Prior to writing this article, I went over to CBS.com to see what the actual name is for the event (EliteXC's website is calling it "Lawler vs Smith II". CBS is calling it "EliteXC Saturday Night Fights". Originally it was "EliteXC Unfinished Business"...I'm just as confused as you are.) and when I searched for "EliteXC" there were no results. Not a great sign for the second MMA event on network TV. An even worse sign is that they are holding this event without any of their top fighters on the card. Kimbo Slice, Cung Le, Frank Shamrock, KJ Noons, Murilo Rua or Gina Carano all have one thing in common - none of them will be fighting this weekend. So no promotion on the network's website, no top fighters, and trying to follow what Affliction and UFC did a week ago. You can also add that the card is split between Showtime and CBS, making things even more confusing for the average fan. This one could be a ratings disaster. I wish them the best of luck because I like EliteXC, but I really think they messed up on a lot of levels with this event.
Wilson Reis vs Bryan Caraway (Showtime)
-For anyone who enjoys jiu-jitsu, this is the fight for you. Both fighters specialize in submissions and we should see a technical fight on the ground. I've watched Wilson Reis in Philly at Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu United and he is the real deal. He gets out of trouble on the ground better than any young fighter in the sport. I expect Wilson Reis to continue his rise with a win by submission.
Rafael Feijao vs Travis Galbraith (Showtime)
-This will be a decent test for Feijao. Despite being the younger fighter, Galbraith has much more experience as an MMA professional fighter. He should not be overcome by the hype surrounding Feijao, who trains with UFC Heavyweight Champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva. Galbraith's only hope is to get the fight on the ground. Even there I do not see him having a big advantage. Feijao is the more dynamic fighter and he will win this fight. I mean, he can't lose to a guy whose first name is misspelled on the EliteXC website, can he? Feijao by strikes in the second round.
Antonio Silva vs Justin Eilers for the EliteXC HW Title (Showtime)
-You would think EliteXC could have found a better opponent for Silva than Justin Eilers, who once lost three straight UFC bouts by knockout. If I was a little bit taller, maybe they would have offered this match to me. Silva is a legitiment talent and will probably knock Eilers head off. Be careful if you are sitting in the first few rows. You might get clocked in the chest with Eilers' head when you're sipping your beer. Silva by knockout.
Jake Shields vs Nick Thompson for the EliteXC WW Title (CBS)
-Shields went on a tear in 2007 defeating four opponents all in the first round. Since November 2007, though, he has not fought. Personally, I do not think the layoff will bother him. Once he gets his timing set, Thompson will be in trouble. I do not see Thompson being able to defend Shields' takedowns. On the ground Thompson has the better jiu-jitsu, however, it'll be difficult for him to do much from the bottom. Shields knows how to finish opponents when he gets them down, which is a skill only the top fighters possess. Shields will not get his fifth straight first round stoppage, but he will walk out of the ring the EliteXC Welterweight Champion. Shields wins via 2nd Round TKO.
Nick Diaz vs Thomas Denny (CBS)
-The only thing on the mind of Nick Diaz is a rematch with KJ Noons. If he has to fight every month until it happens, that is fine with him. Thomas Denny is his unfortunate opponent this Saturday night. Denny has been around for a long time and does have some notable fights against Joe Stevenson (loss) and Georges St. Pierre (loss). His experience will not help him much against a motivated Diaz. The fight will follow the normal Nick Diaz outline of throwing light punches early, tiring his opponent out, then finishing him. I think we will get to see some of his ground skills in this fight, which is always fun to watch. KJ Noons vs Nick Diaz at the next CBS show, it'll be a war. Diaz wins via submission in the second round.
Robbie Lawler vs Scott Smith for the EliteXC MW Title (CBS)
-Their first fight in May was a bloody stand-up battle that ended in controversy when Smith got poked in the eye and the fight was ruled a No Contest. This time the fight is the main event and EliteXC is counting on both fighters to bring the same intensity. Neither fighter has ever been a headliner, so it will be interesting to see how it affects them. Lawler is one of the best boxers in MMA. He hits hard and his punches are accurate. Scott Smith is a gutsy fighter who has no trouble taking punishment and giving it out (check out his fight with Pete Sell). Smith's striking game is not as technically sound as Lawler's. He counterpunches very well and all his strikes are forceful. If this fight goes three rounds or more, it will be in the discussion for Fight of the Year. I'm confident enough in these guys to say that. In the end I think Lawler will be a little bit smarter with his strikes and retain the EliteXC Middleweight Title. Lawler wins it with a TKO in the fourth round.