Elite Xc Makes Respectable Debutin First Premium Channel Mma Bout
Elite XC Makes Respectable Debut
in First Premium Channel MMA Bout
Report by Steven Marrocco – Photos by Keith Mills
Saturday, February 10, 2007, Southaven, Mississippi: Though its main event was mired in controversy, the boxing and MMA minds behind Pro Elite pulled off an exciting night of fights. The partisan audience and media stood rapt at the possible birth of a new star in the sport, the charming and brutal Gina Carano, as Exite XC put female MMA on a national platform for the first time.
Holding steady around two thirds full, an estimated 1400 fans at the Desoto Civic Centre, witnessed another chapter in the somewhat overplayed saga of Gracie vs. Shamrock. For his part, Frank was his usual cocky self, proclaiming to Gracie, "I’m going to tire you out on the ground and then knock you out." Gracie, sporting his IFL team shorts, spoke of his boxing training, but ultimately concluded, "I am looking to submit Frank the same way he is looking to knock me out."
Sporting the usual 20-plus Gracie entourage behind him, Gracie looked calm and still inside the ring. Shamrock announced his presence quickly with several unanswered leg kicks. By the third kick, Gracie had had enough, initiating a takedown by catching Frank’s leg. Ensconced in half guard, Shamrock did his best to stay busy from the bottom, defending Gracie’s mount attempts and kneeing Gracie to the body and head.
Interestingly, it was Shamrock’s business that laid the groundwork for the controversy.
From the start, Shamrock’s advantage in stand-up was evident, as he tagged Gracie several times in response to Gracie’s shot. Stunned several times by the punches, Gracie took Shamrock down again with relative ease, but couldn’t cinch a submission before being stood up by ref Herb Dean.
By the second round, Shamrock’s punches had taken some of the spring out of Renzo’s step, causing him to shoot for a fourth time. Sitting in Frank’s half guard at the edge of the cage, Frank again retorted with knees to Gracie’s head. Stepping in to separate them, ref Dean called foul, but Gracie had rolled to his back, clutching his head. Looking wide eyed and distant, Gracie could not regain his composure as Shamrock bounced around in his corner.
"I thought we came to fight," Shamrock shouted to fans cageside.
After initially raising Shamrock’s hand, the win was reversed, giving Gracie the win by disqualification.
Asked for clarification, Dean told the ringside interviewer that he had earlier called foul on Shamrock for the infraction, and upon the second illegal knee, went to take away a point. Because Gracie couldn’t continue, the bout was ruled a disqualification in Gracie’s favor.
Afterwards, Shamrock was apologetic, but undeterred. "I’m sorry, I made a mistake, I broke the rules," Shamrock said. "I’ll fight any one of those guys again, for sure. I’m old school; I thought we came to fight."
Gracie was taken to a local hospital for a possible concussion. Their post-fight press conference was simultaneously called off.
Greg Jackson disciple Joey Villasenor took challenger David Loiseau out of his element from the beginning, using the clinch to take the Canadian down at will. The bout followed a familiar pattern, with Loiseau looking for the home run kick/punch combination as Villasenor came in, clinched, and tossed the Crow to the ground. Punishing Loiseau from side mount and at his back, Villasenor shook off a last minute rally from his opponent to take a unanimous 30-27 victory.
Gina Carano put on a dazzling display of mixed martial arts as she foiled her game opponent Julie Kedzie. Though Kedzie never gave up, challenging the undefeated Carano at every turn, the weight behind Carano’s punches and kicks devastated Kedzie throughout the fight. Unable to submit Carano after gaining an important takedown in the second, Kedzie continued to dig deep and fight on impressively to the bell.
For their effort, the audience gave the two a standing ovation, witnessing the best-case scenario for this debut of sorts. "It turned out wonderful for us and the sport," Carano said afterwards.
American Top Team’s Antonio Silva bullied UFC and Rumble on the Rock vet Wesley "Cabbage" Correira before stopping him with an unlikely flying knee. Attempting to backpeddle out of trouble, Cabbage ate a sneaky left hook that sent him to the canvas at 3:49 of the first.
Erratic, charismatic, and quite possibly, a great fighter, Charles "Krazy Horse" Bennett took to the cage like the actor he wants to be, knocking out City Boxing’s KJ Noons. After exchanging a series of taunts, grins, and scowls with Bennett, Noons caught the worse end of a right hook exchange, dropping him to the canvas at 3:43 of the first round. After multiple backflips off the cage, the announcement of an acting career, and generous boos from the audience, Bennett finally exited.
On the Internet broadcast card, Tim Persey hammered his opponent Bo Cantrell with a series of hooks that had Cantrell out on his feet at 1:33 of the first.
