One more note on Shamrock-Le: I am not trying to take anything away from both men by stating it wasn’t a fight of the year candidate. That third round was a tremendous display of guts and courage made even better by Mauro Ranallo, Stephen Quadros and Bill Goldberg’s call of the action. As a team, those three have received more than their fair share of heat but I thought they did an outstanding job last night.
I have actually rewatched the final round a couple of times and my favorite moment, by far, was when Le used a leg sweep to drop Shamrock and just walked away (2:26 of the first video embed below). Consider it poetic justice for all of Shamrock’s antics.
The first time I saw the move it reminded of a famous sports moment when an NBA rookie named Allen Iverson made Michael Jordan look like a fool when he used a deadly crossover to score over him. Cung Le officially arrived last night much like A.I. did eleven years ago.
I didn’t have the guts to go all out and predict a Cung Le victory prior to his bout against Frank Shamrock but I wish I did because as far as performances by a fighter with six career MMA fights against someone with 34, this was one of the best ever. As for Shamrock, other than the fact that he was able to eat some of Le’s best shots (especially in the third round) I thought he fought a HORRIBLE fight. Le has no ground game while Frank does so why would he not try to expose him on said ground? Makes no sense. I know he wanted to prove all his doubters wrong but I am sorry to say that his ego was a major reason why he lost. Furthermore, all his antics during the match really got under my skin. I appreciate the fact that he’s a salesman and an entertainer but when it’s time to fight just shut up and fight.
Le needs to develop that KO power but last night he used his best kicks as an axe and just kept chopping away. Mauro Ranallo said it best when he referred to him as a lumberjack. It reminded me a lot of the Keith Jardine vs. Chuck Liddell fight from September.
All that said, I am not so quick to label this “fight of the year” just yet. This was more of a kickboxing than MMA match and that leads me to compare it to the great boxing bouts of 2008 which, in that case, it doesn’t quite measure up. I guess I am a little spoiled but for MMA fans that pay little attention to the sweet science I can sort of understand why they are giving it such high praise. It certainly was a an epic clash but when one fighter sweeps all three rounds its hard to call it a real classic.
One thing’s for certain, though, I hope that the next time we see Frank Shamrock get ready for a fight he will keep the talking to a minimum. I am all for showmanship and bravado but since signing with EXC he is 1-2 and I simply don’t want to hear any nonsense from a fighter who has lost two of his last three. Legend or not.
Frank Shamrock vs. Cung Le finally goes down this Saturday night and it’s about time since it seems as though we’ve been waiting for it a long time. That said, this one certainly seems to be lacking the kind of hype and excitement that surrounded Baroni-Shamrock in June. It might have to do with the fact that Cung Le’s no Phil Baroni on the mic or that Shamrock’s YouTube videos have been less than stellar. Regardless, this one just doesn’t have the same kind of juice. That’s not to say I am not looking forward to the fight becuase I think the San Jose crowd will make it seem extra special.
A couple of months ago, Shamrock stopped by the Park to talk about his upcoming fight against Le and a whole host of other topics such as:
* Why he chose to fight Le after once saying he had no interest in fighting him
* Whether he plans to be a face or heel against Le
* Why fight Le before his brother Ken Shamrock
* The status of his fight with Ken
* His thoughts on Ken
* Why he believes Renzo Gracie won’t grant him a rematch
* His thoughts on the Randy Couture situation
* Which network passed on his reality show at the 11th hour
Keep in mind this interview was conducted before the Ken Shamrock’s lackluster performance against Buzz Berry.