SUNRISE, Fla. -- As officials scrambled about the BankAtlantic Center following the announcement Ken Shamrock couldn't fight Kevin "Kimbo Slice" Ferguson in the evening's main event, EliteXC vice president Jared Shaw put into perspective what was happening.
"It's a chance of a lifetime," Shaw said.
Seth Petruzelli -- a 27-year-old veteran of "The Ultimate Fighter" scheduled to appear on tonight's off-air undercard as a light heavyweight against Aaron Rosa -- made the most of his moment, clipping Slice's chin with a right hand in front of 7,732 stunned fans.
The evening's conclusion, which came 14 seconds after the opening bell, was as bizarre as its start. Rumors swirled early that Shamrock was likely out because of a cut. Confirmation came when EliteXC announced the UFC Hall of Fame fighter suffered a "deep" laceration above his left eye while warming up, requiring a hospital visit, six sutures and new foe for Slice.
The promotional company's biggest draw was left in a quandary. Leave fans that turned out in a heavy rainstorm in a lurch, or fight someone he'd never heard of. True to his reputation, Slice, 34, said he would give the hometown crowd, and those watching in prime time on CBS, what they came to see.
Petruzelli, fighting for the first time in over a year, was no step down from the 44-year-old Shamrock. Consensus among media watching cage-side was that Petruzelli, 27, presented a stiffer test than Shamrock -- who had failed to survive the first round in each of his last five fights, compounding a horrendous stretch of three wins in 14 appearances since the millennium.
Despite a 29-pound weight advantage, Slice could not force himself upon Petruzelli in the opening salvos. Wild swinging made for ugly exchanges, but the Petruzelli's effectiveness against a man hyped for heavy hands and stout chin cannot be denied.
His back to the fence, Petruzelli, now 10-4, turned over a right hand that parted beard before meeting chin. Slice stumbled and fell face first, absorbing several shots, mostly to the back of the head, before referee Troy Waugh separated the pair.
Wearing a black eye for what he claimed was the first time, Slice glanced at Petruzelli and smiled at the post-fight press conference.
"My family was here," said the brawler, who has used his name to cash in on MMA better any fighter the sport has seen to this point. "You knocked me out in front of my family. That's [expletive] up."
Slice, who had garnered criticism for a sluggish stoppage win against James Thompson in May, took the first loss of his career, falling to 3-1.
Jake Shields, predictably, fought his way to victory on the canvas. The EliteXC welterweight champion defended his title for the first time Saturday, finishing England's Paul Daley by armbar at 3:47 of the second frame.
There was little suspense. Daley, a dangerous striker with 13 stoppages in 18 wins compared to just one submission, seemed terribly suited to fight Shields. Having earned a reputation as one of the top submission fighters in the sport, Shields had to wrestle the 25-year-old Daley harder than most projected, but once he did it was clear the 29-year-old Californian was in another class.
Shields was near perfect in the mount. Intertwining his legs with Daley's, Shields remained comfortably on top until the possibility of an armbar was too much to pass. Turning from the mount and attacking Daley's right arm, Shields missed -- however, he learned a valuable lesson.
"I just got a little too anxious in the first, so I went for it a little too fast," said Shields, now 22-4-1. "I was taking my time some more in the second. I didn't want to miss it again."
Polar opposites in frame and tactics, heavyweights Andrei Arlovski and Roy Nelson exhibited strengths and tested weaknesses in a bout made possible by cooperation between promoters EliteXC and Affliction.
Early, Arlovski, a former UFC champion, was on the bottom of side-control when Nelson's beer-belly-enhanced leverage helped counter a trip. Nelson (13-3), the IFL champion before the company folded earlier this year, fruitlessly attacked Arlovski's left arm, first with a keylock, then Kimura.
Nelson's control prompted an explosive response from the 29-year-old Arlovski, who burst to his feet before measuring proper distance to land punches recently enhanced by boxing trainer Freddie Roach.
In Round 2, the Belarusian showed the power in his hands that helped put away Ben Rothwell in July. Knees from the Thai clinch helped expose Nelson's head and Arlovski (15-5) followed with a series of punches punctuated by a short uppercut the wobbled his six-foot 250-pound foe. A punishing straight right sealed the fight at the 3:14 mark when Nelson, 32, dropped to the canvas.
"It was a good stop for him," said Arlovski, who kept alive a potential dream fight against Fedor Emelianenko. "I was ready to go and I looked at the ref, but it was over."
Gina Carano, the "face of female mixed martial arts," remained undefeated in seven pro fights, out-pointing yet another undersized opponent, Kelly Kobold.
During the three-round nine-minute bout, referee Troy Waugh separated Carano and Kobold just once. Carano made her hay with straight punches to the face of an aggressive opponent. With Kobold not savvy enough to find angles and an alley to strike, Carano repeatedly bounced shots off the 25-year-old Minnesotan's face.
Kobold attempted to change her fortune by wrestling Carano, but the 26-year-old "Crush" of "American Gladiators" fame countered with improved takedown defense.
In the third, after Waugh pulled the two apart, Carano went after Kobold (16-3-1), opening a vertical cut at her right eyebrow at the nose.
With Chris Cyborg's win over Yoko Takahashi on the undercard, EliteXC possesses an intriguing fight between two of the top women in the sport.
"I see that as being a tough fight," Carano said.
For Benji Radach, winning or losing is generally determined by one thing: can he land a right hand before the other guy tags his chin. Against Brazilian Murilo Rua, Radach, 29, actually played it both ways, connecting with heavy right hands while taking his fair share of shots.
Following a sloppy but aggressive opening round from both middleweights, Radach (19-4, 1 NC)) took advantage when Rua, 28, slipped to the canvas after failing to connect with a knee to the stomach. Three fully cocked right hands later Rua (16-9-1) was unconscious at 2:31 of Round 2.