Cerrone stops Ratcliff
Cageside by Anthony Springer Jr.
Photos courtesy of Josh Hodges, UFC
When the WEC announced a December event in Las Vegas featuring a bout between Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone and Ed “9MM” Ratcliff, hardcore MMA fans knew they were in for a treat. Both fighters are known for their respective striking skills and both have a reputation for finishing fights.
Despite coming off a loss in an interim lightweight title bout to Benson Henderson, Cerrone’s record stood at an impressive 10-2 (1NC). On the other end, Ratcliff boasted a 7-1 record with six of those wins coming by stoppage.
In other words, the bout has serious title implications with the winner moving up the ladder to meet the winner of January’s unification bout between Jamie Varner and the aforementioned Henderson.
In front of a capacity crowd, “Cowboy” one step closer to lightweight gold, defeating Ratcliff with a rear naked choke at 3:47 in the third round.
The two fighters wasted no time. As soon as the bell rang, Cerrone charged forward and was met with a stiff kick in the mid section. Unwavering, the “Cowboy” clinched with Ratcliff and temporarily slowed the pace of the action. However, “9MM” quickly found his rhythm, staggering Cerrone with a left hand and using a leg kick to stumble his longer opponent.
The story of the first two rounds would not be the frantic pace the fighter’s set but low blows from Cerrone. Ratcliff’s family jewels were inadvertent targets of two Cerrone knees in the first round—each halting the action. After the second low blow, referee Herb Dean deducted a point from Cerrone, who would’ve held a 10-9 advantage.
There were no second chances in the second round as another Cerrone low blow resulted in a point deduction.
Both point deductions resulted in some interesting back and forth banter between Ratcliff’s mother—who was cage side—and Cerrone who repeatedly apologized for the low blows during the break.
“I was telling her I was sorry, I’m not doing this intentionally,” Cerrone said of the brief exchange with Ratcliff’s mother. “I went and talked to her after the fight and told her it wasn’t intentional.”
Going into the third frame with a tied score at 18-18, Cerrone picked up the pace. He began picking Ratcliff apart with well timed leg kicks and punches. Ratcliff spent much of the round, back pedaling with Cerrone giving chase.
When Cerrone managed to get a hold of his foe, it was the beginning of the end. Ratcliff’s pace slowed considerably from the opening bell and he proved to be easy pickings once the fight hit the mat. Once Cerrone took the back of Ratcliff it was only a matter of time. A rear naked choke near the center of the cage sent Ratcliff tapping, and Herb Dean scrambling to stop the fight.
Njokuani stuns Horodecki, earns TKO victory
In a thrilling one round battle, Anthony Njokuani ruined the WEC debut of highly touted prospect Chris Horodecki, stopping the Canadian via TKO at 3:33 in the first.
From the outset, it seemed that Horodecki was uncomfortable with Njokuani’s reach advantage and stuggled to find his range early. Njokuani connected twice with jabs as Horodecki charged in to neutralize the deficit.
In MMA, it’s common knowledge that one mistake makes the difference between winning and losing. After getting the short end an exchange, Horodecki turned his back to Njokuani in an attempt to escape. Never letting up, Njokuani gave chase and floored Horodecki with a thunderous kick to the face.
The kick was followed up by a series of punches. Horodecki nearly recovered from the initial blow, but the onslaught proved too much as Steve Mazagatti stepped in to halt the bout.
Benavidez makes short work of Yahya
Joesph Benavidez wasted no time dispensing of Rani Yahya via knockout at 1:35 at in the opening round.
After a brief feeling out process, the pair began to exchange shots, with neither man gaining the upper hand. Yahya, owned the reach advantage, but Benavidez appeared to be the faster of the pair.
Sensing an opportunity, the shorter Benavidez charged, dropping Yahya to the mat with a powerful right hand. As Yahya fell to the canvas, Benavidez was all over him. Several unanswered punches left Yahya flopping and referee Kim Winslow diving in for the stoppage.
“I’m here to fight the best guys in the world,” Benavidez remarked when asked about a bout with former champion Miguel Torres.
Based on that performance, Benavidez can rightfully be mentioned among the best of the bantamweights.
Jorgensen dominant against Mizugaki
Scott Jorgensen and Takeya Mizugaki kicked off the main card with a bang. The two bantamweights fought to the finish, and after fifteen-minutes of action, Jorgensen pulled out the unanimous decision win over the former 135-pound number one contender.
The first round belonged to Jorgensen. In the opening moments, Mizugaki was floored with a big overhand shot. Jorgensen went for the early finish via guillotine choke, but couldn’t finish the scrappy Japanese fighter. Another overhand right late in the round planted Mizugaki for a second time.
Jorgensen switched up the skill set for the second round, controlling the action with takedown after takedown. The always tough Mizugaki would not be finished and held his own through five minutes that consisted primarily of staring at the lights.
