This weekend, in the shadow of UFC 134, ProElite will make their return. The company will attempt to rise from the ashes of the Shaw family, and hopefully shake their dysfunctional little sister reputation. Former Icon sport boss T. Jay Thompson and former Strikeforce matchmaker Rich Chou are the new promoters driving the bus. The card, which will air live on Sherdog.com on Saturday at 10 p.m. PT, features a former UFC champion, an NCAA champion’s debut and an Olympic silver medalist.
Andrei Arlovski vs. Ray Lopez
Considering the dearth of talent in the heavyweight division, it seems like Arlovski still has the skills to be a top-ten fighter. Then, you look at his record and notice that his last win came during the Bush administration. When most fighters drop down to a lower level to pick up wins, they decimate the opposition. However, with Arlovski’s chin, there is always a chance that Lopez could lamp him with a few hard shots. To make matters worse, the “Pitbull” has an extremely bad habit of moving backwards in a straight line (see Brett Rogers fight). Lopez does not seem like a huge puncher, but he does have two knockouts on his ledger.
ProElite might be the right place for Arlovski to rebuild his career. There are rumors that the revived promotion are working towards a heavyweight tournament. If he can pick up a victory here, he might be able to string a few together and get back on track.
Pick = Andrei Arlovski
Film Study: Andrei Arlovski vs. Roy Nelson
Film Study: Ray Lopez vs. William Penn
Kendall Grove vs. Joe Riggs
When Grove was on the third season of “The Ultimate Fighter,” fans looking for his fights on YouTube always came across the fight between Grove and Riggs from Rumble on the Rock 5 in 2004. It was only Grove’s third professional fight, but in a lot of ways it symbolizes his whole career. He is a solid fighter with an above average ground game, but his chin always holds him back. In their first fight, “Diesel” gets on top, lands one hay maker and the fight is over. Riggs can still crack, but he has not stopped a quality fighter since defeating Luke Stewart in 2008. Look for Grove’s reach to give Riggs problems on the feet and on the ground in what should be a fun fight.
Pick = Kendall Grove
Film Study: Kendall Grove vs. Joe Riggs (2004)
Jake Heun vs. Mark Ellis
If Ellis had left school after his junior wrestling season, the Missouri product would have generated a lot of hype in the mold of national champion Bubba Jenkins. Ellis went 31-3 and won a national title. His senior year was a tad disappointing, and he ended up finishing sixth. Since then, he has been training with fellow heavyweight wrestlers Cain Velasquez and Daniel Cormier at American Kickboxing Academy. This will be his professional debut.
Heun is from Alaska, but played football at the University of Hawaii. The fullback/linebacker made his professional MMA debut earlier this year with a second-round keylock-submission victory over Brandon Morgan in Fairbanks.
From the little footage available, it appears as if Heun relies on his size and strength to wrestle away his opponents. That is not a luxury he will have in this fight. Ellis has reached the pinnacle of collegiate wrestling and defeated the likes of Jared Rosholt. On top of that, he has been training with AKA, who have probably had the most success converting collegiate wrestlers into MMA standouts.
Pick = Mark Ellis
Film Study: Mark Ellis vs. Mitch Monteiro (Wrestling Style)
Film Study: Mark Ellis vs. Kelan Bragg (Wrestling Style)
Film Study: Mark Ellis vs. Pat Gilmore (Wrestling Style)
Film Study: Jake Heun amateur fight
Film Study: Jake Heun scoring a touchdown against UNLV
Drew McFedries vs. Kala Hose
A lot of people thought that big things were in the future for Hose after he blasted Phil Baroni for the Icon Sport middleweight title in 2008. However, if you watch the fight, Baroni basically rested on top of Hose until he ran out of gas. Hose is strictly a banger. If the fight goes to the ground, he is in trouble. That sounds a lot like the book on McFedries. This will be a classic brawl, since both fighters will be throwing heavy strikes without even thinking about takedowns. Expect McFedries to throw the more accurate and harder punches and thus take the bout.
Pick = Drew McFedries
Film Study: Kala Hose vs. Kekoa Baker
Film Study: Kala Hose vs. Frederic Belleton
Film Study: Drew McFedries vs. Gary Tapusoa (Titan FC 16)
Sara McMann vs. Raquel Pa’aluhi
For years MMA fans have seen the kind of impact a high level wrestler can make on the men’s side of the sport. Now, McMann is showing everyone that the same is true in the women’s game. With only two fights under her belt, the Olympic silver medalist bested Elite XC veteran Tonya Evinger at Titan FC 19. Her winning streak should continue here. Pa’aluhi has built herself a respectable record in the islands. However, when she took a step up in competition against Sarah D’Alelio (the battle of apostrophed names!) she did not make it out of the first round.
Pick = Sara McMann
Film Study: Sara McMann vs. Tonya Evinger (Titan FC 19)
Film Study: Sara McMann vs. Shayna Baszler (Grappling Style)
Film Study: Raquel Pa’aluhi vs. Nicole Johson (X-1 State Title Fight)
Reagan Penn vs. Paul Gardiner
Clearly the gang over at ProElite are trying to set up B.J. Penn‘s brother with a win here. Apparently Gardiner is a bit of a striker, and of course Penn is a quality grappler. Expect Penn to score an early takedown and then work for a submission. Hopefully this will look like something straight out of UFC 1.
Pick = Reagan Penn
Film Study: Reagan Penn training clip
Film Study: Phil Gardiner vs. Wes Koch