June 01, 2008

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.

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