CONTROVERSIAL BLOW DISQUALIFIES BILLY EVANGELISTA FROM MAIN EVENT MATCHUP WITH MIKE AINA, UNBEATEN SARAH KAUFMAN OUTPOINTS MIESHA TATE
FRESNO, Calif. – Previously unbeaten hometown favorite Billy Evangelista lost by disputed, controversial second-round disqualification to Mike Aina Friday in the main event of the inaugural Strikeforce Challengers telecast on Showtime.
At the finish, neither fighter was satisfied with the outcome at the Save Mart Center.
Evangelista (9-1), of Fresno, was disqualified for “intentionally” kneeing Aina (12-6-1), of Hilo, Hawaii, in the head while the Hawaiian fighter was down. The rule is a fighter can knee a downed opponent to the body, but not the head.
Mike Aina. Photo by Esther Lin/EliteXC.
NEW YORK — Undefeated lightweight (155 lb. limit) sensation Billy Evangelista (9-0) will fight hard-hitting brawler and BJ Penn protégé “Iron” Mike Aina (11-6-1) in the main event of the inaugural, newly titled SHO MMA: Strikeforce Challengers series from leading MMA promoter Strikeforce and premium television network Showtime, on Friday, May 15 at Save Mart Center in Fresno, Calif.
The Showtime telecast will air live beginning at 11 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast) and feature up to five MMA fights including Kim “Sugar Free” Couture (1-1), wife of MMA legend Randy “The Natural” Couture, facing an opponent to be named.
SHO MMA: Strikeforce Challengers provides MMA’s hottest prospects with the opportunity to perform at a high level of competition in a nationally televised event. “This is where the men and women will be separated from the boys, so to speak,” said Strikeforce founder and CEO Scott Coker. “The growth and future of our sport just got a turbo injection. For regional fighters and up-and-coming men and women looking to test themselves against other top prospects and get on the fasttrack to stardome, SHO MMA: Strikeforce Challengers is the place to do it. I can’t wait for this first event.”
Kimbo Slice. Photo by Esther Lin/EliteXC.
EliteXC has officially announced the televised main card for the upcoming third edition of “Saturday Night” Fights, which will be broadcast on CBS and will take place at the BankAtlantic Center, in Sunrise, Florida on October 4.
The show’s main event will feature EliteXC heavyweight sensation Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson taking on the biggest test of his young career thus far in the form of UFC Hall-of-Famer Ken Shamrock. EliteXC welterweight champion Jake Shields will defend his title against top British welterweight Paul Daley in the night’s co-main event.
Additional featured bouts include a women’s 140 lb. bout between the ever-popular Gina Carano and female veteran Kelly Kobold-Gavin and a middleweight affair between former EliteXC middleweight champion Murilo “Ninja” Rua and UFC and IFL veteran Benji Radach.
Another female bout between Brazilian standout Cris Cyborg and Yoko Takahashi will serve as the show’s swing bout, meaning that it could be featured on the CBS broadcast time-permitting. Also announced for the non-televised undercard was Edson Berto vs. Mike Aina and the participation of UFC veterans Crafton Wallace and Seth Petruzelli.
Takanori Gomi. Photo property of PRIDE FC Worldwide.
Here’s a little recap of what we might have missed over the past few days or so…
Gomi, Trigg Win at Sengoku IV
Former PRIDE standouts Takanori Gomi and Frank Trigg were victorious in their respective bout Sunday morning at World Victory Road’s “Sengoku IV” event in Japan. Gomi earned a decision over Seung Pang Hwan while Trigg went all three rounds with Makoto Takimoto.
Former IFL lightweight champion Ryan Schultz was upset in the first round of World Victory Road’s inaugural lightweight grand prix, losing via knockout to Mizuto Hirota. Kazunori Yokota, Eiji Mitsuoka, Satoru Kitaoka all also moved on to the tournament’s next round.
K.J. Noons. Photo by Esther Lin/ProElite.
The King’s return was a good one.
Fighting in his home state of Hawaii for the first time under the Elite Xtreme Combat banner, K.J. Noons successfully defended his EliteXC lightweight title for the first time, scoring a quick and brutal first-round stoppage of longtime veteran Yves Edwards in the main event of Saturday night’s “Return of the King” event.
