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WEC 47 predictions, preview and analysis


Columbus, Ohio will host a World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) event for the first time this Saturday night (Mar. 6) when newly crowned bantamweight champion Brian Bowles defends his title against top contender Dominick Cruz at the Nationwide Arena.

The main card, including the featured 135 pound championship bout, will air live on the Versus network beginning at 9 p.m. ET on fight night.

The man who Bowles captured his title from last August - Miguel Torres - is also booked to make his return to the cage on this card. "Angel" is set to lock horns with one of the division's other top stars in Team Alpha Male's Joseph Benavidez.

One time UFC lightweight title holder, Jens "Little Evil" Pulver, will also be in action on Saturday night, taking on Javier "Showtime" Vazquez in a 145 pound battle.

To help get you better prepared for the festivities, we've laid out some quick analysis and predictions for those three fights below.

Check it out:

WEC Bantamweight Champion Brian Bowles vs. Dominick Cruz

Cruz has only lost once in his career - a 145 pound fight against Urijah Faber three years ago. Since then he's gone 5-0, including back to back recent wins over previously unbeaten Ivan Lopez and Joseph Benavidez.

He deserves to be in this fight and he's earned his spot among the top 135 pound fighters in the world. However, even with that being so, I don't think he has the skill set to beat Bowles in this fight.

Bowles is not just a one hit wonder who hit the MMA lottery against Torres last August. The facts are that he's never lost a fight, he's never been taken to a decision, he wins by submission and by knockout, and he's beaten guys like Damacio Page, Will Ribeiro, Marcos Galvao and Charlie Valencia.

Being champion is not just a formality because he beat Torres. He really is the best 135 pound fighter on the WEC roster.

It's true that this will be uncharted waters for him as far as being the one with the target on his back for the first time. But, he's given absolutely no reason for anyone to believe he's going to all of a sudden fold under the pressure.

I'll give it to Cruz that he is insanely fast and he's an outstanding striker. If this were a kickboxing match I'd like his chances a lot better. However, it's not, and power and strength are, unfortunately for him, going to matter an awful lot once these two guys lock up.

Cruz's takedowns looked great against Benavidez, but Benavidez is a lot smaller than Bowles. And I think Benavidez was a caught off guard a little bit in that fight and it made Cruz look a little bit better in that department than he actually is.

Of course, he'll certainly have an opportunity to prove me wrong against Bowles. If he can have similar success then he'll probably become the next WEC champion. I just have my doubts that he can out-muscle the champ like he did Benavidez.

In fact, I see takedowns and ground control being the main keys to victory for Bowles, not for Cruz. For Cruz to win, I think he needs to stay on his feet and use his speed to avoid Bowles' power. And I don't think he can do either of those things effectively for five rounds against the champ.

I got Bowles by TKO in one of the middle rounds.

Final prediction: Brian Bowles via technical knockout in round three

Joseph Benavidez vs. Miguel Torres

This is a legit main event worthy fight and WEC fans should be grateful for such a treat as a co-headliner.

I absolutely love Benavidez as a prospect and he showed some serious power by dropping Yahya in the first round back in December. I just get the feeling after the Cruz fight that he'd be better off in the 125 pound division.

The guy is a speed demon though, and in the scramble he's as good as anyone. For those reasons, he can compete with anybody at 135 pounds. But against the top guys like Cruz, Bowles and Torres, his size is a liability.

With Miguel, it's a different kind of liability though. I don't think Torres is necessarily going to overpower Benavidez like Cruz had some success in doing. Instead, Torres' advantage will be in his length and reach.

We already know from the Tapia fight that Miguel has a world class jab, and I see no reason why he can't be extremely effective with that same weapon in this fight.

Also, on the ground, Torres' long limbs and his craftiness with submissions are advantages against Benavidez. I said above that Benavidez can scramble with anyone, and he can. He also has terrific submission defense. But twenty two career wins by submission speaks for itself.

Torres is a well traveled veteran with a lot of cards he can play on the mat. I don't think it's a stretch at all to say he has an advantage in that area as well, although Benavidez never ceases to surprise me.

Regardless, it would be hard for me to pick against Torres when he's coming off such an embarrassing loss. This feels like a must win for him. I don't think he gets a finish, but I got Miguel taking a hard fought decision here.

I will say, however, that Benavidez provides a different kind of opponent than we've seen Torres face so far in the WEC. His speed and Urijah Faber-esque maneuverability are tough to deal with. This is going to be a great fight.

Final prediction: Miguel Torres via unanimous decision

Jens Pulver vs. Javier Vazquez

These two have a combined six fight losing streak.

It seems a little unfair to group Vazquez with Jens when it comes to recent losses though. Vazquez is actually coming off two extremely close split decision losses to a couple of very talented fighters in L.C. Davis and Deividas Taurosevicius.

Meanwhile, "Little Evil" has been stopped in the first round three straight times since an epic showing, albeit in losing fashion, against Urijah Faber two years ago.

The truth is, Pulver's age has caught up with him and he's basically fallen off the map. Vazquez has just hit a bump in the road with a couple of tough losses on the scorecards. There's a big difference.

I don't mean for that to sound disrespectful towards Pulver. That's just the way it is.

Vazquez shouldn't run into too much difficulty taking this fight to ground. Jens hasn't exactly shown the world's greatest takedown defense during the losing streak, and that will be a problem for him in this fight. It makes no sense for Vazquez to take his chances against Pulver on his feet. That's the one area in this match up that Pulver has the advantage and Vazquez will definitely look to erase that comfort zone.

On the ground, Vazquez's skill set and aggression should be enough to win over the judge's on the scorecards or potentially even lead to a submission finish.

Either way, Vazquez gets the win.

Final prediction: Javier "Showtime" Vazquez via submission in round two

That's a wrap. To check out the full lineup for WEC 47 click here.

Remember that will provide live coverage of the main card, beginning with the Versus telecast at 9 p.m. ET, as well as up-to-the-minute results of the under card action beginning at around 7 p.m. ET.

Check in early and often -- it should be an exciting night of fights! In the meantime, feel free to share your WEC 47-related thoughts and predictions in the comments section below.

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