Kimbo a winner in UFC debut

Kevin Iole

LAS VEGAS – Kimbo Slice, who was mocked relentlessly by Ultimate Fighting Championship president Dana White for more than a year before joining the company, made his statement Saturday by edging Houston Alexander on Saturday in a unanimous decision at the Palms in "The Ultimate Fighter Finale."

It was hardly a classic and the crowd spent much of the fight booing, hoping for action.

Slice, a backyard brawler who gained notoriety by getting tens of millions of views of his fights on YouTube, won by scores of 29-28 on two cards and 30-27 on the other.

Alexander's strategy was horrendous. A huge puncher who knocked out top light heavyweight Keith Jardine, as well as Alessio Sakara, Alexander appeared intimidated by Slice and circled warily for most of the first two rounds.

Very little action happened in the first round, though Slice took Alexander down and inflicted damage on the ground in the second round. At one stage, Slice, a man known for his striking, went for a rear naked choke.

While Slice was fighting for rival company Elite XC and becoming a big draw on CBS, White ripped him repeatedly and said the only way Slice would fight in the UFC would be to go on "The Ultimate Fighter," the UFC's reality series. At one point, he said Urijah Faber, a 145-pounder who was then the featherweight champion in World Extreme Cagefighting, would easily beat the heavyweight Slice.

Slice, whose real name is Kevin Ferguson, took White up on his offer and appeared on the reality series, helping it to record ratings. He lost on the show to Roy Nelson, but was such a big draw that he was given the fight against Alexander in Saturday's finale.

By the third round, both men were dog tired and several times stopped fighting to take a deep breath.

Slice, though, was pleased but conceded his game is a work in progress. He's worked with the highly regarded American Top Team since filming ended.

"I'm still working on it, (but) it's not easy," Slice said of his total mixed martial arts game. "I feel good (to win in the UFC). The house was a good experience. It was more mental than anything."

In a fight between bitter rivals and former NFL defensive linemen, Matt Mitrione knocked out Marcus "Big Baby" Jones just 10 seconds into the second round. Jones, a jiu-jitsu ace, won the first round, but the problem of his brittle chin caught up to him in the second.

Jones was being hurt by the few punches that Mitrione landed in the first. As the second round opened, Jones went at Mitrione, who landed two big rights. Jones fell face first. Mitrione landed a shot on the ground before referee Josh Rosenthal stopped it.

Matt Hamill scored a victory over Jon Jones in a light heavyweight bout, but not in the way he wanted. Jones was disqualified for throwing an illegal elbow in the first round.

The fight probably should have been stopped earlier, as Jones was blasting Hamill with elbows, but referee Steve Mazzagatti let it go until the illegal elbow ended the fight.