Thursday, February 18, 2016

LIVE(ish) Play-By-Play from Bellator 149: Shamrock vs. Gracie

Royce Gracie and Ken Shamrock are fighting each other in an NBA arena in the year of our Lord 2016 ... with Kimbo Slice fighting some dude from YouTube in the co-main event. Oh, you know I have to cover this...

By: Jimbo X

YO! LIVE coverage of Shamrock vs. Gracie begins at 9 p.m. Eastern time on Feb. 19. Be sure to hit that refresh button frequently!

In the fall of 1993, eventual UFC 1 winner Royce Gracie met Ken Shamrock in the semi-finals of the inaugural Ultimate Fighting Championship tournament. Gracie won in about a minute via rear naked choke. The two clashed again two years later in a 36 minute draw at UFC 5. Had judges existed back then, there's no denying the match would have been awarded to Shamrock. 

And now ... 21 years after their second tilt ... Gracie and Shamrock are set to finish their trilogy at Bellator 149. Sure, sure, it sounds like a Japanese MMA freak show attraction, but that's kind of the point. I mean, I've been writing about mixed martial arts for seven years and THIS is the first time I've ever covered a Bellator show live. Great, competitive MMA match-ups are a dime a dozen, but watching two 50-year-old dudes slug it out in the Houston Rockets home court for no reason other than to draw in nostalgic MMA fans (almost all of them expecting an unprecedented live TV train wreck, to boot?) Oh, I am getting off work early for that shit. 

But hey, why stop with Royce freaking Gracie battling Ken freaking Shamrock in a prime time, people-paid-actual-money-to-watch-this main event disaster? The undercard is just as appealing, complete with KIMBO SLICE brawling with some dude named DADA 5000, who is like, a younger version of Kimbo Slice, I think. And yes, just to pass the legitimate athletics competition SLAPS test, we do indeed have some "real" fights on the show, including a tilt between Light Heavyweight title contenders Emanuel Newton and Linton Vassel plus an appearance by UFC wash-up ... I mean, fight veteran ... Melvin Guillard.

Oh, you KNOW you need this in your life. Without further adieu, let's hop straight into the action, as we go LIVE(ish) to Houston for BELLATOR 149: Shamrock vs. Gracie!

Quote of the year from my girlfriend during the pre-show highlights: "all these people are old." 

Our hosts are ... Uh, not Mike Goldberg and not Joe Rogan. We are LIVE from the Toyota Center, and we get to hear DADA 5000 say the word "shit" a lot. Off to a good start already!

Daniel Pinedo and Emmanuel Sanchez promise us a good old fashioned Mexican showdown. So, uh, does that mean they are going to traffic drugs and stuff?

Catchweight Bout
Daniel Pinedo (21-11-0) vs. Emmanuel Sanchez (12-2-0)

Frankly, I am unfamiliar with both of these guys, so I have no idea what to expect heading into the contest. Pineda is from Houston, so of course he gets a huge pop. Sanchez, meanwhile, is from that Latino stronghold ... Milwaukee?

Round one: Pineda looking for a rear naked choke, but Sanchez snakes his way out. Sanchez kicking the legs and gets a big takedown. Things are vertical again. Shaq is excited to see Royce Gracie and The Rock is excited to see DADA 5000. Pineda smothering Sanchez. Looking for a triangle, but he's not getting it. Now he is going for a calf slicer. Pineda on top as the round concludes. Easily Pineda's, 10-9.

Round two: Sanchez with some nice head kicks early. Pineda slips, and Sanchez starts raining down hammer fists. Pineda on the defensive for the first time in this fight. Things are standy again. Pineda with a takedown. Sanchez with some elbows from the bottom. The ref makes them stand. Sanchez catches a head kick attempt by Pineda. Sanchez in side control, then the full mount. Pineda looking for a knee bar. Both men back up again. Pineda whiffs a roundhouse kick. Pineda with a takedown. A hard one to call, but I'd give it to Sanchez 19-19. 

Round three: the doctors are looking at Pineda's foot. They declare him good enough to keep fighting. Sanchez on top with some hard shots. Pineda looks gassed. And of course THIS show would be sponsored by Gold Bond. Sanchez still on top. Now they are throwing bombs. Sanchez getting the better shots. Now they are rolling. Sanchez has Pineda's back. Pineda is bleeding. Pineda out, and it is vertical. Pineda swinging for the fences. Sanchez with a big right. Pineda misses a spinning kick, Sanchez takes him down ... And the cable goes out. Awesome.

