Kimbo Survives and CBS Breathes Easier

By Tom Donelson
Updated: June 1, 2008

IOWA CITY, Ia. — This past Saturday night, CBS and Elite XC provided a Mixed Martial Art program worthy of the publicity. Featuring Kimbo Slice, Elite XC card produced some exciting fireworks that demonstrated the why the Mixed Martial Arts is becoming a popular sport in its own right.

As for the star of the evening, Kimbo Slice survived his match against James Thompson. The big question that surrounded Kimbo Slice was his lack of experience as a Mixed Martial Artist and in the first round, Kimbo showed that he has learned a few tricks as he demonstrated some knowledge of the ground game.

Thompson’s strategy was simple, use his bigger size and experience and get Kimbo Slice to the ground. In the first round, Thompson had the edge in a round that was close. There were times that Slice more than held his own on the ground but Thompson’s ground game kept Slice from using his punching power to its maximum benefit.

In the first three and half minutes of the second round, Slice had target practice on his British opponent and appeared on his way to an easy victory when he made one mistake, a mistake that nearly cost him the bout. Missing on a wild punch, Slice found himself back on the ground and for the final 30 second of the round; he was totally helpless.

Coming close to losing the fight, Kimbo survived only because the clock ran out. A few more second and there remained a serious possibility that referee could have easily called the fight. Trapped against the cage, Slice’s inexperience showed.

In the third round, Kimbo went back to his strength; his boxing skills. He unloaded solid combination and open up a nasty gash in Thompson’s left ear. Bleeding and staggered, Thompson looked ready to go.

In those opening minutes, Kimbo managed to stay away from Thompson while nailing him with devastating combinations. The referee stopped the fight and Elite XC sighed a measure of relief as one of their cash cows survived.

Meanwhile in the opening match, Brett “the grim” Rogers splattered Jon Murphy in one minute and maintained his undefeated status. Rogers, who felt that he should have been the main event opponent, strengthened his own hand as a future Slice’s opponent.

In the first minute of the bout, Murphy nailed Rogers with a picture perfect right hand but it was all for naught as Rogers fought as if he felt nothing. Meanwhile, his strikes proved more effective and a right uppercut sent Murphy to the ground.

And for those who love to see women battered each other around, Gina Carano took on the game Kaitlin Young. Young proved to be a tough opponent and Carano came in the bout 4 pounds over the designated weight. The big question centered around whether Carano really was ready to fight.

The first round proved to be an even round as Carano may have had a slight advantage but Young showed that she could take Gina’s best. Her lack of conditioning started to show. Or so it appeared. Young had every reason to feel that an upset was within reach.

The second round saw a different Carano as she took her fight game up a notch. Halfway through the the first round, a Carano right sent Young back on her heel and from this point, the superiority of Carano’s techniques took over. Young could not match either Carano’s skill or firepower.

While she barely survived the round, the referee stopped the fight after the round. The left side of Young’s face was swollen and the right eye blackened. There was no doubt who was the winner and loser as each opponent’s face told the story.

Meanwhile, Joe Villasenor defeated the colorful Phil Baroni as Baroni ran into a Villasenor’s left hook in the opening minutes of their match. After escaping a Villasenor choke hold, Baroni moved back to the cage and this proved fatal. Villasenor unleashed a final barrage and won his third fight in a row.

As for Baroni, the Native New Yorker lost his fourth bout over his last five fights. This was a crossroad fight for Baroni and the defeat could spell the end of Baroni ‘s career as a major elite figure in the Mixed Martial Arts.

The Middleweight championship bout between Scott Smith and Robbie Lawler showed the Mixed Martial Arts at its best. Both fighters fought a tactical fight at times but by the second round, the fight saw ebb and flows as both fighters found themselves at each other mercy.

While Lawler appeared to have the edge going into the third round, Smith was certainly in the hunt. Smith had trouble seeing after Lawler accidently poked Smith’s eye with nearly two minutes left.

At that point, both fighters were engaged in some excellent give and take with the fight hanging in the balanced. Unfortunately, the bout was stopped and declared a no contest. T

There will be a second Smith-Lawler bout.

CBS was blessed with five bouts that featured everything one can hope for; quick knockouts, tough competitive fights and their superstars coming through with victories.