The MMA Update For Thursday, June 21, 2007

The MMA Update For Thursday June 21st, 2007
Written by Chris Howie


One day away from what I consider one of the biggest shows of the summer. Lets get into the news and also a breakdown of the main card of the Strikeforce/EliteXC show along with picks from the undercard. Woooo.

Zuffa To Possibly Run Pride Show In August?

Yesterday, quite a few translations from a Japanese newspaper stated that there are plans to hold a Pride show on August 18th at the Saitama Super Arena in Tokyo, Japan. I don't really know how much you can really take from this considering Zuffa has made no mention of it and last week Dana White was saying that disolving Pride was a possibility. I would take this with a grain of salt until something a little more official from the big dogs at Zuffa makes it's way around.

Paulo Filho To Make WEC Debut Against Joe Doerksen has confirmed that former Pride contender, Paulo Filho will be making his debut in the U.S. against Joe Doerkson on the August 5th WEC card. I'm glad that Filho is making his way to U.S. soil and think it will be only a matter of time before we see Paulo on the big show contending for UFC gold. He is always highly ranked and without the freak injury to his knee during the Middleweight tournament in Pride last year one could contest he was the odds on favorite to walk away with the whole thing.

Nick Diaz Banned From Cornering Brother Nate reported yesterday that Nick Diaz, the former UFC Welterweight contender and brother of The Ultimate Fighter 5 finalist Nathan Diaz will be banned from cornering Nate during his fight this Saturday. Due to Nick's NSAC suspension he was informed he would not be to secure a corner license for the fight. Jake Shields will be filling the spot for Nick and will join Gilbert “El Nino” Melendez and Cesar Gracie in Nate's corner. Not too damn bad a corner for that fight. A lot of talent in there to help Diaz get through this fight. It's a bummer he couldn't have his brother but I think he'll be ok.

Strikeforce/EliteXC Breakdown

With only a day before the big show out in San Jose, I'd like to take a look at the big fights on PPV as well as give some picks for the undercard that will be airing for FREE on I for one can not wait to see this card and think it is probably the best card on paper put together for the month of June. Will it deliver the entertainment value of the Fight Night Live card, that remains to be seen but with a main event of Phil Baroni vs. Frank Shamrock, like Gary Shaw said himself yesterday in the pre-fight press conference “If these two fight the way they talk than this could be the fight of the century”. I agree with Mr. Shaw.

Weigh In Results

-David Smith (155 lbs.) vs. Sean Bassett (154 lbs.)
-Rex Richards (305 1/2 lbs.) vs. Ray Seraille (265 1/2 lbs.)
-Seth Kleinbeck (184 1/2 lbs.) vs. Sam Spengler (184 lbs.)
-Anthony Figueroa (132 1/2 lbs.) vs. Chris Cariaso (134 lbs.)
-Jason Von Flue (173 lbs.) vs. Luke Stewart (173 lbs.)
-Mike Pyle (168 1/2 lbs.) vs. Aaron Witherspoon (168 1/2 lbs.)
-Nick Covert (175 lbs.) vs. Nick Theotikos (181 lbs.)
-Edson Berto (155 lbs.) vs. Victor Valenzuela (155 lbs.)
-Josh Thomon (154 lbs.) vs. Nick Gonzalez (155 lbs.)
-Paul Buentello (250 1/2 lbs.) vs. Carter Williams (265 1/2 lbs.)
-Murilo “Ninja” Rua (184 lbs.) vs. Joey Villasenor (184 lbs.)
-Cung Le (179 lbs.) vs. Tony Fryklund (177 1/2 lbs.)
-Duane “Bang” Ludwig (170 lbs.) vs. Paul Daley (170 lbs.) [SWING BOUT]
-Frank Shamrock (184 lbs.) vs. Phil Baroni (183 lbs.)

Main Event

“New York Bad Ass” Phil Baroni vs. Frank Shamrock (Strikeforce MW Title)

A fight fans begged to see on message boards all over the internet, Baroni vs. Shamrock has been a fight that has been building for a long, long time. These two fighters have a legitimate hate for each other and have talked so much shit over the last few years that there is only one thing to do to solve it. Put them in a cage and let them settle their differences. This fight has an intensity to it that is rarely seen between two fighters. In one corner we have what most would consider the first true mixed-martial artist in Frank Shamrock who once walked away from the sport because he felt there was a lack of competition. In the other corner, Phil Baroni, a fighter who has had an up and down career fighting some of the top competition in the world. Baroni brings a dangerous and powerful striking game to the table that could give any fighter fits. Baroni also adds in good wrestling and a decent knowledge of submissions that will help him when and if the fight hits the mat. Throw in Phil's intensity and drive with a a lot of hate for Frank Shamrock and we should see the best Phil Baroni we have seen to date. He's hungry and wants the title.