Well, looks like Sanchez won it by split decision. He's won nine out of his last 10 fights, with that sole loss coming at the hands of Pat Curran.

Yeah, Sylvester Stallone HAS to play Ken Shamrock in the biopic. And Emanuel Newton says he has the ability to control his own neutrons and protons, while African-Brit Vassel lacks eyebrows. 

Bar Rescue looks like a dumb show. Vassel is nicknamed "The Swarm," but nobody gives a fuck. Newton is nicknamed "The Hardcore Kid" and he comes out to the lamest pop-metalcore Hinder sounding shit you've ever heard. According to the announcers, Newton almost died in a motorcycle wreck going 150 mph. Well, haven't we all at some point? 

Light Heavyweight Bout
Linton Vassel  (15-5-0) vs. Emanuel Newton (25-9-1)

So this is actually a re-do of a bout from Oct. 2014, in which then Light Heavyweight champ Newton choked out Vassel in the early moments of the fifth round.

Round one: our referee looks like Kevin Spacey. Newton in red, Vassel in blue. Newton kicks Vassel in the balls. Newton with a takedown. Vassel bullying Newton up against the cage. Newton with another takedown. Vassel looking for a choke. Newton being smothered. Vassel teeing off on Newton, but he can't hit worth a shit. He is going for another choke. He is back in the full mount. Vassel having his way with Newton so far. Newton going for a choke now. Newton working on a takedown. Spinning back fist. Big takedown for Newton. Tough one to call, but I'd give it 10-9 to Vassel. Barely.

Round two: a minute in, and both guys are just circling. Newton hits Vassel in the balls again. Long time out for Vassel to regain feeling in his Johnson. Both men trading, with Vassel getting the better shots. Newton gets a leg trip takedown. And a shitty looking suplex. And another. Newton looking for another takedown. AND VASSEL GETS HIT IN THE BALLS AGAIN. Looks like Newton's new nickname ought to be "That's My Purse." Vassel's slow motion ball-pain scream is the most hilarious thing ever. Vassel STILL walking off his cojones injury. Newton deducted a point with a minute left. Newton technically won the round, but since he lost a point, I've got it 19-18. And holy hell, I never thought I'd see the day Mike Tyson, Royce Gracie and Kimbo Slice were posing for a selfie together. 

Round three: Newton looking for a takedown. He gets it. He has to finish Vassel to win this bout. Both men are up. Newton bullying Vassel against the cage. It is fruitless. Now Vassel is the aggressor. He gets a lackluster looking takedown. Newton in the full guard. A minute left. Now Vassel is on top. He throws some weak punches, and this one is all over. I've got it 29-27 for Vassel. 

Vassel wins it by unanimous decision. Now time for some jingoistic military stuff, because you are not allowed to have a MMA show without that. So how did that giant blood stain wind up on the canvas, by the way? Tonight's show is sponsored by Auto Zone and moisturizing lotion ... wink, wink.

Phil Davis is fighting King Mo this May! You can literally hear twos of fans freaking out, especially following that god awful "hype interview." Wanderlei Silva, Herschel Walker, Adrian Peterson and BOOKER T are all in the house. Mike Tyson gets the biggest pop of the night, by far.

A kid with cancer is in attendance. Tyson makes his pick for tonight's main event ... And he is staggeringly cogent, even mentioning Dan Severn by name. He said he would have tried out MMA had it been around in his heyday, but he would probably tap out if someone stepped on his toes. 

Out comes Derek Campos to Eminem and the sounds of horses neighing. The stage is very TNA-ish, which ... is most certainly not a compliment. I love how Melvin Guillard is still calling himself "The Young Assassin," even though he is like 40 now. And oh my god, they are letting Tyson do commentary for this fight. The other announcers talk about how Guillard was heavily inspired by recently deceased grappler Kevin Randleman. "I thought he killed Fedor," quips Tyson.

Lightweight Bout
Derek Campos (15-6-0) vs. Melvin Guillard (32-15-0)

It sure is nice to see Melvin again, ain't it? Must be, because Tyson squeals "MELVIN!" As soon as the fight begins.

Round one: both guys swinging like crazy to begin. Campos with a takedown. Seriously, putting Mike Tyson on commentary is the best decision Bellator has ever made. "I don't even know what I am doing," he says. Campos starting to ground and pound. Wild swinging again. Minute left. Both men whiff on knockout blows as the round expires. 10-9, Campos.

Round two: Campos backs Melvin into the cage and just unloads on him. After a good three or four hard shots, Guillard goes down, inspiring Mike Tyson to reference that old "which why did he go, George?" cartoon.

