Luis Cruz Previews Elite XC “Destiny” In-Depth

The following is a pre-Elite XC “Destiny” opinion-piece by MMANews.com's own Luis Cruz:

INTRO

In what should be an exciting debut event, Elite XC has taken MMA to uncharted waters. This will be the first time a sanctioned MMA event takes place on a pay cable channel. They have put together a solid lineup to kick off their debut show and some of the fights we're going to look at point to some major fireworks forthcoming.

Prelim Bouts live on EliteXC.com

John Shackelford vs Edson Berto

Shackelford will have the privelage of fighting in his backyard. With some amateur fights under his belt, he's looking to turn his pro career around from a shakey start. He's been in with some still competition this early in his career. He has back to back losses to Dustin Hazelett (current UFC Welterweight contender) and IFL and MMA veteran Bart Palaszewski. He will be taking on a well rounded fighter in Edson Berto. Berto won the RFC Lightweight title in his last fight defeating Chris Mickle by submission in a mere twenty-two seconds of the opening round. This fight has the making to stay on the feet or to become a ground battle. I see this as another bout for Shackelford where he is in with another fighter who is a step above him at this point in his career.

Prediction- Edson Berto via submission round 1.

Mike Pyle vs Ross Ebanez

This fight pits two MMA veterans in the cage. Pyle has been recently seen at the IFL competing in team competition while Ebanez has mostly been seen at the Hawaiian based promotion ROTR. Pyle will look to take this fight to the ground where he is most comfortable and Ebanez will most likely try to keep it standing to utilize his striking. I believe Pyle will have a hard time taking the fight down to the ground but he will succeed a couple times. In the end though, I see Ebanez getting the nod for being more effective.

Prediction- Ross Ebanez via unanimous decision

Adriano Pereira vs Javier Vazquez

This Lightweight match up will turn into a ground war in the opening moments and will most likely remain there until a submission is pulled off or the end of three rounds. Both of these men bring a good jiu jitsu game and will both look to impose their will. Pereira is facing his toughest opponent to date and with a win can elevate his status and make a name for himself in MMA's Lightweight division. The flamboyent and colorful Vazquez will look to put on a show and make a claim for himself to be the top dog in Elite's 155 lb. division. I see Showtime putting on a show and out hustling Nasal en route to a hard fought decision.

Prediction- Javier Vazquez via unanimous decision.

Seth Kleinbeck vs Riki Fukuda

This match up should see a little of everything. I believe both men will test the other's stand up skills which will lead to one initiating a takedown. I believe Fukuda will be able to utilize his wrestling a little better to control Kleinbeck on the ground. From there, Fukuda will continue to control the fight by keeping good position, not letting Kleinbeck escape back to his feet, and applying some ground and pound to a decision.

Prediction- Riki Fuduka via unanimous deicision

Bo Cantrell vs Tim Persey

In a clash of Heavyweights, this fight will provide bomb after bomb until someone goes out. Cantrell has shown that he can be stopped if he's hit with enough solid shots while Persey hasn't faced the same kind of adversity or talent level as Cantrell. This fight will no-question be a stand up war to begin with. Unless Cantrell decided to take this fight to the ground where he has a good chance of submitting Persey, he may find himself waking up to the lights. This really is a pick 'em fight being that both men have heavy hands.

Prediction- Tim Persey via KO round 1.

Undercard live on Showtime

Gina Carano vs Julie Kedzie

Female MMA has finally gotten a chance on a major TV stage and will showcase one of the most intense female fighters in the world. Gina Carano has Hollywood looks, but don't let those deceive you as she is a very dangerous and highly skilled mixed martial artist. She has all the attributes to help put female MMA in brighter lights. While there are a lot of talented 135 lb. female MMA fighters, Gina brings a lot of charisma with her which could attract a lot of new fans to the sport's female division. She will be facing a tough opponent in Julie Kedzie who also has a good muay thai background mixed with good jiu jitsu. Gina will need to bring her intense game at it's best to continue her ascend as the most popular female MMA fighter in the world.

Prediction- Gina Carano via TKO round 2

*To check out our pre-Elite XC “Destiny” interview with Gina, click here*

Charles 'Krazy Horse' Bennett vs K.J. Noons

In an exciting Lightweight bout, Krazy Horse returns to action. He will be taking on knockout artist, K.J. Noons. One thing you can expect from Bennett is an exciting fight, he throws caution out the window each time out. This could prove to be costly when he steps in with Noons who has some serious power in both hands. He sports an 83% knockout ratio in muay thai competition, boxing, and MMA combined. Bennett's unorthodox style could turn out to fluster Noons for a little while but eventually the accurate striking and power of Noons will catch up with Bennett. I believe Noons will catch Bennett with a shot late in the second round and drop him, then he will jump in and force the referee stoppage.

