|The MMA News Feed - October's Second Edition
By Matthew Degonzaque (Oct 16, 2008) Doghouse Boxing
Hellos fight fans! Welcome to another edition of DHB's MMA news feed. In the news today we are going to go over the results of EliteXC: Heat from October 4th, we'll also go the 11th hour event that shook the card up and whether or not EliteXC will be the promotion to sign Tito Ortiz.
We will also talk about UFC adding major fights to their end of the year card and announcing the main events of UFC 93!
Elite XC: Heat Results, "Kimbo's got no slice" Frank Shamrock
This past Saturday held the third Elite XC card on CBS. The main event was supposed to be Kimbo Slice taking on Ken Shamrock in the main event of the card. But instead it was announced only hours before the card was supposed to happen that the fight may not possibly happen. Ken Shamrock had apparently received a cut from during a pre-fight warm up and the doctor was trying to determine whether or not Ken would be able to fight in the main event. The main event was in disarray and it wasn't even announced until the prelims that Ken Shamrock was officially pulled from the main event by the doctor.
"I was warming up, getting loose, and caught a head and didn't think much of it. Next thing I know, a couple of drops were dripping from my head," Shamrock told CBS. "[We] went to look and hopefully glue it together or something, but it needed six stitches. We we're trying to figure out a way to do this, but we came down here and the commission said they weren't going to let me fight." Ken Shamrock
Fans were left unsure of the main events status up until the broadcast started when it was announced that Ultimate Fighter 2 Alum, Seth Petruzelli (9-4) was stepping up on about 2 hours notice to fight Kimbo in the main event. (Credit: Sherdog)
First off, this was a massive screw up by the Ken Shamrock camp. This is the biggest fight that you have left in your career against a very inexperienced and limited fighter and you wind up getting a cut during a pre fight sparring session? Ken says it was a light workout, but I have trouble believing that. I don't buy Shamrock's excuse that it was a light workout. The stories of the Lion's Den and their full contact sparring are legendary and I believe Ken got popped a good one by one of his teammates. Who does that kind of sparring the day of a fight? Completely foolish move by a veteran that should have known better and as a result, he loses out on a big payday what could have been the last major fight of his career.
Here are the results for the show:
-Benji Radach defeated Murilo Rua by KO at 2:31 of round two.
-Gina Carano defeated Kelly Kobold by UD (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
-Jake Shields defeated Paul Daley by SUB at 3:47 of round two to retain the EliteXC Welterweight title.
-Andrei Arlovski defeated Roy Nelson by KO at 3:14 of round two.
-Seth Petruzelli defeated Kimbo Slice by TKO at 0:14 of round one.
First off, let's talk about the obvious. KIMBO SLICE WAS STOPPED FOURTEEN SECONDS INTO THE FIRST ROUND. LET ME REPEAT: KIMBO SLICE, THE MAIN SUPERSTAR OF ELITE XC WAS STOPPED ONLY FOURTEEN SECONDS INTO THE FIRST ROUND!!! This is massive setback for EliteXC. Kimbo was their biggest name and their top draw. Kimbo had already looked shaky in the 1st EliteXC CBS broadcast when he only got by journeyman James Thompson due to a controversial referee stoppage at the beginning of the 3rd round after Slice clearly lost the two previous rounds. Kimbo needed a big win here in order to maintain the mystique he had built up with all of the casual fans of MMA. That's why Shamrock, a 44 year old with a big name who hasn't won a fight in 4 years, was signed to face Kimbo. But Shamrock pulling out of the main event at the 11th hour really threw a wrench into things. EliteXC only had until the beginning of the show to decide whether or not to find a replacement or scrap the fight all together.
