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Television preview of tonight’s ShoXC event

EliteXC will return to SHOWTIME on tonight at 11 p.m. ET live from the Table Mountain Casino in Fresno, Calif.

As per usual fare, the card lacks star power, which is not what the ShoXC concept is intended for. The idea behind the franchise is to create a proving ground as a way to build new stars, much like SHOWTIME used to do with its ShoBox franchise, which is still in existence but no longer has the impact in boxing that it once had.

Whether the concept is working for MMA remains to be seen, but fighters such as Jon Murphy, Paul Daley, Eddie Alvarez, and Muhsin Corbbrey have all appeared on the show before moving on to bigger and better things. One fighter who could fit the future star mold that is on tonight’s card is Cyrille “The Snake” Diabate.

Diabate is a World Class striker who was recruited to join Team Quest earlier this year to help Dan Henderson prepare for his middleweight title unification bout against Anderson Silva.

After having built a solid international reputation, Diabate will look to make a bigger name for himself tonight in a light heavyweight bout against Jaime Fletcher. A win for Diabate could set the stage for an eventual showdown against light heavyweight sensation Rafael Feijao.

The card will also feature an intriguing female fight in what will mark the debut of EliteXC’s 130 lbs. division. Female fighting pioneer Debi Purcell is set to return to competitive MMA against British fighter Rosi Sexton, considered by some pundits to be a top-ten pound-for-pound female fighter.

There will be five fights in all. has a brief preview of the entire card.

Jared Hamman vs. Po’ai Suganuma – This is a rematch from a previous encounter that took place in April when Suganuma pulled off a minor upset just seconds into the first round after nailing a flying knee on Hamman and following it up with punches. The fight was stopped much to the dismay of Hamman and his hometown fans.

The loss served as the first of Hamman’s career but he now has a chance at redemption. A former college football player who coaches at his alma matter, Redlands University, Hamman is one of the key players in EliteXC 205 lbs. division that is starving for depth.

Suganuma trains out of B.J. Penn’s academy in Hilo, Hawaii and is an extremely talented individual who has lacked exposure. The 26-year old has an impressive 9-1 record but is still rather raw. He can be a dangerous striker, but his technique still needs a lot of refinement. On the ground, he’s solid from the top with decent submissions and very good ground and pound. However, he needs a lot of work from the bottom. If Hamman ends up in top position, Suganuma could have some problems.

I see this fight having a lot more legs than their first encounter and I expect to see Hamman come out strong.

Prediction: Hamman via second round TKO.

Fabricio Camoes vs. Sammy Morgan – Morgan is making the move from 170 lbs. to 160 for this fight vs. Camoes, an outstanding grappler who is being represented by Anderson Silva and Rafael Feijao’s manager, Ed Soares. Camoes’ 9-4 record might not get too many people excited, but he has come into his own having won five consecutive fights. The problem is that with just one fight since October of 2006, Camoes has received very little exposure. Now training and living in San Diego, Camoes should be able to get more fights and start to make a name for himself.

Morgan has a bit of a name thanks to his stint during the second season of “The Ultimate Fighter” and a fight last November in San Jose, Calif. for the Strikeforce promotion against Cung Le. Training of out Team Bison in Minnesota, Morgan is looking to redemption after getting TKO’d at 2:12 of round 1 vs. Paul Daley during his EliteXC debut at this past January’s ShoXC.

If the fight stays standing, Morgan will make a go of it. But if it hits the ground, he doesn’t stand a chance.

Prediction: Camoes via second round submission.

Cyrille Diabate vs. Jaime Fletcher –
“The Snake” is one of the most technical strikers in the sport. He has a very extensive background in traditional standup styles and is looking to replicate that success in MMA. While he hasn’t done poorly, he has yet to breakout. At age 36, now is as good of a time as any for the former PRIDE veteran to make a name for himself as a mixed martial artist.

With EliteXC’s light heavyweight division lacking depth, the promotion is counting on Diabate and this match with Fletcher was set up to showcase his striking prowess. While Jaime Fletcher is a quality opponent who is coming off a March upset over Aaron Rosa, he’s better suited as middleweight. I believe the intent of this fight is to try and build Diabate up as a potential opponent for Rafael Feijao and it’s a fight that could happen sooner rather than later.

Prediction: Diabate by first round knockout.

Rosi Sexton vs. Debi Purcell – Both these fighters have interesting backstories. Purcell is considered by many to be one of the true pioneers of female MMA. After taking time off, she’s trying to return to the game at a time when female MMA has never been bigger. But a lot of questions remain as to whether she can pull this comeback off. She’s no spring chicken as far as professional athletes are concerned and even when she did fight, the level of competition she faced is nothing like it is now.

In addition to being a fighter, Sexton is a single mom and holds a PhD. She’s an extremely talented fighter who is a prime example of how hard it can be for a top female fighter to get opportunities. After compiling a 3-0 record in BodogFIGHT, Sexton had no choice but to sit back and wait until something opened up.

Something has finally opened up with EliteXC decided to expand their female division and create a 130 lbs. weight class. Sexton’s best weight is 125 lbs. but she’s willing to move up in order to get a shot. She’s clearly the more technical fighter in this bout and should be considered the favorite. However, Purcell is still a threat because she could easily compete as a 140 lbs. fighter. Cutting to 130 lbs., Purcell will have a big size and strength advantage and could cause on upset if she’s able to catch Sexton.

Prediction: Sexton via second round submission.

Keith Berry vs. Ray Lizama –
Berry is the current King of the Cage middleweight champion but the title will not be on the line in this three round fight. Training out of Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas, Berry is an exciting fighter who likes to bring the heat when it comes to the standup game. Still in his early-20s, Berry is working hard to improve his overall game. He’s facing an opponent in Lizama who is not exactly known for being an aggressive fighter. He’s fought on a ShoXC once before, losing a unanimous decision to Hector Urbina last August in a bout in which he looked terrible.

He stepped into this fight on short notice after bouts with Reggie Orr and Fernando Gonzalez fell through. Lizama should be in decent shape considering he had been scheduled to fight Justin Levens on July 19 during Affliction: Banned. However, the show started late because medical officials assigned by the California State Athletic Commission did not arrive on time and a decision was made to cancel the Levens vs. Lizama bout entirely due to time constraints.

If Lizama refuses to engage, we could see a very terrible opening fight. But if he’s willing to mix it up with Berry, we could be treated to a strong opener.

Prediction: Berry with a TKO in the second round.


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