Saturday, June 23, 2007
That Was One Heck of an EliteXC/Strikeforce Card
Wow is all I can say. Damn that Luke Thomas again for hypin' me up to buy the UFC 72 card. This set of fights tonight is what all MMA cards should be like. This card was "STACKED" from top to bottom with talented and exciting fighters.
Paul Daley, the reigning Cage Rage Lightweight Champion, was a much sought ofter free agent whom the UFC passed on ( another one ). EliteXC was smart enough to gobble this guy up, and he did not disappoint. Daley fought tough fellow Muay Thai fighter Duane "Bang" Ludwig. With both fighters trading vicious MT style knees and elbows throughout round one, there was no way this one was going past round two. It didn't, with Daley winning at :42 of round two via TKO.
Victor "Joe Boxer" Valenzuela got unluckier than his original opponent, Charles "Krazy Horse" Bennett, by running into rising force Edson Berto. Berto, son of former UFC 10 tournament fighter Dieusel Berto, is a throw back Pancrase style fighter ( you know I like him ). His pro record is 11-3-1 with 8 wins via submission and all three losses via decision. Why do I say throwback Pancrase fighter? Five of his eight subs all come by way of heel hook, as tonight's did. Another rising 155er. Forget Pride, the WORLD needs a 155 lb tourney to sort through all these great lightweight fighters we are now seeing.
Kimbo Slice should be thanking God that a bout with Paul Buentello never materialized. The headhunter took on former K-1 champion turned MMA fighter Carter Williams. Williams is the refined version of Kimbo, and Beuntello just ate him up after an initial flurry by Carter. Not many, myself included, thought it would make it out of round one, and it did, albeit by :10 into the second round with Buentello winning via nasty eyeball punch for the TKO stoppage.
With Chute Boxe facing off against Greg Jackson's camp, we saw Murilo "Ninja" Rua versus Joey Villasenor. With Shogun in his corner, Rua looked ready to take his first world title home. Other than an opening flash punch and take down, it was all Rua. With Villasenor sporting a 23-5 record before this bout, and Ninja having a 13-7 record, some new fans to MMA might have thought this bout was lopsided. It was, but not the way the records would tell you. Villasenor has never been able to move up to the next level, other than a somewhat impressive win over washed up Canadian fighter David Louiseau, dropping two of his last four to Robbie Lawler and Ryo Chonan. Rua on the other hand has fought, and lost to, mostly guys larger than him: Arona, Randleman, Kharitonov, and Rampage. Toss those Pride mismatches out and Ninja has a respectable 13-3-1 mark before tonight's bout. His three losses then would be to three of the top four MWs in the world in Dan Henderson, Paulo Filho, and Denis Kang. Not bad at all.
I cant say enough about Cung Le literally taking Tony Fryklund apart in their three round fight. Le IS the best striker at 185 in the world. He may be the best there is in all of MMA. As fans, we do need to see where his ground game is at, and we will soon as he is the reported next opponent of new Strikeforce MW Champion Frank Shamrock. Le throw strikes that I have NEVER seen actually work in MMA in my 16 years of watching mixed martial arts. Ever see a spinning crescent kick work? How about a spinning heel kick to a high roundhouse to a spinning back fist, all of which landed? His defense is just as good, ducking not one, not two, but three spinning back fists thrown by the Freak. But in the end it was Le's punishing body kicks that ultimately left Fryklund doubled up in agony on the mat with the referee waving off the contest at :25 of the third round.
I can't believe I starting doubting my pick of Frank Shamrock. I kept listening to all these MMA experts repeatedly say how Baroni was the favorite. Blah! Never again. To toot my own horn for sec ( hey, it's my blog ), I've been watching MMA or NHB for over 16 years. I have more on all these experts put together. Never again am I doubting my picks.
Shamrock revealed he blew out both his MCL and ACL in his knee two weeks prior to the bout. He couldn't shoot, he claimed, and he never did once in the whole fight. Instead he chose to stand with Phil Baroni. The whole time watching it, I'm thinking he's about to get KOed if he stands in from of the New York Badass. I'll never forget Evan Tanner in his post fight comments at UFC 45 saying how hard Baroni hits. I was waiting for that one big punch to lay Frank out, but he weathered everything Baroni had, and finally put him away with a rear naked choke ( complete choke as Phil didn't tap ).
After the fight Baroni said he tore his groin muscle in the first minute of the fight, so maybe the fans can have a rematch of this barn-burner in the future. I'd pay again.
Best thing about tonight were the fights and lack of decisions. The worst was having to listen to the idiot Mauro Ranallo. That dude is the whitest guy on the planet, but can't stop himself from saying his show-starter "Yo-yo-yo and away we go" and giving a shout out to his "peeps" in the whitest country on the planet, Canada.
I wish Crocop woulda really been pissed at him and LHKed his dumbass into unconsciousness.