In a fantastic third round to an exceptionally exciting, give-and-take slugfest Saturday on Showtime, Cung Le delivers the kick that may have broken Frank Shamrock’s arm. Le captured the Strikeforce middleweight title when defending champion Shamrock could not continue after the third round.
SAN JOSE – In a bruising battle of Bay Area rivals, undefeated Cung Le broke the right arm of defending champion Frank Shamrock en route to capturing the Strikeforce middleweight title with a thrilling, give-and-take, crowd-pleasing third-round TKO Saturday on Showtime.
The long-awaited, eagerly anticipated mixed martial arts event, presented by EliteXC and Strikeforce, attracted an enthusiastic, well-behaved crowd of 16,326 at the HP Pavilion that produced a gate of more than $1 million. Those in attendance included EliteXC standouts Kimbo Slice, Jake Shields, Nick Diaz and Phil Baroni.
The fight card aired on Showtime at 9 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the west coast).
Gilbert Melendez (14-1) of San Francisco successfully defended his Strikeforce lightweight belt with a second-round knockout over hard-trying but outclassed Gabe Lemley (11-7) of New London, Iowa, in a second world title match on a five-bout telecast.
In other televised scraps, Drew Fickett (32-5) of Tucson, Ariz., earned a shot at the vacant EliteXC welterweight crown against Jake Shields by submitting Korea’s Jae Suk Lim (9-4) in the first round; super heavyweight Wayne Cole (11-6) of Oklahoma City, Okla., submitted (armbar) Mike Kyle (9-6-1) of San Jose in the first round and EliteXC standout Joey Villasenor (25-6) of Albuquerque, N.M., knocked out Ryan Jensen (11-4) of Omaha, Neb., in the first round.
In the top non-televised fight, Tiki Ghosn (10-7) of Huntington Beach, Calif., registered an upset three-round decision over previously undefeated welter Luke Stewart (5-1) of San Francisco by the scores of 30-27 and 29-28 twice.
Photo by Esther Lin/ProElite.
The California State Athletic Commission has surprisingly ruled that Nick Diaz will not be permitted to fight at this weekend’s Elite Xtreme Combat and Strikeforce co-promoted “Shamrock vs Cung Le” show, which will take place at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California.
According to CSAC Executive Officer Armando Garcia, Diaz failed to submit medical papers in time.
“He did not turn in his medical information in time for the fight,” Garcia told Sherdog’s Josh Gross. “They were just turned in today.”
EliteXC Live Events President Gary Shaw says different. According to Shaw, the issue has nothing to do with a deadline for Diaz’s medical papers and everything to do with the fact that the Stockton, California native owns a medical marijuana card, stemming from Diaz’s case of Attention Deficit Disorder.
“He never mentioned anything about late medicals,” said Shaw. “And if there were late medicals it wasn’t because of Nick Diaz and it wasn’t because of EliteXC. Nick does what you ask him, and you punish him? It’s like if you have a Ferrari and a police officer gives you a speeding ticket before you turn the key.”
Diaz’s adventures with marijuana have gotten him in trouble before. After submitting former PRIDE lightweight champion Takanori Gomi in April of last year, Diaz’s enormous upset was changed to a no-contest after the Nevada State Athletic Commission found that the amount of marijuana in Diaz’s system during the fight gave him a competitive advantage.
Drew Fickett, who was originally slated to take on Jake Shields for the EliteXC welterweight title before Shields suffered a back injury during training, will now step in and take on Diaz’s scheduled opponent, Jae Suk Lim.
Gilbert Melendez throws a right hand at Tatsuya Kawajiri. Photo property of PRIDE FC Worldwide.
Nick Diaz and Gilbert Melendez, who will both be competing at the upcoming Elite Xtreme Combat and Strikeforce co-promoted “Shamrock vs Cung Le”, which take place on March 29th at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California, both apparently have new information concerning their opponents.
MMA Weekly originally reported that Melendez, who has been advertised as competing in DREAM’s upcoming lightweight grand prix, would not be fighting overseas and would in fact defend his Strikeforce lightweight title against Chute Boxe coach Cristiano Marcello instead. The news came from the mouth of Marcello himself.
