I have to admit that I'm a little late to the Invicta FC party.
I've read all of the hype surrounding MMA's first mainstream all-female promotion. I've been following it somewhat closely, even the controversy regarding Shannon Knapp's insistence that her product's first-ever show drew 230,000+ unique visitors to a stream on Invicta's website. Yet I wasn't able to sit down and a catch event, until now.
Sick as a dog, I was able to spend Saturday night watching Invicta's fourth card, headlined by a clash for the vacant Invicta strawweight title between Carla Esparza and last-minute replacement Bec Hyatt. I was impressed to say the least.
The Daily Recap is a collection of news and notes from around the web that will be posted at the end of each day. Bout signings, injury news and much more can all be found here.
For those complaining about the lack of depth for UFC cards recently, the announcement of a title fight and two high-profile bouts between contenders for the UFC's next show on FOX should be enough to generate some excitement again.
UFC on FOX 5 will be headlined by Benson Henderson, who defended his UFC lightweight championship just this past weekend against Frankie Edgar, taking on Nate Diaz in a 155 lb title bout.
Also featured on the network television broadcast will be decorated veteran Mauricio "Shogun" Rua facing top rising light heavyweight prospect Alexander Gustafsson and the return of future hall-of-famer B.J. Penn against highly-touted youngster Rory MacDonald.
The show will take place on December 8 at a location yet to be announced. A fourth fight will also be featured on the main card and will be announced in the coming weeks.
“Smokin” Joe Villasenor raises his arms in triumph over Evangelista Cyborg Friday night in the main event on the second Strikeforce Challengers series on Showtime. Photo by Esther Lin/Strikeforce.
VILLASENOR DECISIONS CYBORG IN MAIN EVENT; GURGEL AND HEUN PROVIDE CROWD-PLEASING FIREWORKS; KENNEDY AND KAUFMAN EACH SCORE VICTORIES
KENT, Wash. – “Smokin” Joe Villasenor showed no signs of rust after a year away from the cage as he recorded a close split decision over Evangelista “Cyborg” in the main event of the sophomore edition of Strikeforce Challengers Friday night on Showtime before an enthusiastic crowd at the ShoWare Center.
In a gritty and tactical battle all the way to the end, Villasenor proved victorious winning on two of the three judges scorecards, 29-28, 28-29, 29-28. “I haven’t fought in over a year and that’s a great fight to come back to,” Villasenor said afterwards. “A three-round war. I was really surprised by (Cyborg’s) countering. It turned into a great fight.”
Joey Villasenor. Photo by Esther Lin/EliteXC.
Strikeforce continues to move forward and will hold its second-ever “Challengers” event tonight on Showtime from the ShoWare Center in Kent, Washington with a decidedly different look compared to their inaugural event back in May.
While a slew of skilled prospects will still be featured, tonight’s show will sport an unusual number of fighters that are often seen on the main cards of Strikeforce’s bigger events. The fact that both Dennis Hallman and Duane Ludwig have been relegated to preliminary bouts shows the sheer amount of notable talent on display.
The event will be headlined by a sure-fire middleweight slugfest between Brazilian striker Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos and Greg Jackson-trained Joey Villasenor. Additional bouts slated for the televised main card include a middleweight clash between former BodogFight welterweight champion Nick Thompson and Army veteran Tim Kennedy as well as a lightweight bout involving Jorge Gurgel and Conor Heun.
Robbie Lawler. Photo by Tom Casino/EliteXC.
Robbie Lawler prevented history from repeating itself Saturday night as he wore down Scott Smith before finally finishing him with a barrage of knees in the second round of their EliteXC middleweight title fight at the Stockton Arena in California.
The two exchanged blows for the second time in two months, this instance serving as the main event of EliteXC’s “Unfinished Business” event, which became the promotion’s second such show to be broadcast on primetime network television via CBS. Their original meeting saw both men battle back and forth for fifteen minutes before Lawler inadvertently poked Smith in the eye in the third round. The ringside doctor ultimately ruled that Smith was unable to continue due to vision problems and the fight was ruled a no-contest.
Early on, it looked as if Lawler would once again earn a decisive opening round in his favor, stunning Smith with a trio of jabs. Smith bounced back however, continuing to push the pace and catching Lawler with a right hand late in the round, following up with a flurry that swung momentum in his favor. Smith then opened up a cut just inches away from the previous one Lawler suffered in their first bout. The blood forced Lawler to turn it up a notch, leading to a flurry of knees in the clinch that knocked Smith down twice.
Robbie Lawler and Scott Smith. Photo by Tom Casino/EliteXC.
The official weigh-in results for tomorrow night’s EliteXC: Unfinished Business event, which will take place at the Stockton Arena in California, are below. All fighters successfully made weight. The fight card will be joint-broadcasted by CBS and Showtime - A one-hour special will air on Showtime starting at 8:00 PM ET and will continue on CBS at 9:00 PM ET. Additional weigh-in photos are after the jump.
