Last night at WEC 52 three fighters from the same fight camp completely dominated the competition. The Sacramento, California-based “Team Alpha Male” brought its leader (Urijah Faber) and two others to The Pearl at the Palms in Las Vegas, Nevada where all three fought on the main.
Featherweight Joseph Benavidez (13-2) started the night out for Team Alpha Male against Brazilian Wagnney Fabiano (14-3). Benavidez was coming off a bantamweight title shot defeat to Dominick Cruz, the two have fought twice now with Cruz winning both.
As the opening bell signaled the start of the first round, Benavidez charged Fabiano and was relentless with his aggression. Benavidez throw multiple leg kicks in the first round and just looked faster, stronger and clearly the better fighter. Fabiano made it out of the first but in the second round Benavidez displayed his “Joe-Jitsu” skills attempting different guillotine, until one finally worked and Fabiano was forced to tap.
The co-main event featured undefeated Team Alpha Male featherweight Chad Mendes (9-0) against Javier Vazquez (15-5). The winner of this fight would put themselves near the top of the division and possibly next in line for a title shot.
Mendes is still very young to the mixed martial arts game and is learning as he goes, but his strong points are his wrestling skills and brute strength. Vazquez is a veteran in the sport and also a second degree black belt who holds 9 submission victories.
Both fighters’ skills were on display during the three rounds, but the problem for Vazquez was his back was on the mat for nearly 15 minutes. Mendes used his wrestling to get the fight to the ground whenever he wanted and his strength to get out of any submission attempts Vazquez attempted from the bottom. Vazquez did some damage from the bottom but in the end the judges gave all three rounds to Mendes (30-27) for the unanimous decision victory.
The night was then capped off with the Team Alpha Male’s captain, Urijah Faber (24-4) making his bantamweight debut against Takeya Mizugaki (13-5-2). Faber had owned the featherweight division for over two years, where he went 6-0 but after losing the belt to Mike Brown he was only 2-3.
Mizugaki was supposed to be a tough test for Faber’s first fight at bantamweight, but Faber was up for the challenge and looked impressive. Towards the middle of the first round Faber grabbed Mizugaki in a guillotine, muscled him to the ground and quickly took his back. Faber then locked in a body triangle and began fishing for the rear naked choke.
It didn’t take long for Faber to get his arm under the chin of Mizugaki, who in trying to escape had turned into the fence making it very difficult for the referee to see him. With Faber on top and Mizugaki refusing to tap only the cameras could see he was out while the referee had a hard time figuring out if he was in fact out. Finally the referee waved the fight off and everyone held their breath waiting to see if Mizugaki was going to be ok. Thankfully he was ok and Faber won his Bantamweight debut with a first round rear naked choke submission.
A lot was made of the late call to end the fight by referee Josh Rosenthal but he was clearly block and fans only knew Mizugaki was out because of the camera view.
Team Alpha Male looked great going 3-0 and showing the world that they are ready to bring their skills to the UFC.