Each match in Thursday night's WEC 53 event has been finalized, as every fighter met their contracted weight during Wednesday's weigh-ins at Jobing.com Arena in Glendale. The card features two championship fights, both with UFC title implications.
The winner of the match between current champion Benson Henderson and challenger Anthony Pettis will enter the UFC with No. 1 contender status, and will be granted the first shot at the winner of the Frankie Edgar / Gray Maynard Lightweight title fight in January.
Henderson, the clear local favorite, was greeted will rousing applause as he stepped up to the scales. A product out of the Phoenix-based MMA lab, Henderson has won ten fights in a row, and was one of the leading figures calling for this card to be held in Phoenix.
His opponent, Anthony Pettis, is an explosive young fighter out of the Roufusport camp in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Nicknamed "Showtime", Pettis has reeled off three straight victories in the WEC, all of which were finishes.
Cruz, who has been called a stylistic nightmare, is relatively big for a bantamweight, registering in at 5'8". He is 16-1 over his career -- his only loss being to the face of the WEC, Uriah Faber -- and has won seven straight fights. This will be his second title defense since winning the belt by defeating Brian Bowles via TKO.
Scott "Young Guns" Jorgensen, a WEC fan favorite, is known for his outrageous high-energy, high-pressure style. Jorgensen initially struggled early in his WEC career, losing two of his first four fights. However, since then the champion wrestler from Boise has reeled off five straight victories, the most recent of came in August against Brad Pickett.
WEC 53 will be held Thursday at Jobing.com Arena in Glendale, Arizona. The undercard starts at 4:00 p.m. and the main card starts at 7:00 p.m. It will be the first major MMA event held in the state of Arizona. We hope all of Arizona will turn out and support this monumental event.
WEC 53 Weigh-In Results:
WEC Lightweight Championship
Anthony Pettis (154.5) vs. Benson Henderson (155)
WEC Bantamweight Championship
Scott Jorgensen (135) vs. Dominick Cruz (134.5)
Daniel Downes (154.5) vs. Tie Quan Zhang (155.5)
Shane Roller (155) vs. Jamie Varner (156)
Ivan Menjivar (135) vs. Brad Pickett (136)
Will Kerr (155) vs. Danny Castillo (155.5)
Yuri Alcantara (154.5) vs. Ricardo Lamas (156)
Chris Cariaso (136) vs. Renan Barao (136)
All photos by Ryan Malone