With no less than 11 fighters scheduled to fight, there will be a distinct East Coast flavor to the six announced undercard bouts that will immediately precede the highly anticipated, first-ever mixed martial arts fight card shown live in primetime on network television Saturday, May 31, at the Prudential Center at Newark, N.J.
Tickets for a spectacular live event, starting at $25, are available at Ticketmaster locations, by phone at (201) 507-8900, online at www.ticketmaster.com and at the Prudential Center box office (973) 757-6625. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. ET. The first live fight is at 6:30.
Among the East Coast favorites who will appear in undercard fights presented by Los Angeles-based ProElite, Inc.â€™s live fight division, EliteXC, are Philadelphians Wilson Reis (3-0), Matt Makowski (2-0), Jim Bova (3-0) and Zach Makovsky (3-1), Chris â€œThe Storyâ€ Liguori (7-7) of Middleton, N.J., James â€œBinkyâ€ Jones (6-6) of Baltimore, Md., Nick â€œThe Mad Monkeyâ€ Serra (4-2) of East Meadow, N.Y., and Andre â€œGigettoâ€ Soares (5-1) of Pinebrook, N.J.
Four of the six announced prelim bouts will be streamed live and for free at ProElite.com. Fans also can watch pre- and post-fight interviews on ProElite.com.
â€œFrom top to bottom, this fight card is totally stacked,â€™â€™ EliteXC Live Events President Gary Shaw said. â€œIâ€™m extremely proud of the fights we will be offering to those in the arena and those watching the undercard live on ProElite.com. All the fighters are matched tough.
â€œFor some, this will be their opportunity to watch young, talented, promising fighters who they may not have had the opportunity to see before. Itâ€™s always exciting to witness and follow the emergence of new stars. And there are a lot of talented athletes on this show.â€™â€™
Kimbo Slice (2-0), Perrine, Fla., will be opposed by Englandâ€™s James â€œColossusâ€™â€™ Thompson (10-8) in the main event of â€œCBS ELITEXC SATURDAY NIGHT FIGHTSâ€ on the CBS Television Network at 9-11 p.m. ET/PT.
In other televised fights, EliteXC middleweight champion â€œRuthlessâ€ Robbie Lawler (15-4) of St. Louis, by way of Davenport, Iowa, will defend against Scott â€œHands of Steelâ€ Smith (13-4) of Sacramento, Calif.; Gina Carano (5-0) of Las Vegas, Nev., faces Kaitlin Young (4-1) of Circle Pines, Minn., in a womenâ€™s fight at 140 pounds; Phil Baroni (10-9) of Long Island, N.Y., faces Joey Villasenor (25-6) of Albuquerque, N.M. in a 185-pound scrap and Brett Rogers (6-0) of Minneapolis throws down with Jon Murphy (4-2) of Minersville, Pa., in a heavyweight fight.
The Lawler-Smith fight is scheduled for five, 5-minute rounds. The others are slated for three, 5-minute sessions with the exception of Carano-Young, which is set for three, 3-minute rounds (See Fighter Pages below).
The crowd-pleasing Liguori is a one-time middleweight who now competes at 155-160. â€œI feel awesome at this weight,â€™â€™ he said. â€œI should have been a lightweight my whole career.â€™â€™
Liguori, whoâ€™s fought some good ones since turning pro in â€˜02, will look to regain his winning ways against the promising Bova, who, like Liguori, signed recently with EliteXC.
Bova is a well-rounded fighter and awesome wrestler with excellent technical ability and a seemingly unlimited gas tank. He trains out of the same gym as Murphy in Minersville, Pa.
In his last start, Bova scored a 3:59, first-round submission (rear naked choke) over Mark Getto on Oct. 6, 2007. Bova has won all three of his fights by submission.
The popular Serra, the younger brother of Matt Serra and the second American Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt under world renowned Renzo Gracie, will be opposed by the up-and-coming Makowski in what will be a top-notch 170-pound scrap.
A submission specialist, all four of Serraâ€™s victories have been via tap out. In his last start, he submitted (armbar) Mike Varner in the second round on June 23, 2007, at Atlantic City.
Serra, whose vast skills and unique style makes for crowd-pleasing scraps, is also known for entertaining cage entrances (he wears a Mad Monkey mask and throw bananas to the crowd). But donâ€™t be fooled by the monkey business. Serra has never been submitted or knocked out, is supremely talented and has a fierce competitive spirit. â€œIâ€™ll fight anybody,â€™â€™ he said.
Makowski, who compiled an outstanding record in Muay Thai, is fundamentally sound, possesses well-rounded skills, terrific cardio and always enters the ring well prepared.
In his most recent outing, the highly regarded 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 Muay Thai specialist Joe Schilling on Jan. 25, 2008, in Atlantic City.
Makowski has yet to be severely challenged in a pro, amateur or Muay Thai fight so it will be interesting to see how this one plays out.
The 140-pound Reis, who takes on Justin Robbins, has been totally dominant in his brief career, always appearing to be a class or two above his opponent.
In a fight that got off to a wild start, Reis won his EliteXC debut with a second-round submission (rear naked choke) over Zach Makovsky on Jan. 25, 2008, in Atlantic City.
A fast-rising featherweight who possesses all the right tools, Reis is only 23 but already is a black belt in Jiu-Jitsu. The world class grappler made Makovsky, a former Division I wrestler and respectable prospect, look pedestrian in what was expected to be a close fight.
Robbins (8-3-1), of St. Louis, has won three of his last four, including an eye-opening 0:47, first-round submission (arm triangle choke) victory over Jeff Hodges on Jan. 26, 2008.
A submission fighter, Robbins holds notable wins over Matt Jaggers and Tristan Yunker.
No stranger to big cards, Jones is putting it together at the right time. He will be seeking his third consecutive victory when he meets unbeaten Calvin Kattar (3-0).
Jones won his last two starts by impressive first-round submission (kimoura). He needed 1:59 to devalue Al Buck on March 7, 2008. The previous Jan. 25 in Atlantic City, Jones won his EliteXC debut by dominating Mark Getto en route to dispatching him at 1:12.
A victory keeps Jones in the thick of what is one of EliteXCâ€™s deepest divisions.
New Hampshireâ€™s Kattar is an exciting, crowd-pleasing, talented wrestler who likes to ground and pound.
In preliminary bouts that will not be streamed at ProElite.com, Makovsky meets Soares at 135 pounds and Mike Groves (0-1) of Philadelphia and Joe Sampieri (0-2) of Manhattan, N.Y., clash in a battle of capable but winless fighters at 155.
Makovsky, who suffered his first loss, to Reis, in his last start, is a former Division I wrestler from Drexel University. His 72 victories rank 18th on the all-time Drexel win list.
Soares has won four in a row, all via first-round stoppage. A Brazilian whoâ€™s always ready to fight and brings an aggressive submission style attack to the cage, Soares scored a 0:19, first-round submission (guillotine choke) over Jason Spearman April 18, 2008, in Atlantic City.
The aggressive-minded Groves, who boasts a strong boxing and wrestling background, lost his debut by second-round TKO undefeated Pat McGreal in October 2007.
Sampieri, a Muay Thai coach at Renzo Gracieâ€™s Jiu-Jitsu academy in New York, is overdue for a win. He is obviously talented on his feet and is definitely overdue to win one.
The seven undercard fights are scheduled for three, 5-minute rounds.
For more on upcoming EliteXC events check out the MMAFrenzy.com rumors section.