Sunday, September 16, 2007

EliteXC "Uprising": Put It in the Books

Jake Shields vs. Renato "Charuto" Verissimo - Going into this fight, my thinking was that Charuto didn't have anything that Jake Shields hasn't seen before. And Papa Bear was right again.

After controlling most of the opening round, Shields mounted Charuto later in the round and set free the hounds of war in the form of elbows and punches that prompted Mario Yamasaki to stop the fight with about a minute left. Shields remains undefeated and looked like a beast against a grossly outmatched Charuto. Based on Shields' dominating performance and his endearing comments toward Charuto and the Hawaiian fans after the fight, I can't see how any real fight fan cannot like this guy.

Riki Fakuda vs. Joe Villasenor - Let me start of by saying that Steve Mazzagatti's moustache looked absolutely delicious.

Fakuda looked very strong in the first round, landing punches and kicks and taking down Villasenor, who rebounded and dished out some punishment, but looked a little tired and flat-footed. In Round Two, however, Villasenor came out like a bastard, connecting with hooks and kicks. Rikki weathered the storm and dealt out some punishment of his own in what looked to me like a tough round to score. Round Three also saw plenty of action, highlighted by head kicks (which were blocked) from Smokin' Joe, who took the very close split decision.

Gina Carano vs. Tanya Evinger - Tanya muscled an early takedown, worked a guillotine choke to no avail, and was then choked the f- out by Carano in the first round. Nighty night. Mauro Renallo put it best: "That fight lasted as long as Lindsay Lohan's last stint in rehab." Oh, how I love topical humor.

Nick Diaz vs. Mike Aina - Seeing Nick Diaz make his way to the cage for the first time since Pride 33 in February brought me a joy I haven't known since discovering Ben & Jerry's cinnamon buns ice cream.

In Round One, Aina came out blasting, while Diaz seemed to be sizing up Aina. Diaz escaped the opening round unscathed but was dropped early in the second with a big right from Iron Mike, who wanted no part of Diaz on the ground and let Diaz back up. Diaz stayed busy the rest of the round, picking apart Aina with non-stop punches, scoring a takedown, and finishing the round in back control. Very tough round to score. After trading shots to kick off Round Three, Diaz took Aina down, but could not finish the tough Hawaiian. Split decision for...NICK DIAZ. Yeah, bitches!!!!!! Aina fought hard and gave a gutsy performance, but Diaz, despite being dropped in Rd. 2, was the more effective striker and the busier fighter.

Robbie Lawler vs. Maurilo "Ninja" Rua - Miletich vs. Chute Boxe. ICON Champion vs. EliteXC champion. I like Ninja in this fight, but let's see how it goes.

Lawler is damn strong! But speed beats strength and Ninja moved very well in the opening frame, avoiding damage from Lawler's nasty right hand. Ninja landed some low kicks, which slowed down and seemed to frustrate Lawler. Great first round, folks.

Ninja came out fast and furious in the second round, but Lawler avoided being taken down and put some heavy leather on the Brazilian. Ninja answered with some elbows from close quarters, but Lawler seemed content to stand and trade with Ninja.

Lawler kicked off the third round with a left kick to the body, an overhand right, and a Superman punch that really fired up the crowd. Lawler stayed busy, connected with another body kick, landed an uppercut that pushed Ninja back against the fence, landed another big uppercut that dropped Ninja, and finsished the Chute Boxe middleweight with massive right hands, forearms, and hammer fists. Mauro Renallo ejaculated, "Holy knockout, Batman, we've got a new EliteXC middleweight champion!" Oh yes we do. Lawler outlasted and outblasted Maurilo "Ninja" Rua to unify the ICON and EliteXC belts in what was a very exciting fight.

I thought this was a great night of fights. Mauro, Quadros, and Bill Goldberg, who conducts a good post-fight interview, did a great job calling the action. I thought that incorporating the traditional Hawaiian music into the show was a nice touch, and I liked with highlight videos of each fighter shown before the fighter made his/her way to the cage. In fact, I liked them much better than the UFC's. EliteXC also did a better job that the UFC between the rounds. I much prefer to watch highlights of the round and the EliteXC dancing girls (very talented performers)than watch the fighters receive instruction, water, and Vaseline from their corners. but that's just me. My hat's off to Gary Shaw and to all the good folks over at EliteXC for another great job.

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