Posted on: October 5, 2008 4:07 am
Edited on: October 5, 2008 4:13 am
I've had a few hours to digest the whole Saturday Night Fights experience. Here are some final thoughts on the show, in no particular order.
1) Petruzelli beating Kimbo was not an upset. I made this point briefly in my fight blog immediately after the fight, and I'll explain it here. Kimbo Slice is still a novice (YouTube doesn't count). Seth Petruzelli is not. He's had 16 pro fights in a little over eight years, winning 10 and losing four. Two of his losses were to Matt Hamill and Wilson Gouveia -- both UFC fighters, both more skilled than Kimbo Slice. Look, Seth Petruzelli may not have much of a name, but he's a solid enough fighter to beat a guy with less than two years of experience on short notice. Kimbo wasn't as likely to figure out a way to beat Petruzelli on short notice as vice versa.
Gabriel Gonzaga beating Mirko Cro Cop with a head kick was an upset. Seth Petruzelli beating Kimbo Slice was a case of perception vs. reality. This time, reality won. In 14 seconds.
2) Kimbo is not finished. He will not be the ratings attraction that he was before this loss, but a single loss does not end a fighter's career. And if he allows it to, he should be ashamed. What kind of fighter quits after one loss?
Kimbo will learn from his mistakes and get right back on the horse. That's the admirable thing to do.
3) Kimbo isn't ready for top-level competition. It turns out that James Thompson and Tank Abbott were probably suitable opponents for Kimbo Slice after all, if we're trying to match up guys by their skill level (OK, maybe Tank is a stretch). Some people say Kimbo was handed easy victories on a silver platter. In fact, moments before the Petruzelli fight, people were saying that exact thing about Petruzelli -- that Kimbo had once again been handed an easy win. For more on that, refer back to point No. 1.
4) This was bad for business. There's no other way to state it. When your biggest attraction (face it, Jake Shields didn't sell all those tickets) is beaten in 14 seconds by a last-minute replacement from the undercard, it does not help business. Kimbo Slice will still remain a curiosity to viewers -- unless he does something crazy and shaves his beard, or completely changes his look -- but there will be some loss of audience from all of this. His drawing power took a hit, and probably will not recover until he improves enough to string a few solid wins together. And that's neither a guarantee nor an impossibility. It's all up to Kimbo.
5) Ken Shamrock, exit stage left. I am not naive enough to think we've seen the last of Ken Shamrock in the cage, but for all practical purposes, he should not be booked as a main-event fighter on this kind of event again. Realistically, I know that somewhere, some time, a promoter will cough up the money to get his name associated with their show. I just get a bad feeling about it. Shamrock is not Randy Couture. I believe if he continues taking major fights, he'll not only tarnish his legacy further, but he'll endanger his health. I felt this way before the Kimbo fight that never was, but now that he's dodged that bullet, it might be time for Shamrock to bow out. Again.
6) Yoko Takahashi rules. This woman is a warrior straight down to the bone marrow. She got absolutely ravaged by Cristiane Cyborg and never stopped pushing forward and fighting back. She looked like she got hit by a truck after the loss. Yet there she was after the fight, limping around with a brace on her knee, a patch on her face, and several visible wounds... smiling. And socializing. And happily getting her picture taken with Seth Petruzelli. She left it all in the cage, and she was thrilled to be there, even after losing. That, my friends, is fighting spirit.
7) Cris Cyborg is Drago, Gina Carano is Rocky. It's coming soon, trust me. And it will be a war.
8) Carano deserves some respect. Weight issues aside, she is knocking down every opponent they give her, and looking good doing it. It's time for people to acknowledge that she's the real deal. Just because she's pretty doesn't mean she's a manufactured publicity stunt. She hasn't fought every single one of the top challengers out there, but she's been busy enough, and nobody has stopped her yet. The sad thing is, just like Kimbo (and every other fighter), she'll get beaten eventually... and people will immediately claim her career is over.
Posted on: October 4, 2008 8:30 pm
Edited on: October 4, 2008 8:45 pm
Next up is Cristiane Cyborg vs. Yoko Takahashi in a women's 148-pound catch weight fight.
And if you missed it before: Shamrock may be out.
Round 1: Cyborg immediately lights up Yoko with a flurry of lefts and rights. Takahashi drops to her knees. Cyborg looks for an armbar and doesn't find it. Cyborg takes full mount and pummels Takahashi's face with strikes. Takahashi rolls to her side and narrowly avoids a rear naked choke. Takahashi reverses position and tries to unload on Cyborg from the top, but Cyborg is still smashing away with hammer fists and other unpleasant variations of knuckle sandwich. The round ends, and the crowd cheers. 10-8 Cyborg.
Round 2: They bang away again and the crowd is loving this. Cyborg tries for a leg but doesn't get it. They stand and swing away one more time. Cyborg is throwing serious haymakers but Takahashi is tough. Takahashi with a rolling kick that actually draws boos. This place is on fire for these two. They trade shots with no clear advantage as the round ends. 10-9 Cyborg again, but what the hell will it take to finish Takahashi?
Round 3: The crowd is super hot for this fight, but is momentarily distracted by the arrival of Hulk Hogan and daughter Brooke through the crowd. Meanwhile, in the cage, Cyborg is turning Takahashi's face into raw hamburger with kicks and fists, and Takahashi isn't blinking. Cyborg finished the third and final round with another 5-10 clean shots to Takahashi's head, and Takahashi swings back right until the bitter end. Tremendous. 30-26 Cyborg, but hat's off to Yoko.
Winner: Cristiane Cyborg defeats Yoko Takahashi via unanimous decision after three rounds.
Posted on: October 3, 2008 10:30 pm
Edited on: October 3, 2008 11:24 pm
Following up on my earlier blog post, and the weird scene where Gina Carano weighed in nude twice, coming in at 142.5 the first time and making weight at 141 mere seconds later: I've received word from Showtime and CBS officials that were on the stage during Carano's weigh-in that a misplaced towel caused the problem.
After Carano missed weight at 142.75 with minimal clothing on, she stripped off her clothes and tried again, but still missed weight at 142.5. Seconds later, she got back on the scale and made weight at 141.0 with no visible difference to the audience. Many observers (including yours truly) were scratching their heads as to what made such a quick difference. I've been told that during the second weigh-in attempt, Carano had a towel draped over her shoulder. In the commotion, nobody caught this unti Carano's father Glen yelled for someone to get the towel off of her.
By time the Glen Carano mentioned it, the second weigh-in had already been announced at 142.5. She then got back on the scale moments later, sans towel, and made weight.
That's the official word from those who were close to Carano at the time. It would explain the weight difference, as well as the reason why we all didn't see a change that would lead to an instant 1.5 pound loss. We couldn't see Carano except from the neck up and the calves down, so we would not have seen anyone take a towel off her shoulder. Furthermore, there was a lot of noise during this debacle, and it would have been hard for us to hear Glen Carano's mention of the towel over the ambient noise.
So, there you have it.
On a side note, several people at the weigh-in noted it was odd that Cristiane Cyborg and Yoko Takahashi were fighting at 148, but Carano and Kelly Kobold were asked to make 140... especially in light of the fact that Cris Cyborg just fought at 140 for EliteXC in July. By the looks of things, Carano probably would have appreciated the extra eight pound allowance.
I was told there was no set reason for the odd weight limit of 148 for Cyborg vs. Takahashi. It's apparently just the catch weight that both fighters mutually agreed to. I'm told there was no mandate from the organization to have the bout at a higher weight, nor was there any reason to insist otherwise once the fighters agreed to 148.