October 01, 2009
Well, you could see that one coming. Quinton "Rampage" Jackson completely screwed the pooch from the get-go. He had control of the fighter matchups and chose two awful fights. Up 2-0, Rashad Evans, in possession of the best fighter on paper, went for the jugular choosing Roy Nelson to take out Team Rampage's Kimbo Slice. Nelson used his superior ground tools to finish Kimbo early in the second via ground and pound.
The lead-up to the fight is a pretty interesting study in Kimbo the man. The badass that whipped fellas on the streets of Miami for a huge YouTube audience is a guy who's lacking confidence. Was it Seth Petruzelli that stripped away Kimbo's bravado or a few days of being taken to the woodshed on the ground by more experienced fighters in practice? Watching clips of Kimbo training again makes you question how dedicated he's been in his MMA training. This appears to be the first time he's really worked at the craft.
The Kimbo confessionals and his interaction with the other fighters and coaches, easily make the guy, that CBS/Elite XC shaped as a street thug, into a likable figure you want to root for. The big, mean, muscular dude becomes the ultimate underdog.
Rampage is a hoot in episode three. He sounds likes he jealous of Nelson's massive gut:
"That's a big belly, biggest belly I ever seen. I wonder if his feet get wet when he takes a shower? I bet you he hasn't seen his little friend in years. I wonder how he aims when he takes a pee. That belly is big."
Unfortunately the Nelson-Kimbo matchup was awful from its inception. Kimbo can probably hold his own with a lot of heavyweights who are primarily standup fighters, but Nelson, a jiu-jitsu black belt and solid high wrestler, was the worst possible fight for Slice. Team Rampage drilled Kimbo on defending himself on the ground but less than a week training on TUF wasn't going to make up for a lack experience.
Nelson actually calls exactly what he'll do to win the fight and minimize damage, saying he'll get Kimbo in a crucifix and count the punches to his head outloud so the referee stops the fight. The fight opens with some tentative standup. Kimbo finally lets his hands go with 3:05 left in the round and Nelson clinched five seconds later. Kimbo actually does a solid job of avoiding the takedown for nearly 90 seconds before Nelson uses a pretty simple trip takedown to get it to the floor. You know Kimbo is dead meat when Nelson passes his guard to mount in less than three seconds. Nelson eventually works to get high side control and pin down one of Kimbo's arms. He lands 44 unanswered shots but referee Herb Dean, in spite of saying "Kimbo, you need to fight" with 18 seconds left, allows the fight to go to the second round.
In the second, Kimbo looks much more comfortable on his feet and lands a good right from a distance and then a short right from the clinch. But then he gets overzealous and tries to throw a knee. Nelson simply falls forward to get it to the ground 33 seconds into the round. Once on the mat, Nelson executes the identical position he landed in the first. There's 3:19 left. Kimbo can't move, gets nailed by 21 unanswered punches on his forehead and the fight is stopped.
Nelson gloats a bit in victory, asking UFC owner Frank Fertitta and president Dana White to get him a "Double Whopper with cheese" and says, "the King wants it his way." At least he didn't ask for a Coors Light or Big Mac.
White isn't impressed, saying Nelson did just enough to win the fight. Exactly! Nelson may be cocky and stubborn but he was smart enough to breeze to win and get ready for what could be two more fights in four weeks.
If the loss wasn't 100-percent predictable, the close to the show was. Spike and the UFC wasted no time in setting up a Kimbo comeback scenario. Teammate Marcus Jones is having knee issues and collapses at the TUF House in the next episode. "Will Kimbo return" bellows power voice guy Mike Rowe. I hope he does. It would be great to see him face a standup fighter from Team Evans like Matt Mitrione, Mike Wessel or Darrell Schoonover.
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