Although the WEC has not yet confirmed this bout, the organization will likely match area favorite Will Campuzano with jiu-jitsu ace Rafael Rebello at WEC 49 in Edmonton, Alberta, on June 20. He’ll be the second Texas-based fighter on the card with Kamal Shalorus, from the Austin area, headlining the event.
In an eye-opening debut to the WEC, Campuzano stepped in at the last minute to face one of the better bantamweights in the world, Damacio Page. It’s no surprise that things didn’t go Campuzano’s way in that bout, but he gained quite a bit of respect from fans and fighters by stepping into the cage with the seasoned pro.
In Campuzano’s second bout with the organization, he took on Coty Wheeler and won via unanimous decision, earning fight of the night honors. The prospective bout against Rebello would be his third fight for the WEC.
When asked by ESPNDallas.com about his potential matchup, Campuzano was very confident in the outcome of the fight if it were to go down.
“He’s a grappler.” Campuzano said. “I usually do pretty well when I fight strictly grapplers. He doesn’t come from a wrestling background, so it should be a fairly easy fight after the first couple minutes.”
“He’ll be really strong for the first few minutes and will try to take me to the ground, but he’ll start getting tired.”
Campuzano is unquestionably the better striker and doesn’t think Rebello will go toe-to-toe with him.
“I don’t think he’ll try to strike with me. If he does, that would be good, but I don’t think so.”
The Dallas-area fighter doesn’t seem to be concerned about his opponent’s training camp either. Rebello trains at American Top Team, which was recently ranked by Fight! magazine as the second best gym in American, just below Jackson MMA.
Instead of utilizing one gym to help him get ready for his upcoming fight, Campuzano chooses to utilize the best facilities in the DFW area to help him focus on multiple disciplines.
“There are some great wrestlers in the area that want to work with me.” Campuzano said. “I train in jiu-jitsu at Allen Mohler’s and I work on my boxing with George Prevalsky.”
“I’ve changed a lot in my preparations since my last fight. My focus is to be more well-rounded. I train in wrestling three times a week. I focus on grappling and striking as well. I train in all aspects of MMA versus just striking and boxing.”
Although Campuzano injured his shoulder after his fight against Wheeler at WEC 46, he feels he’ll be ready for a potential fight in June.
“I got cleared to fight back in March, and have been training full time since then,” he said. “Right now I feel good. My hook is back and my jab is not quite there, but should be ready by my fight.”
As far as having to go outside of the country for his third WEC fight, it’s really no big deal to Campuzano.
“I’m excited. I’ve never been to Canada before,” he said. “It should be fun, but it doesn’t really change anything for me as far as fighting Rebello.”
Campuzano would be fighting at 135 pounds against Rebello but would welcome the move to 125 if the WEC ever creates a flyweight division.
“I would definitely move down,” he said. “I’m not a big guy and I don’t put on much weight. I’m just small. I can compete at 135, but I could be champion at 125.”
Campuzano has fought for Frisco-based Supreme Warrior Championship at SWC 3 and has recently cornered an amateur fighter at a Lonestar Beatdown event held at “The Gym.”
Although from the area, he’s somewhat critical of the production value and the matchmaking of local promotions, but is confident that the local scene will evolve.
“The production is not as geared as it should be,” Campuzano says. “The matchmaking is somewhat off. There are a lot of new guys jumping in, promotion-wise, but they don’t have a lot of experience in matchmaking. A lot of the times, the fights are one-sided. It will just take time for these newer promotions to learn how to put matches together.”
As far as what the Texas native’s goals are for 2010, he has no illusions of being among the elite in the WEC anytime soon. He understands that he’s a few years out from contender status, but he feels he knows what the keys are to moving him into that upper echelon within the WEC.
“I want to get to the next level of athleticism,” Campuzano said. “I never played sports in high school. Some of the other guys [in the WEC] are very athletic and quick, and I kind of want to get there.
“I want to work on my conditioning so I can start enjoying the fight, instead of worrying about getting tired after the first round. Athleticism and conditioning are my keys to becoming a champion, but I see that as being far down the road. I’ve got a long ways to go. A lot of these other guys would smoke me right now. I’ve got to take this step by step and just keep learning.”