Elite XC "Saturday Night Fights" is set to go off live from the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., this Saturday, May 31 at 9 p.m. ET on CBS. To get us prepared for the historic event, we plan to showcase a daily feature for each main card fight leading up to the historic mixed martial arts debut on network television. These features will include information on the fighters, predictions, as well as training notes and quotes from each fighter.
The third fight set for the historic Elite XC mixed martial arts event on the CBS broadcast this Saturday is the only woman's match on the card -- Gina Carano (5-0) vs. Kaitlin Young (4-1).
Elite XC Live Events President Gary Shaw has recently revealed his plans to create an Elite XC woman's championship belt by the end of this year. He has also been quoted saying this fight would determine one of the competitors in the first-ever woman's championship match.
Here's a little background on each fighter:
Gina Carano -- Gina is the most recognized female fighter in the world right now. Her combination of good looks and certifiable talent makes her an easy face to remember ... and market.
In fact, she's been able to parlay the combination into a role on NBC's American Gladiators as "Crush." The show was successful enough to be brought back for a second season.
As far as her fighting credentials, she's been fighting professionally in mixed martial arts for less than two years. However, her successful Muay Thai and kickboxing background have transitioned very well to the sport, as she's undefeated including back-to-back wins inside the Elite XC cage.
Carano was a part of the first woman's MMA match ever sanctioned in Nevada against Rosi Sexton, as well as the first Elite XC female match against Julie Kedzie. It only makes sense she be a part of the first female fight on network television.
Kaitlin Young -- Kaitlin is a 22-year-old mixed martial arts fighter out of Circle Pines, Minn., and full-time student at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities where she majors in Kinesiology.
She has a Muay Thai and kickboxing background as well, and has trained extensively in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and wrestling since making the transition to mixed martial arts in October of last year.
Young won her debut with a second round technical over Lindsey Frandrop. A month later she competed in a Hook n Shoot tournament, during which she defeated three other women in one night -- all by first round knockouts.
Riding high on the impressive tournament win, she took on Sara Schneider in a February BoDog Fight event. Kaitlin, however, fell victim to a late second round armbar in that fight, but her showing combined with the dominance in the Hook n Shoot tournament was still enough to earn her a spot in the first ever woman's MMA fight on CBS.
Training notes and quotes:
Gina Carano -- Carano trains in Las Vegas, Nevada, out of the Extreme Couture camp. Randy Couture is known for designing great game plans for fights and has turned to passing on his knowledge for now while he waits for another chance to fight. There are now six Extreme Couture gyms in the United States.
Notable fighters and instructors out of Extreme Couture are Forrest Griffin, Tyson Griffin, Karo Parisyan, Martin Kampmann, and Gray Maynard among others.
Gina has admitted recently that she hasn't been able to devote the amount of time and energy she would have liked into training for this fight with Young.
Here's a quote:
"My training has been pumped up for the last two weeks. I had a little side shot with 'American Gladiators'' so we're going to see how I perform with this crunch-time training. I wish I would have had nine weeks completely to focus on it like Kaitlin. But there's not going to be any excuses. I just chose to do 'American Gladiators' and take my time away from it. So am I concerned? No. I feel more mentally clear than I've probably ever felt in my life. I think I'm good. I think I'm confident. I've got the next two weeks to kind of sharpen everything up and I'm ready to fight."
And when she was asked to make a prediction:
"I think this fight could go either way and I'm planning it on favoring me. But we're pretty equal in our stand up. I'm expecting a pretty equal match up. As soon as I get in that cage with her then I'll be able to kind of gauge where we're at."
Hopefully for Carano, it's not a case of too little too late.
Kaitlin Young -- Kaitlin trains out of Minnesota Martial Arts Academy in Brooklyn Center, Minn. The gym was founded in 1992 by ex-collegiate wrestler, Greg Nelson. Some notable fighters out of this camp are former UFC lightweight champ Sean Sherk, UFC heavyweight Brock Lesnar, Nick Thompson, Derrick Noble and Brock Larson.
Everybody remembers Sean Sherk's insane workout on "All Access." If that's anything close to the way Kaitlin Young is working to get ready for this fight, Gina Carano might be in trouble.
In fact, see for yourself, here's a link to a video of Kaitlin doing what she calls her "Cave Man" training routine:
Also, here's a quote from Kaitlin during a conference a couple of weeks ago about how she feels representing female MMA on such a big stage:
"I'm honored to be fighting on the CBS card and fighting her as well. I think it's going to be a great match up, a great stylistic match up. The beauty of our sport is that styles make fights. I really think this will be a great one. Training's been going very well. I had a lot of notice for this fight so I've been lucky to be able to put in more time for this one than ever before. So I'm really excited about that and really excited to be representing women's MMA for the first time. It's going to be seen by such a large (audience). I think a lot of people don't realize there are so many women fighters. Fortunately, EliteXC is there to showcase women's fighting. It's a great honor to be part of it."
And when asked to give a prediction on the fight:
"Like I said, it really is such a great honor. I do feel a tremendous obligation to perform well and represent female fighters well. I think it's going to be a really good fight. She's tough and very athletic. So I think it could go other way. Obviously I'm going to do everything in my power to make it go my way. But I can't give a sure-fire prediction on that one."
Talk about diplomatic.
How the fight will go:
There's a common theme for all the main card fights on this show -- none of the fighters are completely comfortable on the ground and would much rather prefer to stand.
This fight is no different.
Both women have extensive backgrounds in Muay Thai and kickboxing and both have made the move to MMA a successful one.
We've seen from Gina in her two fights in Elite XC the ability continuously push the pace. She's also not scared to hit or be hit. Most of us haven't seen much fight tape on Kaitlin, but three knockouts in one night is beyond impressive.
Gina will be the bigger fighter, but not necessarily the stronger fighter. Kaitlin's training is nuts, and she's had a long camp. Gina, on the other hand, can't say the same thing. That could make all the difference.
Both will be high as kites on adrenaline, and that should carry them through a hard fought three round war. I see this one being a back and forth affair with the better cardio prevailing.
Here's what I see happening:
They'll come out swinging, but under control. They both respect one another's game, and neither wants to get put down early. I think the first round will be very close, but Gina has more to prove with all the hype she's been getting. She'll be pushing the pace more and will probably score more points with the judges.
I look for Kaitlin to come out in the second a little fresher and a lot more assertive. I can even see Gina getting rocked pretty good in this round. I want to call a second round technical knockout for Kaitlin, but I can't see Gina getting stopped in this fight -- it's too big of a stage.
Therefore, I have Kaitlin's training and cardio giving her the edge to out strike Gina in the last two rounds and pull out a decision. I think she'll have to prove her case a little more with the judges than Gina will because of all the hype, but I think she'll do that.
Keep in mind this fight is three three-minute rounds, instead of three five-minute rounds.
Upset special! Kaitlin Young via split decision.
Tune in tomorrow as we take an in-depth look at the Elite XC middleweight title fight between champion "Ruthless" Robbie Lawler and challenger Scott "Hands of Steel" Smith.