Though many Americans haven't heard of Mizugaki because he's been mixing it up in Japan throughout his career, he's a solid fighter with excellent striking. Will that be enough against the WEC champion?
Miguel Torres (35-1) vs. Takeya Mizugaki (11-2-2): Mizugaki is a strong striker with good knockout power. He's currently on a five fight winning streak. Though he's not much for submissions-- he only has one submission victory in his career-- he also isn't much for being submitted, as that's never happened to him. Though the American public knows very little about Mizugaki because he's done his fighting in Japan, that still doesn't make him anything less than a solid fighter with a lot of potential.
Miguel Torres is the WEC champion for a reason; he's awesome. Along with this, he's tough, always comes to fight in shape, possesses excellent and a wholly underrated set of diverse striking skills, and is top-tier on the ground when it comes to submissions. He's not truly a killer when it comes to wrestling, but most are quite wary of taking this BJJ artist to the ground, anyway.
Prediction: Mizugaki has a chance if he can keep this fight standing. But as Torres showed against Manny Tapia in his last fight, it isn't all that easy to beat him in the striking game either. In the end, Torres won't be worried to go to the ground in this one. Mizugaki will, and that will hurt his aggressiveness when standing up. Expect Torres to fight his adversary pretty evenly on the feet until he gets that takedown. Then expect a submission or TKO victory on the canvas.
Miguel Torres wins by way of a third round submission.
Jeff Curran (29-10-1) vs. Joseph Benavidez (9-0): Curran is a very solid and well-rounded mixed martial artist. His jiu jitsu is extremely strong, as his 18 career submissions would seem to attest to. Beyond that, he possesses solid takedowns, takedown defense, and ground control skills. What's more, he's technically sound on his feet, even if knockouts usually aren't his deal. Though he's on a two fight losing streak, dropping bouts to Mike Brown and Urijah Faber is nothing to scoff at.
Benavidez is a very good wrestler that comes to fights ready to go the distance if needed. Along with this, he's a takedowns dynamo with solid submission skills. Benavidez is also solid on his feet and is usually in attack mode. But in Curran, this highly regarded prospect will be meeting up with the best fighter he's ever seen in a professional match. Of course, it would seem important to note that Benavidez trains with Urijah Faber, so he's certainly come up against talented opposition in training.
Prediction: Benavidez has the stuff to control where this fight goes. That said, his lack of experience against top flight competition has you wondering where he's best off taking things. On the ground, Curran is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu expert; so that may be a dangerous spot. On their feet, Benavidez is tough and attacks, but Curran is also solid.
When fights are close, go with the more experienced competitor.
Jeff Curran wins via unanimous decision.
THE REST OF WEC 40
Shane Roller vs. Ben "Smooth" Henderson (8-1): Henderson is an excellent submission fighter. Roller is tough with an outstanding wrestling resume. This fight is going to be close and will come down to whether or not Henderson can pull off a submission when the fight hits the ground. Expect Roller to come through.
Shane Roller wins via unanimous decision in a tough fight.
Raphael Assuncao (12-1) vs. Jameel "The Sergeant" Massouh (21-4): Massouh is a tough guy with extremely well-rounded skills. Unfortunately for him, Assuncao is a great jiu jitsu fighter that has it all.
Raphael Assuncao wins by way of first round submission.
Wagnney Fabiano (11-1) vs. Fredson Paixao: This fight could be great on the ground, as both guys have ridiculous submission skills. But Fabiano will not be fighting on undercards for long because he has the stuff to fight anywhere.
Wagnney Fabiano wins by way of second round TKO.
Akitoshi "Ironman" Tamura (12-7-2) vs. Manny "The Mangler" Tapia (10-1-1): Tamura is tough and much better than his record shows, as he proved against Wagnney Fabiano in a recent match. Tapia is coming off of a loss to WEC champion Miguel Torres. You never know how someone will come back from such a defeat, but guess is that Tapia will be able to keep this one standing and do enough with his hands to nab a decision.
Manny Tapia wins by way of a unanimous decision.
Cub Swanson (13-2) vs. Diego "The Gun" Nunes (12-0): The man they call "The Gun" has some seriously well-rounded skills, but Swanson is a step up in competition. Can Nunes pull off the upset in his second WEC encounter?
Diego Nunes wins by way of second round TKO.
Anthony Njokuani (9-2) vs. Anthony "Showtime" Pettis: Njokuani (6-0): Both guys seem to have well-rounded skills. Njokuani has the one WEC fight under his belt, but that one fight was a loss.
Anthony Pettis wins by way of second round TKO.
Dominick Cruz (12-1) vs. Ivan Lopez (8-0): Cruz has defeated Charlie Valencia and Ian McCall. In fact, his only loss is to Urijah Faber. Lopez likes to submit people and has better than average stand up. But Cruz's stand up acumen and experience may be too much.
Dominick Cruz wins by way of a decision.
Rafael Dias (11-5-1) vs. Cole Province (5-1): Dias is a good submission fighter that has been knocked out before. Province likes to submit people. In the end, that makes this a tough call.
Cole Province wins by decision.
Rani Yahya (12-4) vs. Eddie Wineland (14-5-1): Yahya is an excellent submission fighter. Wineland is a tough guy with some solidly well-rounded skills. If this one hits the ground for a significant length of time, it should be Yahya's. But will it?
Rani Yahya by second round submission.