We can thank hurricane Ike for the event we're about to be treated to tomorrow night. WEC 36, which was originally scheduled for September 10, will take place Wednesday evening (November 5) at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida.
Unfortunately, only one world title will be on the line instead of two.
In the main event, WEC Featherweight Champion Urijah "The California Kid" Faber will defend his 145-pound strap against American Top Team product Mike Brown. And in the co-main event, Chael Sonnen will finally get his rematch with middleweight title holder Paulo Filho; however, because the Brazilian today missed weight on two separate occassions the 185-pound belt will not be on the line.
That bad news is made a little better because two other former world champions -- Jens Pulver and Rob McCullough -- will also be in action. And a battle of undefeated up-and-coming stars, Jake Rosholt and Nissen Osterneck, will round out the main card.
If that wasn't enough, the under card looks suitable for an event all on its own. There's a chance with some quick finishes in the other matches that we'll get to see a few of those gems.
To get you pumped for the event check out some thoughts and predictions on each of the main card bouts below.
WEC Featherweight Champion Urijah " The California Kid" Faber (21-1) vs. Mike Brown (19-4)
Mike Brown could prove to be one of Urijah Faber's toughest opponents to date in the WEC. He's coming off an impressive unanimous decision win over the former number one contender, Jeff Curran, and hasn't lost a fight since 2005.
Expect to see him in top physical condition and to bring a very good gameplan into this fight. He trains with American Top Team in Florida, which is one of the more respected camps around.
However, Faber always comes in in great shape, too. He has a pretty decent winning percentage of his own. This will be his sixth title defense and he'll come in as a definite favorite to bring that total to seven.
He failed to put away an opponent for the first time since 2004 when he fought Jens Pulver at WEC 34, which came as a surprise since "Little Evil" had never previously gone the distance in a losing effort throughout his entire career.
That should be enough motivation enough for Urijah to end this fight sometime before the five rounds are up. Expect Brown to stay competitive in the early rounds, but Faber's overall athleticism and natural talent should prevail in this one ... as usual.
Prediction: Urijah Faber via submission (rear naked choke) in round three.
WEC Middleweight Champion Paulo Filho (16-0) vs. Chael Sonnen (22-9-1)
By now, everybody knows that Filho failed to make the 185-pound limit for this fight. In fact, he was seven pounds heavy on his first attempt ... not even close!
Clearly, he wasn't properly prepared for this fight, which is completely disrespectful to not only the WEC and its title, but also to his opponent and his team.
In their first meeting, Sonnen was controlling the champion for most of the fight. He was clearly ahead on the score cards before the arm bar incident at the end of round two.
It didn't appear that Sonnen was tapping out. In fact, he was screaming at the official not to stop the fight. Nonetheless, the referee called a stop to the bout with only seconds remaining in the round. It was a controversial ending to say the least and the rematch was a foregone conclusion.
Filho hasn't been himself over the last year or so. He's been battling mental health issues and substance abuse problems throughout that time. And it's safe to say he still doesn't have his act together after this latest incident.
It's not as if we're talking about some stiff, either.
Filho is (or was) widely considered one of the best middleweights in the world. This is a guy who holds wins over Kazuo Misaki, Ninja Rua, Ryo Chonan, Yuki Kondo and many others.
Where has that guy gone?
Regardless, Sonnen is a tough match up for Filho. Even before the drama this afternoon at the weigh in Sonnen posed a tough challenge for the Brazilian .... perhaps his toughest. He's smart enough to know that he has to use his height and reach advantage to keep the jiu-jitsu expert away from him.
Sonnen will learn from his mistakes and ensure the fight remains upright, keeping the Brazilian away from him with jabs and kicks long enough to wear him down (or tire him out fast) to score a technical knockout of some kind.
Who knows how serious Filho even took his training for this fight. He might come in even slower and sloppier than he was in the first match up between these two. If that's the case, then Sonnen might win this fight even quicker than we think he will.
Prediction: Chael Sonnen via technical knockout in round two
"Razor" Rob McCullough (16-4) vs. Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone (8-0)
"Cowboy" has an impressive Muay Thai skill set, but he ends almost all of his fights via submission. He also trains with the Greg Jackson camp, which means he'll come into this fight in great shape mentally and physically.
"Razor" Rob is a step up in competition for him, however. He's a powerhouse with good hands and a nice wrestling base. He's a dangerous opponent for anybody at 155 pounds. He's not the former WEC lightweight champion for nothing.
However, his last two performances haven't been too impressive. He lost his belt to Jamie Varner by technical knockout at WEC 32 and then won a lackluster split decision over Kenneth Alexander at WEC 34 three and a half months later.
"Razor" could have some trouble with the fast rising Cerrone if he finds himself in a stand and trade situation. Under those circumstances, Cowboy is probably going to be a little quicker to the punch -- or kick -- than McCullough. And we saw in the Varner fight that the former champ is definitely vulnerable at times in the stand up.
Look for Cerrone to score the biggest win of his career against the ex champ. Most likely with a late technical knockout and challenge Varner for the title sometime in early 2009.
Prediction: Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone via technical knockout in round three
Jens " Little Evil" Pulver (22-9-1) vs Leonard "Bad Boy" Garcia (15-3)
This is one of the more anticipated fights on the card. Everybody knows these two guys love to bang, meaning this match up looks to be a surefire recipe for success.
Jens showed he can still compete at a high level in both of his first two fights under the WEC banner. He beat Cub Swanson easily at WEC 31 and then took the champion Urijah Faber the distance at WEC 34 in June.
Garcia is known for his memorable fight with Roger Huerta in the UFC last year -- a fight that was nominated and later finished eighth for "Fight of the Year" in the UFC.
The move over to the WEC allows him to compete at his more natural weight of 145 pounds. He clearly feels more comfortable there, as evidenced by his first round knockout of world ranked Hiroyuki Takaya at WEC 32 in February.
Garcia knows a win against "Little Evil" will put him on a short list of possible candidates to face the winner of Faber vs. Brown in 2009. This is a huge opportunity to score a win over a big time name while he's still at a respectable point in his career.
It won't come easy, we know that, but the "Bad Boy" gets the win here.
Prediction: Leonard Garcia via technical knockout in round three
Jake Rosholt (4-0) vs. Nissen Osterneck (5-0)
This is a huge opportunity for both of these guys to win a high profile fight for the first time on the big stage. Both of these undefeated promising prospects are making their debuts for the WEC ... on the televised main card no less.
It's a classic wrestler vs. grappler, which have proven in the past to be very difficult match ups to predict.
Rosholt's an animal in the gym and it shows when he competes. He gets his training with one of the best camps around in X-treme Couture. They'll definitely have a solid gameplan heading into this fight based around control and submission defense.
As long as Jake can avoid getting his back taken or leaving a limb out there for Osterneck to work on, he should be able to score the win.
Prediction: Jake Rosholt via unanimous decision
That's a wrap.
Remember that MMAmania will provide live coverage of WEC 36 tomorrow night, so check in early and often. The event airs live on the Versus network beginning at 8 p.m. ET.
In the meantime feel free to leave your WEC 36 predictions in the comments section below!