EliteXC and CBS today issued their highly anticipated news about the debut of mixed martial arts programming on CBS, revealing that EliteXC Middleweight Champion "Ruthless" Robbie Lawler (15-4) will put his 185-pound strap on the line against The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 4 alum Scott "Hands of Steel" Smith (13-4), according to ProElite.com.
As expected, heavyweight bareknuckle brawler turned professional fighter, Kimbo Slice, will headline the show at The Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., against a soon to be named opponent.
Here's a snip from Kelly Kahl, Senior Executive Vice President, CBS Primetime:
"We're excited to introduce broadcast television viewers to America's fastest growing sport with this prime time event. EliteXC is putting together a lineup card that showcases the unique personalities, world-class athleticism, and raw power and emotion that characterizes mixed martial arts."
The match up between Lawler and Smith was talked about for Smith before his EliteXC debut against Kyle Noke at Street Certified: "Kimbo vs. Tank" last month. Shaw mentioned that the winner of the bout would probably be next in line for a shot at Lawler's title.
Shaw is apparently a man of his word ... at least in this case.
This will be Lawler's first defense of his title since winning the belt with a third round technical knockout of Ninja Rua back in September 2007. He's a fighter who loves to sling the leather -- 12 of his 15 wins have come via (technical) knockout and he's currently riding a four-fight win streak.
Smith also has enjoyed recent success, winning his last two fights with first- and second-round (t)ko's over Jeff Morris and Noke. His style is also to stand and bang with his opponent, making a match up with Lawler a recipe for a stand up war.
This is the reason EliteXC signed Smith. He adds a recognizable name to the company's roster and provides exciting match ups with guys like Lawler who are also looking to stand and trade.
This is a decent start for what needs to be a great card -- there's a lot riding on this CBS partnership. EliteXC has a lot of pressure on them to put the best fights together that they can for the debut of MMA on network television.
We'll have additional updates on this show as soon as possible, including female MMA sensation, Gina Carano, also possibly making a return to action this same evening. For now things appear to be off to a good start.