Bowles, Cruz Cleared for WEC 47

By Brian Knapp Mar 6, 2010
Unbeaten World Extreme Cagefighting bantamweight champion Brian Bowles and top contender Dominick Cruz hit their intended marks on the eve of their five-round showdown.

Bowles checked in at 134.5 pounds for his matchup with Cruz (134) in the WEC 47 main event on Saturday at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. The 20 other men scheduled to compete -- including co-headliners Miguel Torres (134.5) and Joseph Benavidez (135) -- also met their contracted weight requirements at Friday’s official weigh-in.

Having quietly emerged as one of the sport’s pound-for-pound best, Bowles has finished all eight of his opponents, five of them inside one round. His list of victims includes Torres, Will Ribeiro, Damacio Page, Marcos Galvao and Charlie Valencia -- men who held a cumulative 74-8 record at the time Bowles fought them. Spawned by The Hardcore Gym, an American Top Team affiliate in Athens, Ga., Bowles has not competed since he knocked out Torres at WEC 42 in August, ending the popular former champion’s string of 17 consecutive victories.

Cruz will carry a five-fight winning streak into his second crack at WEC gold. The 24-year-old submitted to former featherweight champion Urijah Faber in March 2007, moved to 135 pounds upon returning to the WEC and has not lost since. Based out of Alliance MMA, where he trains alongside UFC light heavyweights Brandon Vera and Phil Davis, Cruz last appeared in August, when he defeated the previously unbeaten Benavidez by unanimous decision.

Torres, meanwhile, finds himself on the rebound after his first loss in nearly six years. The 29-year-old Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt burst on the international scene in 2008, when he submitted Chase Beebe and captured the WEC bantamweight crown. Three successful title defenses against Yoshiro Maeda, Manny Tapia and Takeya Mizugaki followed, as Torres became the promotion’s first 135-pound superstar.

An understudy to Faber at Team Alpha Male in Sacramento, Calif., Benavidez throttled BJJ ace Rani Yahya in just 95 seconds at WEC 45 in December. Despite his loss to Cruz, the 25-year-old remains one of the sport’s top young fighters Benavidez has delivered more than half (six) of his 11 career wins by submission.

WEC 47: Bowles vs. Cruz
Saturday, March 6
Nationwide Arena
Columbus, Ohio

WEC Bantamweight Championship

Brian Bowles (134.5) vs. Dominick Cruz (134)

Miguel Torres (134.5) vs. Joseph Benavidez (135)
Jens Pulver (145.5) vs. Javier Vazquez (145)
Deividas Taurosevicius (145) vs. L.C. Davis (144.5)
Bart Palaszewski (155) vs. Karen Darabedyan (156)
Scott Jorgensen (135) vs. Chad George (135.5)
Danny Castillo (155.5) vs. Anthony Pettis (154.5)
Leonard Garcia (145) vs. George Roop (145.5)
Chad Mendes (145) vs. Erik Koch (144)
Bendy Casimir (155.5) vs. Ricardo Lamas (155)
Courtney Buck (145) vs. Fredson Paixao (144.5)
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