Prediction- K.J. Noons via TKO round 2

*To check out our pre-Elite XC “Destiny” interview with Krazy Horse, click here and for Noons, here*

David Loiseau vs Joey Villasenor

'The Crow' is back and he's coming back to make a statement. This Middleweight contest will be a chance to show the UFC how much of a mistake it was to leave a top Middleweight go. Loiseau did not look himself in his last outing with rising Middleweight contender Mike Swick. He was overcautious and got off to a slow start which cost him a decision loss. Now he's seen and shared in the triumph of his “brother” and training partner, Georges St. Pierre, and he wants to claim his own right as champion. He'll be taking on the always dangerous Joey Villasenor who has a pretty impressive resume himself. Villasenor is very well rounded and can fight from anywhere. He too is coming off a loss to Robbie Lawler at PRIDE's U.S. debut show where he was KO'd in brutal fashion. He's also looking to rebound and get on his winning ways again. This should be a very competitive fight, but in the end I believe we will see the return of the devastating 'Crow' elbows.

Prediction- David Loiseau via TKO round 3

*To check out our pre-Elite XC “Destiny” interview with Loiseau, click here*

Wesley 'Cabbage' Correira vs Antonio Silva

This will be the battle of the big men. There's only one way this fight can go and that's a stand up war. This fight has fireworks written all over it. Cabbage brings his iron chin and heavy hands against the man people once thought could be the guy to dethrone current PRIDE champion and MMA's pound for pound king, Fedor Emelianenko. Antonio Silva has made his mark and opened eyes in his short time in MMA. He is a beast with his 6'4'' 300 lb. frame. But unlike some other big men in sports, he is athletic and balanced. He has tremedous power in his striking and will more times than not finish anyone if he lands a clean shot. This style match up is a very fan pleasing one and should deliver a very good and entertaining fight.

Prediction- Silva via TKO round 2

*To check out our pre-Elite XC “Destiny” interview with Silva, click here*

Main Event

Frank Shamrock vs Renzo Gracie

It's a Shamrock versus a Gracie. It's a legend versus a legend. And it's the main event of the Elite XC debut show. Frank Shamrock made his return to MMA a little less than a year ago and he did so in a very dominant fashion against another Gracie (Cesar). Now he looks to topple yet another Gracie in Renzo on February 10th. People have been making their opinions heard on Shamrock as of late, the main complaint being that he's been calling people out but not actually fighting. He will definitely be in for a fight with Renzo Gracie who doesn't get intimidated by anyone and is unlike other Gracie's in the fact that he can box as well. I have always thought of Frank Shamrock as one of the best and most well rounded MMA fighters in the world. He hasn't been active enough since the turn of the century to keep that thought in my mind. While I know he is still a great fighter, it is yet to be seen if he can compete at the level he once did.

Renzo is coming into his third fight in five months at almost 40 years of age. I wonder if this will have a negative effect on his performance. He is coming off back-to-back wins at the IFL in which he topped fellow legends Pat Militech and Carlos Newton. Renzo is one of the classiest men in the sport and seemingly coming to the end of his great career. I believe this fight might be too much for the Gracie at this time and the fresher Shamrock will pressure him until he has nothing left.

Prediction- Frank Shamrock via TKO in round 3

OUTRO

The commentators for this event will be Bill Goldberg (who commentated for the now defunct WFA) and Mario Lopez, who we know is a decent actor, can host shows, and he can dance, but can he commentate for an MMA event? He has a boxing background and has been a big fan of the sport for quite sometime. There have been some brutal commentators to listen to in this sport so I'm going to be optimistic that they will do just fine.

Elite XC's debut show is live on Febraury 10th only on Showtime at 10pm ET/PT. Don't forget that they will also be showing the live prelims on their website, EliteXC.com. I'll be attending the event this weekend to cover for the site, so we'll have very good LIVE results coverage of the entire event, as well as a heap of exclusive video, audio and other content after the show.

Want to challenge Luis Cruz on his opinions or predictions listed above? CLICK HERE to do so, he welcomes all challengers!

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