Vazquez Says He’ll Armbar Semerzier at WEC 50

Javier Vazquez file photo: Dave Mandel | Sherdog.com

On Wednesday night in Las Vegas, it will again be "Showtime" for featherweight Javier Vazquez, who takes on Mackens Semerzier on the WEC 50 undercard.

A Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, the 33-year-old Vazquez is coming off a first-round armbar submission of former UFC lightweight champion Jens Pulver at WEC 47 in March. He told the Sherdog Radio Network's "Savage Dog Show" on Monday that he had to go back to the basics following a pair of split-decision losses (to L.C. Davis and Deividas Taurosevicius) in his first two WEC fights in 2009.

"I wasn't happy," said Vazquez, who has nine submission wins among his 14 victories. "I'd never lost two fights in a row in my life. I just went back to the blackboard and improved my skills and moved on. If you look every time I've ever lost, it's been a split decision that could've gone either way."

Prior to his fights against Davis and Taurosevicius, Vazquez was known as a fighter who liked to take down his opponents and win either through ground-and-pound or by getting submissions. However, he went away from that strategy and wound up on the wrong end of the scorecards.

"I feel like I got caught up a bit with my striking in my first two fights in the WEC, though I thought I outstruck both those guys," said Vazquez. "I started feeling so comfortable with my striking that I didn't feel like I needed to be in a rush to take people down. I didn't feel like I lost either one of those fights standing, so there was no desperation for me to go for a takedown. I was connecting a lot more, especially in the first fight and even more so in the second fight. I was slipping, countering and hitting people and not getting hit, so I thought, 'Cool, I'm winning these rounds.' But something I was doing made it look like I wasn't connecting or doing any damage even though I was."

That's why Vazquez went back to his bread and butter to knock off Pulver and get back on the winning track.

"In the Pulver fight, I was more like what I'm used to being," said Vazquez. "If you try to hit me, you're going to get hit back. If you hit me too much, I'm going to take you down. I'm not just going to sit there and do nothing. If people rush me, they get hit. If they don't, then they get hit and then they get taken down anyways, so it doesn't really matter."

Vazquez faces an opponent in Semerzier who is coming off the first loss in his career. Semerzier dropped a unanimous decision to Taurosevicius at WEC 46 in January. Prior to the loss, Semerzier shockingly submitted Nova Uniao standout and former International Fight League featherweight champion Wagnney Fabiano in just the fifth fight of his career.

Vazquez said he thinks the fight against Semerzier will look very familiar to fans who have seen his previous bouts.

"(Wednesday's fight) is going to look very old-fashioned," said Vazquez. "It's going to look a lot like a Javier Vazquez fight. I'm going to hit him, he's going to hit me. I'm going to take him down, get a guard pass, mount him, he'll turn his back and I turn him back to mount and then there's going to be an armbar submission."

A win over the 29-year-old Semerzier would be another step in the right direction for Vazquez, who hopes to eventually get a shot at the WEC title.

"I know that people are skeptical, but I want to make a title run," said Vazquez. "I feel like I can do that and be one of the top fighters in the world. I know I can do that. I know I can beat the top guys. Anybody who's in the WEC is tough and anybody can beat anybody on any given night and I'm just the guy to do it. I'm tough to take down, tough to hit and tough to submit. I have good standup, good wrestling and good top control. I've got every aspect of a world-class fighter and every aspect of being an elite fighter."
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