Just one year ago few, if any, thought Kimbo Slice could be featured on the main card of a UFC pay-per-view. In fact, Kimbo seemed a long shot to even be in the UFC on preliminary cards of Ultimate Fight Nights. But after a stint on The Ultimate Fighter in which he lost to overwhelming favorite and eventual winner Roy Nelson, there was Kimbo on the TUF finale--an actual UFC event--fighting Houston Alexander, a legitimate, if one-dimensional, mixed martial artist.
Kimbo won an iffy decision after three rounds in which there was a ridiculous suplex and two bone-dry gas tanks. the aforementioned suplex was actually a stellar highlight for Kimbo and a little more seasoning at that moment could have allowed him to finish the fight. He landed a few combos on Alexander, who responded with a steady diet of leg kicks throughout the fight.
Kimbo had neither an answer for the leg kicks nor any stamina worth noting, but the most significant thing I came away with from that fight was that Kimbo is now a competent mixed martial artist. He isn't particularly good at anything. His boxing is okay and he's strong, but that's about it. His time at American Top Team, however, has certainly paid dividends as Kimbo brought an appropriate amount of tentativeness against a violent striker. Also, there was the Kimboplex.
The biggest compliment I can pay Kimbo is referring to him as a former street fighter. Until The Ultimate Fighter that's all he was, even though he was the main event of several legitimate MMA cards. Now he has some diverse skills that could make for interesting fights against the lower tier of the UFC. What Kimbo can be proud of is that the UFC's lower tier would fill up the main cards of almost every other promotion in the world.
Elite XC made a perilous decision in hitching their wagon to Kimbo Slice and reaped the consequences once that engine went kaput with a jab from Seth Petruzelli. Kimbo is a strange case, though. Two years ago I would constantly hear about "The Kimbo Fight" in my small, southern hometown. Even African-Americans were talking about "The Kimbo Fight" that weekend. For sporting purposes, the UFC would have been hugely remiss to put Kimbo on their cards at that point. Now that he's gone through the machinery of MMA and has been processed into a respectable fighter, this incredibly likeable person can be placed on the same card as Machida vs Shogun II and I don't have one problem with it. Good for Kimbo, I'm cheering for the guy.
*Be on the lookout for my Kimbo Slice vs. Matt Mitrione preview later today.