Despite not being on this card, KJ Noons was not prominently featured anywhere on the cover. Those bastards.
First off I’d like to thank Victor Lu at Special Ops Media for supplying Inside Pulse with a copy of the show. I’m always up for some good MMA, even if my wife and daughter aren’t.
For those of you unfamiliar with EliteXC, they own several small MMA organizations and have fights in all sorts of enclosures – rings, small Octagons and their signature circular cage. In essence, it’s like tennis, where you have to understand MMA in different environments if you want to succeed. In this case, Uprising was a co-promotion with Hawaii’s ICON Sport, which later was actually bought by EliteXC’s parent company. Also of interest – ICON Sport normally uses a roped ring and PRIDE-style rules for it’s fights, but given that EliteXC was the featured promoter here, we get the circular cage. Showtime aired five fights in total, and they all delivered in one way or another.
The main event featured a middleweight matchup between ICON Sport Middleweight champion “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler and EliteXC champ Murilo “Ninja” Rua, arguably the two best middleweights not signed to UFC or WEC. Now I know the UFC has been comparing Drew McFedries to Lawler, but the thing is this – Lawler at least has some semblance of a ground game. Yes, Lawler likes to fight standing, but at least he can hang for a bit on the ground. Anyways, it’s amusing to see Lawler, in victory, keep gesturing “six” with his hands (if you’re Asian, you’ll get this).
The co-main saw Nick Diaz take on local fighter Mike Aina in his first match coming off his Pride
victory overno contest fight against Takinori Gomi. Diaz always puts on an entertaining fights, and this one is no exception as he gained a split decision victory.
We also got to see Gina “Crush” Carano on this card, prior to her appearances on American Gladiators. Impressively, Carano made weight for this fight (but barely), denying me the chance to use “Caranoweight” to describe her weight class (which technically would be fine since she’s a featherweight (145), but EliteXC opted for a women’s division at 140lbs). Also impressively, Gina pulled out a submission victory against a ground specialist in Tonya Evinger here.
Other Showtime bouts saw Joey Villasenor take on Riki Fukuda and Jake Shields fight Renato Verissimo in a catchweight bout. The interesting thing about Shields is that he’s basically a welterweight without a welterweight division, so he ends up fighting middleweights and non-cutting lightweights – but he still wins. It’s unfortunate that all the top welterweights are in the UFC, because I believe that Shields can hang with them, and as a result, he’s not gonna see how he fares against a Matt Hughes or a GSP. Still, this guy delivers, and I pity the next welterweight that has to go up against him.
The undercard features plenty of short decisive matches, so if you like Josh Koschek’s bouts, you’re gonna hate these fights. I should also mention that the presence of the EliteXC dancers should be a welcome break from guys hitting each other, but it’s about as entertaining as watching the Nitro Girls. Curious.
Here’s the lineup:
The DVD is set in 4:3 format, and the video looks a little grainy to me. It looks like the event was shot on film, but in that case, why not go widescreen? I’m a little disappointed here, but this tends to happen when you go from a UFC production to one from a smaller company. I’m sure that once we get DVDs from the CBS events we’ll get some really nice stuff.
The second disc contains the special features, and they make sure that this thing is loaded. This is the kind of thing I wish the UFC would do more of, and with their last DVD set being a 2-disc number, one can only hope.
Overall, this was a pretty solid card. You might not know the names but I think you’ll like the fights. Watching Shields’ dominance was a highlight for me, but Lawler running over Ninja Rua was pretty surprising and I’m hoping that a rematch comes as soon as Rua’s ready for it.
Kevin Wong writes for Inside Fights, Reality Dish and Prime Time Pulse. In his spare time, he watches his 11-month old daughter crawl around in an enclosed area he calls the “Decagon”.