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CBS-EliteXC 'Saturday Night Fights' Preview

Pay per view is great; then again, free is better. And that's exactly what EliteXC's inaugural "Saturday Night Fights" on May 31 at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey is.

It's free to viewers on CBS Television.

Beyond that, the card is packed with interesting fights and headlined by a match between internet fighter turned MMA star Kimbo Slice and 'The Colossus' James Thompson.

Kimbo Slice (2-0) vs. James Thompson (14-8): Slice has only two MMA fights on record to date. The results? One knockout and one submission (really another knockout). In other words, there really isn't much to go on.

It's pretty clear that Slice is a very strong guy with ridiculous power in his hands. What's more, he looks very sound in a technical sense on his feet. Beyond that, he's training with Bas Rutten, and that means something.

James Thompson is a very strong fighter with a lot more MMA experience than Slice. Still, he is not a very technically savvy fighter, per se. Rather, his victories have come in brawls where he simply hit harder than the other guy. Past victories over Hidehiko Yoshida (a fighter he was much bigger than) and Don Frye would appear to lend reinforcement to that notion.

Still, he is a dangerous on his feet, even if his ground skills appear to be a weakness. Many also believe that his chin is weak as well.

Prediction: No one really questions the fact that Kimbo Slice hits hard and looks pretty solid in a technical sense on his feet. The good thing about fighting James Thompson is that unless working with Marc Laimon produces near immediate dividends for Thompson, Slice's ground skills probably won't get tested much in this match.
Could Thompson win this one by KO? Sure. Will he? Doubt it. After all, Thompson's riding a two fight losing streak with both losses coming via knockout. His confidence has probably never been this shaken.

Kimbo Slice wins via KO in round one.

Robbie Lawler (15-4) vs. Scott Smith (13-4): Robbie Lawler has 12 (T)KO's and one submission victory to his name, and that pretty much tells the story on him. Basically, Lawler has ridiculous power in both hands and has more than solid stand up skills in a technical sense. Beyond that, he has strong takedown defense. In terms of submissions, well, that's not necessarily his game.

By the way, Lawler's won his last four fights in a row against the likes of Murilo 'Ninja' Rua, Frank Trigg, Eduardo Pamplona, and Joey Villasenor by knockout.

Scott Smith has 11 (T)KO's to his credit, and the story on him is very similar to the one on Lawler. Smith has TNT in both hands and is solid technically on his feet. Further, he has solid takedown defense. In terms of submissions, well, we're talking about roughly the same skillset as Lawler.

Prediction: Robbie Lawler has always had a lot of power. That said, it used to seem like he was in a rush to finish things off and would sometimes peter out later in fights. The last time we saw him against Rua, however, he looked quite different. More specifically, Lawler was much more patient and looking to pick his spot. The hurry was over. Further, word on the street is that he's training as hard as ever these days.
Smith has a lot of power for sure, and because of this could win by knockout. He's a threat against anyone in this fashion. But guess is that Lawler is a little better technically. Further, if something unusual happened?like this fight inexplicably going to the ground?then he might also be construed as the guy with better global ground skills.

Ahhh, forget ground skills.

Robbie Lawler wins via TKO in round three.

Phil Baroni (10-9) vs. Joey Villasenor (25-6): Phil Baroni is a powerhouse that hits like a truck, possesses solid technical striking skills, and is better at takedowns/ takedown defense/ and ground control than people give him credit for. In the past, however, he has fatigued late in fights. Further, submissions are a weakness, even if his submission defense is solid when he has gas in the tank.

Joey Villasenor is a very solid fighter. Along with this, he possesses solid technical striking skills, solid submission skills, and solid wrestling skills. However, he's not necessarily outstanding at any one area of the game; it's his well- roundedness that makes him a threat.

Prediction: The farther this fight goes, the better Villasenor's chances would seem. However, Baroni would seem to have the wrestling skills to dictate where this fight goes, and if it stays upright he may have enough power to do what Robbie Lawler and Murilo Rua did to Villasenor before him.

Phil Baroni wins via TKO in round two.

The Rest:

Gina Carano (5-0) vs. Kaitlin Young (4-1): Young is a very good striker with four (T)KO's to her credit, but it's hard to go against Carano's overall athleticism and Muay Thai skills here.

Gina Carano wins via unanimous decision.

Brett Rogers (6-0) vs. Jon Murphy (4-2): Jon Murphy is a tough guy that must try to outlast his opponent here. Rogers, on the other hand, has never been past the first round, stopping everyone in almost no time.

When Murphy fought Houston Alexander he got knocked out before a minute had gone by. Expect Rogers to come through similarly, though not quite as quickly.
Brett Rogers wins via KO in round one.

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