Published Tuesday, June 30, 2009 | 1:30 p.m.
Updated Tuesday, June 30, 2009 | 1:57 p.m.
The first World Extreme Cagefighting event in Ohio will feature an interim title on the line when Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone takes on Ben Henderson for the WEC’s lightweight crown at the Covelli Centre in Youngstown, Ohio on Sept. 2.
“The fight fans in Youngstown have a history of being some of the best in the country,” WEC General Manager Reed Harris said. “We’re happy to bring a championship fight and loaded card to our first trip to Ohio. We know the fans in Youngstown, and in surrounding areas like Cleveland and Pittsburgh, are anxious to see the WEC live.”
Lightweight champion Jamie Varner, who still has not completely recovered from a broken right hand he suffered in a January title defense with Cerrone, told AOL Fanhouse that he hopes to be back later this year or early 2010.
But his absence has created the match-up of top tier contenders at WEC 43.
“He’s (Henderson) got an awesome ground game and he’s a superior wrestler,” said Cerrone, the 26-year-old former pro bull rider, who sports a 10-1 MMA mark with one no contest.
“The only thing he lacks is his standup. I believe that I have what it takes to become champion. I know Ben well and like him, but when the cage door closes, I want to win that belt.”
The 25-year-old Henderson (9-1), a two-time NAIA collegiate wrestling All-American, has scored win overs Shane Roller and Anthony Njokuani since making his debut in the WEC in January.
“There are guys who get in the cage and you can see in their eyes that they’re a little bit overwhelmed by the whole thing,” Henderson said. “I don’t think I’ll be overwhelmed. I love Cerrone’s game and his ‘Terminator’ style. He just keeps coming forward. As far as standing up with him and trading some blows, I’d love to. Let’s go out there and have fun.”
Tickets for Cerrone vs. Henderson, which will be televised live on VERSUS at 9 ET/6 PT, go on sale Thursday, July 9 at 10 a.m. ET and will be priced at $25, $45, $75, and $125. Tickets may be purchased by calling Ticketmaster Charge-By-Phone at 1-800-745-3000 or by visiting the Covelli Centre Box Office or online at www.wec.tv or www.ticketmaster.com.