I think I agree with Dann Stupp’s sentiments that yesterday’s dueling press conferences have left my head spinning. I’m still going over the finer points of what Dana White and Randy Couture both had to say.
I think hardcore fight fans are a little burned out by the drama and are looking to get back to watching some fights.
I’m fortunate in that I’ll be spending a lot of time this weekend checking out the South Jersey Grappling Championships. My wife will be competing in both the No Gi and Gi women’s divisions. Also, two of my instructors at the school I train at, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu United, will be involved.
Even though I haven’t trained in like a month, it’s still cool to support my school. The head instructor of BJJ United, Jared Weiner, will be competing in a Gi Superfight on Sunday while instructor Wilson Reis will be competing in the No Gi pro division on Saturday. If you’re in the Jersey and Philly area and want to check out some top-flight grappling action, I recommend you check out the bouts this weekend.
But tonight, you’ll be able to check out a ShoXC card on Showtime at 11 p.m. ET. I’m really looking forward to watching some fights and there should be some good ones.
Here’s what’s scheduled:
Aaron Rosa vs. Jared Hamman - Both are undefeated and are very similar. Rosa and Hamman are devout Christians who played football in college. Both also like to stand and trade. Rosa is now a full-time member of Team Punishment and has a ton of potential (which is why he’s included in the MMA Prospects section at FiveOuncesOfPain.com). I thought Rosa was going to lose in his ShoXC debut against a highly-touted Jefferson Silva, but Rosa broke his will and ended the fight with some big-time elbows on the ground. I think Hamman is a good fighter but I believe that Rosa will win this via TKO in the third round.
Javi Vazquez vs. J.C. Pennington - Pennington trains with UFC lightweight fighter Rich Clementi in Louisiana and has a strong reputation within the fighting community. He’s very well-rounded and might be better in the standup game than Vazquez. However, Vazquez is world class on the ground and he has very good takedowns. Vazquez will want to get this fight on the ground and I believe he will impose his will early and make it happen. Once it’s on the ground, it will be all Vazquez. I’m not trying to disrespect Pennington but Vazquez is a tough matchup for anyone.
Malaipet Team Diamond vs. Kaleo Kwan - Malaipet’s backstory is unreal. I’m including “Team Diamond” in his name because in Thailand, it’s customary to take on your camp’s name as your last name. His Muay Thai credentials are no joke as he’s competed various times in Europe’s SuperLeague. Kwan also has some strong kickboxing credentials as well. Many believe this will be a big-time standup affair but Kwan’s ground skills are further developed. If he starts losing the standup game then it wouldn’t surprise me if he went to Plan B and took it to the ground. This could be the fight of the night.
Shayna Baszler vs. Jennifer Tate - You might know Tate from the Oxygen reality TV series “Fight Girls,” the same show that featured Gina Carano in its first season. Despite a boxing background, most of Tate’s fights have ended via submission. She’s undefeated thus far and is a strong prospect for the female division. Baszler has fought top competition in game in female MMA and is constantly training. She’s been spending the last couple of weeks before her last few fights working with Josh Barnett, which certainly can’t hurt. This could also be a fight of the night candidate and I’m picking Baszler via unanimous decision.
Muhsin Corbbrey vs. Bobby McMaster – McMaster is a tough kid from South Boston who served in the Marines for four years and spent a little time in Iraq. He’s a lot like Corbbrey’s last opponent on ShoXC, Lee Gibson. Corbbrey received some boos after that fight because some fans feel like he didn’t do enough to push the pace and lacked aggression. If you’re expecting Corbbrey to brawl, then you’ve got the wrong man. He’s well-rounded and has competed professionally in kickboxing and boxing and also has won several major grappling tournaments. His credentials are legit and his technique is excellent. If you train MMA, then you should appreciate how good this guy is even though he might not be the most aggressive fighter on the planet. McMaster will be tough to finish so I’m picking Corbbrey to win via unanimous decision.
If you still want to get to know more about these fighters then I recommend you check out the ProElite.com homepage and check out the fighter interviews. PE.com did a good job of interviewing all the fighters that will be involved in tonight’s fights, as the interviews really add a lot of context. After watching the interviews, I didn’t feel the fighters were anonymous anymore.
ProElite.com will also be televising three Internet bouts starting at 9:30 p.m. ET. There were supposed to be four but Ryan Bixler, a late replacement, pulled out last minute for his fight against Fabricio Camoes. Camoes has the same manager as Anderson Silva and Paulo Filho.
The guy to watch during the Internet bouts is heavyweight fighter Shane Del Rosario. He has great Muay Thai skills and likes to throwdown. He’s a fighter I’ve considered for the FiveOuncesOfPain.com MMA Prospects section and could be added if he turns in an impressive win tonight.
Disclaimer: Sam Caplan is the lead writer and an editor for ProElite.com.