Noons and Edwards wasted no time, quickly meeting in the center of the cage to exchange punches right from the opening bell. Although Edwards stunned Noons at one point, the fast-paced exchange on the feet suddenly came to a halt when Noons caught Edwards with a short right hand that sat him down on the canvas. Noons pounced on Edwards and unleashed a furious barrage of unanswered punches and elbows that forced referee Mario Yamasaki to step in and save Edwards.
“Yves caught me, rocked me,” Noons said after the fight. “But once I knocked him down I knew I had to go in and finish it.’’
Noons post-fight celebration was marred by the entrance of Nick Diaz, still suited up in fight gear from his bout against Muhsin Corbbrey earlier in the night, along with his younger brother and current UFC lightweight Nate Diaz, into the cage. In an attempt to hype a potential rematch between the two, the younger Diaz opted to exchange words with Noons’ father, Karl Sr.
The words soon escalated to threats and before long the elder Noons and the Diaz brothers grabbed one another, forcing ringside officials, color commentator Bill Goldberg, and everyone else in the cage to jump in and prevent an all-out brawl. The Diaz brothers quickly jolted from the cage, holding their trademark middle fingers high in the air while walking backstage.
KJ Noons retained his EliteXC lightweight championship. Photo: Tom Casino/EliteXC
Rafael Feijao def. Wayne Cole - TKO
Dave Herman def. Ron Waterman - TKO
Murilo Rua def. Tony Bonello - TKO
Nick Diaz def. Muhsin Corbbrey - TKO
K.J. Noons def. Yves Edwards - TKO
Bubba McDaniel def. Kala Kolohe - Submission (Rear Choke)
Mark Oshiro def. Chris Willems - TKO
Kaleo Kwan def. Mike Aina - Unanimous Decision
PJ Dean vs Dean Lista - Majority Draw
Lolohea Mahe vs Chris Barnard - Cancelled
Russell Doane def. Dwayne Haney - TKO
Carl Barton def. Kepa Madeiros - TKO
K.J. Noons. Photo by Esther Lin/ProElite.
Elite Xtreme Combat has announced the complete card for it’s upcoming “Return of the King” event, which will take place on June 14th at the Neal Blaisdell Arena in Honolulu, Hawaii.
The event is slated to be headlined by an EliteXC lightweight title bout between current champion K.J. Noons and top contender Yves Edwards. An additional lightweight fight between future DREAM title challenger Nick Diaz and Muhsin Corbbrey has also been signed to take place. Additional main card bouts also include former EliteXC middleweight champion Murilo “Ninja” Rua vs Tony Bonello, Ron Waterman vs Dave Herman, and Rafael Feijao vs Wayne Cole.
Newly crowned ICON Sport middleweight title holder Kala Kolohe Hose will headline the undercard against an opponent yet to be determined. His original foe, former hockey enforcer turned mixed martial artist Geoff Bumstead, has been removed from the card due to unknown reasons.
In a change of pace, the preliminary fights will be streamed on ProElite.com following the conclusion of the main card, which will be televised on Showtime starting at 10 PM ET.
The current fight card for the show is as follows:
K.J. Noons vs. Yves Edwards - EliteXC Lightweight Title
Nick Diaz vs. Muhsin Corbbrey
Murilo Rua vs. Tony Bonello
Rafael Feijao vs. Wayne Cole
Dave Herman vs. Ron Waterman
Kala Kolohe vs. TBA
Mark Oshiro vs. Chris Williams
Kaleo Kwan vs. Mike Aina
Lolohea Mahe vs. Chris Bernard
P.J. Dean vs. Dean Lista
Russell Doane vs. Dwayne Haney
Kepa Madeiros vs. Carl Barton
Eddie Alvarez has his hand raised after winning a unanimous decision over Matt Lee in July 2007. Photo by David Singer.
A lot of news coming to our attention late today…
Alvarez-Aina Possible at EliteXC April Show
Former BodogFight welterweight champion Eddie Alvarez is currently in negotiations to take on EliteXC lightweight Mike Aina at an unannounced show in April according to a report by The Fight Network, who confirmed the contract talks yesterday with Alvarez.
