Last night, the crowd at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ became a part of a history making MMA event. For the first time, a major MMA event was shown live on primetime television on CBS. The star filled fight card contained great names like Gina “Conviction” Carano, Kimbo Slice, and “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler. We witnessed some great fights with a little bit of controversy. Overall, EliteXC put on a very exciting and entertaining show.
One of the most exciting fights of the night was Gina “Conviction” Carano against Kaitlin Young. The fight started out with a little bit of controversy with Carano not making weight. Carano weighed in at 144.5 pounds and Young weighed in at 140.5 pounds. To make the fight happen, Carano surrendered 12.5 percent of her purse. Carano looked lean at 144.5 pounds and was ready to fight with only three weeks of preparation for the fight.
Both Carano and Young came out banging. In the first round, Carano landed multiple front kicks to Young’s midsection. Young came back with some nice leg kick and punch combinations. They ended up on the ground toward the end of the first round and Carano applied a nice gogoplata, which Young fought off and overcame. Carano and Young ended up standing back up and trading kick and punch combinations for the rest of the first round. I would have to give Carano the advantage in the first round, because she landed more punch and kick combination, especially her front kick, and she had a submission attempt.
In the second round, the ladies came out firing combinations similar to the finish of the first round. Young was landing some very nice combinations and had a few powerful leg kicks. She looked fairly strong, but soon that changed as Carano’s size and power started to overcome Young. Carano landed multiple combinations and started wearing down her opponent. At the end of the round, Carano locked up a tight rear naked choke on Young. Although Young was hurting, she showed great heart by refusing to tap in the final seconds of the round.
The damage done by Carano’s barrage of punches and strikes was very evident in the black and blue and swelling around Young’s left eye. The fight doctor examined Young after the second round and to the crowd’s dismay called the fight so Young could not continue into the third round. Carano showed that she is for real in the MMA world with her exceptional striking ability and her much improved ground game.
In addition to the female fight, four other fights were aired on CBS during this historic event. Overall, the championship bout between “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler and Scott Smith was one of the most brutal fights of the night. Both men felt each other out for a long time in the first round. But when they collided, it was an all out brawl. Both men landed many punches and kicks, which was very evident in the beat up appearance of both fighters at the post-fight press conference. The fight ended in a controversial no contest because of an inadvertent thumb to the eye of Scott Smith and Robbie Lawler retained his title.
During the main event of the evening, Kimbo Slice did not look at his best and showed many holes to his fight game. James “Colossus” Thompson showed that Slice could be dominated on the ground. Against a more superior ground and pound opponent, Slice would not have made it out of the first round. Both men being tired, Slice took advantage of Thompson’s cauliflower ear. Slice landed multiple strikes to Thompson’s ear causing the ear to explode and bleed. In the second round, weary Thompson was caught by a series of punches that started with a huge uppercut. In a controversial ending, the referee stopped the fight as Thompson was overwhelmed by Slice’s power in the third round. Not the best showing for Kimbo Slice, yet entertaining.
The other heavyweight bout featured Philadelphian Jon Murphy versus Brett “The Grim” Rogers. The fight started out with some major slugging and looked to be quite an entertaining fight for the first fight to ever be aired live on a major primetime television network. Unfortunately, the slugfest came to an end when Murphy was caught with a straight right punch and was knocked down. The referee jumped in to stop the fight at 1:01 of the first round.
Being pumped up with his big win, Brett Rogers started trashing Kimbo Slice in the post-fight interviews. Rogers stated that Kimbo Slice’s fight was garbage and pretty much called out Slice to add some excitement to the post-fight press conference. Both men’s entourages met at the podium in a tension filled standoff. So, hopefully we see a Kimbo Slice and Brett Rogers fight in the near future.
Another notable fight of the night was Phil “New York Bad Ass” Baroni against “Smokin” Joe Villasenor. Villasenor entered the cage in a calm, laid back manner, which was quite different from the flamboyant entrance of the “New York Bad Ass”. “New York Bad Ass” Baroni entered with a song that made some notable gestures on primetime television. With his two gorgeous counterparts, he entered the cage with much confidence. In the first round of the fight, Baroni was overwhelmed by Villasenor and suffered a TKO leaving the cage a little more humbled.
The under card also featured many great fights showcasing some local fighters. It was a privilege to be able to cover such an exciting, groundbreaking event for the Mixed Martial Arts world.