Now our friends at MMA Junkie are reporting through Strikeforce vice-president Mike Afromowitz that the fight was never signed and an official opponent for Melendez could be named as soon as this afternoon.
Melendez was originally scheduled to defend his title against Josh Thompson and then Bodog star Jorge Masvidal but both were forced to pull out because of injury.
Diaz will reportedly take on a recently victorious Jae Suk Lim, who won the SpiritMC middleweight title for a second time with a decisive win over top prospect Yoon Young Kim last Sunday.
The news comes from GracieFighter, a site maintained by Diaz’s coach, Cesar Gracie, even though Lim stated after his win over Kim that he would fighting inside the confines of ICON Sport in his next bout.
Diaz has not fought since being upset by KJ Noons in a bid for the vacant EliteXC lightweight title.
During his time off, Diaz underwent plastic surgery to repair a large amount of scar tissue that developed around his eyes. The scar tissue certainly factored into his loss to Noons as the fight was stopped because of several cuts Diaz had suffered on his face.
If you have some free time on your hands, be sure to check out one of the more exciting fights from the IFL’s first show of 2008 this past weekend, Matt Horwich going up against Ryan McGivern for the IFL middleweight belt.
As always major props go out to the IFL for actually going out of there way to make their fights available for everyone to see.
“Iron Ring” Debuts March 18th on BET
Remember that mixed martial arts project BET was discussing a while back? Well it finally premieres tonight.
From a press release we received:
BET introduces Iron Ring, a half hour weekly series that showcases mixed martial arts, the fastest growing new sports format in entertainment. With $100,000 in prize money up for grabs, these skilled competitors go toe-to-toe using the combined fighting techniques of jiu-jitsu, judo, karate, boxing, kickboxing, and wrestling in teams owned and managed by Ludacris, Nelly, Floyd Mayweather, T.I., Lil Jon and Dipset.
CSAC Suspends Four
The California State Athletic Commission announced the suspension of four different fighters yesterday.
Three fighters who were slated to compete on World Cagefighting Organization’s disastrous San Diego show have all been suspended after testing positive for the steroid Nandrolone, the same steroid reportedly found in Sean Sherk’s system. Carlos Fuentes, Kyacey Uscola, and Gustavo Machado have all been suspended for a year and fined $2,500.
Fabio Costa, who last competed at Fist Series’ WinterFist 2008 last month, tested positive for marijuana. He’s been suspended until May and fined $500.
Jae Suk Lim Wins SpiritMC Middleweight Title
Jae Suk Lim regained his SpiritMC middleweight title with a decisive win over top prospect Yoon Young Kim Sunday night. After the event, Lim announced that he will now be headed to Hawaii to compete under the ICON Sport banner.
Complete results below courtesy of MMA Weekly:
Jae Suk Lim def. Yoon Young Kim - TKO (Strikes)
A Sol Kwan def. Takaaki Aoki - Unanimous Decision
Jae Young Kim def. Soichi Nishida - TKO (Strikes)
Jung Hwan Cha vs. Dong Hyun Kim - Draw
Hans Olson def. Chang Seob Lee - Unanimous Decision
San An def. Dong Yoon Shin - KO (Punch)
Ye Won Nam def. Seung Hwan Kim - Submission (Triangle)
Dae Gun Kim def. Ok Myoung Kim - Submission (Heel Hook)
Kang Still Without Opponent for DREAM Debut
Denis Kang, who is currently training in Montreal, Quebec, Canada along with Georges St. Pierre and Jackson’s Submission Fighting, has informed The Fight Network that he still without an opponent for his first fight inside the confines of DREAM in April:
“I’m just going to go to Montreal, do my thing and get ready for whoever I’m going to face,” Kang said. “I think the Japanese MMA promotions like to keep their fans in suspense, whereas with the UFC, they really saturate the market with advertising well ahead of their events. DREAM has not even finalized the March 15 card. They’ve only announced like five of the fights.”
Touch of gloves to TKO Xtreme for the find.