The WEC made two major announcements this morning on their website. After much speculation, the organization confirmed that current bantamweight champion Miguel Torres will be defending his title against Manny Tapia on their December 3rd event at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida. In addition, they announced that they will indeed be dropping the middleweight and light heavyweight divisions from their promotion. Since the WEC is owned by Zuffa, LLC, the parent company of the UFC, it is likely that the top fighters in those divisions will be swallowed up by the UFC.
Torres originally won the title 135-pound title at WEC 32 this past February. He submitted Chase Beebe with a guillotine choke at 3:59 in the 1stRound. The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt is one of the world’s most exciting pound-for-pound fighters, and holds an impressive 34-1 record.
Tapia’s professional record stands at 10-0-1, and he is 2-0 with the WEC. The two were initially slated to square off at “WEC 34: Faber vs. Pulver,” however Tapia was forced to withdraw due to injury. Instead, Torres successfully defended his title against Yoshiro Maeda via doctor’s stoppage after the 3rdRound. Maeda was unable to see out of his swollen eye.
It has been widely known that the WEC was going to eventually dispel of the heavier weight classes, but a time line was not certain. The promotion will now focus their efforts on promoting the welterweight (170 lbs.), lightweight (155 lbs.), featherweight (145 lbs.) and bantamweight (135 lbs.) weight classes.
It is likely that the UFC will promote current WEC 205-pound champion Steve Cantwell and 185-pound champion Paulo Filho to their sector of the Zuffa, LLC umbrella. Filho is set to defend his title against Chael Sonnen at WEC 36 on November 5th. Win or lose, both fighters will most likely draw interest from the UFC, as well as Brian Stann and Mark Munoz.