by Ken Pishna – MMAWeekly.com
With less than six weeks to go before EliteXC’s next CBS-EliteXC Saturday Night Fights event, speculation has been ongoing as to who Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson will face on Oct. 4. That speculation can now be put to rest as MMAWeekly.com has confirmed with EliteXC vice president Jared Shaw that Kimbo will face UFC Hall of Famer Ken Shamrock.
Much attention was drawn recently to EliteXC’s cancelling of its Sept. 20 event in New Mexico, the company stating that it was necessary to do so to focus its promotional efforts on the pivotal Oct. 4 event on CBS.
Shaw supported that statement in confirming Ken Shamrock, saying, “We were clearing the runway for Oct. 4 and we’re landing with some heavy artillery. Kimbo emerged as king of backyard brawls and is a YouTube sensation, now he wants to lay claim to the title of ‘The World’s Most Dangerous Man.'”
Though Shamrock is well past the peak of his career – he’s currently on a five-fight losing streak – the facts are that he has a record of 26-13-2, he has been in this sport since before Kimbo left his teenage years, and the strongest part of his game, submissions, is one of the weakest areas for his opponent.
“Shamrock is by far the toughest test of Kimbo’s young career,” added Shaw. “He is no stranger to big, tough fights. Ken realizes this is his opportunity to add a storybook finish to an illustrious career. He says he’s seen holes like Swiss cheese in Kimbo’s game.”
Indeed, Shamrock has been fighting since before the first Ultimate Fighting Championship event, emerging first for Pancrase in Japan before being called upon to fight in a one-night, eight-man tournament at UFC 1 that also included that night’s eventual champion, Royce Gracie… in 1993.
EliteXC is looking to capitalize not only on Kimbo’s unique appeal as a “YouTube sensation,” but also on Shamrock’s background as one of the forefather’s of the sport.
“We see a tremendous fight for the casual MMA fan that has caught on to guys like Kimbo, while at the same time appealing to the hardcore fans who have grown up with Ken Shamrock,” said Shaw.
“We feel this will test Kimbo and the maturation of his MMA game. Ken being a veteran of the game is going to look to expose Kimbo’s weaknesses. It’s time for Kimbo to show his continued growth and the knowledge that he now has, and put himself in a situation for the biggest victory of is career.”
It is no secret that EliteXC has attached itself to the popularity of the Kimbo train and wants to use that popularity to make sure that the pivotal Oct. 4 event on CBS is a ratings success. A win for Kimbo would be a tremendous boost for the promotion in the casual fan’s eyes due to Shamrock’s name recognition.
“It’s pretty simple. For Kimbo Slice, he wants to become the world’s most dangerous man and he wants to become the future EliteXC heavyweight champ. The only way for him to achieve those two things is going through Ken Shamrock,” Shaw stated.
But what happens if Shamrock derails Kimbo? What does Shaw see for the future if Shamrock’s experience prevails?
“If Ken Shamrock wins this fight, he’s on top of the world again. He’s once again proven that he is the most dangerous man in the world. He beat the guy that many consider one of the most unpredictable and dangerous striker’s in the heavyweight division.”
In addition to Shamrock and Kimbo, Shaw also confirmed to MMAWeekly.com the rest of the main card, set to air live on CBS. Jake Shields will make the first defense of his EliteXC welterweight title when he faces British fighter Paul Daley, Gina Carano returns to face Kelly Kobald, and Benji Radach makes his promotional debut fighting former EliteXC middleweight champion Murilo “Ninja” Rua.
If time permits Shaw added that a second female bout, between Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos and Yoko Takahashi, would also air on CBS.