Southaven, Miss. – Debut events can be the toughest time for any organization trying to put the best foot forward in MMA. When the UFC came back under Zuffa in 2001, every televised fight going to decision and a main event getting cut off by pay-per-view didn’t bode well for the organization. Lackluster production plagued the WFA’s debut event in 2006. And now Elite XC gets to add on to that list in which a great night of fights were overshadowed by a controversial ending in the main event.
This time around, Shamrock started to push off the cage, trying to move or get out of the position. As Renzo tried to land some elbows from side control, Shamrock threw two consecutive knee strikes that landed flush to Gracie’s head and neck. While impressive by nature, the knees were in fact illegal as they were thrown and landed on a downed opponent. Referee Herb Dean stepped in to stop the action in which time Gracie rolled over with a wide eyed look, staring at the ceiling. The Brazilian was given 5 minutes to recover to see if the fight could continue but the damage was done and the fight was stopped.
After a conference with Herb Dean the announcement was made that Frank Shamrock had been disqualified due to the illegal knee strikes to the head of Renzo Gracie, who couldn’t continue after the blows. Renzo Gracie wins by DQ at 2:00 in the 2nd round but the stoppage will no doubt leave a black eye on an overall solid show.
Antonio Silva returned to action after a disappointing loss to Eric Pele in Bodog Fight by stopping Wesley “Cabbage” Correira in first round. Silva took the fight to the ground early with a great double leg takedown where he unleashed a ground and pound attack. Cabbage survived early but after standing back up he was greeted with a flying knee that put the former UFC heavyweight on the mat. Silva jumped in and slammed Cabbage with punches, forcing a stop to the action, giving the big man from Brazil his 8th professional win in his career, this probably the biggest of his relatively short career.
Joey “The Dreamsmasher” Villasenor, who seemingly changed his moniker just before the bout to “Smokin” Joe Villasenor, had a very impressive showing in the biggest win of his career over former #1 middleweight contender, David “The Crow” Loiseau. After a tough run in Pride that saw him lose 2 in a row, Villasenor came out with a renewed fire ready to prove that he belongs at the top with other great 185lb fighters. In the first round, he took Loiseau down at will and worked side control, landing elbows to the head and knees to the body. Loiseau gave up his back at will, something he is becoming quite notorious for doing, but Villasenor could not capitalize. The 2nd round saw much of the same with Villasenor taking Loiseau down and continuing the ground attack on the mate. A 3rd round saw Loiseau try to come alive after a very lackluster showing in the first 2 sessions but Villasenor started to show his boxing skills by hitting some very good body shots while defending from the Canadian’s unorthodox strikes.
“Smokin” Joe Villasenor gets a unanimous decision win over David Loiseau in very impressive fashion by dominating fashion through all 3 rounds. The former King of the Cage champion has now proven he can hang with the best in the world after beating Loiseau and will now wait for his next challenge in Elite XC.
Women’s mixed martial arts has taken huge strides in the last few months, none bigger than the marquis fight featured on the main card of the Elite XC show between Gina Carano and Julie Kedzie. The two female fighters came in ready to prove that their brand of combat can stand toe to toe with the guys.
Carano looked absolutely phenomenal with her stand-up as she landed numerous combinations that put Kedzie on her heels in every round. Whenever Kedzie did manage to clinch with the muay thai champion, it was Carano who overpowered the situation and took the bout the ground, where she quickly stood the action back up. Kedzie was rocked with shot after shot from Carano but to her credit, she kept fighting and coming back for more no matter the punishment she was taking.
When Kedzie finally did get Carano down, the Las Vegas native defended well and eventually reversed the position and stood back up where she again pummeled Kedzie from post to post. Carano nearly finished the fight on numerous occasions with fierce punching and even managed to throw some wicked high kicks that surely would have ended the match-up if landed. After 3 very exciting rounds, Gina Carano keeps her MMA record perfect with a unanimous decision win over Julie Kedzie.
Trash talking is a big part of any competitive sport and no fight on the Elite XC debut card had more jaw jacking than the bout between Hawaii’s KJ Noons and the always entertaining Charles “Crazy Horse” Bennett. A feeling out period left the crowd wondering if the two warriors were going to ever engage but soon after the stand-up war ensued. Noons landed some good leg kicks that seemed to slow Bennett down at points but it was the thunderous right hand from “Crazy Horse” that ended the fight. The enormous shot was followed up with a few more punches before the referee stepped in declaring Charles “Crazy Horse” Bennett the winner at 3:43 in the 1st round by knockout.
The prelims were televised on Pro Elites website for free and outside of the Kevin Federline clone running around annoying just about everyone in attendance and watching at home, the broadcast was a novel idea and a great way to introduce fans to Elite XC. Javier Vazquez returned to action for the first time in over 3 years and won a split decision over a very game Adriano Pereira. Mike Pyle got back to his winning ways with a very dominant performance over Rumble on the Rock veteran, Ross “Da Boss” Ebanez submitting the Hawaiian by rear naked choke early in the first round. Tim “Big Perm” Persey started off the night with a great knockout over Bo Cantrell. Edson Berto won his bout by TKO over John David Shackelford but not without some controversy as Berto grabbed at the cage multiple times to stop from being pulled or reversed to which the referee never addressed during the bout. Riki Fukuda defeated a very overmatched Chris Gates by TKO early in the initial round as well.
With Shamrock vs. Gracie ending in such an anticlimactic way, there will always be a shadow cast over this show. It was Shamrock’s poor sportsmanship after the fight calling his opponent out and saying that he was just getting ready to set him up to be knocked out after Gracie controlled him for the better part of both rounds that showed little class in defeat. The shining moment of the show came with the debut of women’s MMA on the big stage. Fight of the Night honors go to Gina Carano vs. Julie Kedzie, who both showed tremendous heart and unbelievable skill in their bout. Fighter of the Night is handed to Gina Carano who showed that she is not just a pretty face but a pretty fierce fighter to boot.