OSU Wrestlers Dominate WEC Undercard

By Mike Fridley Dec 4, 2008
A decorated wrestler who starred at Oklahoma State University, WEC light heavyweight contender Mark Munoz may have been surprised when he found himself under Ricardo Barros (2-2) early in the opening period Wednesday night at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.

Needless to say, Munoz did not panic.

After getting to his knees from side control, Munoz maneuvered to Barros’ back, where he teed off with punches to the side of the head until referee Steve Mazzagatti called a halt to the bout at the 2:26 mark of the opening frame.

“I just know when I take the back, [that] I have heavy hands,” explained Munoz (5-0), who showed excellent transition skill on the canvas. “I am [training] with the best guys, jiu-jitsu guys and boxing-wise.”

Munoz wasn’t the only OSU wrestler to make waves at WEC 37, as Johny Hendricks scored a technical knockout of Justin Haskins in a welterweight showdown.

Hendricks, now 4-1 with the win, sneaked in a crisp left uppercut that floored Haskins (4-2). With referee Josh Rosenthal watching closely, Hendricks unloaded with leather until intervention was needed at 0:52 of the second.

Bart Palaszewski made good on his WEC debut with an impressive second-round stoppage of UFC veteran Alex Karalexis. After a shaky first round left the IFL veteran battered, Palaszewski was determined to change the tide in the follow-up stanza.

“I know he was hitting me because at one point I saw a Ford commercial,” lamented Palaszewski (30-11).

File Photo/Sherdog.com

Bart Palaszewski made
good on his WEC debut.
Starting the second round with a wild exchange of punches, Palaszewski got the best of the affair. With his fallen lightweight opponent looking dazed from a right hand, “Bartimus” wasted no time in going for the finish with fast punches. Referee Kim Winslow had seen enough, as she stepped in to save Karalexis (9-4) at 1:11 of round two.

“I was flat footed in the first round. I wasn't getting off. My corner said answer his kicks,” said Palaszewski. “He's got hard kicks. I don't care who you are, those add up.”

In an entertaining featherweight duel, Cub Swanson outgunned Shooto veteran Hiroyuki Takaya (9-6-1) to claim a unanimous decision after three hard-fought rounds. After dropping the first frame on the Sherdog.com scorecard, Swanson rallied in the second and third rounds while finding an answer for the low kicks that gave him trouble throughout the first five minutes of action.

“I am usually good at taking kicks, but I was getting caught at an angle so they hurt a little more,” said Swanson, who raised his record to 13-2.

With solid striking and a wrestling-heavy strategy, Swanson dominated the remainder of the contest with relentless use of a fast double-leg takedown and control en route to taking the well-earned judges’ nod. Two judges saw the bout 30-27, while a third scored it 29-28.

Diego Nunes (11-0) took a unanimous decision over Cole Province (5-1) in a featherweight clash with scores of 30-27 (twice) and 29-28. Nunes displayed a varied skill set, as his path to victory included long stints of both standing and groundwork.

In the evening’s first bout, lightweight prospect Shane Roller upped his record to 5-1 with a first-round submission of Mike Budnik. The guillotine choke at the 1:01 mark was the first career defeat for Budnik (7-1).

TJ De Santis contributed to this report.
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