Frank Shamrock has had a storied career that includes a UFC Middleweight championship and a long run of being undefeated. He is one of the most well-rounded fighters in the game and was the first fighter to really bring a skilled standing and groud fighting game. In interviews including one conducted by myself here at, Frank stated he would be standing up in this fight which, for Frank, could be a mistake against a fighter with the hands Baroni has. I think if Frank really wants to win this fight he will need to take this to the ground and try to submit or pound Baroni out.

It's tough to predict this fight as both fighters have advantages in different areas. Cardio-wise one would assume Shamrock would be able to out last Baroni if it were to go the full five rounds. But does anyone really see this one going the distance? This has stoppage written all over it and most likely a vicious one. If it stays standing you'd have to assume Baroni by KO. If it goes to the ground it would reek of submission. At the end of the show the way I'm seeing it is:

WINNER: Phil Baroni Via Round 3 KO

Smokin' Joey Villasenor vs. Murilo “Ninja” Rua (EliteXC MW Title)

This fight almost didn't happen due to Rua having issues getting cleared to fight by the CSAC but was eventually cleared to go so the fight is back on. In what should definitely be an entertaining fight “Ninja” vs. Smokin' Joe is a fight that brings two solid fighters together to lock horns for the Strikeforce title. Villasenor trains out of Greg Jackson's camp and with a solid team behind him brings an all-around game into the fight along with heavy hands that could give Rua trouble. “Ninja” trains out of the decorated Chute Boxe camp and will bring fierce striking and muay-thai with a ground game that can hang with the best of them. I think this fight could go a while but has a better chance of ending quickly as I see both fighters coming out and looking to throw down.

WINNER: “Ninja” Rua Via Round 2 TKO

Cung Le vs. Tony “The Freak” Fryklund

This one will most likely end quick and I don't see it happening on the mat. Fryklund has been around the block for a while now and Cung Le is the new kid in town (as far as MMA goes). Fryklund will be Le's biggest test to date but I think his striking will get him through this one rather easily. Not to take away from Fryklund, but I think Cung Le will be too precise and dangerous for Fryklund to pull this one out.

WINNER: Cung Le Via Round 1 KO

Paul “The Headhunter” Buentello vs. Carter Williams

This has slugfest smeared all over it. The big boys will be out in this Heavyweight showdown and someone will most likely be going to sleep. Both fighters have a lot of power in their hands and both love to throw-down. Buentello can knock you out with one quick punch and Williams has heavy hands that will put you to sleep quick as well. I wouldn't blink while watching this one.

WINNER: Paul Buentello Via Rd. 1 KO

Edson Berto vs. Victor “Joe Boxer” Valenzuela

This was scheduled to be the rematch between “Joe Boxer” and Charles “Krazy Horse” Bennett, but Bennett ran into legal problems last week and is locked up in a jail in Florida. Berto was a quick replacement to fill the void left in the card with “Krazy Horse” not being able to make the show. One would have to wonder if taking the fight on short notice could effect Berto's performance in the fight. “Joe Boxer” has been training hard for a fight with Bennett that he was waiting to get for a long time. I would have to assume that Valenzuela is in tip-top shape and is most likely pissed off that Bennett couldn't make the date.

WINNER: Victor “Joe Boxer” Valenzuela Via Unanimous Decision

Undercard Predictions

-David Smith vs. Sean Bassett – Smith
-Rex Richards vs. Ray Seraille – Richards
-Seth Kleinbeck vs. Sam Spengler – Spengler
-Anthony Figueroa vs. Chris Cariaso – Cariaso
-Jason Von Flue vs. Luke Stewart – Von Flue
-Mike Pyle vs. Aaron Witherspoon – Pyle
-Nick Covert vs. Nick Theotikos – Covert
-Duane “Bang” Ludwig vs Paul Daley – Ludwig
-Josh Thomson vs Nick Gonzalez – Thomson


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