Tuesday, September 14, 2010

MMA in McAllen

Way before we had South Texas Fighting Championship putting on very entertaining Mixed Martial Arts events, the Valley was host to a couple of shows put on by ES - Extreme Shootout. The shows had a few names that would be familiar to longtime fans like Shannon Ritch and Aaron Riley, but I thought I should bring attention to the most accomplished fighter that fought for this promotion here in the Valley. Yves Edwards was at one point a world class fighter, who is revered for unleashing some of the most spectacular KO's in both the UFC and EliteXC. Also, unique circumstances led Edwards to being hailed as the uncrowned UFC world lightweight champion.

At UFC 41 (2/28/03), we had BJ Penn vs Caol Uno in the finals to a lightweight tournament that was set to crown the new UFC lightweight champion. But since the fight was ruled a draw, the title continued to be vacant and the idea of crowning a champion was scrapped for a few years. During this title-less time period, Penn moved up to welterweight, and after winning the title there in a shocking upset over Hughes, he left the promotion for K-1. Uno, after getting KO'd by Hermes Franca at UFC 44, left the promotion to compete in Shooto and K-1. So when all this was going on, Yves Edwards bounced back from his first two UFC loses (Serra and Uno), and started building an impressive string of victories in the octagon. Yves scored strong wins over Nick Agallar, Hermes Franca (who was fresh off knocking out Uno), and Josh Thomson. At the end of 2004, Edwards' was the #1 lightweight in the UFC and the uncrowned UFC lightweight champion.

But this was years before he could claim to be the top lightweight in the top mixed martial arts organization in the world. This is at the Villareal Convention Center in McAllen, TX, and he's fighting Anthony Holiday, a fighter whose only two professional fights took place in McAllen. It's not much of a fight, it's Yves Edwards displaying his beautifully violent knees from the clinch and destroying Holiday in bloody fashion. This is also interesting to see just to witness how much MMA has grown from what it was in the 1990s to now. These two guys were fighting with no gloves on AND after the fight, the ring announcer is asking if there is a medic in the house to take care of some of the injuries the fighters had sustained. Also, keep a sharp look out to see who happens to be the referee for this fight. Here's a clue, he's a Hall of Fame-level fighter that ruled the light-heavyweight division from 2000-2003...

Yves Edwards vs Anthony Holiday (ES - 6/25/99)

This guys whole YouTube account is worth checking out, but I'm still puzzled as to how this France native got a hold of McAllen MMA? Also it's worth noting that tomorrow night in Austin, TX, Yves Edwards is finally making his return back to the UFC after a lengthy four year absence.

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