Elite XC: "Heat" — the third installment of "Saturday Night Fights" on CBS — is set to go off live from the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Fla., this Saturday, October 4, beginning at 9 p.m. ET on national television.
To get us prepared for the event, we will showcase a daily feature for each main card fight leading up to the event. These features will include information on the fighters, predictions, as well as training notes from each fighter.
There are two high profile female fights on the card, but the one we're taking a look at today is the main card bout between Gina Carano (6-0) and Kelly Kobald (16-2-1). The fight will be contested at 140 pounds.
Here’s the breakdown:
Gina Carano -- "Conviction" is a 26-year-old fighter from Las Vegas with a background in Muay Thai and boxing. She's one of the toughest and most competitive female fighters in mixed martial arts.
Her father was a career back up quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys of the NFL, so she grew up around sports and was always an athletic girl. She was part of a state championship basketball team in high school and later discovered she was pretty good at fighting.
So good in fact that she compiled a 12-1-1 professional Muay Thai record, which earned her an invitation to the first-ever sanctioned female mixed martial arts fight in the United States against Rosi Sexton in 2006.
She hasn't looked back since, defeating four straight opponents, the last three under the Elite XC banner.
She's been busy in the entertainment world outside of MMA, too. Gina is known as gladiator "Crush" on NBC's "American Gladiators." She'll also star in the new Michael Jai White film "Blood and Bone," as well as play Natasha in "Command and Conquer: Red Alert 3."
On top of all that, she was recently voted "The Hottest Woman in America" by Big Biz Magazine, so she's not too hard to look at either.
The only knock on Carano is that she almost always has trouble making weight. She's failed to make the 140-pound limit for each of her last two fights under the Elite XC banner.
Kelly Kobald -- Kelly is a very experienced fighter for having only been training in mixed martial arts since 2002.
Her 19 career matches have placed her across a ring or cage from some of the best female fighters in the world, including Tara LaRosa, Julie Kedzie, Shayna Baszler and on Saturday night, Gina Carano.
She doesn't shy away from tough competition.
After not losing a fight for the first five years and 17 fights of her career, Kobald dropped her last two. The most recent loss to Kedzie was over a year ago and she hasn't competed since.
Don't let the hiatus from fighting fool you though because she's a very tough girl. She brings a well rounded style to the cage. In fact, eight of her 16 career wins have been by (technical) knockout and six by submission.
She's an aggressive, in your face style fighter. And she'll certainly be a handful for Gina on Saturday.
Gina Carano -- Gina trains out of Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas -- home to some of the best fighters in the world, including UFC Heavyweight Champion Randy Couture and UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Forrest Griffin.
Here's Gina's thoughts on her team:
"Randy and Kim, the whole Extreme Couture family, is tough. They expect the best from me and push me to my limits."
And on her preparation for the fight:
"This training camp has been going very well. I have a lot of knowledge of what I’ve been doing right and what I’ve been doing wrong. My game plan is to fight a good fight. I’ve been studying her style, how she reacts under pressure and when she gets hit, but nothing compares to when you get in there and the fight starts."
It's worth noting again that Gina has had trouble making the 140-pound weight limit in several of her fights. She claims it's because of instability in her life and not because of lack of focus in the gym.
Here's a snip:
"I get a lot of flack from people who are like ‘oh she’s not serious about fighting’ and that’s not it at all … I’m not just a fighter … I’m a bunch of things, I have a lot of interests…. I’m really looking forward to after this fight just sticking to a routine and a program. I’m just getting a handle on it, I think that’s why I’ve slipped up in certain areas, missing weight, I’ve been all over the place, cause I didn’t have any stability or anything…. I’m going to say that just in the last two months have I calmed down and started living normally and training normally…. Cause I’ve been completely like chaos for the last year it seems like or even longer. I’ve been all over the place…. I’m going to be a better fighter for it."
We'll know on Friday whether or not all that means she'll be on weight for this fight.
Kelly Kobald -- Kelly trains in Minneapolis at Minnesota Martial Arts Academy -- a team known for producing fighters with great cardio.
Carano's last opponent was Kailin Young, who is a training partner of Kobald's, so with that recent experience againt Gina, their team should be able to put together a solid gameplan for this fight.
Kobald hasn't actually fought in over a year and is coming off two straight losses, but she's as confident as ever heading into this fight:
"It’s unfortunate that Gina has to be the opponent that I have to face coming off of those losses because I’m coming out to win. I’m coming for blood. I’m out to validate my name and I’m looking to hurt somebody; not just win. I need to win and once she steps inside of the cage with me, my respect for her as a fighter, or lack thereof, is really not going to come into play."
She's also likes the underdog role she's playing to the fan favorite:
"I do hope people underestimate me. An underestimated opponent is the most dangerous one. I have a pretty decent record and I’ve been doing this a really long time and I have some great people to help me out training. I’m bound to have picked up something. I’m also probably the biggest girl Gina has ever fought. I’m not tall, but I’m built like a brick of shit house. I’m pretty thick as far as that goes. I have more of a powerlifter type build. I’ve damn near had to cut off a leg to make 135 in my last 2 fights."
If Kobald is true to her word she's going to come out guns blazing when the bell rings. She said she wants to put the pressure on Gina and really test her, but that might only make matters worse on herself.
Carano is one of those fighters who gets better the more you push her. In most of her fights it's been her competitive attitude and toughness that have been the deciding factors.
Gina has great Muay Thai, but whatever she has inside her that allows her to push back stronger when the pressure is put on her, is what makes her a great athlete.
It's what makes any great athlete, great. She has that in her and it's hard to see her losing this fight.
Kobald is going to come to fight … that's a given. She knows how huge of an opportunity this is. Gina's going to have to bring her A game to fend her off, but Gina always brings her A game.
In short, this fight won't be any different than the last two. Bring on "Cyborg" already.
Gina Carano via technical knockout in round two
Check back in tomorrow as we take an in-depth look at the Elite XC/Affliction co-promoted match featuring former UFC heavyweight champion Andre "The Pitbull" Arlovski vs. the former IFL champ Roy "Big Country" Nelson.