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Preview of Friday’s ShoXC card on Showtime

EliteXC and Showtime will partner for the debut of ShoXC on Friday night live from the Chumash Casino in Santa Ynez, Calif.  at 11 p.m. ET. The five bout card is expected to end sometime around 1 a.m. ET, at which time will telecast five additional fights via the Internet.

ShoXC is patterned after Showtime’s boxing series ShoBox, which has been a springboard for the career of many young boxers. Showtime is hoping that ShoXC will have the same impact on mixed martial arts.

If nothing else, the show has great timing in the sense that it feels like it’s been months since we’ve had live MMA to watch. While the card doesn’t boast any huge names, there are fighters on the card with a lot of potential. On paper, I also think the matchmakers have done a good job as far as styles are concerned.

The show will also feature the debut of Mauro Ranallo and Stephen Quadros as an announce team. The team garnered strong fan support on an individual basis during their broadcast stints with Pride. However, they had never been on the air at the same time until this show.

Here’s my breakdown of what to watch for:

K.J. Noons vs. Edson Berto – This fight could prove to be a sleeper in the mold of Sam Stout vs. Spencer Fisher. You have two lighter weight guys with strong striking backgrounds.

In the case of Berto, he also has a strong ground game and is notorious for tapping guys with his heel hook. Berto is a true mixed martial artist and it boggles my mind why more people don’t talk about him. If he was in UFC, people would be drooling.

As for Noons, he’s a hell of a boxer who had a buzz surrounding him heading into his fight against Charles “Krazy Horse” Bennett during EliteXC’s debut show on February 10. Bennett caught Noons and dropped him cold and Noons hasn’t fought in an MMA bout since (he competed in a pro boxing match, and won). This is his chance to regain some of the momentum he lost after losing to Bennett.

If Noons gives up boxing and focuses solely on MMA, he could be a star because his boxing is unreal. We didn’t get a chance to see it vs. Bennett but hopefully we’ll get to see it Friday.

My prediction is that Berto will win in the second round via submission.

Jeremiah Metcalf vs. Jaime Jara – This match was originally supposed to be a rematch between Metcalf and Aaron Wetherspoon in a bout that would unify the Gladiator Challenge and King of the Cage welterweight titles. However, Wetherspoon is injured and pulled out of the fight yesterday.

Stepping in for Wetherspoon will be Jara, a 37-year old tough as nails fighter who took the fight on next to no notice. Jara is the Gladiator Challenge middleweight champion and has also held the GC heavyweight and light heavyweight titles in the past. He has to cut to fight at 185 lbs. and now is faced with the task of cutting to an agreed upon match weight of 175 lbs. That dude’s life must have sucked the last few days.

Jara is a good wrestler who has worked hard to improve his boxing. He’s fought Rashad Evans (lost), Carter Williams (won), and Anthony Ruiz (holds three wins over him) so he won’t be feeling any pressure fighting for Showtime.

There’s been some talk that the match could be title vs. title but I don’t see how the state of California would allow a 170 lbs. title be on the line against a fighter weighing in at 175 lbs. We’ll have to see how this plays out.

Metcalf is a 26-year old freestyle fighter who trains with Gene Fields out of Team Voodoo. He’s a very well-rounded fighter who has good Greco-Roman wrestling skills. He’s going to be giving up a lot of size to Jara so who knows if he’ll be able to utilize those wrestling skills.

Metcalf has great cardio so his best bet may be to keep the fight standing and try to wear Jara down since he’s coming into the fight on short notice.

I’m going to pick Metcalf by unanimous decision. If Jara had more time to prepare, the outcome would be different.

Aaron Rosa vs. Jefferson Silva – Watch out for Jefferson Silva! He has a K-1 background and trains with Mario Sperry out of Brazilian Top Team. He’s a rangy Muay Thai striker with some Jiu-Jitsu training that has star potential written all over him. The only thing that is holding him back is his conditioning.

That could be a problem for Silva because Rosa has been a sparring partner for Tito Ortiz for Ortiz’s last two fights. His conditioning is excellent and he has a lot of heart.

Rosa likes to stand up but he’s got some ground skills. If Silva has top position and gets sloppy, Rosa will be a threat to triangle him.

These two will stand and trade early and if Silva doesn’t take Rosa out early, we easily could see an upset. In spite of that possibility, I’m still picking Silva to win the fight and come out of the show with a lot of people talking about him.

Muhsin Corbbrey vs. Lee Gibson – Besides Silva, Corbbrey is the other fighter on this card that people need to watch out for. I’m really impressed with him as he’s a smart guy who is extremely competitive.

Corbbrey is a professional boxer who has competed in professionally in Muay Thai as well. Don’t stereotype him though because he’s not just a striker. He also competes in grappling tournaments and has won events such as NAGA and ISCF. He trained Jiu-Jitsu with Lloyd Irvin and now works on his ground game with UFC fighter Din Thomas.

Gibson is a tough dude who is a former Army Ranger and served 16 months in Iraq as a private security contractor. He splits his time between Kansas City and Las Vegas. He works in KC as a fireman and trains MMA in Vegas with Tony Fryklund.

Gibson just recently fought for Richard Steele’s Steele Cage Promotions on July 7, defeating Talon Hoffman via TKO at 2:25 in the second round. He’s a solid fighter and Corbbrey will have to bring his A-game in order to win.

Finishing Gibson won’t be easy, which is why I am picking Corbbrey to win via unanimous decision.

Chris David vs. Scott Jorgenson – David is trained by UFC fighter David Terrell out of the Nor Cal Fighting Alliance. He has a record of 8-5-1 and is a perfect 3-0 when fighting for the Gladiator Challenge promotion.

David has been training in martial arts since the third grade and wrestled during high school. When he first got involved with MMA he was almost exclusively a wrestler, however, he’s made strides in recent years in all other aspects of MMA.

It’s good that his stand up has improved because that’s where he needs to keep the fight in order to win. Jorgenson has much better wrestling credentials, having been a three-time All-Pac 10 selection as a freestyle wrestler while at Boise State.

I expect Jorgenson to win the fight in the first round via ground and pound.

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