by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
NEWARK, N.J. – With 8,033 in attendance at the Prudential Center in New Jersey, CBS and EliteXC debuted the first-ever mixed martial arts event to be telecast live in prime time on broadcast television. Much to the surprise of the fans, the main event didn’t end in the first minute… as a matter of fact it went into the third round.
A controversial stoppage in the final round of the fight saw Kimbo Slice declared the victor despite an opponent in James Thompson who, while definitely hurt, did not seem out of the fight yet.
Thompson looked solid for the better part of the fight, playing a smart game plan, taking Kimbo down numerous times throughout the fight. While Kimbo was able to reverse position a couple of times during the bout, Thompson’s takedowns almost made the difference.
The second round saw Thompson trap Kimbo against the cage and start to reign down punches and elbows. Kimbo was doing very little to defend himself, and while Thompson’s strikes weren’t overly devastating, it seemed the fight could have been stopped at that point. Kimbo did survive, however, and the fighters went to another round.
Kimbo woke up in the third landing a big hook that burst and bloodied Thompson’s cauliflower ear. He followed up with a few more strikes, rocking his British opponent. Thompson took the shots, but stayed standing and just as he seemed to be coming forward at Kimbo, the referee stepped in and stopped the bout.
After the fight, Thompson put his hands up in protest, going as far as pushing the referee away; visibly upset by the stoppage.
While the hype machine around Kimbo Slice cannot be denied, after his performance on Saturday night, the fighter still has a lot to live up to as far as his stature in the world of MMA.
In what had to be the most exciting fight of the night with the most anti-climactic ending, Robbie Lawler and Scott Smith did not get to finish what they started after an accidental eye poke in the third round caused doctors to stop the bout.
In the opening round, Smith came out firing at Lawler trying to take advantage of the champion early in the fight. Lawler persevered and came back at Smith with a barrage of jabs and a couple of body kicks that seemed to buckle the California fighter. As the round closed, it was Lawler who landed a number of shots and at the time, it appeared Smith was saved by the bell.
The second round told a much different story as Smith, looking completely refreshed, brought the fight to Lawler hitting him with punches, knees and inside the clinch with elbows. Smith controlled the biggest part of the round, keeping Lawler on the defensive with his striking game.
With each fighter winning a round according to the official scorecards of the cage side judges, Lawler opened round three pursuing Smith with an aggressive attack of punches. It was during an exchange while the two fighters battled it out that Lawler put out his hand to try and find the distance for a punch on his opponent when his fingers found their way into Smith’s eye.
The action stopped as the doctors stepped in to check Smith’s condition. Despite repeated pleas from Smith to allow the fight to continue, the doctors decided the damage was done and the fight was stopped and ruled a no contest due to an accidental eye poke.
EliteXC Live Events President Gary Shaw announced during the post-fight interviews that he would pay both fighters their normal purse plus their contractual win bonuses for their respective performances on Saturday night.
Despite not making weight and after admitting that she didn’t have the right time to train for the fight, Gina Carano pulled out an impressive performance in her fight against Kaitlin Young, winning by doctor’s stoppage after the second round.
Many questioned if Carano was really focused on this fight, but once the bell rang she was business as usual feeding Young a steady diet of front kicks and using her jab effectively.
In the second round, Carano took over, hitting Young with multiple punches and it seemed that she could soon finish the Minnesota native. Another front kick put Young on the mat and Carano followed up trying to sink in a rear naked choke, but the round ended before the submission could fully be applied.
Between rounds, the doctors examined Kaitlin Young’s eye, which had taken damage in the second round, and determined the fight could not continue, giving Carano a TKO win. The New Jersey crowd gave Carano one of the loudest ovations of the night, cheering her name on different occasions and exploding when she was victorious.
Team Jackson fighter Joey Villasenor overcame the adversity of a tough crowd cheering for their almost hometown fighter, Phil Baroni, as the former King of the Cage champion finished “The New York Badass” in the first round of their bout in New Jersey.
Baroni took Villasenor down early, but quickly the two fighters were back exchanging on the feet. Villasenor moved Baroni against the cage and almost ended the fight with a guillotine choke. Baroni survived the submission attempt, but he didn’t survive much longer as Villasenor seemed to smell blood in the water and moved in for the kill.
Tracking Baroni down, Villasenor landed a good combination that put Baroni on his heels, reeling against the cage. Knowing his opponent was hurt, Villasenor followed up with a few more punches that put Baroni down and out for good.
With his third win in a row, Joey Villasenor has to be a leading candidate to challenge for the EliteXC middleweight title in the near future.
Brett “The Grim” Rogers started CBS-EliteXC Saturday Night Fights off with a bang, knocking out Jon Murphy early in the first round of their match-up. Rogers made his way to the cage introduced by rapper Busta Rhymes and was followed up by an entourage including MTV star Christopher “Big Black” Boykin.
Murphy looked solid early on, landing some big punches on his opponent, but in the end Rogers’ power was too much.
After a brief clinch against the cage, the fighters separated and as they both swung at each other, Rogers connected with a thunderous right hook that landed Murphy face down on the canvas. Rogers will now look for another big fight in the growing EliteXC heavyweight division.
-Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson def. James Thompson by TKO at 0:38, R3
-Robbie Lawler vs. Scott Smith ruled a No Contest (Doctor Stoppage) at 3:26, R3
-Gina Carano def. Kaitlin Young by TKO (Doctor Stoppage) at 3:00, R2
-Joey Villasenor def. Phil Baroni by TKO at 1:11, R1
-Brett Rogers def. Jon Murphy by KO at 1:01, R1
-Chris Liguori def. Jim Bova by TKO (Doctor’s Stoppage) at 4:31, R2
-Carlton Haselrig def. Carlos Moreno by TKO (Unable to Continue) at 5:00, R1
-Matt Makowski def. Nick Serra by TKO (Unable to Continue) at 3:57, R2
-Wilson Reis def. Justin Robbins by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 4:06, R1
-James Jones def. Calvin Kattar by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 4:49, R1
-Zach Makovsky def. Andre Soares by Unanimous Decision at 5:00, R3
-Joe Sampieri def. Mike Groves by TKO (Strikes) at 4:58, R1