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Cung Le kicks the shit out of Frank Shamrock

(c) Tom Casino/Elite XC

That whole Frank Shamrock vs Cung Le fight was pretty strange to me. For two rounds they circled eachother, letting off singular kicks or punches. Each engagement was broken off as quickly as it started, and the two would then high five, smile, nod, or say something to eachother. It honestly had the feel of a sparring session right up until halfway through the third round when the fight finally kicked into high gear.

Overall I can’t really complain too much about it. The second half of the third round really made up for the so-so first and second ones. It’s too bad Shamrock wasn’t able to come out for the fourth round, but you could tell he got his shit fucked up in the dying minutes of the round. Turns out that Cung Le snapped Frank’s distal ulna, meaning either Frank doesn’t drink as much milk as he should or I’m going to have to start giving Cung Le some credit as a hard kicker.

I’m still shaking my head at the fact that Frank didn’t try to take Cung Le down once. At first I thought it was just pride and ego … Frank would try and outstrike Cung, but surely after things hadn’t gone his way for a few rounds he’d try something different, right? Well, if that was the plan he never got to implement it. The commentators were saying something about an injury, but who knows what the story on that is. If Frank was coming in knowing he wouldn’t be able to shoot, you would think he’d have developed another way of initiating a takedown. Steve Sievert might have the right idea with his theory:

Shamrock had the mindset that it was better to lose in a standup war than to win the fight on the ground – and, Shamrock admits, his career isn’t so much about winning and losing anymore as it is about making big fights and the money that goes along with them.

Regardless of why he made the decisions he did which lead to his loss, I guess this means Frank Shamrock really isn’t the greatest fighter out there like he’d have us all believe. Does this mean Cung Le suddenly takes that mantle? Hells no. As dumb as I am, I can see holes in Le’s game big enough to drive a truck through. Until he gets put on his back by a serious grappler, we won’t know what he’s really made of. And I’m still of the opinion that a CroCop style ‘deadly kick’ is better than Cung’s ‘defeat via 1001 kicks’. I lost count of how many times Frank got kicked in the head without being phased.

  • Matt (but I signed up as Mr. Unbelievable Pants)

    I really, really enjoyed that fight. Love him or hate him, Frank knows how to inject a bit of excitement into the fight. It would get boring if everyone who fought made snidey little gestures and comments, but the odd one from Frank really ratcheted up the tension, I found.

    Le looks awesome, and I don’t think he has as many holes as you think. Wait, maybe his submissions are not up to par, but the guy’s wrestling is incredible… he picks people up like ragdolls and flips them around. It will take a fine, fine striker or a consummate takedown and submission artist to put him away.

    Looking forward to the rematch where I predict Shamrock will shoot for a low single leg and proceed to heelhook Le’s ankle so fast his knee, hip and pancreas explode simultanously.

  • Accomando

    The Tim Sylvia on the cover of the People magazine where he admitted he was gay, was f’ing hilarious.

  • Atom

    I think Frank did try to take him down when he had Cung’s back early in the first round, and possibly again when he had Cung against the cage. When he was on the ground after being swept, he motioned for Le to join him, but that almost seemed to be more showmanship; proving the point that Cung wanted no part of his groundgame… as if that was something anyone had doubts about.

  • Shade

    Cung has got to be the luckiest SOB to make the move from kickboxing to MMA. Not a single one of his fights have gone to ground. I thought Shamrock would at least try and take him down with a little effort. Don’t get me wrong I enjoyed the fight, but damn, just take this guy out of his game already…

  • Tommy

    I don’t know how Cung will fair on the ground but getting him there is freaking hard.

  • Kid Nate

    Frank did actually try to take Cung down at least three times. He jumped on that spinning back kick in Rd 1 really fast and Cung was lucky to fight him off — Cung’s an EXCELLENT wrestler — and you’ll notice Cung didn’t dick around with many more spinning kicks after that. There was also a point where Frank had a front headlock on Cung but again, Cung was able to fight him off.
    With Frank’s knees basically having been blown out, he doesn’t have much shooting ability so was forced to rely on those more opportunistic takedowns that he wasn’t able to capitalize on.
    The real place his game plan got foiled was Cung’s side kicks forcing him to the outside. Frank wanted to dirty box in the clinch and Cung just kept him way outside until mid way thru round 3.

  • Atom

    Good to see agrees with me :)

  • Fatal Error

    People need to start realizing that Cung has an amateur wrestling background and San Sho involves a lot of takedowns and takedown defense. The throws are mostly from high body locks or trips, but they translate fairly well to mma. Give the guy some credit, his striking is accurate and quick and he can throw someone like a sack of potatos.

  • MacDaddy

    Sanshou also has force redirection and sweeps so rather than try to sprawl a shot every time there’s the concept of moving your center line and helping your opponents inertia take him somewhere else. Shamrock tried at least 2 double legs in the first 2 rounds and Le just spun him off.

