(Photo courtesy of Combat Lifestyle.)
Your long wait for MMA on network television has finally ended. It’s not pay-per-view, it’s not YouTube, it’s CBS, bitches. My fellow MMAholics, we done came up. Settle in, grab yourself a cold one, and prepare for your world to be changed forever — and that’s just the Busta Rhymes performance!
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9:00 pm: Taking some time to introduce the fighters to start the CBS broadcast. I’m sorry, Jon “Man of Faith” Murphy? Okay. But can you really say “New York Badass” on network TV?
9:02 pm: Dancing girls, ahoy!
9:05 pm: Frank Shamrock delivers an odd commentary about Bruce Lee. He seems pleased with himself for having accomplished it.
9:06 pm: More dancing girls, and some fireworks. You entertained yet?
9:10 pm: Here beginneth the education of the masses in regards to MMA. Soak it up. Frank Shamrock takes us through all the legal and illegal moves, including plenty of Kimbo footage.
9:13: “Fighting for your money and bringing home the bacon — that’s sexy,” says Shamrock. What?
9:14: Street Fighter IV, huh? Count me in.
9:18: Busta Rhymes music video begins. Cue the smoke machine. It’s mercifully short, and they don’t even shy away from mentioning that Rogers is coming off a victory over James Thompson. Who is fighting on the main event. Tonight. Makes you think, no?
9:26: And we’re underway. Rogers is providing the offense early, delivering some strong uppercuts in the clinch. They get some separation and Rogers lands a big right hand, dropping Murphy to his knees. Big Dan Miragliotta steps in right away to stop it. Have they been instructed to keep these fights from devolving into too much needless brutality? I suppose we’ll see.
Gary Shaw makes an appearance in the cage to show off his tracksuit. Apparently Rogers’s story is well-known, but we’re going to go over it again just in case, before losing sound for some reason.
Do work, son!
9:40: So we’re doing this music video info thing for every fighter entrance, huh?
9:42: Phil Baroni is taking his time with his ring entrance. You know, just to prove that he’s not in this to “be a rockstah.” Whoa, some girls just ripped his shirt off. This is just out of control. Mark Coleman is there, looking out for his Baroni. It’s hard to know whether to hate this or enjoy it the way you enjoy a bad movie that you snuck into. A little of both, maybe.
9:47: Baroni comes out fast, getting a takedown off a left high kick and trying to work some frantic ground-and-pound. Villasenor stays active from his back and gets back to his feet. A nice left hook from Villasenor stuns Baroni and gets him moving backwards. Baroni attempts a weak shot and Villasenor defends, then starts picking Baroni apart as the NYBA tries to cover up. A right hand hurt Baroni and he’s down. One more right seals the deal and Big Dan stops it, again slightly early. A pattern developing?
Looks like Baroni is not, in fact, the best eva. Go figure.
9:57: A fun little Gina Carano interview follows more dancing girl footage. Everyone’s favorite overweight female fighter responds to allegations that she might not have been focused enough on her fight by asserting that she’s “not focused on that right now.” That’s less than encouraging.
10:03: Cornrows aren’t so sexy, but Young looks jacked. Gina, meanwhile, seems to be wearing makeup. Maybe a little bronzer, too. Not that I know what that looks like.
10:09: A couple of nice frontkicks from Carano, and she puts Young down. Back on their feet, a big right from Carano. Young comes back with a nice left. Young takes Carano down and Carano looks for a gogoplata. Young postures up and lands a big right. They’re back to their feet and really going at each other. Not a whole lot of defense, but plenty of banging going on.
10:14: Young comes out strong in round two, but her strategy of repeated spinning sidekicks seems to be providing plenty of openings for Carano, who starts to unload. Young is hurt and bloodied. Carano takes her back and looks for the RNC, but time runs out in the round. So far, it’s the fight of the night without question.
The doctors move in to stop this one after the second round, and Carano wins it with Young still on the stool. And here comes her father for a big hug. That’s something we’d never see with a male fighter. Just thought I’d point that out.
10:19: The post-fight interview reveals a relatively unscathed Carano, except for maybe a little smudged eye-shadow. At least she seems aware that she needs to get back in the gym to get her “butt in gear.” Just asking me to make a joke about getting my gear in her butt. I’m sorry.
