SANTA YNEZ, Calif. – In a scintillating finish to a thrilling, crowd-pleasing and exciting debut of ShoXC: Elite Challenger Series, KJ Noons bounced back to register an impressive third-round knockout over Edson Berto Friday on SHOWTIME.
In the co-feature of a live two-hour telecast that featured five competitive, evenly-matched fights between determined, well-conditioned athletes, Jaime Jara blasted out Jeremiah Metcalf in the third round to capture his fourth Gladiator championship belt.
EliteXC presented the event from the Chumash Casino. It aired on SHOWTIME at 11 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast).
Noons (4-1), of San Diego, was knocked out by “Krazy Horse” Charles Bennett in the first Mixed Martial Arts fight shown on premium television (Feb. 10, 2007, on SHOWTIME), but mostly had his way against Berto (12-4-1), of Orlando, Fla., before dropping him with a devastating right knee to the face.
Talk about a finishing kick.
“This is definitely a different feeling than I had the first time I fought on SHOWTIME, but it solidified what I have been saying, that my last MMA fight was a fluke,” said Noons, who followed the knockdown with a right hand and right elbow to the face before the referee stepped in and stopped the proceedings 45 seconds in the third round.
“This win reestablishes my status in MMA. I don’t want to say that a loss would have been devastating but now I am right back where I need to be.”
“I was really dehydrated and very fatigued,” said Berto, who had an eight-fight unbeaten streak (7-0-1) end. “It just didn’t allow me to be myself out there.”
Jara (16-4), of North Highlands, Calif., won a brawl and the Gladiator Challenge middleweight title with an exciting first-round knockout over Jeremiah Metcalf (5-3) of Modesto, Calif.
In a match that featured numerous non-stop exchanges, Jara caught Metcalf with a punishing left hook that dropped him shortly before the fight was stopped at 4:15.
“I think it tells a lot about a guy like me who can win a fight like this on two days’ notice,” Jara said. “I had to cut a bunch of weight so that is why I was a little slow. Winning my fourth belt in my fourth different weight class (heavyweight, light heavy, middleweight and welterweight) is quite an accomplishment that I am proud of. I am a warrior. I get calls all the time. I am always ready to fight.’’
Metcalf, who connected with his fair share of shots, disagreed vehemently with the ref’s decision to stop the slugfest.
“I had him where I wanted him,’’ he said. “The punch flashed me, but it wasn’t a knockout. I was fine. They called it too early.”
In other bouts on the ShoXC: Elite Challenger Series, Scott Jorgensen (4-1) of Boise, Idaho, took a three-round unanimous decision over Chris David (8-6-1), of Santa Rosa, Calif., winning a one-sided war by the scores of 30-27 and 29-28 twice; in an excellent performance, undefeated Aaron Rosa (10-0), of San Antonio, Tex., scored an impressive technical knockout over the more highly regarded Brazilian Jefferson Silva (3-2) in a bout halted by the cageside physician after the first round due to an eye injury; and Muhsin Corbbrey (5-2), of Hilton Head, S.C.), opened the telecast with a unanimous three-round decision over Lee Gibson (10-3) of Kansas City. Corbbrey won by the scores of 30-27 twice and 29-28.
EliteXC announcer Mauro Ranallo called the action from cage side with The Fight Professor, Stephen Quadros serving as expert analyst. The executive producer of ShoXC is David Dinkins, Jr. with Richard Gaughan producing and Rick Phillips directing.
Immediately following the SHOWTIME telecast, five bouts were streamed live on the Internet (http://www.proelite.com). In fights called by Todd Keneley (blow-by-blow) and $kala “Jared” Shaw (color commentator) , Shayna Baszler (8-4) of Sioux Falls, Iowa, won by first-round submission (armlock), over Jan Finney (3-4) of Springfield, Ohio; Josh Neal (2-0) of Turlock, Calif., scored a 2:15, opening round knockout over Eric Biondo (2-1) of Sacramento, Calif.; Anthony Ruiz (16-10) of Coarse Gold, Calif., scored a first-round TKO over Jason Geris (4-3) of Sacramento, Calif.; Tony Rubalcava (1-0) registered a first-round TKO over Drew Montgomery (3-2); and Brian Cobb (12-4) defeated John Reedy (2-3) with a rear naked choke at 4:09 in the first round.
EliteXC returns to SHOWTIME on Saturday, Sept. 15 from Hawaii. Viewers and fans can expect to see EliteXC’s world middleweight champion, Muilo ‘Ninja’ Rua, top-notch welterweight Nick Diaz, world-ranked welterweight Jake Shields and women’s superstar Gina Carano.
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