by Ricardo Mendoza
SAN JOSE, Calif. –
A crowd of 16,326 fans filled the HP Pavilion to witness what was the biggest
fight in San Jose’s short mixed martial arts history. Strikeforce middleweight
champion Frank Shamrock headlined against San Shou stylist Cung Le in the
latest EliteXC-Strikeforce co-promotion in what was billed as the “Battle of
Le started off with
his patented kicks, keeping Shamrock at bay. Shamrock tried to get the fight to
the ground, but was unable to impose his will. Le continued to land his kicks,
while Shamrock worked the jab to get inside. It was an evenly matched first
round with crowd cheering at any burst of action.
The second went much
better for the challenger; he began to find his groove with kicks and mixed in
some solid punch combinations. Shamrock was unsuccessful in his lone attempt to
take the fight to the ground. Le continued to gain confidence, working Shamrock
over with kicks. A worried look struck the champion as the round ended.
With momentum on his
side in the third round, Le went on with his assault of kicks and punches,
Shamrock continuing to grow more disconcerted. As the round continued, Le began
to tire and Shamrock saw his chance to pounce. Shamrock landed a stinging punch
and that hurt Le, who was at this point was tired. Shamrock went in for the
kill, hurting Le with punches and landing the occasional knee to the head.
Somehow Le survived the onslaught and returned fire with a high kick that
rocked Shamrock, Le continued with a barrage of punches and one last high kick
as the round ended.
Shamrock fell in pain
and it was determined that he could no longer continue because of a possible
broken arm, which resulted from the first high kick. The crowd exploded into
cheer as Le’s corner ran in to celebrate with the new Strikeforce middleweight
champion. Le will now be known as the “King of San Jose,” putting himself on
the MMA map.
A late injury
postponed Drew Fickett’s chances of becoming the EliteXC welterweight champion,
but he still took care of business against Jae Suk Lim, who was also left
without an opponent at the last minute. The two fighters traded shots on feet
as the action quickly hit the ground and after a quick scramble ended with
Fickett on his back. Not wasting any time, Fickett quickly locked on a
guillotine choke and Lim stood up trying to escape, but was soon back on the
ground forced to tap at 1:14 of the first round.
Fickett will now move
on to meet Jake Shields on June 14 for the EliteXC welterweight championship in
Coming off his first
career loss, Gilbert Melendez rebounded with a dominating performance over the
outgunned Midwest fighter Gabe Lemley. Melendez was making his first defense of
the Strikeforce lightweight championship and he made it look easy. From the
onset, Melendez hurt Lemley with stinging punches and picking him up and
slamming him to the ground. The rest of the round followed the same formula of
Melendez landing heavy leather and keeping Lemley on the defensive.
The same formula
continued in the second round. This time Melendez turned on the heat and
battered the overmatched Lemley with strikes until the referee stopped the
punishment at 2:18.
In heavyweight action,
former NCAA All-American wrestler Wayne Cole made short work of UFC veteran
Mike Kyle. Kyle was making his return to action after a lengthy suspension kept
him out of action for the last two years. Cole wasted no time in getting a
takedown, quickly trying to maneuver into mount, but was denied by Kyle. Cole
once again tried for the mount, but instead switched over to an armbar that
forced Kyle to tap at just 42 seconds of the opening round.
Although he faced
several changes in opponent leading up to the fight, Joey Villasenor kept his
cool and took care of business against UFC veteran Ryan Jensen. Both fighters
were fairly cautious to begin the fight, neither engaging until Villasenor
scored a takedown. Not much action transpired on the ground and they were stood
back up. This is where the action got heated; Villasenor landed a huge hook
that hurt Jensen, but was unable to follow up. They began to trade with Jensen
getting the better of the exchanges, hurting Villasenor with crisp punch
combinations. Just as it seemed to go in Jensen’s favor, Villasenor landed a
huge left hook that put him out at 4:45 of the first round.
Tiki Ghosn got back on
the winning track with a hard fought decision victory over Luke Stewart. Ghosn
was able to thwart many of Stewart’s attempts to get the fight on the ground
and punished him on the feet with punch combinations and knees in the clinch.
On the rare occasion that the fight hit the ground, Ghosn was on top and in
control. The judges rendered their verdict a unanimous decision with scores of
29-28, 29-28 and 30-27.
-Cung Le def. Frank Shamrock by TKO (Severely
Damaged Arm) at 5:00, R3
-Drew Fickett def. Jae Suk Lim by Submission
(Guillotine Choke) at 1:14, R1
-Gilbert Melendez def. Gabe Lemley by TKO at
-Wayne Cole def. Mike Kyle by Submission
(Armbar) at 0:42, R1
-Joey Villasenor def. Ryan Jensen by KO at
-Billy Evangelista def. Marlon Sims by KO at
-Tiki Ghosn def. Luke Stewart by Unanimous
-Darren Uyenoyama def. Anthony Figueroa by
Submission (Guillotine Choke) at 1:27, R1
-Jesse Jones def. Jesse Gillespie by TKO at