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CBS-EliteXC 'Saturday Night Fights' Review

That's right, on May 31, 2008 EliteXC's inaugural Saturday Night of Fight's went down at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. We're talking about Scott Smith vs. Robbie Lawler for the EliteXC Middleweight Championship, Gina Carano vs. Kaitlin Young, and Kimbo Slice vs. James Thompson.

Did we mention that the whole event aired live on CBS television? If not, we certainly should have.

The night started off with a bout between Jon Murphy and Brett Rogers with a possible fight for the winner against Kimbo Slice waiting in the wings. "Jon Murphy, I may be a soft spoken guy but my hands is going to be loud tonight," said Rogers beforehand.

Let's put it this way; Rogers wasn't lying.

Early on, Murphy nailed Rogers with a solid right that left him a bit uneasy. But soon after, Rogers recovered, clinched with his adversary, and began nailing him with knees. When the two separated for a few moments, Rogers landed a terrific right. Murphy then promptly fell to the canvas, prompting the referee to stop the fight. Just like that, folks.

Brett Rogers takes it home via TKO after only one minute and one second of the first stanza.

"I respect Baroni. I respect the power," said Joey Villasenor before his fight against Phil "The New York Bad Ass" Baroni. But the question was, would that make any difference once Baroni connected with a punch?

Answer?we may never know. The reason? Simply because Villasenor connected with a hard left early on that left Baroni staggering backwards into the cage. From there, the man training in New Mexico almost finished things with a standing guillotine before doing so with a flurry of punches.

That's three straight for Joey Villasenor.

Joey Villasenor wins by TKO at 1:11 of round one.

"If we just be ourselves, which we both will be, I think the public will really, really love it and be drawn to it and want to see more of it," said Gina Carano regarding the public perception and possible fallout from her all female bout with Kaitlin Young. After all, anyone you talk to about women in combat sports has a strong opinion on it, usually before they've even seen a match. So would the women put on a show that would turn the tides in their future favor?

The first round was a very good one. Carano started things off with a surplus of hard front kicks and ended up sweeping Young's leg on her way to a takedown. However, Young was soon on her feet and after taking some more punishment, took Carano down. This time Carano was successful in getting to her feet, ending the round with some solid front kicks once again.

Thus, give Carano the first.

The second stanza started with an aggressive Carano. However, Young then began connecting with some low kicks. Carano answered with some serious punches and kicks of her own.

This is proving to be an excellent fight.

And that's when Carano started taking over. Hard punch after hard punch. Still, Young was tough, keeping her feet. That is, until Carano connected with a terrific body kick that floored her opponent. From there, Glenn Carano's daughter took Young's back and began looking for the rear naked choke.

Unfortunately, the bell stopped her short of the goal. What a round! Afterwards, the doctor came to look at Young.

Then the fight was stopped, with Young clearly battered and unable to continue.

Gina Carano wins via TKO after round two. This was a great fight to watch.

Next up was a match between "Ruthless" Robbie Lawler and Scott Smith for the EliteXC Middleweight Championship. "I'm not leaving with anything less than that belt around my waist," said the challenger Scott Smith. Of course, beating Lawler had been proven easier said than done in the past.

Things started off slow in the round but that changed when a retreating Lawler connected with a right hand that hurt Smith. Still, Smith did show his toughness by recovering after sustaining some more shots from the man who trains with Matt Hughes. Later in the stanza, Smith was softened up by several jabs before a terrific left body kick by Lawler left him grimacing. A follow up of the same seemed to hurt even worse. When the bell tolled, Smith had taken several punches in a row and looked as if he might be ready to fall soon.

A clear round for the champion, and a fun one at that.

The second round saw Lawler hit home with another nice body kick early on. Then Smith started connecting with some low kicks, which eventually led to him clinching and really doing some strong damage to the middleweight champion with his knees. He followed that up with some hard punches from a distance.

Then Lawler started his own onslaught by coming inside, holding Smith's head, and continually battering him with uppercuts. He continued it all up along the cage wall.

Believe it or not, the end of this round was even better than the beginning with both fighters landing punches and elbows on one another at will. During the melee, Lawler was cut by an accidental head butt to his forehead.

Not sure which fighter won the second. By the way, a few bozos actually started to boo at one point in the round. Sometimes you can chalk that up to a lack of education regarding the fight game. But to boo in this fight you needed to be lacking a pulse.

This was turning out to be a great one.

Smith landed some hard low kicks to start the third. Soon after, Lawler started connecting with jabs, then elbows, and even a hard left. Around that time, Lawler ended up jabbing a finger (thumb) into Smith's eye accidentally. Lawler immediately noted it and stepped away so that Smith could get some time before getting back in there with him. But rather inexplicably, the doctor stopped the fight, despite Smith clear wish for her not to do so.

That was a great fight that got stopped before it probably should have been. Disappointing. Regardless, this was a title fight and since the bout didn't go three rounds, it was declared a no contest.

Finally, came the main event between Kimbo Slice and James Thompson. "I'm bringing my haymakers with me," said Slice before the bout. Not very good news for James Thompson, now was it?

Thompson immediately sought to clinch with Slice, prompting the former backyard brawler to land some knees inside. However, the takedown did eventually come for the British fighter. Though Slice did a good job to push his adversary off with his legs and get up, he was immediately put on his back again. Thompson did some ground and pound there with Slice holding the half guard position before getting to his feet once again. Thompson nearly caught him in a standing guillotine, but took some knees for his efforts.

Then came a big elbow by Slice and separation. This was followed by a hard low kick by Thompson, prompting him to come forward too quickly and end up being taken down by Slice this time. Slice looked for a neck crank that missed and left him susceptible to being turned over, which he was. From there, Thompson got Slice in the crucifix position and began looking for a kimura before he was swept. The round ended with Slice landing some elbows

A close round.

Slice started the second with hard right to body, then another to the face, and then a knee after a failed shot by Thompson. However, the British fighter once again found success in taking Kimbo down. Thompson was unable to do much beyond gain side control there before the referee stood things up, however.

Several hard shots were then rendered by Slice in succession. This did not stop Thompson from coming forward and then grabbing both legs on the way to a takedown. From there, Thompson pressed him up against the cage and eventually was able to trap Slice's arm. The British fighter did serious and somewhat unanswered punishment to his adversary's face. In fact, the fight was probably only moments from being stopped before the bell literally saved Slice.

Definite round for Thompson.

To start the third, a Slice right hand literally popped Thompson's swollen ear. As the blood flowed freely, Thompson was hit again and clearly dizzied.

Then, for the second time in a row, a fight was inexplicably stopped. Yes, Thompson was hurt. That said, he was not yet done.

Regardless, that was all she wrote.

Kimbo Slice wins via TKO in round three.

In the end, EliteXC's first CBS venture was a night that could've been great. However, due to early stoppages it proved somewhat disappointing. Still, the Robbie Lawler- Scott Smith fight, for as long as it lasted, was a lot of fun. Once again, Gina Carano ended up stealing the show, so to speak, with an awesome fight and performance. Joey Villasenor also came through with flying colors; and the Slice- Thompson fight was entertaining.

That said, EliteXC should put together a quick rematch between Thompson and Slice and Lawler and Smith. The losers of the two fights deserve that much.

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