MIAMI, Fla. — After all the build-up and trash-talk and bickering — after the countless predictions and complaints — Saturday’s “EliteXC: Street Certified” main event event lasted less than a minute as Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson (2-0) dismantled David “Tank” Abbott (9-14).
The fight capped off Saturday’s 11-fight event, which took place in front of more than 6,000 spectators at the University of Miami’s BankUnited Center. The main card aired on Showtime.
Although the former underground fighter went legit once he began training with MMA with legend Bas Rutten, Slice turned the fight into an all-out brawl, dropping Abbott numerous times before the fight was finally halted 43 seconds in.
Abbott connected on a stiff left before closing the distance and locking up Slice early in the fight, but it was all downhill from there. Nothing worked for the former UFC fighter, and despite two confusing stoppages, he never regained his form from Slice’s early blows.
While the two fighters traded barbs all the way up until Friday’s weigh-ins, the mood after the fight could best be described as cordial.
“I’ve got a lot of respect for Tank,” Slice said after the fight. “I grew up watching all his fights from when he was a shorty. This was one of my dream fights — right up there with (Mike) Tyson.”
Meanwhile, in the night’s co-main event, Antonio Silva (10-1) outlasted fellow heavyweight Ricco Rodriguez (27-8) for a split-decision victory.
“Ricco is and always will be a dangerous fighter,” Silva said though an interpreter. “Thanks goodness I came out ahead.”
The performance was all the more remarkable, considering Silva tore his MCL just two weeks ago. Silva confirmed the injury in a post-fight interview and again in the post-event press conference. Silva said fans would have seen a more explosive and less tentative fighter were it not for the injury.
“Sorry everyone,” he said. “This was not one of my best fights.”
While Rodriguez seemed the clear winner of the first round, judge Rich Careen scored it a clean sweep (30-27) for Silva while judge Hector Gomez had it 29-28 for Silva and judge Chris Lee had it 29-28 for Rodriguez.
Rodriguez, who can currently be seen on VH1's “Celebrity Rehab,” wasn’t in tip-top shape, but he had one of his better performances of the past couple years. In fact, he’s the only opponent ever to take Silva past the first round — let alone to a decision.
“I’ve been dealing with a lot of stuff, and it just felt good to get back in the cage,” Rodriguez said. “I wanted to come out ahead… but this gives me something to build on. I look forward to fighting for (EliteXC) again and becoming the fighter I know I can be.”
Former UFC middleweight Scott Smith (13-4) delivered in his first fight under the EliteXC banner, posting yet another a highlight-reel knockout — this time over Kyle Noke (14-4-1).
It just took a little longer than expected.
“I’m sorry for the first round,” Smith said about the first-round snoozer. “Kyle actually rocked me with about the third punch of that round… He was picking me apart. I know he’d probably beat me if it went the distance.”
Between rounds, though, Smith told his corner that he found his range and was no longer looking to counter-strike. He went on the offense, and within seconds of the second round’s opening, Noke was out cold on the canvas due to a stiff right punch to the chin.
Smith followed up with a second blow — one that could be called unnecessary — that caused Noke’s head to bounce off the mat. Although the punch had the potential to do serious damage, the Australian would leave the ring under his own power.
With his EliteXC debut a successful one, the buzz naturally centers upon Smith’s possible showdown with another hard-hitting middleweight: EliteXC 185-lb. champ Robbie Lawler.
“I love fights like (those with) Robbie Lawler,” Smith said. “I love guys that come at you. He’s not afraid, and I’m not afraid to go forward. I love that fight.”
EliteXC officials could only say that it might come later in the year.
After a three-fight losing skid that knocked Yves Edwards (33-13-1) out of the UFC and off the MMA map, the 31-year-old fighter has now rebounded for a three-fight winning streak. And for the first time in three-and-a-half years, his victory came via knockout.
Opponent Edson Berto (13-5-1) locked in an early guillotine choke, but after escaping, Edwards would control the rest of the fight. After enduring a ground-and-pound assault, Berto dipped down for a takedown in the opening round’s final seconds.
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It’d be a mistake.
“He shot for the knee, and my corner kept saying, “Strike with the knee; strike with the knee!’” Edwards said.
And he did. Going airborne for a split second, Edwards tagged Berto with a knee to the face. Berto hit the mat, prompting the stoppage via knockout at 4:56 of the first round.
While the winning streak is nice, Edwards isn’t about to pass up top opponents to keep it alive.
“If you’re not doing this to win a championship, you need to be doing something else,” Edwards said. “Sell some insurance or groceries or some (crap) like that.”
An emotional and very appreciative Edwards continually thanked EliteXC executives in a post-event press conference for giving him a second chance.
In the night’s first televised fight, Brett Rogers stretched his perfect record to 8-0 with a right-left-right-left combination that sent James Thompson (16-8) tumbling to the canvas. The knockout victory came at 2:24 of the first round.
It was Thompson’s sixth loss in his past eight fights.
The victory came as a surprise to few people. Chief among them? Rogers himself.
“I don’t think I have to say anything,” Rogers said. “I think (the performance) spoke for itself.”
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