After a loss to former International Fight League (IFL) heavyweight champion Roy Nelson on Spike TV’s The Ultimate Fighter, you figured the latest chapter in the career of Kimbo Slice had ended…and you would be wrong.
His strong performance in the octagon allowed him to make his UFC debut in the show’s season finale at the Palms in Las Vegas.
Slice earned an unanimous decision over Houston Alexander, as two judges ruled him ahead on their cards 29-28 and the third scored the bout 30-27.
Critics have considered Slice to be an Internet creation and the most over-hyped mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter in the history of the sport. They feel he has parlayed a fierce look with rampant popularity from his YouTube backyard brawl videos into a career.
But you cannot argue with success, as Slice has only four professional fights, and three of them have set television rating records. The final episode of The Ultimate Fighter earned a 5.9 viewership during his bout.
Coming into the competition, Nelson was considered a quality fighter with a black belt in jiu-jitsu and having a strong wrestling background. His less than menacing physique had everyone concerned, as Nelson sported a rather large beer belly and the experts expected his stay in the competition to be short-lived.
But if Slice was going to lose a fight, it was better to lose to someone with a name value in MMA. Kimbo was quoted as saying that this fight was one of the best in his career.
UFC President Dana White had continually promised that Slice would fight in his league regardless of his outcome in The Ultimate Fighter competition.
Some have criticized him for protecting Kimbo in the competition until opposing coach Rashad Evans chose him to fight in the most anticipated encounter in the show’s history.
Everyone laughed at the notion of Slice entering into the Octagon against a respected MMA fighter. They’re laughing no more.
Currently, he is training to improve on his ground game, and learning the skill of clinching an opponent.
Slice feels he needs a better understanding of when to counter, when not to hit, when to engage and when to wait out an opponent. His trainers believe he is too lean below the waist for someone 6’2” and weighing 225 lbs.
The hype for Slice is alive and real.