I’ll admit it, I’m having a hard time getting excited for this Elite XC event tomorrow night. Part of it is the hangover from the huge MMA weekend we just had with Affliction, UFC, and Dream all crammed into a couple of days. After that sensory overload, I feel like a teenager who took way too much acid: there are no highs and no lows for me right now, plus I’m frightened by bright colors and strong breezes.
Another part of it is the fight card. It’s not a bad card, just kind of uninspired. Nothing leaps out at you as a match you absolutely have to see. As an attempt at making things more interesting, here are some unreasonably specific predictions for Saturday night’s show. I look forward to hearing how hopelessly wrong I am in the comments section.
I’d like to say that I predicted stoppage by accidental eye-poke for the first meeting, but it isn’t so. TKO by Lawler seems to be the smart choice, even though Lawler seemed unable or unwilling to really go after Smith and finish him when he had him hurt the last time. That won’t be the case this time. Lawler will stun Smith with an uppercut, then finish him off with a left hand that will drop him without putting him all the way out. The ref will move in to stop it just a little bit too soon (this is on CBS, after all) and Smith will make that I-just-can’t-catch-a-break face. The CBS commentators will then attempt to claim that it was the fight of the year.
When Will It Happen: 3:14 of round two.
What to Watch For: After the victory, the stone-faced Lawler will look only about as happy as a man who just found a good parking space at the mall.
Nick Diaz vs. Thomas Denny
Oh, the match we’ve all been waiting for since never. Diaz is a lock for any event in Stockton, but we were really hoping for KJ Noons as an opponent. Denny will have to do. Diaz has just enough of a constant chip on his shoulder that he’s going to insist on standing and trying to pick Denny apart for most of the first round. He’ll land some decent blows before Denny gets sick of it and shoots in for a half-assed single leg. Diaz will sprawl and take his back before submitting him with a rear naked choke that unfortunately will not leave any hands free for giving the finger to the world, like his brother Nate so memorably did.
When Will It Happen: 4:47 of round one.
What to Watch For: Nick Diaz’s cuts will manage to stay closed, but his mouth won’t. During the post-fight interview in which he calls out Noons again, he’ll very casually lay some serious profanity on us. CBS will be ready though, so the interview will have more gaps than the Watergate tapes when it airs.
The odds have this one more lopsided than it ought to be. Thompson is a tough guy to put away, and even if he doesn’t do any one thing exceptionally well, he can still give Shields some problems. Shields will endure and overcome, however, riding Thompson like he’s a donkey on PCP. That’s how it will go, like clockwork. Eventually you’ll start to wonder if they aren’t just showing the same round over and over. Then it will be over and Shields will have himself a unanimous decision victory.
When Will It Happen: a few minutes after much of the CBS audience changes the channel, having finally become convinced that ground fighting is boring and maybe gay.
What to Watch For: Thompson’s entrance. If ever there was a time for Elite XC to give in to the show biz side of their nature, it’s here. Something wacky and irreverent this way comes.
Shayna Baszler vs. Christiane “Cyborg” Santos
The easiest prediction of the night: Elite XC and CBS will use this fight as an excuse to talk about Gina Carano and show clips of her to the point that they almost make you forget that she isn’t fighting on this card. Once the action starts, they’ll be forced to pay attention as “Cyborg” comes out guns blazing and Baszler gets her to the mat. This is where the fight will stay (oddly, the CBS audience will stick around for two women rolling on the mat) until Baszler secures an armbar. Afterwards the announcers will claim that the women always steal the show.
When Will It Happen: 3:28 of round one.
What to Watch For: immediately after the fight ends, CBS will switch to their dedicated Gina cam. She’ll smile and give the obligatory thumbs up. Fans will later claim she looked fat.