I apologize for being late with my thoughts but I had to get up at 6 a.m. in order to get ready to haul ass to Princeton, NJ so I could do my show for ESPN 920.
If you were looking for a no-frills, meat and potatoes MMA show then I don’t see how you could have an issue with last night’s telecast of ShoXC.
I was thoroughly impressed with last night’s show from top to bottom. Pro Elite did a great job of booking new talent and making strong matchups for them so that they could show their skills. I don’t think there was a bad match on the card.
I thought that the announcing was top notch. It was the first time that Mauro Ranallo and Stephen Quadros had ever worked together but you wouldn’t know it by listening to them. It sounded like they were old friends that had been broadcasting shows together for years. For my money, they are the best announce team out there even after only doing one show. I’m looking forward to them working together more in the future.
I also couldn’t help but notice that Gary Shaw didn’t come into the cage after any of the matches. Not even after the main event, which featured two EliteXC fighters. I applaud him for taking a step back and letting the fighters have their moment.
Here are my thoughts, match-by-match…
Muhsin Corbbrey vs. Lee Gibson - Solid match. It seemed to pick up steam as time went on. The two wanted to feel each other out (Corbbrey more so than Gibson) and perhaps that’s because these guys have been flying under the radar and there simply isn’t much footage out there. Corbbrey is a cerebral fighter and it appeared that he didn’t like facing a guy he didn’t know much about. It also looked like he was getting frustrated when he couldn’t find a glaring weakness to exploit.
I like Corbbrey’s athleticism and his hand speed. It also looked like he was tough to hit from an extended distance. His boxing was top notch and he was quick enough to use a lot of head fakes and shoulder movement without setting himself to be caught with a kick or a knee. Not everyone can incorporate basic fundamental boxing into their MMA game like that.
Gibson just seemed like a dude that was tough as nails. It was obvious to me early in the fight that Corbbrey wasn’t going to be able to finish him.
I’d love to see both of them brought back for future shows.
Jefferson Silva vs. Aaron Rosa - Wow, did I really call Silva a prospect? It was a good stoppage, as he took some nasty elbows. But even before he ate those elbows it seemed as though Rosa broke his will. Those grimaces when he was getting hit in bottom position were ridiculous. You really can’t show that type of pain to an opponent or a referee.
Rosa was the most impressive fighter of the night, in my eyes. I wasn’t sure about his perfect record because he hasn’t fought any top guys. But he’s a rugged guy who enjoys fighting and at only 24 years of age, I think he has a bright future. EliteXC should sign him to a deal if they haven’t already.
Scott Jorgenson vs. Chris David – David fought with a lot of heart but Jorgenson was just too much for him. Next to Rosa, Jorgenson was the second most impressive fighter. I don’t know what EliteXC has planned for the 135 lbs. division, but whatever plans they have, Jorgenson will obviously need to be a big part of it. He also seems pretty marketable.
Jaime Jara vs. Jeremiah Metcalf - Jara’s standup wasn’t pretty but it was effective. He deserves a lot of credit for taking the fight on such short notice and cutting weight. He deserves even more credit for agreeing to defend his 185 lbs. title while fighting at 175 lbs. Middleweight means you fight at 185 lbs. and if I was in his shoes, maybe I would have taken the fight but I would had at least said that if they want the title to be on the line, then Metcalf needs to make my weight in order to compete for my title. But Jara is 37-years old and I’m sure he realized the value of being about to get exposure as a champion.
It’s really hard to form any kind of solid opinion of Metcalf because the fight didn’t last long. I know he’s a very tactical fighter, so perhaps the fact that he didn’t have time to scout his opponent hurt him. Hopefully we’ll get to see Metcalf vs. Aaron Wetherspoon rescheduled for the next ShoXC in August.
K.J. Noons vs. Edson Berto - I’m not buying all the talk that Berto’s conditioning was off. There’s no way his father would let him get away with that. I think he got hurt in the first round and continued fighting when maybe he shouldn’t have. I think he definitely suffered a concussion early on. Not only was he winded but it looked like he was just out of it in the second and third rounds. He had a hard time focusing on Noons. He’s just a much better fighter than what he showed.
I got the prediction for the fight wrong (I went 2 out of 5. Man, I suck. I want to stop doing predictions) but I knew Noons was no joke. I had been taking some flak for touting the guy but you saw just how crisp and fluid his boxing and Muay Thai is.
His ground game from a defensive perspective was good, but he needs to learn how to be able to go on the offensive. I think he’s way off base thinking he can train both boxing and MMA and still reach his full potential. Maybe when he’s mastered everything, I might agree with him. However, boxing reinforces a lot of fundamental bad habits when it comes to MMA standup.
I can understand an MMA guy who comes from a ground background trying to train boxing to improve his hand speed, footwork, defensive skills, learn to work angles, and just get used to taking punches. But Noons already has a lot of the standup basics down.
I guess Shaw doesn’t mind it because he’s a boxing and MMA promoter and the moon lighting could pay dividends from a marketing perspective. But do you think Dana White would let a young fighter try and pursue two full-time fighting careers? He doesn’t even want Kurt Angle to wrestle.
Alright, I’m out because I need to head up to North Jersey to see more young MMA fighters who could be breaking big soon. Matt Makowski from Philly MMA and Wilson Reis from Philly MMA/BJJ United are both making their pro debuts for Ed Hsu’s Combat in the Cage/Extreme Challenge show. I’ve trained with both briefly (and I mean I sparred with Matt for a round once last summer and took one of Wilson’s BJJ classes) in the past so I’m looking forward to it.
BTW, I’m going to be going to East Rutherford this Thursday to cover the IFL semifinals for CBS Sportsline. If you’re reading this and will be attending and want to meet up, drop me a line at SCaplan8@comcast.net.