Alvarez is coming off of an impressive knockout of Ross Ebanez at the fourth edition of ShoXC’s Elite Challenger Series. The Philadelphia native signed a three-fight deal with EliteXC earlier this month. Aina has not fought since losing a razor close decision to Nick Diaz in September.
Liddell-Rua Signed for June
A rumored bout between former champions Chuck Liddell and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua is now official according to Sherdog, who confirmed the bout with Rua himself earlier today:
“The fight against Liddell is confirmed,” Rua said. “I signed the contract yesterday. Now I am going to train hard, focused on him, to represent my new team, Universidade da Luta, and my country. The fight is going to be in June.”
This could be an interesting fight and a possible great matchup for Liddell. Just like Wanderlei Silva, Rua loves to push the envelope and come right at his opponent, which is a dream come true for a counter-puncher like Liddell.
In order to win this one, “Shogun” will have to find a way to counter Liddell’s wrestling with a ground attack that will keep Liddell off-balance during scrambles. Should be a fun chess match to watch if it does actually go down.
Edgar-Maynard Set for UFC Fight Night 13
Lightweights Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard are set to clash at UFC Fight Night 13 in April according to Five Ounces of Pain.
We reported earlier this week through Five Ounces that Edgar was offered a bout against former PRIDE lightweight champ Takanori Gomi by the UFC, only to have the plans fall through after the promotion was unable to sign Gomi to an official contract.
Maynard was victorious last week, winning a decision over Dennis Siver at UFC Fight Night 12.
Bisping-McCarthy Moved to UFC 83 in Canada
A planned bout between former Ultimate Fighter winner Michael Bisping and American Top Team’s Charles McCarthy has been moved from a tentative U.K. show in March to the UFC’s debut show in Canada on April 19th.
Our partner site Rogers Sportsnet interviewed Bisping earlier this week, who confirmed the move with the network.
While we all know what Bisping has been up to these days (he’s moving down to 185 lbs), McCarthy has not fought in the UFC since submitting Gideon Ray with an armbar at The Ultimate Fighter 4 Finale last year. McCarthy was stopped in his debut by David Loiseau at UFC 53: Heavy Hitters in June 2005.
PFC Announces Five Fights for March
The Palace Fighting Championship has officially announced it’s next event for March 20th at the Tachi Palace Hotel and Casino in Lemoore, California.
PFC 7 will feature a pair of flyweight bouts: Luis Gonzalez will be back in action taking on David Mitchell while newcomers Ulysses Gomez and Greg McDowell will compete for the first time professionally.
Additional bouts include former UFC middleweight Justin Levens taking on Phil Collins, Darren Crisp challenging Danny Castillo, and PFC light heavyweight champion Jeremy Freitag defending his title against top contender Anthony Rubalcalva.
Art of War Acquires IFO-Steele Cage Assets
SUN Sports, the parent company of Texas-based Art of War has announced that it has acquired the assets of the recently defunct International Fighting Organization, which was run in conjunction with Steele Cage Promotions.
“We are delighted to be able to acquire the assets of the International Fighting Organization,” said SUN Sports CEO C.J. Comu stated earlier today in a press release sent out to the media. “We are also delighted to be able to acquire all the raw footage and finished broadcast production of the IFO events promoted by Steele Cage Promotions, which we plan on distributing globally. We feel that the film inventory will be a great compliment to the Art of War film inventory which will provide more available product to networks and distributors world-wide.”
Showtime previews Nick Diaz’s scheduled return to action after a six month layoff against BJ Penn-trained Mike Aina at EliteXC: Uprising tomorrow night at 10 PM EST.
Showtime hosted a conference call earlier this afternoon in preparation for the upcoming EliteXC: Uprising event scheduled to take place on September 15th in Honolulu, Hawaii. The fighters featured on the call were ICON Middleweight Champion Robbie Lawler, EliteXC Middleweight Champion Murlio Rua through the use of an interpreter, Jake Shields, and Gina Carano. Other officials participating in the call were EliteXC President Gary Shaw and ICON Sport President T. Jay Thompson.