Ultimately, with ratings on the line, Pro Elite officials were able to get Kimbo to enter the cage against Seth Petruzelli. Once I heard Petruzelli was going to facing Kimbo, I knew that Kimbo was about to be dealt a loss. Petruzelli is not an elite fighter, but he isn't terrible like the other fighters that Kimbo has been matched up against. Petruzelli was a cast member on the 2nd season of The Ultimate Fighter and fought as a heavyweight on Team Franklin. He made to the semi-finals before being defeated by Brad Imes. He joined the UFC afterwards and went 0-2 before being released and wound up taking a year away from the sport shortly afterwards. He had been fighting at 205 and was supposed to fight on the preliminaries and wasn't even supposed to fight on the live card. Petruzelli is a journeyman with decent skills and I knew he was going to be too much for Kimbo Slice. I was proved right when the fight was over in a mere 14 seconds when Kimbo was laid out by Petruzelli as Elite XC Vice President Jared Shaw, literally, cried from cage side. For his 14 seconds of work, Slice was paid $500,000.
Cant say that most real MMA fans did see it coming though. Kimbo Slice is the biggest hype job in MMA history. His image is completely built upon his online videos of him beating up fools on the street. EliteXC and Gary Shaw took that and made people, mostly people who don't follow the sport well enough and transformed Slice into this dangerous monster who became the lead fighter in his promotion. But the only problem is that Kimbo is not a real MMA fighter, he is a brawler with power, but he isn't much more than that. His image was built up with him beating up horrible fighters like Bo Cantrell and Tank Abbott (who is really just an old and fat version of Slice). He hasn't been training in the sport long and hasn't had enough time to develop even the most rudimentary of ground skills. He showed that when he had absolutely nothing for James Thompson on the ground last May. The only reason Kimbo has gotten where he is in MMA is because Pro Elite have kept him more protected than the President and even then Kimbo needed the referee to bail him out last May against Thompson.
EliteXC will likely continue to push Kimbo and most of his fans, who aren't MMA fans, will continue to support him for the time being. I wouldn't be surprised if they tried to match him up with Ken Shamrock again; it's still a winnable fight for Kimbo that could have the average gullible fan forgiving him for his horrible performance this past Saturday. They could go with Petruzelli/Kimbo II but I think it's just another loss for Kimbo. The only difference is that Kimbo might last a little bit longer before Petruzelli defeats him.
As for the rest of the card…
Gina Carano continued her role as face of women's MMA as he racked up another victory this time over Kelly Kobold. Most of the fight was spent with Kobold holding Carano against the cage, looking for a takedown and Carano would manage to get off the cage and land some good shots before being put right up against the cage again. Kobold managed to land a takedown in the second but ran out of time as women's MMA fights only have 3 minute rounds. It was an ugly win for Carano, but a win nonetheless that sets her up for a showdown with Cristiane 'Cyborg' Santos, who was victorious on the prelims. Personally I think that's a bad fight for Carano, but maybe if they fight at a higher weight that means that Carano won't have to struggle to make weight and will have a better chance.
Jake Shields looked rather unimpressive in his successful title defense against Paul Daley. Daley, a striker with no ground skills, managed to control Shields on the feet but that was only because Shields stand up was terrible. He had no snap in his punches, his chin was up and horrible foot work. When he took down Daley, he was able to control him and land punches at will, but still could not finish him and it took two attempts at a telegraphed armbar in the second round for Shields to win the fight. Shields is, as top rank likes to promote, a top 10 ranked fighter but he is far from being a legitimate champion. He needs a lot more experience before he starts thinking about moving up to 185lbs to face Robbie Lawler for EliteXC's Middleweight title. Shields better stick to the guys that EliteXC puts him against because right now, he wouldn't stand a chance against the top fighters in the UFC Welterweight division.
Andrei Arlovski continued his warpath against the IFL heavyweights when he continued his momentum from his victory over Ben Rothwell and knocked out Roy "Big Country" Nelson. Nelson gave Arlovski problems with his ground game in the 1st round, but he quickly gassed out in the second round and it was all downhill from there when Arlovski began to tee off on Nelson with his boxing skills. Nelson had a good chin and was able to take some big shots, but Arlovski's power was just too great and 'Big Country' was TKO'd 3:14 into the second round. While it wasn't a great performance from Arlovski, he did take the fight on a week's notice and was fighting someone with legit ground skills so he'll get a pass on this one. With this win, Arlovski is looking to secure a fight against top heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko. With Josh Barnett publicly turning down the fight, a Fedor versus Arlovski fight makes perfect sense. Affliction should forget Vegas for now, put this fight in Chicago and it will do big business. Outside of the fighting Randy Couture, which isn't going to happen, no other fight makes as much sense for Emelianenko than an Arlovski fight. For this fight, Arlovski picked up a solid $500,000.
