What: WEC 50: Cruz vs. Benavidez 2
Where: The Pearl at the Palms, Las Vegas
When: Wednesday, the non-televised undercard begins at 7 PM ET and the Versus broadcast begins at 9 PM ET
Predictions on the five televised fights:
Dominick Cruz vs. Joseph Benavidez
The first time these two met, Cruz's size advantage was a major factor as he controlled the fight and won a unanimous decision. That was a three-round fight, while this is a five-round title fight, which probably helps Benavidez, who has great cardio and will have more time to work his way to the inside, use his excellent wrestling skill to take Cruz down, and perhaps pull off a submission: That's the most likely path to victory for Benavidez, who has submitted seven of his opponents over his 13-fight MMA career. But I believe Cruz will follow the same game plan and get the same result, controlling enough of the fight to win at least three rounds on the judges' scorecards and defending his title by winning a decision.
Shane Roller vs. Anthony Pettis
Roller and Pettis are both coming off a solid submission wins at the WEC's April pay-per-view show. Roller won't have as easy a time taking Pettis down as he did with Anthony Njokuani, but I do expect Roller to win this fight on the ground.
Cub Swanson vs. Chad Mendes
Mendes was a good college wrestler who's now 7-0 in MMA and working his way up the featherweight ladder. He could be a future contender for Jose Aldo's featherweight belt, and I expect him to keep cruising toward title contention by topping Swanson.
Scott Jorgensen vs. Brad Pickett
Jorgensen has really come on of late and established himself as one of the most exciting fighters in the bantamweight division, and I expect him to beat Pickett in what should be an exciting decision.
Bart Palaszewski vs. Zach Micklewright
The 7-0 Micklewright is a dangerous striker taking a step up in quality of opposition by stepping into the cage with Palaszewski, who's 34-13. I could easily see the craft Palaszewski taking Micklewright down and submitting him, but I'll bet on Micklewright managing to keep the fight standing and win a decision.