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Preview of Shamrock vs. Baroni card

My full preview of tomorrow’s Frank Shamrock vs. Phil Baroni main event and most of the undercard matches is available at:

According to Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer, both Shamrock and Baroni opened up at -115 ($115 needs to be wagered in order to win $100) but the line moved to -140 after heavy betting on Baroni.

For the record, I am picking Shamrock to win via decision but I wouldn’t bet the fight because it’s a match that could truly go either way.

Back when UFC couldn’t even get televised on PPV in the late ’90s, I would watch tapes of Shamrock. He was simply the man and was the first true dual-threat in MMA. However, a first round knockout in March ’06 against Cesar Gracie didn’t impress me. Gracie is a great MMA trainer with the likes of Jake Shields, Gilbert Melendez, Nate Diaz, and Nick Diaz in his camp but he was 40 and making his MMA debut.

I was even less impressed with Shamrock after Renzo Gracie took him down at will this past February. Renzo’s pure Jiu-Jitsu is great but is “MMA Jit-Jitsu” is questionable. He isn’t a good wrestler and isn’t a strong leg attacker but was able to clutch Shamrock and get him to the ground. That said to me that Shamrock may not have kept up with contemporary MMA. Maybe that’s why he went to Team Quest in Temecula, Calif. a few weeks before the Friday’s fight?

Baroni is going to have a huge size advantage on Frank and is a threat because of his punching power. Cardio is a question mark even though he usually catches a second win in the third round when his non-title fights go the distance. But I received word from inside Baroni’s camp at Xtreme Couture that he’s in amazing shape.

So while I am picking Shamrock to win, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if Baroni won. Taking a decision in Shamrock’s backyard might be impossible so Baroni will need to take it via KO or TKO.

Another name to watch on the card is Cung Le. I can’t say enough about the guy. If you haven’t seen him fight before, do yourself a favor and order the pay-per-view.

I’m also eager to see Carter Williams. Are we going to see the same Williams who won the ’03 U.S. leg of the K-1 Grand Prix at the age of 23 or the guy who just never was able to live up to the hype after that?

Make sure you check out the CBS Sportsline MMA page at because I have interviews up with Phil Baroni, Cung Le, B.J. Penn, Jens Pulver, and Manny Gamburyan along wiht my story on Sokoudjou.

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