Between the Strikeforce “Shamrock vs. Baroni” event on Friday and The Ultimate Fighter Finale on Saturday, fight fans can expect a stacked weekend of fights. MMAWeekly kicks of the week in style with a stacked Monday night radio show as well. Tonight, Damon & Jeff welcome Phil Baroni, Jens Pulver and Paul Buentello at 6pm PT / 9pm ET.
Phil Baroni has run up a record of 5-2 since exiting the UFC. On Friday night in San Jose, Calif., he steps into the most important fight of his post-UFC career against Frank Shamrock. Although Shamrock hasn’t been nearly as active recently, a win over such an MMA pioneer would not only boost Baroni’s career, but land the vacant Strikeforce middleweight belt around his waist, as well.
Aside from the professional honors, this fight between Baroni and Shamrock has gotten rather personal. “I think he is a scum bag,” said Baroni recently. “I am not going to hold any punches. The guy is a hypocrite. I think he is a fraud, and everyone that has ever dealt with him, that I know of, does not like him.”
To which Shamrock responded, “I am a professional martial artist, and I am a professional fighter. Phil is a professional idiot. I let my talking happen in the ring.”
The first-ever lightweight champion of the UFC, Jens Pulver also enters one of the most important fights of his career at The Ultimate Fighter Finale on Saturday night. He left the promotion after a contract dispute several years ago, defeating BJ Penn before his exit.
Pulver made a disappointing return to the UFC last year, getting knocked out by upstart Joe Lauzon in just 48 seconds. Brought in, along with Penn, to coach Season 5 of The Ultimate Fighter, Pulver and Penn will once again enter the Octagon together at the finale. For Pulver, it’s a chance to re-establish himself in the UFC, while Penn looks to end a two-fight skid since his own return and avenge the past loss.
On the Shamrock vs. Baroni undercard, Paul Buentello steps into the cage with former K-1 fighter Carter Williams. With Buentello’s affinity for stand-up fighting and Williams competing as a kickboxer for the greater portion of his career, their fight promises a knockout.
Having gone 9-1 in his past ten fights and 22-9 overall, Buentello holds a tremendous experience advantage over Williams, who is 3-1 in MMA. But if they do stand and trade as promised, the fight may not be as lopsided as MMA statistics may indicate.
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