It took 15 years for MMA to make it’s debut in California and it took Frank Shamrock just :21 seconds to dismantle Cesar Gracie in the main event of the first show ever in the state of California.
Over 18,000 people packed into the HP Pavilion in San Jose to witness history, as the first mixed martial arts event took place. Celebrities such as actor Forrest Whitaker, San Francisco 49er Dana Stubblefield, actor Chuck Norris and model Tyra Banks packed in to see the show, but it wasn’t easy for promoter Scott Coker to pull off the Strikeforce event.
Politicians tried to pull the plug on the event at 3pm, just hours before the show. An injunction was filed in San Jose courts to try to pull the plug on the show yesterday afternoon, but it did not go through.
That may have been bad news for Cesar Gracie as Frank Shamrock landed a crushing right hand just :21 seconds into the fight that knocked out Gracie. Both fighters came out swinging, but it was Gracie getting caught and knocked out. The shot that landed actually broke the hand of Shamrock. Shamrock told the sold out crowd that he is back and he will return to MMA full time.
The shocker of the night was in the light weight division. Clayton Guida, who improved to 20-3, dismantled Josh Thomson to win the ISKA Lightweight Championship. Guida used a ground n pound style that made him look like UFC Champion Matt Hughes in the fight. Guida executed takedown after takedown to pound out the decision. Thomson had Guida in trouble many times with guillotine chokes, but couldn’t finish the holds and would later pay for the submission attempts as his right eye was battered shut.
In the co-main event Cung Le was successful in his pro MMA debut making short work of Mike Altman. Le won by KO in the first round at 3:51 as he knocked out Altman with a great left hook. Altman did not attempt a takedown in the fight.
Mike Kyle hurt Krysztof Soszynski early in Round 1, but an accidental finger by Kyle in the eye of Soszynski ended the fight. Soszynski could not continue as the finger cut the eyelid (ala Randy Couture vs Vitor Belfort 2)and the fight was ruled as a Technical Draw in Round 1.
Eugene Jackson made his return to MMA for the first time in two years with a unanimous decision over Jorge Ortiz. Former WWE wrestler Daniel Puder survived a huge right hand by Jesse Fujarczyk, then settled down and looked impressive getting a rear naked choke for the win in Round 1.
Gilbert Melendez is starting to make a bid for being the best fighter in the world at 145 by easily handling Harris Sarmiento. Melendez dominated from start to finish winning by verbal submission due to strikes at :44 seconds into Round 2.
Brian Ebersole overpowered Matt Horwich for three rounds to win a unanimous decision. Nathan Diaz, the brother of Nick, looked dominant in his fight as he got an easy TKO victory over Tony Juares at 3:23 of Round 1.
Scott Graham sunk in a rear naked choke at 2:37 of round one to get the victory over Chris Yee, while Crafton Wallace knocked out previously undefeated fighter Ray Routh at :35 seconds of Round 2 to win. Look for many more fights to come off in Northern California as this show was a huge success.