“Shamrock vs. Baroni” Review

Better late than never? At least that’s the motto for the person that agreed to be the “EliteXC Guy” under the impression that all the shows would be on Showtime. Teamed up with Strikeforce, EliteXC’s second show was presented on pay-per-view and headlined by Frank Shamrock and Phil Baroni. Showtime was kind enough to replay the event the following weekend and I was gracious enough to put it on VHS.

Our hosts are Mauro Ranallo, Bill Goldberg, and Jay Glazer from San Jose, CA.

Edson Berto vs. “Joe Boxer” Victor Valenzuela
Referee: Mario Yamasaki

Berto is filling in for Krazy Horse Bennett who couldn’t make the fight due to being held up in jail. Awesome. Edson’s brother, Andre Berto, is a boxer and a beast in the welterweight division. Just thought I’d throw that in there. Goldberg says, “watch for the heel hook” before the fight.

Berto takes Joe Boxer down as Jay Glazer makes a “Joe-Jitzu” joke. Lame. Berto has already sunk in a heel hook and Joe Tapout concedes. That was all of 47 seconds and made Goldberg look like a genius. Not a good start to the show.

Paul Buentello vs. Carter Williams
Referee: Steve Mazzagatti

Rich Boy raps Carter Williams to the cage. That’s nice treatment for a guy fighting in the second fight of the night. Who is he, Cory Spinks? I promise, no more boxing references. The crowd is all Buentello.

They begin with a wild exchange. Williams smothers Buentello to the ground and tries to land punches through Buentello’s defense. Buentello is back to his feet and locks in what Ranallo calls a finger guillotine. As you could imagine, Carter Williams breaks free from the dreaded finger guillotine. They get into a clinch on the cage and Buentello gets Williams in a double underhook and lands a couple of good knees. The always exciting flurry of haymakers closes the first round.

The second round brings a quick halt to the fight as Paul Buentello lands a series of right uppercuts that send Carter Williams to the canvas. Mazzagatti jumps in and stops the fight.

Joey Villasenor vs. Murilo “Ninja” Rua – EliteXC Middleweight Title
Referee: Mario Yamasaki

It’s pretty cool that EliteXC is starting to make champions. Tournaments would be even better but I guess that’s being greedy. I must say that’s a snazzy looking belt, though. It’s a title fight so we are scheduled for five rounds.

Villasenor rocks Ninja to start the fight and it goes to the ground with Ninja on top. Villasenor quickly turns that into his favor with a full mount but Rua gets out of it and seems to have regained his composure. Ninja maintains control of Villasenor on the ground but Joey scrambles to his feet with one minute remaining in the round. Ninja goes for a kimura and the crowd boos. Note to all fighters: San Jose hates armlocks.

Ninja starts the second round with a flying knee. That was badass. The fight has turned into a stand up brawl and Ninja is connecting with everything, including a right hook that spelled the end for Villasenor. Ninja drops the hammerfists until the ref makes it official with the stoppage. It’s kind of weird to see someone win a title in their first fight with an organization.

Bonus Bout: Josh “The Punk” Thomson vs. Nick Gonzalez
Referee: Herb Dean

Ranallo is ultimate cheese tonight. Ahem, “with a nickname like the ghost, Gonzalez must be used to hearing boos.” The announcers are killing me here. Goldberg comes with “I bet the ghost wishes he was invisible” after Thomson swarmed him but Ranallo refused to be outdone, countering with “Gonzalez is a fish out of water tonight in the Shark Tank.” Meanwhile, Thomson choked Gonzalez out in about two minutes. Luckily, it was before Jay Glazer could get involved in Pun-a-mania.

Cung Le vs. Tony Fryklund
Referee: Herb Dean

This Cung Le is quite a big deal in San Jose. Not to be confused with Chong Li from Bloodsport. Cung Le has never lost at anything ever.

Cung Le does a lot of kicky-punchy stuff with the punchy proving to be more devastating. Glazer makes a good point in calling out Fryklund for not attempting a takedown or anything. He’s just getting dominated by Cung Le. Le’s just showing off doing all kinds of kooky kicks as Fryklund stands there and takes it.

Ranallo uses the “agony of da feet” joke and I can’t take it anymore. Fryklund is nothing more than a kicking bag for Cung Le. It would be awesome to see how Cung Le attempts to stuff a takedown or any of his ground game but Fryklund will only stand with him. Cung Le continues to pound away at Fryklund’s body with kicks. He’s now even literally kicking Fryklund’s ass as he boots his backside.

Cung Le puts Fryklund down early in the third round and Herb Dean mercifully puts an end to this slaughter. It was a pathetic showing from Tony Fryklund. Cung Le didn’t show anything we didn’t already know; he’s good at kicking people.

Frank Shamrock vs. Phil Baroni – Strikeforce Middleweight Title
Referee: Steve Mazzagatti

Both men were injured coming into this fight as Shamrock injured his ACL and MCL while Baroni strained his groin. Baroni was also on Giambi Juice. Kudos to both for going on with the show.

They start in a clinch and Baroni wails away on Shamrock’s body. Shamrock circles the cage and Baroni gets the takedown but lets Frank right back up. Good idea. Shamrock actually mocks Baroni by motioning to him that he’s going to sleep tonight. Jeesh, what a jerk. Frank rattles off a nasty combo that drops Baroni. It could be over. Shamrock puts Baroni in a choke but then decides he’s more comfortable hitting Baroni in the back of the head. The ref has none of that and deducts a point from Frank Shamrock. They restart and Baroni is on dream street and is slow getting his punches off. Shamrock picks him apart and continues to mock Baroni until the round ends. The fight could have been stopped about three times in the first round.

Baroni still seems fuzzy coming out for the second round. Shamrock is still jacking Baroni with the stand up. Shamrock said his injuries prevented him from shooting so he’s forced to stand up with Phil Baroni. The New York Badass is hanging in valiantly but completely outclassed. Baroni lands a nice straight right that spins Shamrock around and turns the action up a bit as Shamrock seems pissed. Baroni is backed up to the cage and Shamrock unloads until Baroni drops. Shamrock goes down and gets Baroni’s back. The choke is applied and Baroni attempts to fight it off but eventually goes to sleep without tapping. The ref stops it and Frank gloats. This guy is awesome.

Overall it was a decent show but I’m glad I didn’t pay to see it on PPV. I am interested, however, in EliteXC creating more champions in other divisions. They touted Shamrock vs. Cung Le in a future bout but that’s stupid. Shamrock would kill that guy. Don’t rush your guys along, keep your shows on Showtime, don’t let your announcers use puns, and everything will work out just fine.