EliteXC and DREAM both held interesting cards this weekend, below is a recap.
EliteXC "Return of the King"
June 14th Honolulu, Hawaii
Rules: EliteXC uses a fenced in cage. Three 5 Minute Rounds / 5 Rounds for Title fights.
Unified Rules, Elbows allowed...... no Knees to the head on the ground, etc.
KJ Noons (pictured right) won via TKO over Yves Edwards in the 160lb Title Fight.
The defending 160lb EliteXC champion, KJ "King Karl" Noons (I guess his nickname is the reason for the obscure name of the event) is riding high after a huge win over Nick Diaz last November. Now he is making his first defense of the belt versus the always entertaining and long time veteran Yves Edwards.
Round 1. Both quick to engage each other throwing kicks and punches right from the get go. Edwards lands a punch that backs KJ up. Noons than comes forward with a flurry of his own that includes a straight right hand that knocks Edwards down. Noons pounces and unloads with punches and elbows in a flurry that seems to be stuck in fast forward. The ref is forced to step in and stop the fight after that buzz saw-like finish just 48 seconds into the fight. Successful and impressive title defense for KJ.
Post Fight: They bring in Nick Diaz, who fought earlier. KJ was asked what he thought of Diaz's earlier performance and if it garnered a rematch between the two. "I did not see his earlier fight, let's ask the fans........ Does he deserve a rematch?" The crowd replied with boos and a distinct "No." Diaz tries to provoke KJ anyway with words and his favorite hand gesture of a double bird flip. KJ's crew takes offense and in what seemingly reeks of pro wrestling there's a mild scuffle between the camps of both fighters, including KJ's dad who wants a piece of Diaz, who along with his brother Nathan run back up the ramp talking more trash. Well I guess they want to hype a rematch.
Diaz is coming off of a win in the DREAM promotion over in Japan, now looking to fight his way back up the EliteXC 160lb division and a rematch with champion KJ Noons. Note: Diaz was close to 9lbs overweight at the weigh ins, this fight is at a catch weight of 168lbs after Corbbrey accepted 10% of Diaz's purse. Prospect Corbbrey is making a huge step up in competition.
Round 1. All standup. Diaz slow and methodical with his strikes while his counterpart appears to be the more fluid of the two with his. Good back and forth round dubbed "ultimate boxing" by Bill Goldberg.
Round 2. Corbbrey stuffed and early takedown attempt. Diaz landing good punches, Corbbrey could only offer occassional wild punches during the round. Action slowed down somewhat during the round.
Round 3. Diaz eventually gets a takedown, proceeded to side control and worked for a kimura. Corbbrey defends well, but Diaz transitions into an armbar attempt. Corbbrey escapes danger from the submissions, but Diaz winds up with full mount, where he finishes the fight with punches. Although most of the punches were hitting the arms, Corbbrey offered nothing in terms of escape and offense of his own, forcing the ref to step in.
Ninja is coming off of a win in EliteXC's sister promotion, Cage Rage looking to get back on track in the middleweight title picture. Bonello is undefeated at 16-0-1 coming in, fighting mostly jobber and now making a huge step up in competition. Bonello tries intimidating Ninja by disrespecting him during the pre-fight stare down using everyone's favorite four letter word to emphasize his lack of class.
Round 1. Bonello jumps guard after a body kick, which now looking back at it was the worst move he could have done. Ninja passes guard into side mount and begins to elbow the head and body. Ninja then passes to full mount, then returns to side mount and eventually locks up Bonello's right arm in the crucifix position... all the while landing punches and elbows at will. Ninja postured with the knee on belly position and landing more unanswered punches, forced the ref to step in and stop the fight. Very satisfying and dominating win for Ninja. Be careful what you ask for as this was typical of a match up between a world class MMA fighter and a rather regionally built-up, and now formerly undefeated fighter.
Other EliteXC results:
Anderson Silva pupil, Rafael Cavalcante d. former IFL fighter Wayne Cole via TKO (Punches) in Round 1. Heavyweight prospect Dave "Pee Wee" Herman d. long time veteran Ron Waterman via TKO (Punches) in Round 1. All 5 of the televised bouts ended with variations of a technical knock out. Good quality mma.
DREAM 4. Middleweight Grand Prix Quarterfinals
June 15th Japan
Rules: DREAM uses a ring. First Round is 10 Minutes / Second Round is 5 Minutes.
Knees to the head on the ground are allowed, No elbows to the head on the ground.
Dutch Kickboxer, Melvin Manhoef
The main event pitted Holland's devastating kickboxer versus former Japanese pro wrestler and undoubtedly one of MMA's true legends. Manhoef knocked out Dae Won Kim with punches in an alternate bout and is replacing injured Kiyoshi Tamura in the quarterfinals of the grand prix. Saku submitted Andrews Nakahara with a neck crank in the opening round.
Round 1. Slow feeling out process after the bell. After beginning to open up his striking, Manhoef landed a huge right high kick that knocked Saku against the ropes, afterwhich Manhoef unloaded with punches forcing Saku to his back. More punches and a knee to the head on the ground. Manhoef backed off and pull Saku by the foot a few feet towards the center of the ring and started throwing more punches. Saku had no defense for the barrage and Manhoef finished the fight with hammer fists 90 seconds into the round when the ref stepped in to save the battered Sakuraba.
This bout was a pairing of BJJ icon, Jacare (which translates to Alligator) versus the always entertaining Mayhem Miller. Jacare submitted late replacement Ian Murphy in the opening round with a rear naked choke, while Mayhem defeated Japanese pro wrestler, Katsuyori Shibata via TKO in his opening round fight.
