Thursday December 16, World Extreme Cagefighting will be hosting their final event due to the recent merger with the UFC. The upcoming WEC 53 card will help end the year and the promotion with a bang as both the Bantamweight and Lightweight titles are both on the line.

The opening fight on the card features Bart Palaszewski (35-13) and Kamal Shalorus (6-0-2). The two were scheduled to fight at WEC 52 but the bout was rescheduled to WEC 53 due to Shalorus suffering a hand injury. Palaszewski is coming in on a four-fight win streak after a TKO victory over Zach Micklewright back in August. Shalorus is coming off a controversial bout with Jamie Varner that resulted in a draw. Fans had mixed feelings on who should have gotten the nod, but the judges made the ultimate decision. Expect Shalorus to come out with a sense of urgency to finish the fight this time and not allow the judges to have any say in it.

Up next, Donald Cerrone (12-3) vs. Chris Horodecki (16-2). Cerrone has had little success staying consistent in the cage. In his last six bouts he has failed to achieve back-to-back victories. Horodecki however is coming off a two-fight win streak after having a rough time in his WEC debut against Anthony Njokuani. Since that loss, Horodecki has rebounded well and will look to take advantage of the step up in competition against “Cowboy”. Cerrone on the other hand will want to keep his career alive with a dominant victory if he wants to avoid becoming another name on the list of those cut from the UFC.

Now onto the first title fight of the evening, WEC Bantamweight Champion Dominick Cruz (16-1) vs. Scott Jorgensen (11-3). This will mark Cruz’s second title defense since winning the belt by defeating Brian Bowles, who suffered a broken hand just two round into the fight and was unable to continue. Following that fight, Cruz took on Joseph Benavidez and won via split decision. Jorgensen has been waiting for a title shot for some time now, and he gets it just in time. Jorgensen will enter his first title fight on a five-fight win streak and has shown improved stand-up and wrestling in his last two bouts. Both men will have their sights set on the soon to be UFC Bantamweight Championship.

Finally, we have come to the main event of the evening, WEC Lightweight Champion Ben Henderson (12-1) vs. Anthony Pettis (11-1). Since debuting in the WEC, Pettis has won all fights within the promotion by submission or knock out. This past August at WEC 50, Pettis submitted Shane Roller via Triangle Choke to earn himself a title shot. Henderson holds a perfect record within the promotion. Since winning the lightweight title, many have considered him the best lightweight in the world that isn’t in the UFC. But now that the promotions are merging, it’s Henderson’s time to show the world what he’s made of. Henderson has successfully defended his lightweight championship once. In that bout, he shocked the world of MMA by submitting Donald Cerrone in less than two minutes of the first round. With that win, Henderson proved just how much of a better fighter he was since their first fight. The stakes of this fight are much higher though. The winner of the WEC Lightweight Champions bout will be guaranteed a spot in the UFC/WEC Lightweight unification bout against the winner between Frankie Edgar and Grey Maynard who will face each other on the UFC’s New Year’s card in January.

With two title fights and guaranteed wars, the WEC is going out with a bang. Tune in Thursday, December 16 on Versus to see the WEC for the last time.

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