EliteXC: Return of the King Review

EliteXC travels to Hawaii for their next big event. Five fights are on the card, headlined by Lightweight champion and Hawaii’s own KJ Noons against Yves Edwards. Mauro Ranallo is joined by Bill Goldberg and Stephen Quadros on the announce team. EliteXC has seemed to drop all the excessive pagaentry that I remember from their early shows, like fire-breathing dragons and choreographed openings from a dance team. Good for them.

Rafael Feijao vs. Wayne Cole (Light Heavyweight)
Referee: Mario Yamasaki

Feijao is a training partner of Anderson Silva and nine years younger than Cole. Cole comes out aggressive and it turns into a takedown for Feijao. Cole fights back to his feet as Feijao maintains a clinch around the waist. Up against the cage and Feijao throws knees to Cole’s thigh. Yamasaki breaks them up as one of the knees lands a little too low. Cole is ready to get back in the fight and they end up in the same clinch-against-the-cage position. Feijao separates and Cole goes for a single-leg but Cole is hurt from a knee. Cole is purely defensive as he tries to find safety somewhere. Cole falls to his knees in the turtle position as Feijao continues to rain down blows. The referee stops the fight as Cole had nowhere to go from there and was already hurt.
Winner – Rafael Feijao by TKO at 2:47 of R1.

Mauro Ranallo meets with middleweight Scott Smith and they talk about his rematch with Robbie Lawler. Lawler/Smith II is set for July 26th on CBS. Smith says his eye and foot are fine and that he is more confident heading into the rematch than he was for his first fight with Robbie Lawler.

Dave “Pee Wee” Herman vs. Ron “H2O” Waterman (Heavyweight)
Referee: Chris West

Waterman, 42, is a mere 19 years older than Herman. Herman is undefeated in ten fights and has yet to take a fight to the judges. He should have a better nickname, though. Just because his last name is Herman doesn’t mean we need to go the “Pee Wee” route. Herman attempts to jab but those attempts are futile when Waterman takes Herman down. Waterman is in Herman’s guard and looks strong. Herman scrambles to his feet but is taken right back down. Herman pops right back up and this pace is too much for Waterman too handle. It’s not even two minutes in and Waterman is backing off to catch his breath. Herman lands a beautiful jumping roundhouse kick that causes me to rewind my tape a few times to watch it again. Waterman shoots and Herman pounds him down to the mat with elbows. Herman lands a crushing knee to the side of Waterman and then gets his back. Waterman rolls into mount and Herman punches him out, causing the referee to stop things. This was a fast pace for a heavyweight fight.
Winner – Dave Herman by TKO at 2:19 of R1.

The young guys are 2-0 against the seniors tonight. Goldberg reveals that Herman trains himself during their post-fight interview. Herman then suggests a new nickname for himself. Finally, someone listens to me. He goes with Blueberry Muffin. I know he’s trying to be funny and mocking the question, but that was lame. His roundhouse kick, however, was not.

Murilo “Ninja” Rua vs. Tony Bonello (Middleweight)
Referee: Mario Yamasaki

Bonello, 35, is undefeated in 18 fights and making his US television debut. Bonello has submitted 14 of his opponents. Ninja, 28, is the older brother of Shogun Rua. They have a bit of an incident during the staredown as Bonello cusses at Ninja and is reluctant to touch gloves, then gives him the extremely firm glove tap. Staredown antics instantly make fights more exciting. Bonello blasts away at Ninja while still running his mouth. He’s won me over. Rua grabs a body lock and Bonello would rather skip the foreplay and falls to his back in guard. Bonello has an active guard but Ninja doesn’t spend much time in it as he passes to side control. Ninja drops elbows and is able to trap Bonello’s right arm for some unprotected shots. More elbows from Ninja as he passes to full mount. Back to side control and it’s elbows for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Rua puts his knee on Bonello’s belly and controls his head Wanderlei Silva style. A couple of those shots were all Yamasaki needed before he called a hault to the fight. All that woofing for nothing.
Winner – Murilo Rua by TKO at 3:16 of R1.