Round 1. Fight starts with a fast pace. Both men scramble and trade takedowns. Once back to the feet the fighters clinched against the ropes, where Jacare worked for a takedown, eventually improving to mount. Mayhem reverses right away and stands up but he himself is countered with a heel hook attempt. The leg lock looks tight, but Mayhem gives a thumbs up sign and escapes to the feet. Brief standup exchange and Jacare gets another takedown into side control, where he passes into mount. Mayhem reverses and escapes, and just as before, Jacare counters with a heel hook that brings him back to the mat. This time Jacare regains top control. Mayhem scrambles but ends up giving up his back. From here Jacare works for a rear naked choke, but is unable to lock it in due to good defense. For the last minute or so, Jacare transitions from Mayhem's back to mount and vice versa, yet no luck in ending the fight. Very high energy round, and a good jiu jitsu tutorial for any new viewer.
Round 2. Jacare goes for a takedown and Mayhem backs up to the ropes and falls through them, causing a restart on the feet. Both look a little winded and try their hands at some striking. After a couple minutes they realize their games are best served on the ground and Jacare gets a body lock takedown with 1 minute to go in the fight. Nothing big happens the rest of the round though. Very good fight. Jacare does his patented gator crawl in his post fight celebration.
This was a pairing of an all around mma fighter and training partner of Fedor Emelianenko versus a judo practitioner ****, who keeps improving his mma skills by each fight. Mousasi submitted the pre-tournament favorite Denis Kang with a triangle choke in the grand prix's opening round, while **** defeated Shungo Oyama via unanimous decision. Weird seeing his first name being blocked out on this site.
Round 1. Both start out strong and trade takedowns. Gegard becomes the aggressor early on and shows his wide array of striking with knees, kicks and punches. While on the ground, Mousasi goes for a kimura and is reversed by ****, who takes his back from the side. From here **** goes for an armbar. With about 90 seconds left in the round, Mousasi is defedning the armbar well, grabbing his right wrist with his left hand not allowing his arm to become completely exposed. Mousasi is also throwing knees to ****'s head while on his back, disrupting the position. Finally **** breaks Mousasi's grip and extends the arm, but Mousasi rolls out of danger as the round ends. I'd say the first 6 minutes were all Mousasi, yet **** finished the round strong.
Round 2. Gegard stuffs a takedown and gets ****'s back. Now close to the ropes he locks in a body triangle to eliminate any chance of escape and also doubling as to impede ****'s breathing. Mousasi not doing any damage, throwing one punch at a time. The ref restarts them from the same position (Mousasi with body triangle on ****'s back) in the middle of the ring. Mousasi keeps punching to the top and back of ****'s head pretty much for the last 3 minutes of the fight, solidifying the win.
Zelg's main skills come from his muay thai backgroun, while Kin's background is of more traditional kickboxing. Zelg submitted Magomed Sultanakhmedov by armbar in the grand prix's opening round, while Kin defeated former Japanese pro wreslter and long time PRIDE FC veteran, Ikuhisa Minowa via unanimous decision. These two have also fought each other before. Ironically Zelg won the fight after an injury to Kin, I believe that time it was an Eye (Will look into it).
Round 1. Both fighters clinch in a body lock against the ropes. Zelg goes for a hip throw 1 minute into the round and Kin tries to brace the fall with his right arm. Unfortunately for him his elbow goes the wrong way when his hand hit the mat. You could hear something pop, and the replay shows the gruesome image. I wouldn't be surprised if he sustained a broken arm. Zelg celebrated as if he knocked him out, later appologizing after seeing the replay for himself.
After the No Contest in Aoki's first round fight vs Gesias Calvancante, they had to immediately rematch on DREAM's next show causing the reason for this lightweight grand prix fight taking place on this card. Aoki is a submission wizard who wears tights during his fights, while Nagata is basically a one dimensional wrestler. Aoki advanced after defeating Gesias Calvancante via decision in their second fight, while Nagata defeated Artur Oumakhonov via decision as well.
Round 1. Early takedown by Aoki where Nagata escapes but is sent back down again, this time in side control. A couple minutes go by without much action from either fighter. Aoki finally starts with some ground and pound, opening up with some good punches that allow him to pass into mount. Wow, out of nowhere Aoki demonstrates his ridiculous flexibility and grabs his own right leg and drapes his ankle/foot over Nagata's throat. Aoki then puts his hands behind Nagata's head and pulls backward causing Nagata to tap out due to a rare, modified, one-legged gogoplata from mount. Absolute crazy how flexible this guy truly is.
Other DREAM results:
Former PRIDE FC fighter, Alistair Overeem d. a Korean tomato can, Tae Hyun Lee via Knock Out (Punches and Knee) in Round 1. Still green to the sport, yet still a Gracie, Ralek Gracie d. Alavutdin Gadzhiyev via Submission (Armbar) in Round 1. Former K1 Hero's poster boy Hideo Tokoro d. Darren Uyenoyama via Unanimous Decision after 2 Rounds.
Middleweight Grand Prix Semifinalists:
Holland's Melvin Manhoef, 22-4-1
Brazil's Ronaldo Souza, 9-1
Armenia's Gegard Mousasi, 22-2-1
Croatia's Zelg Galesic, 9-3
Both the semifinal and final rounds to be contested at DREAM 6 on September 23rd. Match-ups to be determined.
Lightweight Grand Prix Semifinal Match-ups:
Japan's Shinya Aoki, 16-2 vs. Japan's Caol Uno, 25-10-4
Japan's Tatsuya Kawajiri, 22-4-2 vs. USA's Eddie Alvarez, 14-1
Both the semifinal and final rounds to be contested at DREAM 5 on July 21st.