10:30: We learn the origin of Scott Smith‘s nickname. He reenacts working in a steel mill. Weird, it looks like it was filmed in the same warehouse as the Kaitlin Young pre-fight clip.
10:35: Matt Hughes is in Lawler’s corner. Not a big deal, apparently.
10:39: We’re feeling each other out early on, with Lawler stalking Smith. Fans are booing? Apparently if it’s not all-out war for thirty seconds these fans grow restless. They pick it up right away, with Smith coming after Lawler and Lawler deciding to punch his way out of trouble. It works, as Lawler tags Smith and mocks him a little. Smith’s legs are wobbly, and it may be only a matter of time as Lawler pours it on, but he’s saved by the bell and stumbles toward his corner.
10:45: Lawler doesn’t have a sense of urgency about finishing Smith, and Smith takes the opportunity to land some knees and fight his way back into this thing. That’s enough to wake Lawler up, as he goes back on the attack. They’re both bloodied up and brawling it out to end the round. That frame may have gone to Smith.
10:52: The pace has slowed some to start this round. Lawler is bleeding from his forehead and Smith seems to aiming for it with his jab. Lawler goes for the first takedown of the fight and Smith stops it, but ends up giving his back. Lawler accidentally pokes Smith in the eye trying to defend a punch, and Smith seems bothered by it. The doctor comes in to take a look at it and it looks like this one is done, despite Smith’s apparent ability and willingness to continue. An anti-climactic end to an exciting fight.
Ruled a no-contest. That’s no fun. Nick Lembo from the New Jersey State Athletic Commission comes on to blame Scott Smith for telling the doctor that he couldn’t see.
11:11: The Kimbo show can now begin in earnest. CBS even shows some of his YouTube clips. Kimbo mentions his balls. Network TV, meet mixed martial arts.
11:14: Frank Shamrock claims that Kimbo is way too “comfortable with violence”, and that scares people. One person who isn’t scared, he says, is James Thompson. I’m not so sure about that last part.
11:19: If James Thompson’s cauliflower ear is any indication of how he’s spent his training time leading up to this event, he may just have a chance.
11:21: Kimbo comes out while fans wave “Kick Ass Kimbo” signs. That’s the best we could do with pre-made signs? Don’t worry, Kimbo’s style is listed as “Brawling”. Just in case they haven’t defined him well enough up to this point.
11:26: Extreme close-up of Kimbo’s face. We didn’t need to get all up in his nose like that.
11:27: Takedown for Thompson early on. Let’s see Kimbo’s ground game. Thompson gets to side control but Thompson can’t control the underarm and let’s him back to his feet. Thompson attempts a standing guillotine, to no avail. Thompson gets put on his back, Kimbo in his guard. Thompson gets side control on Kimbo, looks for an Americana, but does so as if it’s something he’s only ever seen on TV. Kimbo escapes and the round ends with both men looking a little lost.
11:33: Kimbo stuns Thompson with a good left and some knees. Kimbo attempts a guillotine but without locking up the guard. Thompson escapes to side control but eschews the opportunity to take the mount. Referee Dan Miragliotta inexplicably calls for a stand-up with Thompson in side control. Kimbo lands some big shots, but Thompson manages another takedown and finishes the round with a barrage of elbows.
11:39: Kimbo lands a right hand to Thompson’s ear. Ranallo shouts, “It popped!” Indeed it did. Thompson’s ear is bleeding badly and Kimbo is landing some big rights. Thompson is staggered, and Miragliotta moves in to stop it with Thompson still on his feet. “The Colossus” shoves Miragliotta’s head away from him in anger. Kimbo by TKO.
One wonders why this same referee didn’t stop the fight when Kimbo lay on his back absorbing elbows for the final minute of round two, and yet called a halt to it without Thompson even being knocked off his feet. Sloppy may not be the most perfect description of this fight, but it’s certainly the one that leaps to mind.
Kimbo says he didn’t expect Thompson to be that strong on the ground. No one tell him that Thompson really wasn’t so good on the ground at all. A couple months worth of jiu-jitsu classes might have made the difference there. Christ. I’ve had enough.