In the opening bout, Benji Radach knocked out Murilo Rua in the second round. Radach came right out and rocked Rua and it looked like Rua was always one punch away from being knocked out in the 1st round. Rua managed to rebound and put the fight on the ground. Rua kept trying to hit Radach with a jumping knee and every time he did it he was caught with a straight right hand. In the second round he tried it a third time and he was knocked out. Good performance by Radach and I think in the hollow EliteXC Middleweight division he definitely earned himself a shot at the winner of Lawler/Villasenor II next month.
Overall it was a much more entertaining card than the previous two MMA offerings on CBS. Pretty much all of the fights were entertaining and there were no disappointments, save for Ken Shamrock's last minute pull out of the fight. Overall, the event appeared to be a success and put EliteXC back in good graces with CBS as 4.31 million viewers, up significantly from July's 2.4 million viewers, tuned into watch the card. That says a testament to the drawing power of a Ken Shamrock-Kimbo Slice fight…or at least the promise of one. Not sure how much drawing power is left in Slice overall though, we'll have to wait until the next EliteXC card to find out.
It'll be interesting to see what kind of ratings EliteXC draws for their next CBS show now that Kimbo has been embarrassed, especially if he is on the card. Personally I think Pro Elite should continue to do business with Affliction like they did with Arlovski/Nelson. Both companies are losing money and a partnership could only benefit them. Affliction has the fighters under contract and Pro Elite has the television deals with Showtime and CBS to showcase them. In the next CBS show, which should be January or February, they should do what they can to put Fedor-Arlovski for the title in the main event and show viewers what two real top MMA fighters can do. If they're really worried about the ratings, stick Kimbo on the undercard although you won't need him, it'll only make him look second rate when fans get to see elite (no pun intended) level heavyweights in Fedor and Arlovski in the main event.
Tito Ortiz to sign with Elite XC?
On Saturday night's EliteXC telecast on CBS, the former UFC light heavyweight champion said that he is now "maybe a week away from signing the deal" with EliteXC."I've been a free agent now for almost five months," he told CBS reporter Karen Bryant. "I'm going to exercise my right of course, being a free agent. We're working really close with Elite and I'd say we're about maybe a week away from signing the deal."Ortiz cited Affliction fighter Andre Arlovski as an example of why he would want to sign with EliteXC. "Andrei Arlovski is starting to compete in this now, so the names are starting to come over." (credit: MMA weekly)
After the loss of Kimbo, this is much needed news for EliteXC. Despite not being a top 10 fighter anymore, Tito Ortiz still has plenty of drawing power left him. Ortiz is one of the biggest, if not the biggest draw in MMA today. He HAS fought in the main event of the highest grossing MMA PPV so far; UFC 66: Liddell-Ortiz II which did 1.08 million PPV buys at $40 a pop. Do the math. He also currently holds the second highest drawing fight on cable television when 5.7 million viewers tuned into to Spike TV to watch him decimate Ken Shamrock for a third time. And that was on Spike TV, which isn't even a major network like CBS is. Can you imagine what a Tito Ortiz main event card would do on network primetime? It would smash anything EliteXC has done so far on the network.
