Elitexc: New Promotion Makes Debut This Weekend
EliteXC: New Promotion Makes Debut this Weekend
By Keith Mills
All systems are go for EliteXC’s debut show this weekend, also known as "Showtime’s MMA debut" due to that cable network showing five of the ten bouts starting at 10 PM Saturday night. The other five fights will be aired on EliteXC’s website. Briefly it appeared this card may be without a headline fight when another promotion, Strikeforce, tried to sue Frank Shamrock for breach of contract and sought an injunction preventing Frank from fighting Renzo Gracie. According to the Gracie camp, the lawsuit between Strikeforce and headliner Frank Shamrock for breach of contract has been settled now that Showtime, stepped in and brokered a deal involving a future Strikeforce card to be aired on Showtime. Now that the lawsuit is settled the countdown is on.
The official preview is airing on Showtime but here is a different view. This show really shows the vision of Gary Shaw pitting the champions of different organizations against each other. Shaw himself is a boxing promoter and former regulator in New Jersey that originally turned down MMA in that state. According to Shaw, EliteXC is not trying to compete with the UFC, but to be a venue for champions from different organizations to determine who the best truly are. In fact this card is arguably a tour de force of the North American perspective of the MMA scene, thanks in large part to matchmaker J.D. Penn of Rumble on the Rock. Champions from King of the Cage, Gladiator Challenge, WEC, and TKO face off against vets of UFC, IFL, Strikeforce, HOOKnSHOOT, AFC, Pride, and even BodogFIGHT. The main event is even a former UFC Champion against a Pride and Abu Dhabi Submission Fighting Worlds vet.
The Super Heavyweight fight featuring UFC vet Wesley "Cabbage" Correira and Antonio Silva looks to be a barn burner. Cabbage went 1-3 in the ’06 season and went 2-2 in his UFC career, but his two losses in the UFC were to champions Tim Sylvia and Andre Arlovski, while his losses outside the UFC have frequently been the most exciting of those shows. Silva on the other hand, has had a much shorter career in Cage Rage in England among others, but his only loss was in BodogFIGHT to KOTC Super Heavyweight Champion Eric Pele. Coming in with an estimated twenty-plus pound weight advantage Silva may make up the experience factor with the size factor. Both fighters are known for their first round aggression, so don’t expect this one to be boring in any sense.
In the Full Contact Fighter archives is Kelsey Mowatt’s update with UFC vet/TKO Champion David "The Crow" Loiseau and he is right, his fight against Joey Villasenor could very well be the most compelling fight. Training this time at City Boxing with UFC vet Brandon Vera among others, could give Loiseau a new lease on life and snap him out of his two-loss ’06 record. Having gone 4-3 in the UFC fans should be familiar with Loiseau and his skills in the clinch and with his elbows. Pride vet Joey Villasenor may be less known to most fans but is very similar. Villasenor trains out of Jackson’s Fight Team in Albuquerque, the same team that fields Diego Sanchez, Keith Jardine, Rashad Evans, Nate Marquardt, and many more. Villasenor is also the former King of the Cage Middleweight Champion, having won and defended that belt seven times most recently against John Cronk after which he relinquished the title. Joey competed in last year’s Pride Middleweight Grand Prix where he lost a controversial split decision to Ryo Chonan for his first loss in almost four years, but even he admits he made mistakes against Robbie Lawler in Pride in October, resulting in a 0:22 KO. Now hungry for the win and knowing his back is against the wall, Joey is coming to EliteXC to prove he isn’t all hype.
Charles "Krazy Horse" Bennett was also in a Pride Grand Prix, his being the Lightweight tournament last June where he lost to current Shooto Champion Tatsuya Kawajiri. Krazy Horse may be coming off a ’06 0-3 record with two more losses in KOTC, but what he lacks in technique, he makes up for as one of the exciting fighters, arguably giving Shonie Carter competition for biggest showman in North America…when Krazy Horse is not in jail that is. KJ Noons on the other hand is all about technique. Also training out of City Boxing Noons is 7-1 in boxing, 4-1 in MMA (not the 3-0 as EliteXC’s website states), and 13-1 in Muay Thai. If Noons can handle Bennett’s unorthodox style it could be over quick, but if not, this fight could be the fight of the night.
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Pride Announces Two More Fights for February 24th Card
By FCF Staff
The official Pride website is reporting that two more bouts have been confirmed for the organization’s upcoming February 24th "Second Coming" card, to be held at the Thomas and Mack Centre in Las Vegas, Nevada. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (12-2) will make his return to competition after a 6 month layoff against Thierry Sokoudjou (2-1). Nogueira will be looking to remain in the middleweight title picture by defeating his Team Quest opponent, as it has been widely speculated the Brazilian Top Team fighter will get a chance to face the winner of the upcoming Pride 33 main event. In what is of course well documented by now, Middleweight Champion Wanderlei Silva will face Welterweight Champion Dan Henderson in the 205-pound bracket, to headline the show on the 24TH. Nogueira has won eight of his nine appearances in Pride thus far, and most recently the fighter stopped Allistair Overeem with strikes at Pride’s Absolute event last July. His only loss in over 4 years came when Nogueira dropped a decision loss to "Shogun" Rua at Pride’s "Critical Countdown" on June 26th, 2005.
Sokoudjou is by far the lesser experienced of the two in MMA competition, but has a plethora of competitive Judo experience, including medal winning performances at the U.S. Open Judo Championships. It will be interesting to see what Team Quest has been able to add to the fighter’s arsenal who is being coined the "African Assassin" on the Pride website.
Another lightweight match-up has been added to the card as Joachim Hansen (14-4-1) will meet King of the Cage veteran Jason Ireland (16-6-1). Hansen will be looking to rebound from his highlight reel gogo-platta submission loss to Shinya Aoki at Pride "Shockwave" on New Year’s Eve. Despite the loss, the Norwegian fighter is still widely regarded as one of the world’s best lightweight fighters, having defeated the likes of Rumina Sato, Takanori Gomi, Yves Edwards and "JZ" Cavalcante during his storied seven-year career.
For Ireland it will be the chance of a lifetime on the 24th, as the fighter will be making his Pride debut, likely as a heavy underdog. The Michigan fighter has won three of his last four fights however, and recently stopped Jimmy Boyd in the first round with strikes on January 26th at KOTC "Mass Destruction." Of Ireland’s 6 losses, several of them have come against very notable opposition, including Jorge Gurgel, Mac Danzig, and Dustin Hazelett. Until being injured in a hit and run accident in 2004, Ireland won an astounding nine fights in a row during the 2003 year.
With the announcement of these two fights this week, the Pride 33 "Second Coming" card now stands at eight bouts.