  • Shade

    Shamrock attempted some cheesed**k take downs, nothing real. And Cung does have a wrestling backround and that’s awesome. He’s probably has not bad at take down defense, but subs is a different story. I like Cung, just wish I could see him against someone that’s good on the ground and is willing to take the fight there.

  • Captain

    “The commentators were saying something about an injury, but who knows what the story on that is.”

    I think Frank has given interviews saying that he no longer has an ACL in one of his knees.

    The sparring session feel was fuckin ridiculous. It wasn’t until round 3 when you saw Frank get mad that the fight got interesting.

  • danaunclefesterwhite

    I don’t think it’s fair to say the first two rounds were like a sparring session. There was a lull in action for a good part of the second round but other than that, it was an action-filled stand-up war and Cung Le put on a clinic. This wasn’t just another UFC brawl, Cung Le is a sight to behold. In an age where most fighters train in these four disciplines: BJJ, wrestling, boxing and muay thai (and a lot of strikers have amateur boxing and muay thai at that), it’s refreshing to see someone like Cung Le mix things up with Eastern TMA.

    MMA needs new blood and gyms seem to create the same type of fighters over and over again. In North America, every up and coming MMA fighter goes to a gym to train in BJJ, wrestling, boxing and muay thai. The same martial arts over and over again. I’d like to see more guys like Cung Le bring some fresh styles into MMA.

  • yenny

    I thought the same damn thing!!! Where’s the takedown attempt or the inside game… not that it would have sealed the deal for Shamrock, but sitting on the outside most of the fight… bad idea.

    When Le was against the fence, Shamrock let him out! Cung Le utilizes Jedi mind tricks. That’s the story that is getting zero coverage.

  • Atom

    Why are boxing and muay thai considered different? Doesn’t one completely encompass the other? If you’re training MT, what do you have to gain from training boxing specifically? Isn’t that like saying you went to kicking practice, and then kickboxing?

    Is there something that is legal in boxing that is not legal in MT?

  • mike o

    i think you seperate boxing from muay thai for the same reason you seperate wrestling and jiu jitsu… jiu jitsu contains wrestling takedowns, and they are both grappling but you stand to gain something from studying for example greco roman wrestling on its own and then jiu jitsu on its own.

  • Steve4192

    “Why are boxing and muay thai considered different?”

    Because most pure Muay Thai fighters have shitty hands. Boxing training helps to round out that weakness.

  • Atom

    But by practicing boxing instead of MT, it seems like your just training your brain to forget about kicks.

    GR wrestling should be PART OF bjj training.

  • danaunclefesterwhite

    Just because Muay Thai encompasses rules from boxing doesn’t mean that you don’t have anything to gain by training in boxing also. Who would win in a boxing match? Buakaw Por Pramuk or Floyd Mayweather Jr.? Who would you rather coach you on your jab, cross, hook and uppercut? An example more relevant to MMA: Wanderlei Silva is primarily a Muay Thai fighter but his boxing technique is clearly inferior to Chuck Liddell’s.

    Muay Thai fighters tend to be strongest with knees and elbows but weaker with their hands than a boxer and weaker with their kicks than a kickboxer. The general rule is that Muay Thai guys and kickboxers have weaker hands than boxers. In boxing, you train to strike with two limbs (your hands). In Muay Thai, you train to strike with eight limbs. Naturally a boxer is going to have more of an opportunity to work on his hands than a Muay Thai fighter. So it’s a good idea to learn to box with boxers rather than learn to box with a muay thai fighter.

  • RoB

    i dont think chuck is a good example for great BOXING technique

  • danaunclefesterwhite

    I said Chuck has better boxing technique than Wanderlei. Not necessarily great. Chuck boxes like an amateur actually. When boxing fans watch the UFC, I can understand why they get a negative impression of it. The level of boxing in general in MMA is just not up to snuff. When boxing fans look at Chuck Liddell, who is the champion and he’s hyped as a world class striker, it makes the sport look weak. Most strikers in MMA tend to not be as refined in their primary striking art of choice as grapplers in MMA are in their primarily grappling art. That’s why whenever a Mark Hunt or Cro Cop enters MMA for real, it’s a big deal.

  • danaunclefesterwhite

    I should say he was the champion. lol.

  • SBZ

    Did anyone notice the dumbass comments by Mauro Ranallo, renowned SHOWTIME play-by-play announcer (his words not mine)
    First he states that Le and Shamrock trained at 14,000 and 21,000 feet (although he never said which trained at what alt.) above sea level. Jeez, the tree line in the US is at 11,500 feet and its still early spring with limited snowmelt and above 20,000 feet is considered hazardous without oxygen. Guess one trained in top of Mt McKenley…but wait it’s not 21,000 feet high.
    Second he calls them both natives to San Jose. One is from ‘Nam and the other from Santa Monica…Good God what a moron!

  • izaya

    cung le is the only real martial artist in mma.if more fighters from asia came over there probably wouldnt be any american champs. cung ls to mma what michael jordan is to basketball. Its great to see a true master at work.