Mixed martial arts makes its Showtime debut Saturday night live from Southaven, Mississippi. Long time boxing promoter, Gary Shaw enters the world of mma with his newly created Elite Xtreme Combat. The card is headlined by Frank Shamrock taking on Renzo Gracie, and features a number of talented fighters on the undercard. UFC veteran David Loiseau returns to the ring against Joey Villasenor, as well as, heavyweight project Antonio Silva looks to take out brawler Cabbage Correira.
Main Event: Frank Shamrock vs. Renzo Gracie
This fight should have taken place about eight years ago, when both fighters were in their respective prime. However, Gary Shaw felt that this main event would attract viewers, as well as, the attention of the mixed martial arts world. In reality, the fight is not that great of a match up and could be over rather quickly.
Frank Shamrock (21-7-1) was once a world class talent that decided he was done with the sport after he defeated a very young Tito Ortiz (strikes) way back at UFC 22, in September of 1999. Since 1999, Shamrock has fought three times. Once in 2000, once in 2003, and once in 2006. His three opponents combined for a record of 19-19-2.
At one time, Shamrock was arguably the top fighter under 200 pounds in the world. However, since 1999, the sport has changed dramatically and the talent level has improved way beyond many people’s wildest dreams. Shamrock’s most recent victory was over long time trainer Cesar Gracie, who had never fought professionally. The fight drew 18,000 plus in attendance, but Shamrock’s one punch knock out proved nothing about him as a fighter. To be the best and to be able to claim you are the best, you must fight the best. Shamrock continues to claim that he is still the best in the world, but the argument falls on deaf ears. Shamrock’s upcoming and pending fight with Phil Baroni in the Strikeforce promotion will be a step in the right direction and a true test of his skills.
Renzo Gracie is a true ambassador for the sport of mixed martial arts. He has a mixed martial arts record of 12–6-1. Gracie has been able to establish himself as a great teacher of the sport as well as a very well versed competitor. Gracie was brought back into fighting when he joined the International Fight League as the coach of the New York Pit Bulls. He has since fought twice under the IFL banner, going 2-0 with wins over Carlos Newton (spilt decision) and Pat Miletich (guillotine choke). His fight resume includes a win over kickboxer Maurice Smith (armbar) and losses to Dan Henderson (ko) and Kazushi Sakuraba (kimura).
This is a very odd fight. Gracie is fighting to challenge himself and compete. Shamrock is looking to push his name and to continue to be a main event fighter on Showtime. On the feet, the edge goes to Shamrock, but on the floor Gracie will have a slight edge. Gracie’s last fight with Carlos Newton was at a rather slow pace and was fought with almost too much respect being given between the two fighters. I feel Shamrock will not give Gracie that same respect and will ground and pound himself to a late second round stoppage. The win will not do anything for Shamrock as far as establishing himself as a current world class fighter, but it will hopefully set him up with younger and current higher level of talent down the road. Shamrock by stoppage due to strikes end of round two, bring on Phil Baroni and lets see where Frank Shamrock really stands.
David Loiseau vs. Joey Villasenor
David "The Crow" Loiseau (14-6) looks to reestablish himself at 185 pounds and get back to winning ways as he steps in the ring with Joey Villasenor (22-5). Loiseau enters this bout after losing to Mike Swick (decision) at UFC 63 and Rick Franklin (decision) at UFC 58. The beating that Franklin gave Loiseau looked to have had an impact on Loiseau, as he looked flat and gun-shy in his loss to Mike Swick. Prior to the defeat to Franklin, Loiseau had won an impressive victories over Evan Tanner (cut) and Charles McCarthy (tko).
Joey Villasenor (22-5) is a King Of The Cage veteran who trains under Greg Jackson. Jackson’s camp has been on fire recently with the success of Keith Jardine, Nate Marquardt, Rashad Evans, and Diego Sanchez. Villasenor stepped up to the big stage in 2006 when he fought in Pride twice. Villasenor dropped a razor close split decision to Ryo Chonan in June at Pride’s Bushido 11. Then at Pride 32, Villasenor was on the receiving end of Robbie Lawler’s flying knee that separated him from consciousness.
This fight all depends on David Loiseau. If the David Loiseau that sliced up Evan Tanner shows up, then Villasenor could find himself in a similar situation as Tanner. Nevertheless, Loiseau could show up and look awful like he did against Mike Swick, and in that case it will be Villasenor’s fight to steal. Louiseau in the past has made short work of lesser competition, but I cannot get the image of Loiseau being gun-shy and lackluster out of my head.
Villasenor will be coming into this fight more ready than ever and will have a tight game plan to match. Villasenor got caught with a nasty flying knee by Robbie Lawler, who was quick to swarm and finish. In order to win this fight, Loiseau has to do the same thing and come out firing or he will be in for a three round battle. I think this fight goes the distance and Villasenor is able to earn himself a decision. I am just a true believer in Greg Jackson’s camp right now and even though on paper this looks to be a stretch, I am going to put my faith in this camp until convinced otherwise. Villasenor earns a spilt decision win by not getting caught early, taking the fight to the ground, staying out of danger, and making Loiseau work from the bottom.
Antonio Silva vs. Wesley "Cabbage" Correira
Antonio Silva is 7-1 in mixed martial arts and is a huge man at 6 foot 4 inches tall and over 300 pounds. Silva was undefeated until he was stop with strikes by Eric Pele at the inaugural Bodog Fight show. Cabbage Correira is a brawler and a banger from Hawaii and sports a mixed martial arts record of 18-11. Correira will be undersized in this match up, but has the ability to stand and bang with anyone. Correira has a cement block for a head and does not get hurt easily. The majority of his stoppages for losses have come when the referee steps in because he has seen enough punishment. Silva is a huge mass and was being hyped as a future great super heavyweight. However, the loss to Eric Pele does not bode well for Silva. Pele is 10-2 in mixed martial arts, but does not have the power that Correria has. I think this fight ends at the end of round one with Correria raining down blows until the referee stops the bout. Correria is going to test Silva’s chin and I do not feel he is up for the test. Correria by tko end of round one.
Gina Carano (3-0) will stay undefeated when she stops Julie Kedzie (6-4) due to strikes in the middle of round two.
KJ Noons (4-1) will improve to 5-1 when he knocks out Charles "Krazy Horse" Bennett (15-13-2) midway through round one. Noons has reeled off three straight ko/tko wins and he will extend that streak.
Mike Pyle (12-4-1) will earn a hard fought submission by rear-naked choke victory over Ross Ebanez (14-4).