Jose Santiago at the Octagon
In one his sternest tests to date, WEC bantamweight champion Miguel Angel Torres scored a unanimous decision over Takeya Mizugaki after 25 brutal minutes. Mizugaki fought hard throughout round one and was not shy about landing hard punches to the head of the champion. The second round saw Torres assume the center of the cage and land the more significant blows during a number of scintillating exchanges. Round three was highlighted by toe-toe-toe action in which the challenger opened a large gash over the right eye of the champion with a hard left hook. Torres took over the fight in the fourth round as he stalked Mizugaki around the cage and landed piercing jabs. In the fifth round for the first time in his 36 fight professional career, Torres handled his aggressive opponent with class by using strategic clinches to slow the fight to a manageable pace. Judges’ scorecards read 49-46 twice and 48-47 all in favor of Miguel Angel Torres.Undefeated bantamweight phenomenon Joseph Benavidez passed the biggest test of his career by defeating former title challenger Jeff Curran via unanimous decision. Judges’ scorecards read 30-27 twice and 29-28.
After being dropped with a vicious punch, Benson Henderson made one of the comebacks of the year stopping Shane Roller in the first round with a crushing two punch combination. The official time was 1:41.
Rafael Assuncao scored a highly technical three round decision over Jameel Massouh. All three judges’ scored the bout the same, 30-27.
In an impressive performance, lightweight newcomer Anthony Njokuani KO’ed fan favorite Bart Palaszewki at :27 seconds of round two with devastating punches from the top position.
Former IFL standout Wagney Fabiano made his case for the number one contender spot at featherweight by winning a unanimous decision over Fredson Paixao. The scores were a wash, 30-27, in favor of Fabiano.
Bantamweight Rani Yahya wasted no time choking out Eddie Wineland with a rear naked choke in 1:07 of the first round. In a bantamweight contest, Akitoshi Tamura scored a three round unanimous decision over former title challenger Manny Tapia. All three judges’ scorecards read 20-28.
Rafael Dias scored a three round unanimous decision over Mike Budnik to kick off WEC 40. Scorecards read 30-27 and 29-28 twice.
Dominick Cruz was awarded a three round unanimous decision over Ivan Lopez. Scores were 30-27 twice and 29-28.
Stay tuned for a full report and photos tomorrow!