Heavy hitters Robbie Lawler and Scott Smith will battle it out once again for Lawler’s EliteXC middleweight title, this time in the show’s featured attraction. Additional main card bouts include the second of three championship bouts as Jake Shields and BodogFight transfer Nick Thompson will fight for the vacant EliteXC welterweight strap as well as hometown favorite Nick Diaz attempting to extend a two-fight winning streak against journeyman Thomas Denny.
Robbie Lawler (184.5 lbs) vs. Scott Smith (185 lbs)
Jake Shields (169.5 lbs) vs. Nick Thompson (169.5 lbs)
Nick Diaz (159.5 lbs) vs. Thomas Denny (159 lbs)
Shayna Baszler (139 lbs) vs. Cris Cyborg (140 lbs)
Antonio Silva (257.5 lbs) vs. Justin Eilers (218 lbs)
Rafael Fejiao (203.5 lbs) vs. Travis Galbraith (202 lbs)
Wilson Reis (139.5 lbs) vs. Bryan Caraway (140.5 lbs)
Jeremy Freitag (205 lbs) vs. Anthony Ruiz (206 lbs)
Mike Cook (232.5 lbs) vs. Carl Seumantafa (255.5 lbs)
Brandon Tarn (252 lbs) vs. Drew Montgomery (224 lbs)
David Douglas (157 lbs) vs. Marlon Mathias (161 lbs)
The female bout between Shayna Baszler of Sioux Falls, S.D. and Brazil’s Cristiane Cyborg has been added to the lineup for the second primetime broadcast of CBS EliteXC Saturday Night Fights, live from the Stockton Arena in Stockton, Calif. on Saturday, July 26 (9:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.
Baszler and Cyborg, who are fighting in the 140 pound weight class, complete the primetime matchups for the CBS EliteXC Saturday Night Fights on July 26. Other CBS fights include:
Robbie Lawler. Photo by Esther Lin/EliteXC.
With EliteXC’s next network television event on CBS being officially announced for July 26th, additional details have surfaced regarding a potential venue for the show, some of the participants on the card, and the potential of featuring three title fights on the broadcast as well.
In his latest column for Yahoo! Sports, Dave Meltzer is reporting that EliteXC officials will work with executives from both Showtime and CBS on a dual-network show that would have Showtime air a 60-90 minute lead-in show that would feature a couple of preliminary fights before the main card goes live on CBS later that night, marking the first time in the history of this sport where two networks have combined to air a single event.
The promotion has already revealed the main event of the show as EliteXC middleweight champion Robbie Lawler will go head-to-head with Scott Smith in an anticipated rematch of their exciting bout that took place just two weeks ago during Memorial Day weekend. The first bout between the two ended in a no-contest after Lawler inadvertently poked Smith in the eye in the third round of their bout.
The ringside doctor ultimately ruled that Smith was unable to continue due to vision problems, despite protests from Smith himself to let the fight continue. However after the fight, Smith admitted that he would have likely been knocked out by Lawler because he couldn’t fully see out of his eye. Distraught as well after the fight was Lawler, who may now find solace in the fact that EliteXC officials have been working to bring the event to his hometown of St. Louis. Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall seems to be the second option.
Jared Hamman stands in disbelief after being handed his first professional loss by Poai Suganuma. Photo by Tom Casino/EliteXC.
For the second consecutive time, the main event of a ShoXC: Elite Challenger Series show ended in controversial fashion after Poai Suganuma stunned Jared Hamman with an overhand right and then dropped him courtesy of a flying knee, causing referee Jon Schorle to quickly put a stop to the bout just fifteen seconds into it.
However a dazed Hamman quickly made it back to his feet, ready to continue, leading to a shower of boos from those in attendance at the Table Mountain Casino and Events Center in Friant, California. Both fighters voiced their desire to have a rematch during separate post-fight interviews, especially Hamman, who still doesn’t understand why the fight was stopped.
“I’m so mad right know,’’ Hamman said. “I don’t know what happened or why it was stopped. I wanted to keep fighting. I felt I could keep fighting. I don’t want to make excuses. I absolutely want a rematch.’’
A rematch may not come immediately but will likely take place in the near future according to EliteXC Live Events Vice President Jared Shaw.
“You can bet there will be a rematch in the near future,’’ Shaw said. “No one is more concerned for a fighter’s safety than we are, but this fight was just stopped too soon.’’
The California State Athletic Commission has announced that Jennifer Tate has tested positive for marijuana following post-fight testing for Elite XC’s ShoXC event on October 26th.
Tate was submitted by a Shayna Baszler armbar only seconds into their fight last month.
Tate has been suspended for three months and fined $500. She will be eligible to compete in active competition again on January 24 of next year.