by Ricardo Mendoza – MMAWeekly.com
Pro Elite returns with their second network broadcasted card, which is headlined with a rematch for the Elite XC middleweight championship and a battle for the Elite XC heavyweight championship headlines the Showtime portion of the card.
Elite XC Middleweight Championship Bout: Robbie Lawler vs. Scott Smith
Elite XC middleweight champion Robbie Lawler faces off with hard hitting UFC veteran Scott Smith for the second time in two months.
Their first fight was full of fireworks and excitement but that was quickly destroyed when the fight ended in less then stellar fashion. Smith took an unintentional finger in the eye and was unable to continue, making the fight a no contest since three full rounds weren’t completed.
The second time around should be a much tighter technical fight now that both fighters know what the other has to offer. They’ll need to pick their spots and not try to swing for the fences as they were pretty winded in the third round of their first meeting. With that being said, cardio is one of the areas that each fighter must of worked on in preparation for this fight.
Both fighters have power in their hands but Lawler is the more technical striker with crisp boxing combinations, while Smith likes to finish a fight with one single power shot. Neither fighter has shown much of a ground game but if it does end up there then Lawler will have the edge because of his wrestling background.
Their first fight was easily the fight of the night on the first CBS broadcast of Elite XC and this time around it shouldn’t be any different. The fight will be very much like the first fight but with small differences like a more technical fight and no feeling out period since they know what to expect from the other. At the end of the night we will hopefully have a winner and a conclusion to who is the better fighter of the two.
Elite XC Welterweight Championship Bout: Jake Shields vs. Nick Thompson
Cesar Gracie Jiu-Jitsu fighter Jake Shields faces off with Midwest fighter Nick Thompson for the vacant Elite XC welterweight championship.
Shields made quick work of touted submission fighter Mike Pyle submitting him with a rear naked choke at Elite XC: Renegade, while Thompson submitted Chute Boxe fighter Michael Costa with a kimura at Sengoku 3.
This has been several months in the making for Shields as his fight with Pyle was to be for the vacant title but Pyle nixed that when he opted not to resign with Elite XC, making it a regular fight. He then was scheduled to fight Drew Fickett for the title but a back injury forced him out the fight. Now he finally gets a chance at the title against a motivated Thompson, who hasn’t lost since April of 2006.
Shields biggest strength in the fight will be on the ground, where he is an accomplished grappler and wrestler. Thompson has a good ground game but it would be a mistake for him to try and hang with Shields on the ground. Instead, Thompson should use his reach advantage and dictate the pace of the fight on the feet, where he has the edge over Shields.
Outside of the UFC, this is the best possible match-up in the welterweight division with Shields being a top ten fighter and Thompson being on the cusp of being a top ten fighter. Whoever is able to dictate the pace of the fight will win because each fighter has a distinct advantage over the other in their area of expertise. This should be an exciting fight, wherever it ends up taking place and at the end of the night the best welterweight outside UFC will be known.
Lightweight Bout: Nick Diaz vs. Thomas Denny
Hometown fighter Nick Diaz takes on longtime King of the Cage veteran Thomas Denny in a lightweight bout.
Diaz comes off a stoppage victory over Muhsin Corbbrey at Elite XC: Return of the King, while Denny was illegally kneed by Malaipet Team Diamond, which resulted in a disqualification victory at a ShoXC in March.
These two were originally scheduled to meet at the Gracie Fighting Championships in January of 2007 but that event was canceled and they never ended up fighting on the rescheduled show. Don’t expect the fight to last too long as these two will go right at it out of the gate.
Diaz has the advantage on both the feet and on the ground, although he doesn’t have much power in his shots they are still effective because of his technique. If the fight hits the ground then look for Diaz to start working for a submission, keeping Denny on the defensive for all of the fight. Denny’s best chance at winning the fight will be to catch Diaz off guard on the feet and end the fight with a single power shot.
Diaz will be under some pressure fighting in front of his hometown crowd in Stockton, CA but look for him to rise to the occasion and give an exciting performance that’ll have them on the edge of their seats. For Denny, this is one last chance at becoming a relevant fighter if he can shock the world and overcome the odds to beat Diaz.
