What's up Tulsa? I never know exactly how to lead into a mixed martial arts column. TU basketball, OU football and the Tulsa Oilers are known commodities. I can dive head first into stats, thoughts or breakdowns without losing you.
You know what, I'm going to do the same with my MMA coverage from now on. No more drawn-out introductions. No more unneeded background puffery. No more unnecessary historical references in hopes of interesting you. You're either with me or against me. From now on its elbows, knees and well-placed liver kicks.
Mark your calendar Tulsa--March 15 will go down as one of the greatest nights of combat sports this state has ever witnessed. The possibilities range from colossal triumph to epic failure. Are there layers in the middle? Absolutely. The point is the potential is immense.
Apollo Cook's X-Treme Fighting League is teaming with billionaire Mark Cuban's HDNet Fights for a night of hardcore action. "HDNet Fights Presents: Xtreme Fighting League"
"I am excited about this partnership with HDNet Fights." said XFL founder and promoter Dale Cook. "This card and the exposure on HDNet is tremendous for our League, our fighters and our city."
The card is stacked with 12 bouts. The live action gets underway at the Expo Square Pavilion at 7:15pm. The doors open at 6:30pm. The televised portion of the show airs live at 9:30pm. Live action > televised show - even when pure HD is on display.
As you would imagine, Oklahoma is well represented on the evening. Several of the fights are of the USA vs. Japan variety which is an easy sell to the beer swilling crowd.
Former OSU Cowboys Jake Rosholt, Johny Hendricks and Shane Roller are members of Team Takedown. They highlight a talented card.
Rosholt and Hendricks were recent guest on "Inside MMA" which airs on HDNet. Their bouts are billed as the co-main event.
Hendricks is a welterweight (170). He'll battle Texan Christopher Blake McDaniels. The brash young fighter looks to improve his record to 3-0. The former Poke captured three Big 12 championships and two NCAA National Titles in collegiate wrestling.
Rosholt fights at middleweight (185). Rosholt was a three-time winner of the NCAA National Title in wrestling. He is scrapping with Chad "Don't Play" Jay out of Biloxi. "He's pretty well-rounded," says Rosholt of his opponent. "I'm going to be ready to fight. I'm ready to get in there and do battle."
Rosholt trains at Randy Couture's Xtreme Gym in Las Vegas. The chat was nondescript until I broached the name Anderson Silva. Silva is the UFC's king of 185 pound fighters. He's considered the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world today.
"He's tough. He's good everywhere," says Rosholt. "I think he's beatable. I think someone like Matt Lindland can beat him." He preceded to breakdown a fight plan, in detail, on how to beat the unstoppable force known as "The Spider". He really likes a wrestler's chance. Then he tossed out this nugget. "Who knows, maybe in two years, I'll be fighting him. You never know."
HDNet Fights president Guy Mezger is also excited about the talent coming out of this area. "This will be their first time on TV," he said referring to Team Takedown members. "We really expect a lot of good things out of them."
"Dale (Cook) always has a strong regional show and we're excited about partnering with him," Mezger said. "He can continue to grow his shows and we'll have high quality mixed martial arts programming for HDNet."
MMA fans are multiplying with each fight. Part of the allure is the controlled violence. It's also the unpredictable nature of the sport. It's incredible. One mental lapse and BAM -- you're out cold or tapping for dear life.
The XFL 170 pound title is also on the line when hometown boys Levi "The Marine" Avera and Brandon "Sweetpea" Newsome square off. The champ, Avera, is coming off of two loses outside of the XFL.
Now for my favorite part of the weekend. Yes, we get to watch some kick-ass fights. There may or may not be a Mark Cuban sighting in T-Town. HDNet Fights president and former member of the Lion's Den (Mikey Burnett's original group) Guy Mezger is prominently involved. HDNet is presenting the Expo Square Pavilion to the country in flawless HD.
Those are all nice but it's all about Bas Rutten. I'm giddy about the fact he's in town. You recognize his bald head, droll humor and camera presence. No offense to Joe Rogan but Rutten is the top color analyst in the MMA game.
He also starred in the single funniest "Youtube" video I have ever watched. He teaches self defense in a bar. Do yourself a favor, check it out. Classic stuff!
"El Guapo" is holding an ultimate fighting seminar from 1-4 on Saturday prior to the fights. You can take to the mat with the ultimate legend. The package includes an autographed picture and photo opportunity with the Dutch fighter.
You want to train with and meet Bas Rutten? Call 627-7070 (Apollo's Karate) and be sure to ask for Ms. Jameie.
You want tickets to the evening of first-class fights? Call 1-866-984-4738 or visit www.TeamTakeDownFighters.com for more details.
Here's hoping the night lives up to my hype.
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