Nick Diaz vs. Muhsin Corbbrey (168 lb Catchweight)
Referee: Chris West

This is unofficially billed as a #1 Contender fight for the Lightweight title. I’m assuming it’s only a #1 Contender fight if Nick Diaz wins. Also, this fight is taking place at a 168 lb catchweight but EliteXC’s lightweight limit is 160 lbs. Maybe that’s why it is unofficial. Diaz tries for a single-leg but Corbbrey slips out. Corbbrey is very patient and letting Diaz come to him, but he’s not doing much once he gets there. They clinch and Diaz lands a nice left elbow. Diaz boxes Corbbrey while he backs away. Into a clinch where some ineffective dirty boxing goes down. Diaz continues to throw punches and Corbbrey is too patient at this point. Diaz lands a nice combo. Corbbrey counters with a hard straight. Clinch against the cage as Diaz has double underhooks. Corbbrey spins out and lands a nice body kick. Corbbrey is landing nice shots but he is getting hit three or four times for every shot he lands. Clinch again and Diaz fires away at the body.

Round 2 begins and Diaz fails a drawnout takedown attempt on Corbbrey. Corbbrey has great defense, both from takedowns and striking, but he’s just not doing much offensively to score points in this fight. He may just be waiting for his opponent to make a mistake but Nick Diaz isn’t that type of fighter. Diaz continues to box Corbbrey while Muhsin uses head movement to avoid some of the punches. Diaz is getting frustrated with Corbbrey now as Corbbrey motions Diaz in to fight. He’s been chasing you for a round and a half, Mushin. Diaz starts talking shit to Corbbrey as he peppers him with jabs and straights. More shots from Diaz are landing and he’s starting to taunt even more. Clubbing right hand from Diaz is countered by a left hook from Corbbrey. Diaz tries a trip takedown on Corbbrey but Corbbrey once again shows great takedown defense. Diaz has a clinch on the cage and spins Corbbrey to the mat and into side control but it goes nowhere as only ten seconds remain in the round.

The third round begins and Mauro Ranallo says it seems like the fighters are getting more than the usual one minute rest period between rounds. I can’t say that I’ve noticed anything out of the ordinary but if that is true it’s certainly an interesting tidbit. Corbbrey stuffs another takedown attempt and then circles the cage. Diaz jabs him into the cage and into a body lock that turns into a takedown for Diaz. Half guard for Corbbrey as the crowd boos. Diaz into side control. Diaz grabs Corbbrey’s left arm for a kimura as Corbbrey tries to buck out of it. Diaz transitions into a seated position and things are not looking good for Corbbrey. Diaz moves for an armbar but Corbbrey is able to roll out of it. Corbbrey is now bunched up against the cage as Diaz lands shots to the face. Diaz is trying to finish this fight. Diaz fakes a kimura and winds up in full mount. Corbbrey merely crosses his arms to defend but that’s not enough to convince the ref to allow the fight to continue.
Winner – Nick Diaz by TKO at 3:59 of R3.

KJ Noons vs. Yves Edwards (EliteXC Lightweight Title)
Referee: Mario Yamasaki

Noons is the hometown guy in this fight. Both guys are apparently friends. Noons fires out of his corner to start the fight and lands a right kick. Edwards lands a nice one-two flush on Noons’ chin. The champ responds with an uppercut off his back foot and Edwards goes down. Noons explodes onto a fallen Edwards with punches and elbows. Edwards tries to keep Noons at a distance with his legs but Noons has crazy hand speed and lands four consecutive solid elbows and that’s enough for the referee to stop the fight. It was one of those cheesy, non-authoratative stoppages too where the ref jumps in and doesn’t immediately wave his hands but figures since he’s come this far there’s nothing he can really do but wave the fight off. It was a totally fair stoppage, just saying it was awkward.
Winner – KJ Noons by TKO at 0:48 of R1.

Goldberg brings Nick Diaz into the cage for Fight Promotion 101. Diaz flips off Noons and says Noons is scared of him. Nick’s brother Nate Diaz gets involved with the finger-wagging and KJ Noons shoots after the Brothers Diaz but can’t get through the wall of people. Corners are talking trash and KJ Noons’ dad, a former fighter, grabs a hold of Nick Diaz and looks like he has him in a can opener. Diaz leaves to boos, as expected in Hawaii, and Noons goes back to celebrating with his dad. Can we have a Noons/Diaz tag team match?

Final Thoughts

Noons showed his power by making quick work of Yves Edwards but the crap after the fight was pure hype. The first two fights were similar to each other in that young prospects were pitted against veterans of their division. Both Feijao and Herman passed their tests with flying colors and looked very impressive. Ninja and Nick Diaz were big favorites going into their fights and both proved why with dominating wins. I’m glad that EliteXC dropped all the gimmicks and dancers. I didn’t even see girls dancing on the ramp prior to fighter entrances as they usually do. It was a professional telecast with solid showings for all their young fighters and it obviously set up a feud for the Lightweight Title.

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