Ortiz probably doesn't have much time left in his career, especially with all of the injuries. He is 0-2-1 in his last 3 fights and only fought once in 2007 and 2008. He's currently getting similar back surgery that Nate Quarry got in the past to heal up back injuries that have plagued him throughout his career. If he signs with EliteXC he will supposedly fight in the middle of next year. If EliteXC is still running shows around then, than an obvious fight will be a rematch between Ortiz and EliteXC commentator Frank Shamrock. The two fought 9 years ago at UFC 22 in an action packed fight that saw Shamrock outlast the young Ortiz and defeat him with strikes in the 4th round. The first fight was during the 'Dark Ages' of the UFC and Ortiz has come a long way in skill level since then a rematch would be much bigger. I think at this point, Ortiz defeats Shamrock. But still a rematch on primetime would do great numbers and if EliteXC went the PPV route, the bout would likely do good numbers for a non UFC PPV.
If Ortiz debuted in Elite XC he would instantly be the biggest star in the promotion. The question is whether or not he has enough left in him, even after back surgery, to make an impact again…or will continue to look like a shell of his former shelf and EliteXC will have to hand pick his opponents?
Zuffa bulks up UFC 92
The Ultimate Fighting Championship expects to close out 2008 with a bang as the promotion has decided on three key match-ups for their year end show on Dec 27.
Interim heavyweight champion, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira will face Frank Mir, while light heavyweight champion Forrest Griffin returns to action defending his belt against Rashad Evans and Wanderlei Silva goes for three in a row against former 205lb champion, Quinton "Rampage" Jackson.
The news was confirmed by UFC President Dana White to Kevin Iole of Yahoo Sports.
The fights will take place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena and with those three match-ups along with a solid undercard including Yushin Okami vs. Dean Lister, which was first reported on MMAWeekly.com earlier this week, the UFC is looking at one of their most stacked cards this year.
White told Iole that he wanted to "stack" the end year show and with three huge match-ups, including two title fights, the UFC has done exactly that. (Credit: MMAweekly.com)
Well it's a good thing that the UFC decided to "stack" their end of the year card because as sole headliner, Nogueira vs. Mir just doesn't cut it. I know both guys are currently the head coaches on the 8th season of TUF, but in reality the fight just shows how lackluster the heavyweight division is in the UFC. Before, UFC had a top level heavyweight division but in the past year they have lost Andrei Arlovski, Mirko Cro Cop, Tim Sylvia and Randy Couture (although he has already come back). Mir hasn't been the same fighter since he got into that motorcycle accident back in the fall of 2004 that kept him out of action for almost two years. The only reason he is a coach on TUF is because he managed to defeat Brock Lesnar in a fight that he was not supposed to win and there were no other 'name' heavyweights to oppose Nogueira on the show. Mir could turn out to be a great coach, but not much is expected of him when he fights Nogueira and I myself will be surprised myself if Mir makes it out of the first round. I also think it's worth mentioning that The Ultimate Fighter, which is mostly used to promote a big fight between the coaches on PPV at the end of the show, has seen its lowest ratings of all time this season so maybe the fans are with me on this one.
Forrest Griffin versus Rashad Evans for the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship and Wanderlei Silva vs. Quinton Jackson III are much better fights than Nogueira-Mir. Griffin is quickly becoming the most popular fighter in the UFC that is if he isn't already, and his notoriety has only gotten bigger since defeating Quinton Jackson last July for the UFC Light Heavyweight Title. Evans was the winner of TUF 2 at heavyweight back in 2005 and immediately afterwards he moved down to 205lbs. throughout his UFC career, Rashad has always been a hot and cold fighter. He looked like a future big time player in his fights against Sean Salmon and Jason Lambert, but he also looked listless and unsure of himself in his fights against Michael Bisping and Tito Ortiz. But perception of Evans completely changed when Evans did the unthinkable and knocked Chuck Liddell unconscious in their fight at UFC 88 last September. Originally Evans was thought to be cannon fodder for Liddell before Liddell moved onto to fight Griffin for the title at this very same card. While Griffin vs. Liddell reeked of an 'old lion vs. young lion' changing of the guard fight that UFC loves to do, this fight will be much more interesting as you have two fighters, in their prime, who are going at it. I wouldn't be surprised if this fight was the headliner for UFC 92.
