World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) closed out its 2009 fight campaign tonight (Dec.19) with WEC 45: "Cerrone vs. Ratcliff" from "The Pearl" at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The night marked the third time this year that fan favorite lightweight contender Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone was the centerpiece of WEC event. And the third time was apparently the charm for the Greg Jackson trainee.
After dropping close decisions to Jamie Varner at WEC 38 and Ben Henderson at WEC 43, "Cowboy" got back to his winning ways tonight, overcoming a game Ed "9mm" Ratcliff to score the tenth submission victory of his career in the third round of a very entertaining contest.
Ratcliff came out strong, even dropping Cerrone early in the fight with a powerful left hook, but he didn't seem like the same fighter after absorbing a combined total of three illegal knees to the groin in the first and second rounds.
"Cowboy" was penalized two points for the second and third illegal blows. That, along with his slow start in round one, likely led to him turning up the aggression halfway through the fight. And once he did that, it was all over for Ratcliff.
The Muay Thai specialist chopped away at Ratcliff's legs and body with devastating kicks throughout the final minutes of the fight, before finally forcing his opponent to give in to a few takedowns, which led to the rear naked choke finish.
It was another very entertaining performance for the "Cowboy" and just another reason he was the promotion's featured fighter numerous times in 2009 ... and likely more so in the New Year.
Horodecki seemed to be having trouble with Njokuani's length and reach advantage early on, and when he tried a few takedown attempts he was equally as unsuccessful in that area.
Scrambling back to his feet after a beautiful reversal takedown from Njokuani, "The Polish Hammer" got creamed with a high kick from the Muay Thai specialist that he never saw coming. To his credit, the blow didn't knock him all the way out, but it was definitely enough damage for Njokuani to capitalize on.
Njokuani has put together three very impressive technical knockout finishes in a row now under the WEC banner. He's right on the heels of Ben Henderson and Jamie Varner. Don't be surprised to see him fighting for a title sometime in 2010.
Rising 135-pound contender Joseph Benavidez scored possibly the biggest win of his career tonight, knocking out Brazilian jiu-jitsu specialist Rani Yahya in the first round with a vicious overhand right.
All three of his previous fights for the organization had gone to the score cards. He's probably relieved to get that monkey off his back even though he's still likely a couple of wins away from a title shot, coming off the decision loss to current top contender Dominick Cruz in August.
However, it's interesting to note that former champion Miguel Torres -- who was the guest color commentator -- announced tonight that his next fight would be against a yet to be determined opponent in Columbus, Ohio, on March 6.
After the fight Benavidez was asked what he thought about potentially facing "Angel" in his next fight. Benavidez gave the traditional, "I'll fight whoever" response, but there seemed to be a good amount of foreshadowing there from the promotion.
Time will tell how that plays out, but what a ridiculous fight that would be.
In the opening fight of the Versus telecast, bantamweights Scott "Young Guns" Jorgensen and Japanese import Takeya Mizugaki battled for three hard rounds with Jorgensen coming away with the unanimous decision victory.
The former number one contender, Mizugaki, battled back to steal the third round, but Jorgensen's takedowns and effective striking throughout the first 10 mintues of the fight were the clear difference in the outcome.
The win makes two in a row and four overall under the WEC banner for "Young Guns."
That's a wrap from the "The Pearl" in Las Vegas. To check out the full results for WEC 45 and our coverage of the event click here.
Up next for the UFC's sister promotion will be a return trip to the Arco Arena in Sacramento, Calif., with WEC 46: "Varner vs. Henderson" as lightweight champion Jamie "C-4" Varner returns from injury to try and unify his title against interim kingpin Ben "Smooth" Henderson.
Former company featherweight champion Urijah "The California Kid" Faber will also be in action, taking on dangerous Brazilian, Raphael Assuncao, in the co main event. Mackens Semerzier, Wagnney Fabiano, Deividas Taurosevicius, Frank Gomez, Dave Jansen, Eddie Wineland and others are also slated for the card.
Make sure you keep it locked to MMAmania.com for all your WEC news and notes. The floor is now yours, Maniacs