Brad Pickett | Jeff Sherwood/Sherdog.com
Here’s a closer look at the supporting act to the final WEC show, Saturday night’s WEC 53 undercard, with analysis and picks.
Brad Pickett vs. Ivan Menjivar
A long time ago, Menjivar was considered one of the best 145 pounders in the world. The problem was that there was barely a 145-pound division available outside of a handful of Japanese promotions. Menjivar fought Matt Serra in the UFC and was Georges St. Pierre’s professional debut, both at welterweight. He also gave then-rising star Urijah Faber a very good scrap in 2006 before their bout was stopped due to what was ruled an illegal kick by Menjivar. At one time, he was bad news for anyone under 155 pounds.
After nearly four years off, Menjivar returned in June and now drops to 135 against Pickett, who has an exciting style and striking geared toward MMA. Pickett has given solid accounts of himself in his win over Damacio Page and a loss to title challenger Scott Jorgensen, showing good hands and outstanding conditioning in both distance-going bouts. Pickett sets up punches very well, varying a snappy lead hook with a left uppercut, and using good defensive wrestling to spring up from the mat.
At one time, Menjivar would have been readily favored to win this type of match, but between his age, inactivity, dropping a weight class and the general evolution of the sport, it’s hard to tell. MMA has changed considerably since his heyday a half-decade ago.
If Menjivar can close the gap, get takedowns and control Pickett, he can win a decision. If not, he’ll be picked apart and lose on the cards against a new breed of fighter. In a coin-flip, I’ll go with Pickett.