If there was ever a fight that already deserved a 'Fight of the Night' award bonus before it even happened, it is Wanderlei Silva vs. Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson 3. Most American fight fans haven't had the chance to see a battle between these two yet. They've fought twice before in Pride in Japan, in 2003 and 2004. Their 1st fight was the finals of the Pride 205lb Grand Prix. Both fighters had already fought before in the night before facing each other. Rampage managed to spend most of the fight controlling Wanderlei on the ground, but when the fight was stood up Rampage was quickly finished at the hands of Wanderlei's brutal strikes in the first round. Wanderlei was hitting Rampage with brutal knees to the face. Rampage was in bad shape, but would not drop and just smiled as he was hit with brutal knees. As Rampage lay against the ropes, still standing, the referee jumped in and stopped the fight. They met again on Halloween 2004. I'll never forget the sight of, from the center of the ring in front of 25,000 people, Rampage talking on his cell phone as the both fighters' national anthems played throughout the arena. Rampage was much more competitive this time, controlling Wanderlei on the ground and being competitive in the stand up. But he was caught with a brutal right hand in the second round and stopped by knees again right after. This wasn't like the first fight though where Rampage was still standing, helpless, and saved by the referee though. This time, Wanderlei knocked Rampage out and dropped his lifeless body onto the side of the ring where blood ran off of his face all over the ring canvas.
Since then though, Jackson has become a much more well rounded fighter and has looked better than ever in the past couple of years while Wanderlei has started to look like a faded fighter. Wanderlei has gone 5-5 since their second fight and is 1-3 in his last four overall. His last fight was an impressive 36 second knockout victory over Keith Jardine but it remains to be seen if he can continue that kind of momentum. Up until his last fight, Rampage was on the best run of his career. He had just defeated Chuck Liddell again to win the UFC Light Heavyweight title and then defeated Dan Henderson to win Henderson's Pride Light Heavyweight title and was the unified champion. But in his last fight he lost the championship in a close decision to Forrest Griffin and then promptly went on a rampage (no pun intended) and was involved in a high speed chase with police officials that saw Rampage crashing into several cards. Rampage also left his trainer, Juanito Ibarra, due to rumors that Ibarra had been ripping Rampage off (Tito Ortiz later said that this was true) and has since signed with signed with Team Wolfslair. Despite living in LA, Rampage signed with the England based team but mostly out of friendship with fellow UFC fighter Michael Bisping, who also trains with Team Wolfslair. It will be interesting to see how the change in training camps affects Rampage. I think that as long as Rampage comes into the fight with his head on straight than I think he finally manages to defeat Wanderlei. But coming on with his head straight could be harder than expected for someone who has so much going on right now.
Either way, I'm looking forward to this card. It's definitely a great way to end the year. Make sure you guys are watching December 27th.
UFC announces UFC 93 and main events
The Ultimate Fighting Championship has officially announced a return to Ireland on Jan 17, but this time they will be traveling to Dublin for the first time. Former middleweight champion, Rich "Ace" Franklin stays put at 205lbs to face Dan Henderson in a tough light heavyweight showdown as the main event. Also on the card will be former top light heavyweight stand-out, Mauricio "Shogun" Rua returning for a rematch with Mark "The Hammer" Coleman, who defeated Rua while the two were in Pride a few years ago. The fight between Franklin and Henderson is the culmination of a tremendous body of work for both competitors as they finally get the chance to square off in the Octagon.
I like this one, a lot. It's about time Franklin (24-3) and Henderson (23-7) faced each other. Fans have been looking forward to this match up for several years now, ever since Franklin and Henderson were dominating the 185lb scene at the same time. Franklin was the Middleweight Champion in the UFC while at the same time Dan "Hendo" Henderson was the Welterweight champion (same weight, just a different name) in Pride. Although both guys have faltered and lost their respective titles to Anderson Silva, they are still easily the two top contenders in the division. This is why it is a little surprising to me that this fight is going to take place at 205lbs.
