This Saturday marks MMA's return to prime time broadcast television with Elite XC's Unfinished Business card on CBS. This card does not have the same drawing power as the last one without Gina Carano or Kimbo Slice so it will be interesting to see how they fare ratings wise without their two biggest draws. I really hope this time they focus more on the fights and less on the show. Last time there was way too much showmanship and it overshadowed the fights. Not to mention it caused the program to go almost an hour over its allotted time. There are a few good fights on this card so lets hope Elite XC does the right thing this time and shows off the fighters and not the promotion. Let's move onto the fights I'll be picking:
Antonio Silva v. Justin Eilers: This fight is for the inaugural Elite XC heavyweight championship. Silva is 10-1 with 9 wins by stoppage. He is mostly a stand up fighter. Eilers is 19-6-1, 1-3 in the UFC, 2-0 in the WEC, with 18 wins by stoppage. He is also a stand up fighter. This should be a great stand up war. It's a shame I won't get to see the bout since it will be aired on Showtime before they transfer over to CBS. However my pick here is Silva by KO in round 1. The outcome of this fight is interesting because obviously Elite XC and CBS want Kimbo Slice to vie for this title soon. However, my bet is Brett Rodgers gets the next title shot while Kimbo gets another couple warm up fights and then if all goes according to plan Kimbo meets Rodgers to fight for the title. Oops! Maybe I've been reading too much of Gary Shaw's diary lately.
Nick Diaz v. Thomas Denny: Nick Diaz makes his controversial return to Elite XC which is somewhat surprising considering he just won his last fight barely a month ago and it appeared as if he was lining up for a rematch against KJ Noons after their infamous run in after Noons defended his title. But Diaz took this fight so I guess I'll pick it. Diaz is 17-7, 1-0 in the WEC, 1-0 in DREAM, 6-4 in the UFC, 2-1 in Elite XC, with 14 wins by stoppage. He is a well rounded fighter but is a heralded submission fighter. Denny is 26-16, 0-1 in the WEC, 1-0 in Elite XC, with 22 wins by stoppage. He is also a submission fighter. If Diaz is smart he'll keep this fight standing and try to knock out Denny. My pick here is Diaz by TKO in round 2.
Jake Shields v. Nick Thompson: This fight is for the inaugural welterweight championship. Shields who is in my top 10 welterweights in the world has his hands full with a tough competitor in Thompson. Shields is 20-4-1, 2-0 in Elite XC, with 10 wins by stoppage. He is a submission fighter. Thompson is 36-9-1, 1-1 in the UFC, 2-0 in World Victory Road, with 31 wins by stoppage. He is also a great submission fighter. This is going to be a battle of wills. Whoever can impose their will on their opponent and maintain a dominant position will most likely win this fight because both of them are great on the ground. My pick here is Shields to win by decision.
Robbie Lawler v. Scott Smith: This fight is what's propping up this entire card. A very unfortunate eye injury to Smith made their last bout at the first prime time card a NC. That fight was easily going to be fight of the night until it was stopped (some would say prematurely). So this is the rematch everyone wants to see. It should be another barn burner. Both of these guys have great hands and even better chins. This definitely should be fight of the night again. Lawler is 15-4, 4-3 in the UFC, 1-0 in PRIDE, 1-0 in Elite XC, with 13 wins by stoppage. He is in my top 5 middleweights in the world. Smith is 13-4, 3-0 in the WEC, 1-3 in the UFC, 1-0 in Elite XC, with all 13 wins by stoppage. My pick here will be almost exactly the same as it was last time, Lawler by TKO in round 4.
There are many other fights on this card but I do not know enough about the fighters to pick them. The one interesting fight I'm not picking is the women's fight between Shayna Baszler and Cristiane Santos. The winner of this fight will most likely meet Gina Carano at Elite XC's next CBS card.
Here's to hoping this card tops the last one! Until I post my review,
Soccer kicks and head stomps...