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Kimbo Slice Beats Houston Alexander by Decision at Ultimate Fighter Finale

Making his long-awaited live UFC debut, the former street fighter turned Internet video sensation Kimbo Slice defeated Houston Alexander Saturday night at the Ultimate Fighter Finale in Las Vegas.

"Thank God, man," Kimbo said afterward. "It feels good."

Many fans booed the decision, and Kimbo acknowledged those boos, saying at the post-fight press conference, "Hell, I would have booed too. He rode the ring a lot."

Although it was expected to be a good, old-fashioned brawl, it didn't start that way: For the first minute and a half of the fight Kimbo and Alexander just circled around the Octagon and didn't throw any punches at all. Eventually Alexander started kicking Kimbo in the legs, but it was almost three minutes into the fight before Kimbo even threw a punch. The first round was a huge disappointment, with hardly any action at all, and the fans booed as the fighters went to their corners.

"We kind of trained and were prepared for somewhat of his attacks, but I wasn't prepared for the ring riding that he did," Slice said. "I wasn't prepared for that."

In the second it was more of the same at first, but Kimbo eventually landed a powerful jab that snapped Alexander's head back and then got on top of Alexander on the ground. That's when Kimbo came alive and started landing punches on the ground, although Kimbo's Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu skills are still rudimentary, and he was unable to take advantage of some opportunities to apply submissions.

"I am not going to say I was in my comfort zone," Slice said. "I knew a few things. If I would have saw an opportunity for a submission, I would have went for it."

At one point, Slice took Alexander's back to attempt a rear-naked choke, or what Slice referred to as the "ten fingers" at the media conference.

"What went through my mind was that I knew I didn't have it successfully so I didn't want to exert too much energy."

By the third round both fighters were exhausted, and the pace slowed down. Alexander landed a very hard leg kick that knocked Kimbo to the ground, but Kimbo fought back and brought Alexander down with him. The fighters stalemated on the ground until the referee separated them and stood them back up with a minute remaining. In the final seconds Alexander staggered Kimbo with a hard punch, and when the final bell sounded both guys doubled over and sucked air to the sound of the crowd's displeasure.

The judges scored the bout 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28 for Kimbo.

Kimbo (who is hardly ever referred to by his real name, Kevin Ferguson) is one of America's most famous and most controversial mixed martial arts fighters. Some in the MMA community think Kimbo's background in fighting on the streets is bad for the sport, while others think his fame has been great for the sport by attracting new fans. When Kimbo fought on CBS in 2008 his fights did strong ratings, but when he lost a fight by knockout just 14 seconds into the first round, he was derided as a fraud.

Now Kimbo is in the UFC, and although he showed some toughness by going the distance with Alexander, he also showed that he's never going to be an elite mixed martial artist. He's simply too stiff and slow to become a great fighter. Maybe some day he can become a good one.

Still, Kimbo weighed in at 212 pounds and looked chiseled, and reports out of his training camp, American Top Team, indicated that he was working hard at both his strength and conditioning and his martial arts skills.

"I want to thank ATT," Kimbo said afterward of his gym.

And by beating Alexander, he managed to win his first MMA fight against a legitimate opponent. Kimbo isn't a great fighter, but on this night, he was a winning fighter.

"I would have preferred to knock him out," Slice said. "I could have used that extra quarter, but it went the way it went. You gotta be happy with it regardless of how [the win] comes."

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