World Extreme Cagefighting Returns to The Palms as Urijah Faber Debuts at Bantamweight Nov. 11
Former featherweight champion “The California Kid” Urijah Faber makes his highly-anticipated 135-pound debut as World Extreme Cagefighting returns to The Pearl at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, Nev. on Thursday, Nov. 11. The 31-year-old pound-for-pound great, who once held the featherweight title for over two years, makes the cut to bantamweight in search of his second world title reign. He’ll take on one of the division’s toughest in Japanese striking sensation Takeya Mizugaki.
Plus, featherweight contenders Chad Mendes and Javier Vazquez collide in a pivotal 145-pound contest, while former bantamweight champion Brian Bowles locks horns with grappling ace Wagnney Fabiano. If that wasn’t enough, rising featherweight stars Josh Grispi and Erik Koch meet in a bout between two of the sport’s hottest prospects.
With four explosive fights perched atop this card, WEC: Faber vs. Mizugaki is sure to rock The Pearl on Nov. 11.
“Urijah Faber’s debut at 135-pounds is something both fans and fellow fighters have been waiting to see,” WEC General Manager Reed Harris said. “His first fight in the division pits him against Mizugaki, who has fought the best-of-the-best at bantamweight. The main event, plus the Bowles-Fabiano, Grispi-Koch and Mendes-Vazquez fights, makes this a special night at the Palms.”
Tickets for WEC: Faber vs. Mizugaki go on sale Friday, Sept. 24 at 1 p.m. PT and will be priced at $181, $131, and $71. A special Internet ticket pre-sale will be available to WEC newsletter subscribers on Thursday, Sept. 23 starting at 10 a.m. PT. To access this presale, users must register for the WEC newsletter through wec.tv. Tickets will be available at The Pearl box office, online at ticketmaster.com, all Ticketmaster locations, or charge by phone at 1-800-745-3000. Ticket prices do not include service charges.
Faber vs. Mizugaki will be televised nationally live on VERSUS beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT. All of the network’s live WEC events are presented in HD and Spanish language SAP where available. For more information and how to find VERSUS in your local viewing area, visit http://www.versus.com/findversus.
One of the top lighter weight fighters of all-time, former featherweight champion Urijah Faber (fighting out of Sacramento, Calif.) has defeated some of the sport’s best names. From Jeff Curran to Jens Pulver to Raphael Assuncao, the 31-year-old served as the 145-pound kingpin for over two years. Now, “The California Kid” has his sights set on winning a championship in the loaded bantamweight division. Up first for the Sacramento, Calif. native is Takeya Mizugaki, one of the division’s most talented athletes.
“I’m excited to take this fight at 135-pounds and test myself against the best bantamweights in the world,” Faber, who owns a record of 23-4, said. “Mizugaki is really tough, but I’m ready to make an impact and work toward becoming a champion again.”
Japanese star Takeya Mizugaki (fighting out of Tokyo, Japan) burst onto the scene last year, waging a five-round war with then-champion Miguel Angel Torres. Since that time, the 26-year-old has become one of the most feared bantamweights in the world. Having defeated Rani Yahya in his last fight in April, Mizugaki (13-4-2) is prepared to rudely welcome Faber to the 135-pound weight class.
“I never shy away from tough fights, so I’m excited to fight Urijah,” Mizugaki, who holds a master’s degree in electrical engineering, said. “Urijah’s first fight in this division won’t be an easy one. I plan on beating him on Nov. 11.”
Former bantamweight champion Brian Bowles (fighting out of Athens, Ga.) begins his quest back to the title at The Pearl when he takes on Wagnney Fabiano. A tremendous finisher who has scored stoppages in all five of his WEC victories, the 29-year-old Bowles (8-1) is confident that his versatility will guide him past the grappling-savvy Fabiano. Known for his stunning knockout of then-champion Miguel Angel Torres in Aug. 2009, the Athens resident is gunning for another dominant performance this November.
“I think a big win over Wagnney should give me a title shot,” Bowles, who trains at the same gym in Athens that launched the career of UFC star Forrest Griffin, said. “I’m training hard and if I’m at my best I don’t think anybody can beat me.”
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu wizard Wagnney Fabiano (fighting out of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) is undefeated since dropping to 135-pounds earlier this year and has his sights set on world title contention. Riding wins over Clint Godfrey and Frank Gomez, Fabiano (14-2), who served as the first jiu jitsu coach of current UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre, is excited to face the former champion Bowles and prove that he belongs among the elite in the bantamweight division.
“He’s the former champ,” Fabiano, who will train alongside WEC featherweight champion Jose Aldo in Brazil for this camp, said. “If I beat him then maybe I’ll have an opportunity for a title shot. And that’s my goal, to become champ.”
At just 21-years-old, featherweight phenom Josh Grispi (fighting out of Boston, Mass.) has taken the division by storm. Unbeaten in WEC at 4-0, including his submission victory over top contender LC Davis in his last fight in June, the fighter nicknamed “The Fluke” is one of the hottest prospects in the sport. Known for his vicious submission game and 5’11” frame, the Boston native believes he is closing in on featherweight champion Jose Aldo and wants to prove it by besting Koch.
“Erik is a great fighter and I can’t look past him,” Grispi, 14-1, said. “He is standing in my way of a title shot, so this fight is extremely important for me.”
Training under the tutelage of renowned coach Duke Roufus, Erik Koch (fighting out of Cedar Rapids, Iowa) has drawn the attention of many thanks to his crisp striking and dominant grappling. At just 21 years old, Koch (10-1), like Grispi, believes that he will one day wear WEC gold. Thus, when he meets his Boston foe on Nov. 11, he is determined to show the world that he is in fact the real future champion of the division.
“We’re both young and I figure this will be a good matchup,” Koch said. “No one in the WEC has been willing to stand with me yet. One of Grispi’s biggest advantages is his size; he’s tall, lanky and huge for the 145-pound weight class. It’s a good style matchup for me because I haven’t seen him fight anybody else with the reach or striking skills that I have. It will be a hard fight, but I like the style matchup and I wanted this fight.”
A rugged wrestled with heavy hands, Chad Mendes (fighting out of Sacramento, Calif.) has become an impact player in the WEC’s featherweight division thanks to wins over Erik Koch, Anthony Morrison and Cub Swanson. After besting contender Swanson by decision in his last fight in August, “Money” Mendes has no desire to leave his next fight in the hands of the judges. When Mendes (8-0) meets Vazquez at the Palms, the 25-year-old has his sights set on a knockout.
“I definitely want to make a statement in this fight,” Mendes, who trains alongside Faber, top bantamweight contender Joseph Benavidez and lightweight Danny Castillo in Sacramento, said. “Javier has been in the sport a long time and is a good grappler. But I’m looking to finish this fight.”
Riding back-to-back victories over Jens Pulver and Mackens Semerzier, Javier Vazquez (fighting out of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) believes his quest to the world title runs through Mendes on Nov. 11. Known for his high-level jiu jitsu and years of experience, the 34-year-old nicknamed “Showtime” hopes to hand Mendes his first loss when the two collide in Las Vegas.
“I can finish the fight with jiu-jitsu, that’s what my record shows,” Vazquez said. “He doesn’t finish fights, that’s what his record shows. Look, I personally like Chad Mendes, Urijah Faber and their guys. Chad is an awesome athlete and a great wrestler and he’s going to be an incredible fighter some day. But he’s only had eight fights. I have a big advantage in experience and matching him with me will be a little too much for him at this point in his career.”