Kimbo Slice will meet 6'5" 265-pound British fighter James "The Colossus" Thompson in the main event on May 31 at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. on the the mixed martial arts network debut on CBS. NBCSports.com recently confirmed the long-rumored heavyweight showdown.
While it doesn't seem Thompson deserves to be fighting in any main event -- let alone the MMA network television debut main event -- this is a fight that makes some sense for EliteXC. Obviously, EliteXC Live Events President Gary Shaw and his promotion are trying to milk Kimbo's star power for all its worth by feeding him guys that will play right into his strength ... his knockout power.
Thompson fits right into that mold as he's known for having a suspect chin. He's been knocked out or stopped due to strikes seven times in his career, most recently in the first round to Brett Rogers at the February 16 EliteXC show in Miami.
It's not Kimbo vs. James Thompson that's being sold in this main event. It's Kimbo's raw punching power vs. Thompson's weak chin.
And I'm buying.
Sure, EliteXC could have given Kimbo some stiffer competition in this fight. Ken Shamrock, Antonio Silva, Ricco Rodriguez, heck even Brett Rogers would have been a better fight. But at this point in Kimbo's career, it's more important to continue to build the lore that surrounds him, especially for the new fans who EliteXC is hoping CBS brings in, than to test his actual overall MMA abilities.
Put simply, he'll be tested with some tough fights eventually in his career -- there's no reason to rush that. This is, after all, only his third professional fight.
I know that way of thinking is a bit hard to swallow for some MMA fans, but EliteXC is a company that is trying to compete with a monster (UFC) and they only way it can do that is to build some stars.
And right now its biggest star is Kimbo Slice.
Don't get me wrong, this isn't a guaranteed win for Slice. He still has to go in there and take care of business, and the Colossus could provide some problems for him.
First of all, he has a significant size advantage over Kimbo. I remember being at the weigh-ins for the February show in Miami and seeing them in person. Kimbo seems like a small heavyweight while Thompson is huge.
Also, Thompson trains with Randy Couture -- the master of game planning for fights. Don't think for one second that Randy will have his guy go out there and play right into Kimbo's hands. He'll have a gameplan,. One that will probably include a lot of wrestling and clinching.
There's two ways I can see this fight playing out. The first is the most obvious: Kimbo knocks out Thompson early and in highlight reel fashion. Or second: Thompson could come out and look for takedowns and use his size to wear down Kimbo from the top position on the ground.
We saw in his fight with Brett Rogers that Thompson went for takedowns early. He wasn't too successful, but that might have had something to do with Rogers' size (he's huge). Thompson shouldn't have as tough a time taking Slice down, but who knows, we haven't really seen Kimbo's takedown defense.
Will Kimbo get another highlight KO to put on his resume or will his size finally be tested? I guess we'll have to wait for May 31 to find out.