Former IFL Anaconda Mike Pyle made quick work of fellow welterweight Ross Ebanez, choking him out at 1:33 of the first.
In a back and forth battle, lightweights Adriano Nasal and Javier Vazquez gave it their all in a three round war. Despite a last minute comeback from Nasal, Vazquez walked away with a Split Decision victory.
Deadly striker Edson Berto outstruck local favorite John-David Shackelford, got dropped by a left hook and kick that sent him to the mat. Although struggling for a submission, the ref called the bout at 2:27 of round 2.
Riki Fukuda gave fellow local favorite Chris Gates a taste of his first knockout as Fukuda launched a series of downward punches on his foe that had signaled the submission by strikes at 1:18 of the first round.
Elite XC Full Results:
Cage Rage 20 – Born 2 Fight
Held Feb 10, 2007
Wembley Arena, London, England
Report & photos by David West
Although there were two living legends of MMA on the card at Cage Rage 20, it was the newcomers who brought the excitement, whilst the legends appeared ready for the history books. In the main event Eric "Butterbean" Esch tagged James Thompson with two looping overhand rights that looked like Butterbean was winding up a baseball pitch. The first staggered Thompson, the second dropped him to all fours. Butterbean landed three more shots to Thompson’s head and the referee jumped in. A groggy Thompson tried to keep fighting, and the crowd wasn’t happy about the stoppage, but he was taking big punches and not defending himself.
Mark Kerr looked like he would rather have been anywhere but inside a cage. He slipped throwing a high kick and was pounded on the floor by London Shootfighters’ Mustapha Al Turk until Kerr tapped out. Kerr has fallen from world beater to the status of being a stepping stone for rising heavyweights and he should hang up his gloves on the basis of this performance.
Similarly, UFC champion Dan Severn gave a slow, plodding performance against Dave Legeno that drew continuous booing from the crowd. Severn inexplicably chose to stand with Legeno for the first two rounds, with Legeno landed the cleaner punches. In the third round Severn scored two easy low single leg takedowns, suggesting he could have done so at any time in the preceding rounds. However, he was unable to do much damage on the floor, leading to Legeno getting the judges decision.
The best action of the night came from welterweights Marios Zaromskis, from London Shootfighters, and France’s Damien Riccio. After a measured start, by the second round they were going hammer and tongs with Zaromskis asserting himself in the standing exchanges. In the third round, Zaromskis increased the pressure and battered Riccio from pillar to post, but the game Frenchman kept coming back for more. Zaromskis scored a knockdown from a spinning heel kick to the head and eventually got the stoppage from a nasty cut that left Riccio drenched in blood. A hell of a fight as both men showed heart, technique and tons of guts.
Robbie Olivier’s wish to become the first British champion to win a Cage Rage World title was brought to an abrupt stop by submission master Masakazu Imanari. The Japanese grappler was taken down by Olivier after leaping at him with a jumping front kick, but he instantly slipped on an arm bar that forced the Brit to tap out. Imanari’s countryman Daijiro Matsui quickly disposed of late replacement Tom Watson with an arm bar of his own and was the happiest man in all England following his victory after a string of messy results at Cage Rage, including a controversial draw with Alex Reid and a loss by cut to Pierre Guillet.
In the big news of the evening Bob Sapp announced that he will be fighting at Cage Rage 21 in April. The British heavyweights were practically falling over themselves for a shot at the gigantic American. First of all Dave Legeno called Sapp out, leading to a confrontation in the cage. Then Robert Berry came in, grabbed the microphone and said "I’ll take the fight, Bob", before James Thompson jumped into the cage to add his name to the list. Form an orderly queue, gentlemen.
Icon Sport: "All In"
Held February 9, 2007
Blaisdell Arena, Honolulu, Hawaii
Report by Chris Onzuka – Photo by Aaron Meyer
The fighters prepared for battle, thousands of people were eager for the action, I guess you could say that everyone was "All In" for Icon Sport’s latest event. Icon Sport introduced some attractive recent acquisitions in Renato "Charuto" Verissimo and heavyweight Scott Junk to not only add depth, but bring in some local talent to please the crowd. This was a fast paced night of action as only two of the 13 bouts went to a decision. The heavy hitters got to show off their skill, racking up KO’s like Mark Moreno and Justin Bacholz. There were also a fair number of submissions. "All In" all, a lot of action kept the crowd in check. Unfortunately, the main event had to be scratched due to Robbie Lawler. Lawler came down with a case of food poisoning on about Tuesday. Lawler held off withdrawing from the event, hoping that he would recover in time. Current Icon Sport Middleweight Champion, Frank Trigg stepped in the ring to announce that he will be fighting Robbie Lawler soon, possibly as soon as Icon Sport event in April.