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Friday Night Throwdown: EliteXC/WEC 34 -- What to watch for

firday night throwdown

Chris Cosme here and we're hot on the heels of an exciting UFC 84: "Ill Will" card last Saturday, but it's time to get ready for a stacked weekend of even more mixed martial arts action on national television!

Promotions looking to put their respective stamps on the sport -- WEC and EliteXC -– will bring us two exciting cards that should give us plenty to talk about at the water cooler on Monday morning. And we're going to give you five things to watch for heading into this historic weekend for both promotions in this edition of Friday Night Throwdown.

Can Kimbo Slice live up to the hype

The controversial Kimbo Slice headlines the first-ever MMA network television broadcast this Saturday night on CBS. Critics say Kimbo doesn't deserve that spot, while others argue he can be a top draw in the sport if he's victorious. This all hinges on how he does inside the cage at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., on Saturday night against James Thompson. Some fans say that this fight is a shoe-in -- Thompson is known to have a glass jaw. But, let's remember that this is MMA and anything can and often does happen.

Just ask Georges St. Pierre.

I personally have no problem at all with Slice headlining the card. He takes the sport very seriously, dedicates himself to training and takes everything in stride. And with guys like Bas Rutten and Shawn Tompkins training and watching over him, there's no reason to believe that Slice can't be successful and become a huge star. With the way Kimbo has gone about business throughout the months leading up to tomorrow, I think he'll deliver and silence a few critics along the way.

Kaitlyn Young is no joke, Gina

I don't care who you are, but three weeks to prepare for a hungry fighter like Young can spell doom for "Crush." For those who don't know Kaitlyn Young, go watch some YouTube videos on her.

The girl competed three times during a recent Hook 'N Shoot tournament in one night -- and won all of them in less than one round each! She won the tournament in style, ending each bout via (T)KO. She is no Tara LaRosa -- arguably the best fighter in women's MMA -- but she is a stiff test for Carano.

Perhaps I'm overhyping Young a bit, but the fact remains that Carano has to eventually make the dedication to be a fighter first and a star later. One thing Carano has going for her is that she has the master strategist, Randy Couture, in her corner. He and the others from XTreme Couture will more than likely have a great gameplan drawn up to defeat Young.

If Carano pulls this off, you have to imagine that LaRosa will be there waiting for Carano down the road.


Is Jens Pulver really done?

I asked my friend and colleague, Jesse Holland, who will win this fight and he emphasized that not only will Pulver lose, but that he's done.


I'm not so sure about that because I think Lil' Evil has a chance in this fight. The one thing that Pulver will have to exploit is his edge in the stand up. Urijah Faber is a five-tool fighter, but if there is any weakness in his superb all around game it would be his striking.

Pulver is the better striker in this fight and it would be wise for Pulver to try and bang with Faber. Faber hasn't shown that he has knockout power in his hands but Pulver does.

On the flip side, a major concern for Pulver on Sunday night is that Faber is the far superior athlete and will more than likely dictate where the fight takes place. Pulver will have to turn back the hands of time to dethrone the freight train known as Urijah Faber. You have to remember that NO ONE gave Pulver a shot when he went against the younger, stronger and faster man in BJ Penn back in 2002.

Pulver shocked the world when he defeated "The Prodigy" via split decision. He's got a chance to repeat history on Sunday night at the Arco Arena in Sacramento Calif.

Miguel Torres will demonstrate (again) the reason he's a top 10 pound-for-pound fighter

Urijah Faber and Kid Yamamoto are often referred to in discussions as one and two when it comes to being the best fighter in the world competing in smaller weight classes (145 and below). However, that spot actually belongs to WEC Bantamweight Champion, Miguel Angel Torres.

His frame and style reminds me of the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world right now, Anderson Silva. Torres is just 50 pounds lighter. He gives opponents fits because of his size and length advantages, plus he uses them to his maximum potential.

Torres humbled Chase Beebe to win the bantamweight title, frustrating the experienced wrestler with his variety of strikes and takedown defense. And when Beebe took Torres down, Torres stayed active and overwhelmed Beebe once the pair scrambled for the dominant position. With all due respect to Yoshiro Maeda, Torres is just too well rounded and is in the zone right now.

Put simply, Torres can pick dudes apart if they decide to strike and he can even dominate you when it hits the ground.

Pick your poison.

If you had to choose only one event to watch this weekend, it should be WEC 34

The more significant event this weekend has to be WEC 34 over Elite XC. Kimbo Slice and Co. does not top arguably the biggest featherweight fight in MMA history. Let's be real here, let's say that both events were on PPV … which one would you pay for? Would you pay say $54.95 to watch Kimbo Slice knockout a dude with a porcelain chin or two fighters at a crossroads for a promotion on the rise?