The official time? Just 32 seconds into the second round. "It feels pretty frickin' damn great," Campos states. He joins Donald Cerrone as the only other man to knock out Melvin Guillard in the cage. Also, he looks methy as all hell. 

Far Cry: Primal looks kinda' cool. I mean, you can throw BEE GRENADES at people, ya'll. Adrienne Broner will fight somebody named Ashley on April 1. He dresses like he is RUN DMC and has a stupid beard like Jon Jones. People, I don't think I like this Adreinne Boner very much. Also, Bellator is doing kickboxing now, because why not put on TWO substandard combat sports promotions instead of just one?

I am sure Street Fighter V is great and all, but when are we getting another Virtual Fighter? I don't know who Anastasia Yankovva (spelling?) is, but she is blonde and wears a lot of red lipstick, so she is OK in my book.

"There will be nothing mixed or artistic" about the DADA 5000\Kimbo Slice bout, one of the announcers says. Cue the highlights of Kimbo Slice's backyard fighting videos, including him beating up a fat dude who looks like the Iron Sheik. Oh my god, this is setting MMA back a good 25 years. Shit, they might as well have Ken Shamrock and Royce Gracie fighting afterwards! Oh, wait...

DADA 5000 out first. "He walks out to the beat of his own iPod shuffle," one of the announcers says.  Kimbo gets the lights out treatment. Next to Mike Tyson, he gets the biggest reaction of anybody so far. 

Heavyweight Bout
DADA 5000 (2-0-0) vs. Kimbo Slice (5-2-0)

DADA's real name is "Dhafir Harris," in case you were wondering. 

Round one: John McCarthy is the referee. DADA with a big weight advantage. Kimbo with a takedown. Kimbo in the full mount. Not a lot happening. Both men standing. DADA bullying Kimbo against the cage. Brief exchange, then a clinch. A minute left. 10-9, Kimbo.

Round two: It is a sloppy brawl to begin. Kimbo with a takedown. Kimbo lets DADA up. Both fighters look beyond gassed. Kimbo with another facile takedown. McCarthy stands them up. DADA eats some fat lefts. Neither of those men have anything left at this point. Kimbo in the full mount. 20-18, Kimbo. 

Round three: this fight is basically the equivalent of watching two James Toneys in an MMA bout. More two mile an hour punches to begin. Kimbo throws some pillow punches that barely connect and DADA pirouettes across the cage like he was in goddamn "Punch-Out!!" Call it a KO, if you will, but DADA really succumbed to exhaustion from being a fat, out-of-shape piece of shit with no cardio.

Kimbo is still out of breath in the post-fight interview. He says something about being hungry, which probably means he is hungry for actual food and hungry for something in the figurative sense. 

All in all, I'd say that was one of the best Bum Fights ever.

Just so you know, #Bellator149 is the number two trending hashtag in the world right now. Apparently, there is a lot less going on in the world than I thought. 

Royce says Ken Shamrock is "full of shit" because he thinks he lost at UFC 1 due to Gracie's gi. 

And now #Bellator149 is THE top trending hashtag on Twitter. And everybody thought tonight was a joke!

Ken Shamrock comes out looking confused while some random 40-year-old chick in a disco ball dress sings a song about lions. Lights out for Royce. Not going to lie, I am getting chills hearing that Last of the Mohicans theme. But where is the Gracie Train? 

Catchweight Bout
Royce Gracie (14-2-3) vs. Ken Shamrock (28-16-2)

Who in the world have ever thought we'd be seeing a rematch of a fight from UFC 1 on live cable TV 23 years later? Shamrock was last seen getting beat up by Kimbo Slice last year, while this is Royce's first fight since 2007. You know, the one where he used steroids ... Which is probably something you will not be hearing on tonight's broadcast.

Round one: Royce got the louder pop. Royce with some kicks. Lots of circling. Clear height advantage for Gracie. Shamrock not closing the gap. Clinch. Royce gets the takedown, and he finishes Shamrock off with a bajillion elbow shots to the head. 

The replay shows a hard knee put Ken down, but Shamrock is swearing up and down Royce hit him in the balls. OK, another replay shows Gracie CLEARLY hit Shamrock in the sack before landing the knee to the head, but the ref didn't catch it. CLASSIC Gracie, really.

Believe it or not, that was Royce's first ever knockout win. When asked if he cheated, Gracie just smiles and says back in the day, they didn't even have rules or weight classes. Royce and Ken hug, Royce whispers something in Ken's ear, and this show is all over, folks. 


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