Donald Cerrone file photo: Jeff Sherwood | Sherdog.com
World Extreme Cagefighting continues to fill out its WEC 53 card, as the Dec. 16 event in Glendale, Ariz., gained a pair of lightweight clashes this week, one pitting Donald Cerrone against Chris Horodecki, and the other featuring Daniel Downes and Tie Quan Zhang.
MMAWeekly.com first reported news of the Cerrone-Horodecki fight on Thursday, and Chicago's MMA broke word of the Zhang-Downes contest on Wednesday. Both matches have reportedly been verbally agreed upon, though bout agreements have yet to be signed.
Cerrone, who has 10 submissions among his 12 professional MMA victories, stopped a slide of two losses in three fights with a unanimous decision victory over former WEC 155-pound champion Jamie Varner at WEC 51 in September. “The Cowboy” has alternated wins and losses in his last seven fights after beginning his career 8-0.
Horodecki has won two straight since a December 2009 knockout loss at the hands of Anthony Njokuani, submitting Downes at WEC 49 and earning a split decision nod against Ed Ratcliff at WEC 51. The former International Fight League standout has won four of his last five fights, dating back to December 2007. Along with Downes and Ratcliff, Hordoecki holds wins over Bellator bantamweight tourney runner-up Ed West, Ryan Schultz and two victories over Bart Palaszewski.
The undefeated Zhang -- the only Chinese fighter under Zuffa employ -- made a splash in his promotional debut as he took just two minutes and 26 seconds to submit late substitute Pablo Garza at WEC 51. "The Mongolian Wolf" has 11 first-round finishes in his 12 victories, with nine submissions to his credit.
Downes enters the fight off the submission loss to Horodecki at WEC 49 in June, but Downes took that fight on short notice and was able to push Horodecki to the third round before succumbing to a rear-naked choke. It was his first loss in seven professional MMA fights, and the Duke Roufus-trained fighter has five knockouts among his six victories.
WEC 53 will be headlined by a lightweight title fight between champion Benson Henderson and top contender Anthony Pettis. The promotion's 135-pound title will also be decided, as champion Dominick Cruz looks to defend against Scott Jorgensen. Also on the card is another lightweight tilt featuring Kamal Shalorus and Palaszewski.