LOS ANGELES (Sept. 19, 2008) – The first-ever EliteXC bantamweight (140-pound) champion will be crowned when promising, undefeated Brazilian Wilson Reis (5-0) of Philadelphia faces streaking King of The Cage titleholder Abel “The Silent Assassin” Cullum (11-1) of Tucumcari, N.M., in a solid matchup in the main event on ShoXC: Elite Challenger Series Friday, Sept. 26, live on SHOWTIME at 11 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast) at the Chumash Casino Resort at Santa Ynez, Calif.
ShoXC, a presentation of Los Angeles-based ProElite, Inc.’s live fight division, EliteXC, showcases young, talented fighters in tough matchups. A springboard for the future stars and champions of EliteXC, ShoXC is patterned after the SHOWTIME boxing series ShoBox: The New Generation.
In other SHOWTIME fights, Shane Del Rosario (4-0) of Irvine, Calif., faces Carl Seumanutafa (4-0) of San Francisco, Calif., in a battle of unbeaten heavyweights; Malaipet (3-2) of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., meets David “Tarzan” Douglas (5-1) of Antioch, Calif., at 150 pounds; Giva “The Arm Collector” Santana (11-0) of Laguna Niguel, Calif., takes on Jaime Jara (19-5) of North Highlands, Calif., at 185; and Matt Makowski (3-0) of Philadelphia throws down with Eric “Bad” Apple (9-1) of Irvine, at 170.
Tickets, starting at $35, are available by visiting the Chumash Casino Resort’s Club Chumash, by visiting the website at www.chumashcasino.com or by calling StarTicketsPlus at (800) 800-585-3737. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. First live fight is at 6 p.m. PT.
Non-televised bouts: Jamiah Williamson (3-0) of Los Angeles collides with Scott Lighty (3-0) of San Luis Obispo, Calif., at 205; Steve Gable (2-0) of San Diego battles Josh McDonald (3-3) of Antioch at 160; Mono Otero (3-2) of Albuquerque, N.M., goes against Paul Arras (4-1) of Los Angeles at 185; Luke Riddering (1-0) of San Luis Obispo opposes Devin Howard (1-1) of La Habra, Calif. at 170; and Michael Gahan of Santa Ynez engages Eric Franco of Los Angeles in a clash of debuting 160-pounders.
The championship fight – Reis vs. Cullum – is scheduled for five 5-minute rounds. All other fights on the card are scheduled for three 5-minute rounds.
Reis (pronounced “H-ace”) is a 23-year-old Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt stud who has been on a tear since coming to EliteXC in January 2008, going 3-0.
Considered one of the top competitive, young grapplers in the world, Reis earned a hard-fought unanimous three-round decision over game Bryan Caraway in his last start on July 26, 2008.
The high-energy Reis moved to the United States several years ago. Initially, he worked in construction but it was always his intention to teach and train Jiu-Jitsu in the U.S. “I’m here to fight the best and prove myself against the best,” said Reis, who trains and instructs at two of Philadelphia’s top MMA and BJJ Academies, Daddis Fight Camps and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu United.
Reis will have a size advantage, but Cullum, despite a step up in weight, will provide a formidable challenge. He is an aggressive striker, possesses a strong background in wrestling and has displayed solid submission defense, which should bode well against Reis, who has choked out three of his five foes.
Cullum has won 10 straight – all via stoppage, nine in the first round — while fighting for King of the Cage and the New Mexico-based Desert Extreme organization. The KOTC 135-pound belt-holder has not lost since December 2005. He holds titles in several organizations and is a five-time Desert Extreme bantamweight champion and two-time Southwest Fury titlist.
In his last outing, Cullum, who is also known as “Cowboy,” captured the KOTC belt with an upset fifth-round submission over big favorite Ryan Diaz on May 17, 2008.
“It’s been awesome and very exciting since (winning the belt),” Cullum said “Now I have an opportunity to keep it going. I’m going to fight my heart out. I don’t like decisions. I’ve only had one and it was the only loss in my career. I don’t plan on going to a decision again.
“I want to represent myself and this sport the best as I can. I’ve been the underdog in most of my fights. I like that. You don’t want to underestimate me.”
Del Rosario, a strong prospect in not one, but two combat sports – he also is an active professional Muay Thai fighter — is making his third consecutive appearance on ShoXC.
In his last start on March 21, 2008, he scored a 3:18, first-round TKO over Analu Brash at Chumash. Del Rosario is known for his Muay Thai skills, but he dropped Brash with a low leg kick and used some impressive ground-and-pound skills to finish the massive Brash with left hands and elbows.
On Oct. 26, 2007, Del Rosario, who trains out of No Limits MMA in Irvine, registered a 2:27, first-round submission (armbar) over Amedeo Viola.
None of Del Rosario’s MMA fights have made it past the fourth minute of the first round.
Seumanutafa won his EliteXC debut and fourth consecutive fight with an eye-opening 3:39, first-round TKO (punches) over Mike Cook in a non-televised fight on July 26, 2008. A good action scrap ended shortly after Seumanutafa fell straight onto Cook’s sternum, knocking the wind out of him.
