While World Extreme Cagefighting's return to the Lemoore Palace was ostensibly supposed to serve as the springboard of Frank Shamrock's return to Mixed Martial Arts, it actually provided much, much more to the raucous, sold-out crowd...
While World Extreme Cagefightings return to the Lemoore Palace was ostensibly supposed to serve as the springboard of Frank Shamrocks return to Mixed Martial Arts, it actually provided much, much more to the raucous, sold-out crowd. With 14 action-packed bouts featuring representatives of some of the sports best fight teams including American kickboxing Academy, Real American Wrestling, Cesar Gracie, Team Quest, and more, WEC 6 provided a completely entertaining event that surpassed the understandably high-expectations for the card.
Sometimes when a great athlete retires, we tend to look back on them fondly, and even overrate their "greatness". On this night though, former UFC legend Shamrock returned in impressive fashion and reminded MMA fans of the skills that made him one of the young sports greatest stars. For his comeback bout, Shamrock faced off against the massively built Brian Pardoe, who seemed much larger than the official announcement of 200 pounds. On the other hand, Shamrock appeared lean and chiseled and ready for a war. Early on, Shamrock chose to stand and trade with the powerful Pardoe and this proved to be a mistake as the larger man landed a powerful right hand that got his attention. Soon after, the fight went to the ground, where Shamrock was clearly in his element. In textbook fashion, Shamrock defended Pardoes clumsy attacks in the guard and deftly moved into position for a tight armbar. Pardoe then made a tactical mistake when he attempted to strike at Shamrocks face instead of trying to pull his arm free. This allowed Shamrock a chance to sweep and complete the submission at 1:46 of the first round.
Upon the fights completion, Shamrock took the mic and thanked the fans and his mother, who was in attendance for the first time at one of his fights. He also used the opportunity to confidently send out a challenge to anybody in the 185- or 205-pound weight classes who could provide a test of his abilities, including current UFC Light Heavyweight champion and former nemesis, Tito Ortiz. Refreshed and ready, Shamrocks return is indeed a great boost for a sport in need of some marquee names with mainstream appeal.
Fellow UFC Veteran and world-rated Welterweight Gil Castillo also returned with a dominant performance over a seriously overmatched foe in Chris Williams. Castillo completely dictated the pace and was able to punish his inexperienced opponent both standing and on the ground. After completing the round being pummeled by a mounted Castillo, Williams threw in the towel. For his part, Williams showed heart and determination in facing such a well-known competitor, but simply lacked the tools to effectively battle on this night. After completing a perfect 6-0 sweep of the night for the Cesar Gracie Fight Team, Castillo boldly proclaimed them to be the best team in the sport. While that may be overstretching the truth, there can be no denying the fact that there is a lot of talent being churned out of the Concord-based academy.
In the fight of the night, Jeremy Jackson and Shonie Carter clashed in a Welterweight superfight that delivered plenty of back and forth action. Most of it took place standing as Jackson matched his powerful punches against Carters effective kicks. While Carter appeared to be the busier fighter, Jackson clearly did more damage and stunned Shonie on more than one occasion. Each fighter came to win though and enjoyed periods of success, but in the end Jackson did enough to earn a deserved win over his more-experienced foe. This marks a huge step forward for Jackson who proved that he can hang with divisions elite fighters.
Disappointingly, the IFC Welterweight United States Championship, which on paper looked to be one of the most competitive bouts of the night, failed to live up to expectations when Nick Diaz surprisingly overwhelmed Joe Hurley in convincing fashion. After being rocked immediately by an opening flurry from Diaz, Hurley attempted to clear his senses on the ground. Diaz, however, wasted precious little time in taking advantage of his dazed foe to secure favorable position on the mat before ending the bout with a painful kimura that appeared to inflict some serious damage to Hurleys left elbow. This was an impressive showing for Diaz and would seem to place him in line for a rematch with Jackson who claimed a TKO victory in their first meeting.
One of the other highlights of the night saw both Ortiz and Chuck Liddell step into the ring to speak about the rumored match-up that numerous MMA fans are dreaming about. Liddell assured the crowd that he would indeed be fighting in UFC 43 in June and hoped that Ortiz would be that opponent, but also cited Vanderlei Silva as another target. For his part, Ortiz claimed that money, not fear is the only thing holding him back from accepting Liddells challenge. Noting that "boxers make millions, and I want to as well", Ortiz wants to make sure that such a stiff challenge will be one that compensates both fighters fairly. Of course, this hesitance to step up was not well received by the heavily pro-Liddell crowd who booed the reigning champion vociferously. Hopefully, everything can be squared away to ensure that the fight fans get to see this epic battle.
Overall, WEC 6 proved to be a smashing success. The promotion ran nearly flawlessly and appears poised to be recognized as one of the top events in the business.
Carlos Cordero over Steve Cutler by armbar at 2:31 of Round 1.
Poppies Martinez over Erick Husbands by KO at :10 of Round 1.
Chris Sanford over Jack Cardenas by tapout at 2:45 of Round 1.
Ed Wedding over Doug Evans by armbar at 4:37 of Round 1.
Tim McKenzie over John Appleby by strikes at 1:03 of Round 1.
Brandon Wolff over Hannibal Adolfo by split-decision after three rounds.
Bert Bergmark over Brodie Farber by strikes at 3:57 of Round 1.
Mike Swick over Kengo Ura by TKO at :31 of Round 3.
Gilbert Melendez over Jeff Houghland by strikes at 2:05 of Round 2.
Nick Diaz over Joe Hurley by Kimura at 1:55 of Round 1.
Brian Stromberg over Levi Thornbrue by strikes at 1:43 of Round 1.
Jeremy Jackson over Shonie Carter by unanimous decision after three rounds.
Gil Castillo over Chris Williams by corner stoppage after Round 1.
Frank Shamrock over Bryan Pardoe by armbar at 1:46 of Round 1.