Ken Shamrock will throw down with Royce Gracie at Bellator 149 in the third meeting for these two. Let’s review the Bellator odds to determine which legend comes out on top.
Fighting In Your Fifties
No professional athlete gets better after they turn 30 let alone 50. Watching the Senior Tour in golf is something only hardcore golf fans can truly appreciate but even those with whom I have chatted on the topic agree it’s more a case of critiquing just how far the once great golfers have fallen from their lofty perches as opposed to how well they still play the game. Pick up a celebrity rag-mag and you will undoubtedly see pages of glossy pictures of actors in their primes versus how they look now (usually sans make-up, replete in sweat pants and an old T-shirt). Some have held up tremendously well but even the ageless Christy Brinkley, gorgeous at 62, cannot compare to the super model stunner she once was back in her halcyon days. Time is a thief.
The old adage states middle age is when your age starts to show around your middle, which is nature’s way of saying; you’re not a kid anymore. At an age when most men consider walking 18 holes an athletic accomplishment, snickering at their contemporaries who require a cart to get from tee box to green, we have a pair of fifty-somethings prepared to engage in mortal combat. And those combatants happen to be the pioneers of the sport we love today, mixed martial arts. Thus it is with conflicting emotions I contemplate this matchup of two old lions desperate to rekindle their youth in a blood sport meant for men at the peak of their powers.
Nothing good can come of this for either fighter regardless of whose hand is raised. How many of us grimaced when Michael Jordan returned as a Washington Wizard or more recently watched the once dazzling Roy Jones Jr. get knocked out in the fourth round by a boxer who wouldn’t have merited sparring partner status when in his prime. So yes we will watch the carnival attraction that showcases the severely diminished skills of two former world class athletes and sit in judgment of just how far they have fallen. It’s all a bit sad but ultimately it is Ken Shamrock’s and Royce Gracie’s decision to hang on just a little bit longer.
Now let us get to the fight at hand. This will be the third time these combatants have met with Gracie tapping Shamrock out in 57 seconds in their first encounter way back in November of ’93 at UFC 1. The pair would meet again 17 months later at UFC 5 where they fought to a draw. Judges had not been incorporated into the UFC at the time, and the victor could only be decided by submission or knockout. Now 20 years later the two will square off again, but Gracie’s lack of activity inside the cage makes it more than a bit difficult to determine if he has any game left. We know Shamrock has been losing consistently for over 10 years, dropping eight of his last 10 fights. Those things tend to happen when you’re over 40 and fighting world class killers that are a decade or two younger.
If the truth be told, Shamrock has never been the same since he returned to MMA from his three year stint with the WWE. Shamrock sustained several serious injuries as a professional wrestler and by the time he made his comeback, he was already in his mid-thirties and his devastating shooting technique that resembled a rhino charge was never the same after his injuries.
Shamrock left the prize fighting game for almost five years but returned in June at Bellator 138 to get a not so friendly reception by former UFC talent and street fighter extraordinaire Kimbo Slice who promptly KO’ed Shamrock only two minutes into their fight. Royce Gracie on the other hand has not been in a professional MMA fight since he avenged an earlier loss to Kazushi Sakuraba back in 2007. Therefore, all we can go on is what Gracie recently stated about his current ability.
"I think the Royce today would have beat the Royce 20 years ago. I've been thinking about that. More experience. Back then, I was using a lot of talent. Now, I've got the talent and experience. I've got more endurance today and I'm the same weight."
Gracie talks a good game at least, and it appears there is no lack of confidence coming from a man who will fight at approximately 180 pounds versus Shamrock who will walk inside the cage at anywhere from 205 to 220 pounds. That weight disadvantage did nothing to deter Gracie from victory all those years ago which is why I am siding with him in my Bellator sports picks for February 19th. Those who set the Bellator betting odds have set Gracie at -110 like at BetVictor, and the odds of one or more legacies being tarnished is unfortunately a sure thing. Bet Royce Gracie at Pinnacle.
Kimbo Slice & Dada 500 To Squash Their Beef
Elsewhere on the card, heavyweight Kevin "Kimbo Slice" Ferguson takes on Dhafir "Dada 5000" Harris (2-0 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) in the co-main event.
The 41-year-old Slice most recently defeated Ken Shamrock at Bellator 138 via TKO and Dada 5000 has two knockout victories in two professional fights. His most recent win came against Tim Papp in February 2011.
Adding a layer of intrigue to the fight, Slice and Dada 5000 grew up together in Miami and were friends. Harris was Kimbo's bodyguard and helped him during his YouTube days until Slice became a pro in 2007. Their beef stems from Dada 5000 feeling that he was cast aside by Slice.
Kimbo Slice is the technically superior fighter, which speaks volumes of what kind of fight we can speak. Both fighters are wild and have a puncher's chance, but Dada's lack of technique makes Kimbo Slice -175 at Bovada the best sports pick against Dada 5000 (+145).