I mean, I can understand Franklin's reasoning for agreeing to the fight at 205 because he has already lost to Silva twice and is beginning to make a run for the title at 205lbs. Hendo, on the other hand, has specifically stated in the past that he is looking for a rematch with Silva at 185lbs and only wants fights that will get him that. Hendo last fought at UFC 88 last month where he defeated Rousimar Palhares by decision at 185lbs while Franklin defeated Matt Hamill by TKO3 at 205lbs on the same card. A win for either guy does nothing for either guy at 205lbs. If Henderson defeats Franklin at 205, what does it do for him in the 185lb contender pool? If Franklin defeats Hendo at 205, then what does it do for him to defeat a guy who has been fighting at 185lbs the past year?
But at the same time it's not like neither guy has ever fought at 205lbs before. Franklin spent his first 16 fights at 205lbs before moving down to 185 and Hendo has spent the also spent the majority of his career at 205lbs before spending the past couple years going back and forth between 185lbs and 205lbs. In his past 10 fights he has had 7 of them at 185lbs and 3 of them at 205lbs. Hendo has always said that he has felt more comfortable at 205lbs though since he doesn't have to cut any weight to get there since he walks around at about 200lbs. So that could be why Hendo agreed to put the rematch with Silva on hold because after Silva, Franklin is easily the toughest fight out there for Hendo.
Either way, regardless of the weight class I think Franklin wins this fight. A lot of people may disagree with me, but I think Franklin is a better fighter than Hendo only by a slight margin. Franklin has great stand up skills; he has knockout power in his hands, good defense and powerful leg kicks. On the other hand, Hendo does have a brutal right hand, he tends to get a bit wild with his striking and it causes him to get picked apart by great strikers (see: Silva, Anderson). Henderson is a world class wrestler, having competed in the Olympics, but Franklin has underrated Jiu Jitsu and while Henderson could control Franklin on the ground, I think Franklin's Jiu Jitsu skills will keep him from being finished on the ground. It should be a great fight either way and it's worth the price of PPV alone.
A rematch between Mauricio Rua (16-3) and Mark Coleman (15-8) is a fight that needed to happen for the fans sake due to the controversy that their first fight caused. Shogun has just won the Pride 205lbs Grand Prix 2005 tournament and had dominated his opposition along the way. He was testing the waters at heavyweight and was fighting Coleman. Coleman, then 41 years old, was looking to be on the downside of his career. He had come off of one sided losses to Fedor Emelianenko and Mirko Cro Cop and was largely looked at as an easy fight for Shogun's entry in the heavyweight division. For what it's worth, Shogun was controlling Coleman until Coleman went for a takedown and Shogun landed on the ground in an awkward way. Shogun immediately screamed out in pain and the referee saw that his arm was broken on impact and stopped the fight 49 seconds into the bout. Coleman, apparently too hyped up to notice or suffering from rumored "roid-rage" tried to move the referee out of the way to continue the fight. Wanderlei Silva, Shogun's trainer partner, immediately rushed the ring and attacked Coleman.
This started a big battle between both teams corner man as Coleman's training partner Phil Baroni jumped in and tackled Wanderlei and held him down as Coleman stood on his head and shouted "I'm Back" at the top of his lungs. Coleman later apologized for his conduct afterwards though. Coleman has since fought once, at Pride 32 in a rematch against Fedor Emelianenko and lost by armbar in the second round. The fight took place in October of 2006 and Coleman hasn't fought since. Coleman later signed with the UFC and was supposed to fight Brock Lesnar in August, but he pulled out with an injury. Shogun returned to 205lbs and won four in a row before losing to Forrest Griffin, in September of 2007, at UFC 76 by submission. Shogun then suffered various injuries and has spent over a year on the inactive list. It's a good comeback fight for both men and a chance to get some momentum going, it all depends on who has what left.
This time the rematch will be at 205lbs though and by the time they fight Coleman will be 44 years old. Shogun will be 27 years old when they fight. I think Rua easily has more superior skills than the aging Coleman. As long as another crazy injury doesn't happen in this fight, I think Shogun easily defeats Coleman in a round or two this time.
That's it for this week; make sure to keep following the DHB main page for another edition of the MMA news feed within the next week.
Questions or comments,
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