career in April, a unanimous decision win over Jeff Curran. Now matched with Cruz, Benavidez believes a win will solidify his spot as the number one contender in the bantamweight division. Much like his opponent, the 24-year-old Cruz hopes a win will propel him toward championship glory. Riding a three-fight winning streak, the hard-hitting Californian promises fireworks when he goes to battle with Benavidez.
Exciting lightweights Danny Castillo (7-1) and Ricardo Lamas (6-0) collide in a battle that will move the winner one step closer to a shot at the 155-pound title. A member of Urijah Faber’s Team Alpha Male in Sacramento, Calif., Castillo is a former two-time NAIA All American wrestler who boasts excellent grappling. The San Francisco native, riding a two-fight winning streak in the WEC, hopes to use his wrestling prowess to overpower the unbeaten Lamas. Coming off a victory over Bart Palaszewski in March, the Chicago-based Lamas is explosive and well-rounded. Nicknamed “The Bully,” Lamas looks to dominate Castillo and push closer to joining the lightweight elite.
After engaging in a war with Miguel Angel Torres in a Fight of the Year candidate in April, Japanese striker Takeya Mizugaki (11-3-2) returns to the WEC with aims of earning another shot at the champion. Before he gets a second title opportunity though, the gritty, crowd-pleasing Mizugaki must first defeat tested veteran Jeff Curran (31-11-1). At the age of 31, perhaps no fighter has faced the quality opposition than that of Island Lake, Illinois’ Curran. Over the past two years, Curran has exchanged strikes with the likes of Urijah Faber, Mike Brown, and Joseph Benavidez. The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, who has also competed as a professional boxer, hopes to thwart Mizugaki’s championship aspirations and paint himself into the bantamweight title picture.
Lubbock, TX native Leonard Garcia (16-4) looks to get one step closer to another crack at the featherweight title when he faces Jameel Massouh (21-5) of Kenosha, Wis. in August. A well-conditioned, entertaining competitor fighting out of Greg Jackson’s camp in Albuquerque, NM, Garcia fell short against champion Mike Brown in his last fight in March, but is determined to get back in title contention. In order to do so, he’ll need to be prepared for the versatile Massouh. A great striker with competent ground skills, the former Pancrase star is seeking his first WEC win and hopes to do so by defeating Garcia.
Four-time Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu world champion Fredson Paixao (8-3) hopes to get his first WEC win when he takes on four-time NCAA Division II National wrestling champion Cole Province (6-1) in his adopted hometown of Las Vegas. Known universally as the “King of Wristlocks,” the 145-pound Paixao brings his unique, technical brand of submission fighting to the cage. Originally from Amazonas, Brazil, the 30-year-old Paixao believes his superior grappling will guide him to victory. Standing in his way is the powerful Province. A star wrestler at the University of Central Oklahoma, the once-beaten Province relies on relentless ground and pound to best his opponents. The 28-year-old, who fights out of Edmond, Okla., hopes to score his seventh professional win by defeating Paxaio on August 9.
Two of the lightweight division’s most aggressive competitors will clash when Marcus Hicks (8-2) of Dallas, TX takes on Las Vegas resident Shane Roller (5-2). Nicknamed “The Wrecking Ball,” Hicks is a complete fighter, boasting a Golden Gloves boxing background, as well as a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt. With three wins inside the WEC cage, Hicks hopes to gain momentum by defeating three-time NCAA All American wrestler Roller. An equally balanced fighter, Roller was a top wrestler at Oklahoma State University before launching an MMA career. With submission victories over Todd Moore and Mike Budnik in his WEC career, Roller is out to show that he possesses the pedigree necessary to one day rule the 155-pound division.
Heavy-handed Ed Ratcliff (6-1) of San Diego, Calif. returns to the Octagon® to take on former Marine Phil Cardella (12-3) of Austin, TX in lightweight action. A black belt in Tae Kwon Do, Ratcliff burst onto the WEC scene in 2007 with back-to-back knockout wins over Johnny Sampaio and Alex Karalexis. Ratcliff seeks his third stoppage victory in the WEC when he faces the submission-savvy Cardella. A jiu-jitsu black belt under Relson Gracie, Cardella is no slouch when it comes to the ground game. The versatile 32-year-old looks to diffuse Ratcliff’s power and earn his first WEC win when the two lock horns at Hard Rock.
Brazilian jiu-jitsu ace Rani Yahya (14-4) hopes to earn his fourth WEC win when he takes on Tokyo, Japan’s Kenji Osawa (15-8-2) in bantamweight action. Yahya, originally from Brasilia, Brazil and now fighting out of San Diego, Calif., is a feared grappler with a record of 3-1 in the WEC. Each of his victories has come by way of submission, including his last win via choke over former champion Eddie Wineland in April. He’ll look to use his dangerous ground skills against seasoned boxer Osawa. A 32-year-old striker who rose to stardom in Japan’s Shooto organization, Osawa relies on his heavy hands and slick boxing to overpower opponents. He is coming off a decision victory over Rafael Rebello in March and hopes to climb the 135-pound ladder with a win over Yahya.
It will be a classic striker vs. grappler matchup when featherweights Diego Nunes (12-0) and Rafael Dias (13-5-1) collide on Aug. 9. A former Brazilian Muay Thai champion, the 26-year-old Nunes of Caxias do Sul, Brazil is a ferocious standup fighter who scored a unanimous decision win over Cole Province in his WEC debut last December. He’ll look to keep the action on the feet when he battles Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt Rafael Dias. A product of the famed American Top Team in Coconut Creek, FL, Dias scored his first WEC win in April via unanimous decision over Mike Budnik. Holding a three-inch height advantage over Dias, the Rio de Janeiro-born Dias will look to impose his will and take another step toward the featherweight title.