Last night, ProElite treated the island residents in attendance to an action packed promotional debut (Sat., August 27, 2011) from the Neil S. Blaisdell Center in Honolulu, Hawaii.
ProElite's inaugural offering featured a headlining bout between a former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heavyweight champion who had been called "washed up" by many a young up-and-comer trying to make a name for himself.
Looks like the "Pit Bull" still has a little bite left in him.
His opponent, King of the Cage veteran Ray Lopez, was all too willing to engage Arlovski in a battle that consisted of standing in the pocket and trading hands. Several times, the fight went to the canvas, where the fight was somewhat even until the third round.
In lucky round number three, Arlovski was able to get top position early on and went for a multitude of submissions. None of those attempts were successful, but he was eventually able to gain side control and hit Lopez with some old school ground-and-pound until the referee finally stopped the fight.
There were a lot of positives, but there were as many negatives for Arlovski, too. The fact that he almost got choked out in the first round does raise an eyebrow. The fact that it took him almost a full three rounds to beat a guy most fans had to Google to find out who he was (no offense, Mr. Lopez) also isn't great news.
We'll see where he goes from here. The ProElite roster is still small, but growing. It's unlikely the organization will want to sacrifice one of its top heavyweight names by pitting Arlovski against Mark Ellis.
Hey, Tim Sylvia is always available.Kendall Grove needed a win to get his mixed martial arts (MMA) career back on track. Joe Riggs found himself in a position where he was grasping to maintain relevance.
In competition, one man's success depends on the other man's failure. Unfortunately for Riggs, he drew the short stick in the arrangement.
It's hard to write a long synopsis about a fight that took just under a minute to complete...so I won't do that.
Grove made me look like a genius (see my predictions post) and used his submission skills to cinch in a guillotine choke, causing Riggs to tap at 0:59 of the very first round.
Grove looked really good. "Diesel" might need to go back to the drawing board.
Reagan Penn's MMA debut was an impressive display of raw talent. It's clear that he still has some rough edges to refine, but he's got plenty of time to grow and mature.
Paul Gardiner put his best foot forward, but his skill set was clearly inferior.
At 1:10 of round one, Penn was able to submit his already battered opponent with a rear naked choke.
Penn has a difficult legacy to live up to. It will certainly be interesting to see where he goes from here. His stock is high, but he needs to fight a more recognizable name if he wants to gain MMA credibility.
This card seemed to have a constant theme throughout, having to do with hyped prospects being exposed, for better or worse.
Mark Ellis brought his wrestling pedigree into the cage against former University of Hawaii linebacker Jake Heun. It continues to be the "year of the wrestler" as Ellis imposed his will at every turn.
Though Heun was able to catch Ellis with a few solid strikes, he was no match for the takedowns of the former NCAA champion wrestler, and eventually succumbed to a rear-naked choke in the second round.
Like Penn, Ellis has plenty of rough edges, but a large upside. It makes sense for him to go ahead fight Arlovski next, the only other legitimate currently on the ProElite roster. As previously stated, we will see if ProElite is willing to sacrifice either of them. I'd like to see the fight happen, personally.
For two and a half rounds, McMann battered and bruised Pa'aluhi, much to the dismay of the Hawaiian audience. Finally at 2:53 of the third round, McMann was able to lock in a kimura and get Pa'aluhi to tap.
Pa'aluhi is still inexperienced and has time to grow as a fighter. McMann has a ton of potential and may not be on the ProElite roster for long. She'd fit in nicely with Strikeforce, but it's doubtful a lot of women fighters are going to make that move.
That's enough from us -- now it's your turn to discuss "Arlovski vs. Lopez" in the comments section below.
For complete ProElite 1 results and detailed blow-by-blow commentary of the televised main card fights click here.