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EliteXC: Unfinished Business Thoughts & Commentary

Last night was the second installment of EliteXC on CBS and it proved to be a good showing for the EliteXC brand. Every fight was exciting, every fight had a finish, they crowned two new champions, and one champion defended his title for the first time. Who knows how the show will be received by the general public because it had little to no hype behind it, but for my money (or lack thereof), it was a very exciting show. Let’s take a deeper look…

Robbie Lawler sealed the deal this time around.

Lawler looked to be the better fighter in the first outing and I had the fight scored in favor of him until the stoppage the first time, but he sealed the deal last knight with a knee right to Smith’s ribs that sent the challenger to the floor and eventually led to a stoppage. The first time around, it’s hard to tell who would have won. But last night it was clear that Lawler was not going to let things get out of hand, especially after he was cut. As we look toward the future, it’s hard to say who Lawler will fight next in the middlweight division. After Murilo Rua’s devastation of Tony Bonello back in May, I have to think that Rua may be in line to take another crack at Lawler and try to win back the EliteXC title that was once his.

Jake Shields is extremely underrated.

Nick Thompson is one of the best welterweights in the entire world and Jake Shields made him look like a punk last night. I mean, Shields finished Thompson with a one arm guillotine from the mount. One arm, people. His other arm was posted on the mat. That’s extremely impressive against a fighter the caliber of Nick Thompson. I have Shields ranked as the #3 welterweight in the world in my rankings that I submit to WAMMA every month and last night he validated that high of a spot in the rankings. He may very well be the best fighter on EliteXC’s entire roster. When you make great competition look like child’s play, you’re not working with a level playing field. Shields doesn’t get a whole lot of play because he’s not in the one organization that really matters, the UFC, but he is without a doubt one of the top three or five welterweights in the world. It’s time to start giving the man his credit.

Nick Diaz did what he was supposed to do.

Thomas Denny was a game opponent but he was just overmatched by Diaz’s overall game. It’s dangerous to put Diaz on his back because of his jiu jitsu game but it’s also dangerous to stand with him because of his reach and his boxing skills. Denny is sort of a tailor made opponent for Diaz and Diaz took advantage of it. If you’re a Diaz fan you had to be a little worried by the way the fight started out but once things settled down and Diaz got into his zone, the fight was all but over. Denny was so gassed at the end of the first round that you almost knew when he came out for the second that the fight was all but over. Diaz did what he was supposed to do: win in his hometown, establish himself on national television, and now I’m sure we’ll see him taking on K.J. Noons in the near future for the EliteXC lightweight title. That could very well happen in October at the next CBS show.

Let’s see Cris Cyborg take on Gina Carano.

You want to talk about fireworks? That’s a fight that will produce them. What Mrs. Cyborg did to Shayna Baszler last night was very impressive. Baszler is more known for her grappling than her standup but she was never able to get Cris to the ground and keep it there. And while they were standing, Cyborg dominated with the relentless Chute Boxe style that we’ve seen time and time again from fighters like Wanderlei Silva, Maurico Rua, and her husband, Cyborg Santos. Baszler is, by far, one of the best women fighters in the land but she was unable to do much against the overwhelming style of Cris Cyborg, especially when Cyborg stuffed most of her takedown attempts. I know Kelly Kobold is being talked about as Carano’s next opponent, but after last night’s showing, it’s evident that a fight with Cris Cyborg would not only be exciting, but would be another great test for EliteXC’s golden girl.

Overall, I enjoyed the show quite a bit and have to give it a B+ rating. I thought getting rid of the dancing girls was a huge plus, the pacing of the show was much better than last time, and the fights were exciting and fast paced. A solid effort from CBS and EliteXC, but the real question will be how much of America actually watched it.

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