Monday, June 2, 2008

Gina Carano: Crush Kicks Ass

Photo by all_elbows at flickr.

A lot of eyeballs were on Gina Carano, aka 'the Face of Women's MMA' on Saturday Night, when she came into the ring four and a half pounds heavy to fight the underdog opponent Kaitlin Young on the first ever EliteXC Primetime ticket on CBS.

It was a huge deal, and not just because of the fact that Carano's star status had increased dramatically because of her 'Crush' appeal from American Gladiators. She's missed weight for her last three fights, and this coupled with mounting critiscism from hardcore MMA'ers that she's playing her 'pretty face' too much for more than just a fighting career, produced a barage of online lashings that was almost tide turning resentment for the media darling.

Kaitlin Young, a fierce, humble but inexperienced fighter, was getting blog interviews, tons of online hype, and even bloggers warning others to place their bets on her now because they were headed for an upset. Blogger after blogger laid their predictions for the fight stating that Young was the almost sure winner, basing this on Gina not making weight and also her three week training period (Opposed to Kaitlin's 9 weeks).

The result didn't appear to be that surprising. Gina Carano did appear to be winded and out of breath towards the end of her first round and into the second, but her experience as a Muay Thai master and her ever evolving grappling skills became more and more apparent as, even as she began to tire, she delivered blow after blow to Kaitlin Young. Young herself put up a great fight. She fought hard, but Gina kept a steady slew of front kicks aimed right at her mid section that kept her from using her agressive punching form, and Young couldn't recover to readjust her strategy. Gina beat her on the ground, and in a stand up fight, where Young is the strongest, Gina simply out powered her.

Young was saved by the bell at the end the second round, as Gina held her in a rear naked choke that Young refused to tap out of, only for the doctor to call the fight in Gina's favor.

Enough to quiet the dissenters? Probably not. Some people are determined to hate Gina for her success and her inability to make weight (in my opinion, the far more justified critiscm of the two) , but I'll never condemn her for doing more than just fighting. She's bringing a lot of attention to a women's sport that some people still argue shouldn't exist, and whether or not she's the best MMA has to offer, she's certainly the most marketible, and has the skill to back it up. Let her do her video games and her Gladiator, so long as she keeps coming back to the ring, I'll still be watching.

And hey, Kaitlin Young got a new fan as well.

Check out the Fight on youtube: Part 1 Part 2 - the fight was called after round two.

Related Articles:

Crush the Critics
Overhyped: A bloodyelbow's fan analysis of how the Kaitlin Young hype got out of control.
Gina Carano and Kaitlin Young finally give the fans a reason to cheer.
Girl Power: Gina Adds Spice

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