(EliteXC/Strikeforce photos provided by TOM CASINO/EliteXC)
Shamrock vs. Cung Le: Fight of the Year?
Maybe. I won’t get too far ahead of myself because it’s only March 30th, but this fight has set a precedent for entertaining fights in the coming months. It may not have been the all out technical mixed martial arts fight that touched everywhere like the Frankie Edgar vs. Tyson Griffin fight from last year, but it was as entertaining a fight as there’s been all year. It had everything that a fan of combat sports could want. Hard combinations and punches from both fighters. Back and forth exchanges. Friendly taunting. An incredibly memorable third round. And to top it all off, a decisive finish.
Come December when we’re talking about the Fight of the Year, I have a strong feeling that this fight will be among three or four other fights (Baroni vs. Hose?) in the discussion at the very least. Props to both guys for putting on a great show and fighting their freaking hearts out.
What happened to Shamrock’s wrestling game?
I refuse to believe that it’s just disappeared into thin air. I also refuse to believe that he “can’t shoot” because of his knees. What got Shamrock in trouble tonight was his own ego, plain and simple. He thought he could stand with Cung Le and learned his lesson the hard way. When things weren’t going his way on the feet, he did little to adjust to make the fight work in his favor. You could see on his face in round three after he got swept off his feet by a low kick that he knew Cung was too much for him on the feet. What does he have to show for it? A battered face, a broken arm, an empty spot on his shelf for his former title, and some humble f’n pie. Eat up, Frank.
Cung Le cemented his place in mixed martial arts last night.
The big knock on Cung Le was that he hasn’t faced anyone yet. Last night he served notice to us all that he’s not messing around. The first couple of rounds were close, but I had them scored 10-9 for Cung Le. The third round was more lopsided, a definite 10-9 round for Le. The flurry at the end by Shamrock wasn’t enough to win the round, plus Le came back, landed the kick that ended it and had Shamrock in trouble as the horn sounded. That would make my scorecard 30-27 when the fight was stopped. The folks at Sherdog saw it the same way. That’s what we call domination. Cung Le dominated a legend last night and he let us all know that he is for real and doesn’t buckle against good competition.
Worthy of a rematch?
You bet your ass it is. That was one of the most entertaining fights that I have seen recently and I would certainly be interested in a rematch. I think the folks at CBS might like to see a rematch as well so they can put it on network television. EliteXC needs to find a way to get Frank Shamrock on network television and Cung Le just created the perfect situation for them. Shamrock’s price tag is steep, but he has proven that he is worth every penny because of the entertaining fights he is involved in.
The arm injury is also another issue that I’m sure will be harped on. If Frank would have been able to continue, I don’t think the outcome would have been any different but there’s always a case to be made. Everyone wants to see a completely decisive victory and a rematch would be a way for Frank to redeem himself or for Le to put an exclamation point on his previous victory.
Gary Shaw probably made Frank and Le sign rematch papers before they even left the building last night. With as much heat as they drew from the crowd and as entertaining as the fight was, there isn’t an argument that can be made against a rematch. CBS Saturday Night Fights, get ready for Frank Shamrock vs. Cung Le II.
- - Drew Fickett did what we all thought he would. Jae Suk Lim was no match for him on the ground. Did anyone catch what he said to Jake Shields afterwards? He said something along the lines of “One of us will die on June 14th! RAAARRR! Night Rider!” I’m fairly positive he said “Night Rider.” Fickett is, well…a meathead. Plain and simple.
- - Gilbert Melendez completely overmatched and outclassed poor Gabe Lemley. He hung around for a round, but Gilbert was way too much. Props to him for taking the fight on such short notice. I hope he got a nice paycheck for the ass beating he took.
- - Wayne Cole used his wrestling! Incredible. I didn’t think I’d see the day. He scored a quick takedown and pulled off the sloppiest armbar in MMA history and it worked on Mike Kyle. To Mike Kyle: What goes around comes around, buddy.
- - Joey Villasenor put Ryan Jensen to sleep. Literally. Out cold. Jensen was looking good and pushing the pace of the fight early on. He landed some nice clean shots on Villasenor, but he eventually got caught with a big right hand haymaker that put him to sleep.
- - Oh, Marlon Sims from TUF 5 got KO’d apparently. That makes me smile.