Seumanutafa followed with some bad looking shots on the ground before the referee stepped in. The winner reacted with a Maowi-warrior style celebration.
Malaipet, a Lumpinee champ in Thailand, will try and regain his winning ways after losing by first-round disqualification (illegal elbows) to Thomas “Wildman” Denny March 21, 2008, on ShoXC.
Many feel if any fighter can make the difficult transformation from world-class superstar Muay Thai kickboxer to elite status in MMA, it is Malaipet.
But so far in his brief MMA career, the popular, exciting, Malaipet, who went 160-26 in Muay Thai, according to his management, has yet to prove he can do it on the ground. If he can keep it on his feet, Malaipet is extremely dangerous. Otherwise, he is susceptible.
Malaipet has a very Thai style of movement, which he exhibited in a dominant performance en route to winning his ShoXC debut on a unanimous decision over Kaleo Kwan on Oct. 26, 2007. Malaipet was calm, relaxed, punched in combination and showcased his astounding striking skills as he decimated Kwan during a three-round standup war at Chumash.
But can Malaipet learn a ground game, so he doesn’t get tossed to the mat again and, possibly, get submitted? For sure, Douglas, while lacking in overall experience, will try and find out.
A member of Cesar Gracie’s Jiu-Jitsu Academy, Douglas is making his ShoXC debut after winning his last two starts in a combined 1:26. He stopped Marlon Matias (strikes) after only 12 seconds July 26, 2008, The following Aug. 15, he worked a minute longer, winning by 1:12, first round TKO (corner stoppage) over William Jacobson. Both outings were on EliteXC non-televised undercard fights.
Douglas’ lone loss came in his pro debut to world-ranked Jeff Curran on March 5, 2005. He took a two-year break but has gone 3-0 since. This will, by far, be the sternest challenge of his career.
Santana, a Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and five-time world champ, is aptly nicknamed “The Arm Collector.” Ten of the unbeaten submission specialist’s 11 victories have come by armbar, all in the first round.
In his last start, Santana submitted previously undefeated southpaw Matt “Luke Duke” Lucas (9-1) of Phoenix, Ariz., at 1:49 of the first round in a battle of unbeatens at 185 pounds.
“This was definitely one of my toughest fights,” said Santana after adding another arm to his mantle. “He was a great fighter, but I got him.”
Jara, however, will be a tad more difficult to submit. It’s been nearly five years (November 2003) and 19 bouts since the ex-King of the Cage heavyweight and light heavy champ’s been forced to tap out.
A winner of three straight, Jara has compiled a record of 14-1 with one No Contest since June ’04. The loss came on a close decision to Rashad Evans.
Jara is 1-1 on ShoXC. He defeated Jeremiah Metcalf on a second-round KO (punch) on July 27, 2007, and lost via second-round TKO (punches) to Seth Kleinbeck the following Aug. 25.
Both Santana, who obviously likes to use a Jiu-Jitsu attack, and Jara, who uses more of a wrestling base to transition to submissions or ground and pound, are brimming with confidence, which will make this a very competitive, entertaining matchup.
Apple, 31, who began his career with nine straight victories, has gone the distance just once in a five-year career. The talented veteran is making his ShoXC debut and first start since March 2007.
A former professional bodyboarder, bigtime BMX rider, host of action sports TV shows, including the X-Games, associate publisher of a publishing house that produced motocross, wakeboard, bodyboard and surfing periodicals, Apple is possibly the only fighter to enter MMA in order to preserve his body.
“I was thinking of something I needed to do that’s safe and fighting’s the safest thing I’ve done,” he said. “Compared to other sports I’ve been involved with, there’s a lot better chance of staying healthy”
Apple, 31, started in Ruas Vale Tudo. He trains with Michael “Joker” Guymon at Joker’s Wild Fighting Academy in Lake Forest, Calif.
While Apple has built his record in a handful of West Coast organizations, winning titles along the way, the highly regarded Makowski, 21, has been making a name for himself on the East Coast.
A former high school football standout, Makowski is seeking his third consecutive victory for EliteXC in 2008. He beat Nick Serra on a second-round DQ when Serra refused to get up on May 31. By staying down, Serra denied Makowski a chance to finish him after he had been mostly picked apart.
The previous Jan. 28, Makowski showed a good ground game to go with his striking en route to registering an excellent 4:01, first-round submission (rear naked choke) over Joe Schilling.
Makowski is fundamentally sound, possesses well-rounded skills and terrific cardio. The always well-prepared product of the Daddis Fight camp in Philadelphia, Makowski has yet to be severely challenged in a pro, amateur or Muay Thai fight, so it will be interesting to see how this plays out.
SHOWTIME announcer Mauro Ranallo will call the play-by-play for ShoXC with Stephen Quadros, The Fight Professor, serving as color analyst. The producer of ShoXC: Elite Challenger Series is Richard Gaughan with Rick Phillips directing. The executive producer of SHOWTIME Sports is David Dinkins, Jr.
For more information on the entire card, go to http://www.elitexc.com. For information on SHOWTIME Sports, including exclusive behind-the-scenes video, photo galleries and complete fighter and telecast information, please visit http://www.SHO.com/Sports.