Women’s Bout: Shayna Baszler vs. Cris “Cyborg” Santos
Submission specialist Shayna Baszler faces off with Chute Boxe fighter Cris “Cyborg” Santos in an interesting women’s fight.
Baszler comes off a submission victory over Tama-Chan at a ShoXC show in April, while Santos stopped Marise Vitoria with strikes at Storm Samurai 12.
These two have two completely different styles with Baszler being a submission fighter and Santos being a striker with little ground experience compared to Baszler. If the fight hits the ground then expect Baszler to work for a submission and finish the fight shortly thereafter. The question will be whether or not Baszler can get the fight to the ground before being tagged by Santos on the feet.
If Santos is able to keep her distance and use kicks to keep Baszler away then she will open up some looks where she can land a fight ending combination. Whoever wins the fight will be more then likely next in line to fight Gina Carrano and right now that is what every women fighter wants because of the media attention that Carrano brings to a fight.
Elite XC Heavyweight Championship Bout: Antonio Silva vs. Justin Eilers
American Top Team fighter Antonio Silva faces off with UFC veteran Justin Eilers for the vacant Elite XC heavyweight championship.
Silva comes off a decision victory over Ricco Rodriguez at Elite XC: Street Certified, while Eilers stopped Wade Shipp with strikes at IFC: Caged Combat.
Silva has been unstoppable in the heavyweight division except for his lone loss, which was controversial to say the least. Eilers has put together a nice winning streak and gets another crack at becoming a champion in a major organization.
Both fighters like bang it out on the feet and this fight shouldn’t be any different. Silva is the bigger and stronger striker, while Eilers is the more technical quicker striker of the two fighters. If the fight hits the ground then Silva will be a threat with submissions and Eilers will use his wrestling to ground and pound.
One thing that is certain in the fight is that it won’t go past the first round as they both like to bring the action on the feet. If Eilers gets into an exchange with Silva then that could be the end of the night for him, instead he needs to stay on the outside and picks his spots so he doesn’t get caught with a big shot.
This should be an entertaining fight while it lasts as it is with the majority of heavyweight fights. By the end of the night, one of these fighters will be a champion for the first time in their career.
Light Heavyweight Bout: Rafael Feijao vs. Travis Galbraith
Brazilian standout fighter Rafael Feijao takes on Canadian fighter Travis Galbraith in a light heavyweight scrap.
Feijao comes off a dominant stoppage victory over Wayne Cole at Elite XC: Return of the King, while Galbraith submitted Martin Desilets with a triangle choke at Raw Combat: Resurrection.
Pro Elite is getting ready to introduce a light heavyweight title in the near future and Feijao is the fighter that they are pushing to become their next big star. Galbraith is one of the better Canadian fighters on the scene and gets another chance in a big show after an impressive showing in his lone Pride appearance.
If the fight hits the ground then Feijao has a slight advantage but Galbraith is also strong on the ground with submissions, so if he can hold his own then don’t be surprised. The really interesting part of the fight will be on the feet because both fighters are still improving and it will come down to who can land the first big shot.
The one difference in the fight will be that Feijao has a size advantage over Galbraith and that could be the deciding factor in the fight. Expect these two fighters to put on an entertaining fight and the winner of the fight moving closer to a title shot.
Featherweight Bout: Wilson Reis vs. Bryan Caraway
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt Wilson Reis faces off with Northwest fighter Bryan Caraway in a featherweight bout.
Reis comes off a submission victory over Justin Robbins at Elite XC: Primetime, while Caraway submitted Alvin Cacdac with a rear naked choke at Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Thomson.
Both fighters are submission fighters but Reis is a former Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu world champion and his technique should be able to overcome Caraway’s aggressiveness on the ground. Neither fighter is too well versed on the feet and whoever can control the pace of the fight on the feet will have the advantage.
Don’t expect too much fighting on the feet as these two will put together an amazing ground battle that will end when one of the fighters makes a mistake and the other takes advantage of that.