If you're looking for pure entertainment value, then Elite XC would be your destination on Saturday. Busta Rhymes is scheduled to perform and you will certainly hear plenty of Mauro Renallo metaphors to last you a lifetime.

But if you're looking for fast-paced and memorable fights, then the WEC show on Versus will be the one to watch on Sunday. There are two title fights in Maeda-Torres and Faber-Pulver at WEC 34.

Regardless, we get the best of both worlds because both events will be FREE of charge and air on separate nights! Catch 'em both if you can.

UFC 84 Wrap Up

BJ Penn is the best lightweight fighter in the world … ever: The way he decimated Sean Sherk last Saturday night, it cements his place as the best ever at 155. I mean what is it that Penn can't do to anyone at lightweight right now?

I feel sorry for the winner of Florian-Huerta because neither man stands a chance with Penn in the Octagon right now. I know it, you know it and BJ Penn sure as hell knows it. There's a reason he wants a rematch with St. Pierre.

What will the UFC do with Lyoto Machida?: With a win over Tito Ortiz, Lyoto Machida is clearly the next man in line for a shot at the light heavyweight title. My issue with Machida is that his resume isn't as clear cut as other fighters. Machida has won five times in the UFC, but only two of those wins were significant. His wins over Ortiz and Sokodjou sure makes a case, but it's his style of fighting is what hurts him.

The problem is that his style will not draw in fans to pay and watch him fight. At the end of the day, the way you fight is what sells. When Chuck was on top of the world, it was because he was knocking out dudes left and right. If Machida becomes the champion in the UFC's most prestigious division, it will cause trouble for the promotion. People aren't going to shell out loads of cash to watch Machida confuse his opponents for five rounds and not finish fights.

If you want to solve this puzzle, let Machida fight a guy like Thiago Silva. If he gets by him, then by all means he's the next man to get a shot at the gold. As for Tito … so long and have a great career in EliteXC. You almost pulled it off with that triangle!

He's not back. 'The Axe Murderer' never left: The baddest man to ever walk to the Octagon to techno music showed that he still has that killer instinct. And all it took was 36 seconds to show that Silva is refocused and ready to do damage in the light heavyweight division.

Wanderlei Silva reassured his loyal fans that the Pride FC killer of old never left, but had just been away for awhile.
It doesn't matter who you are, anyone would be lucky to go three for three in fights against Dan Henderson, Cro Cop and Chuck Liddell -- Silva's three most recent losses.

Now should he move down to 185? Yes, but if he performs like he did against Keith Jardine in his next bout there is perhaps no reason to change.

As for Jardine, I told everyone that if he couldn't handle the adversity that a guy like Silva brings to the table that it would be a long night. Well, he couldn't and it ended up being a very SHORT night for the "Dean of Mean." His chin is right up there with the James Thompson's and Houston Alexander's of the world now.

Shucks, and to think a win over Silva guaranteed him a title shot. It's going to be a long round back to that elite level after this latest setback.

MMA news and notes

Jamie Varner vs. Marcus Hicks for WEC lightweight title on August 3: Boy, I'm already loving the rumored WEC 35 card already. And it's only getting sweeter. Varner-Hicks will be a barnburner that is not going to last five rounds. Varner will defend the 155-pound title for the first time against Hicks -- perhaps the hottest fighter in the division. Hicks is a beast, but Varner is no slouch either. This fight -- along with the 205-pound showdown between WEC Light Heavyweight Champion Brian Stann and Steve Cantwell -- will make WEC 35 one hell of a fight card.

Mirko Cro Cop vs. Ralek Gracie in a grappling match at DREAM. 4: Are you kidding me? Is this how you rebound after getting destroyed and dominated by two heavyweights you were supposed to destroy? A grappling match with a Gracie is not a way to boost his confidence and return to the UFC … if it ever happens.

It's too bad his potential was maximized when he won the 2006 Pride FC Open Weight Grand Prix. Since then he's split his last four fights (2-2). Enough said.

Quick picks for WEC 34 and Elite XC

  • Kimbo Slice
  • Robbie Lawler
  • Gina Carano
  • Joey Villasenor
  • Jon Murphy
  • Miguel Torres
  • Mark Munoz
  • Rob McCullough
  • Urijah Faber

All in all this will be one memorable weekend for every MMA fan out there. I know I'll be watching both shows because you can't beat two quality cards for free, right? We were supposed to do the mailbag edition of the FNT tonight, but I just couldn't help myself from talking about this weekend. Maybe another time. But until then, I'll see you guys right back here in the Throwdown!

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