Despite being visibly tired, Mizugaki showed signs of life in the final stanza. Jorgensen was taken down twice in the final round but remained active the entire time, throwing punches and elbows from the bottom.
“That’s always my game plan to get the upper hand early. I come out and I come hard.”
With the victory, Jorgensen had only two words for current champion Brian Bowles: “I’m coming.”
All three judges scored the bout 29-28.
Palaszewski wins back and forth split decision.
In the night’s final undercard matchup, Bart Palaszewski gave Anthony Pettis his first lost in a back and forth battle that saw a split decision.
The seesaw battle saw both fighters struggle to find their range in the early going. Palaszewski was able to control the action when the fighters engaged at close range, taking Pettis’ back on several occasions. Despite the dominant position, Palaszewski was unable to threaten with any submissions, opting instead to take the points on the judges’ score cards.
Going into round three, it seemed that Pettis realized he was losing the fight and looked to live up to his moniker with an electrifying finish to save his unbeaten record.
An overhand left late in the round Pettis sent Palaszewski crashing to the mat with Pettis following. The man they call “Showtime” was unable to finish off his opponent after a series of punches.
Palaszewski was able to hang tough, and time expired on Pettis’ unbeaten record.
The judges scored the bout 30-27 (Palaszewski), 28-29 (Pettis) and 29-28 (Palaszewski).
Micklewright remains perfect in victory
Technique proved to be futile for “The Technician” Mushin Corbbrey, as he was outgunned and overpowered by Zach Micklewright, who earned a unanimous decision victory.
Corbbrey was a step slower than his opponent on all fronts. Micklewright controlled the standup, utilizing a knees from the clinch, elbows, and a superior reach to keep Corbbrey off balance and out of sync.
On the ground, Micklewright proved the aggressor, peppering his foe with a series of jabs.
Corrbrey was unable to capitalize on Micklewright’s lone mistake of the evening. After throwing a kick in the second, Micklewright slipped, allowing Corrbrey to pounce. From the top position, Corrbrey was unable to mount an effective offense, and referee Kim Winslow stood the fighters back up when the action stalled.
Micklewright threatened to put the fight away in the final frame after a wild bunch of rights and lefts forced Corrbrey against the fence. Ever resilient, Corrbey weathered the storm and fought on until the final bell sounded.
All three judges scored the fight 30-27.
George wins one-sided decision
In a clear case of the advantage of a wrestling pedigree, Chad George defeated John Gosman in a rather lackluster bout via unanimous decision.
George took down Gosman at will during the fifteen-minute contest, but was at an obvious disadvantage in the standup. Gosman was unable to mount any sufficient offense from the bottom position and was thoroughly controlled on the mat.
When the final bell sounded, the crowd roared with disapproval as George raised his hands in victory.
All three judges scored the bout 30-27.
Visher pounds out Buck
Courtney Buck put his day job on the line to compete in this weekend’s WEC event. The gamble may not have paid off, as Buck was soundly defeated in the first round by fellow WEC newcomer Brandon Visher by knockout at 4:46 in the opening frame.
Both men cut a fierce pace when the opening bell rang. Visher got the better of the initial standup, dropping Buck with a big shot in the initial moments. Buck rebounded, catching Visher with some kicks and punches of his own.
Buck’s night ended after the bout hit the canvas. Trying to escape a Visher mount, Buck rolled over, leaving himself completely exposed. Seizing the moment, Visher pounced dropping a series of hammer fists on his defenseless opponent. Three unanswered punches later and referee Steve Mazagatti had seen enough, stepping in to save Buck from further damage.
With the win, Visher improves to 13-0.
Pickett taps Dietz
Brad Pickett put on a dominant performance en route to finishing off Kyle Dietz at 4:36 in the second stanza with a Peruvian Necktie.
The action started fast and furious with both men opting to slug it out in the center of the ring. Pickett, who hails from England held his own in the standup and was completely in control once the fight hit the mat. Pickett battered Dietz on the floor and remained in control until the bell sounded.
With a fresh start in the second, Dietz looked to come out faster, catching his foe with a nice knee from the clinch position. However, like the first round, Dietz was out of his element was he was thrown to the mat. After another ground and pound session, Dietz slipped up, allowing the WEC newcomer to sink in the hold. Dietz tapped immediately.
Koch stays perfect in WEC debut.
In his WEC debut, Erik Koch overcame “WEC jitters,” besting Jameel Massouh via unanimous decision.
Koch hurt Massouh in the second with a big knee and finished the round with some vicious ground and pound that impressed the crowd. Massouh was nearly finished in the final frame, but the WEC newcomer was unable to lock in the rear naked choke before time expired.
The judges scored the bout 30-27.