MMA Legend and current trainer to Kimbo Slice, Bas Rutten, lends some well needed perspective on Kimbo Slice’s performance against James Thompson with the following post from his personal website:
Of course I have been asked now already many times what I thought about Kimbo’s fight and performance.
First let me start by saying: “It was his 4th fight”.
The fight was hyped up so big that Kimbo needed a perfect performance to live up to the hype. Thompson had the chance of his life time so he trained insanely hard. People expect him to go down but they forgot that he stopped Don Frey and Hidehiko Yoshida, he has a suspect jaw, but he came in to fight!
I think this fight is going to be very good for Kimbo in the future. When you start fighting and competing and you never went the distance in a fight you never know what “getting really tired” means.
Ask any fighter on the planet if they fought more than 1 round when they fought their first couple of fights, how they felt. They will tell you that they thought they were in great shape but got tired really fast.
In training you can do pretty much anything to bring your heart rate up. Focus mitts, Thai pads, takedowns, running hills, explosive weight training etc. but NOTHING compares to getting tired in a fight, it’s just a whole different ball game.
But once you know this and experienced it one time, you know what to expect in the future.
That’s why I think that this fight was great for Kimbo, he really had to dig deep and boy did he do that. He was so tired at the end of round it was crazy, but he went out in round three and just started throwing bombs again, that says a lot to me about his will power, trust me, it has been tested here!
Did he make mistakes? Of course, but than again, everybody makes mistakes plus he’s training MMA for only a year. I think that he had a few really good escapes from the bottom. Of course I wanted him to buck up, explode and escape the last one and a half minute of round number two, but he didn’t.
He DID give his “thumbs up” sign to the referee telling him he was OK and that the short elbows didn’t hurt him. Still, he should have escaped but he told me later that he was saving energy for the third round and because he thought the elbows didn’t have any effect anyway, he chose that moment.
I told him that it wasn’t good to do because the ref can stop the fight PLUS what if you get cut? So that won’t happen again.
He also didn’t close his guard a few times and he should have done that. In round two he had James in a guillotine choke but didn’t close his guard, that was too bad because Thompson escaped exactly how I showed Kimbo that you should escape when your opponent doesn’t close his guard, but you learn from your mistakes so that won’t happen again either.
He had Thompson in trouble the first and the second round with his punches but he got a little bit too “hungry” and kept on hitting which means that he planted his feet and that means that your opponent can go for a takedown, and that happened too. But here I go again, you learn from your mistakes and that won’t happen again.
So I have to say that I am very happy with this fight and his performance and that this fight made him WAY stronger for next time. When you get caught in training by something, whether it’s a submission or strike, you learn from that, but there is nothing like learning it the hard way in a fight.
And than be fortunate that you STILL win the fight by referee stoppage is just the best.
He finished with hitting Thompson with a four punch combination with the last one of those being a hard right upper cut. Thompson staggered back and the referee stopped the fight. Was it too soon? I thought it would be great to see a few more shots just so that he was down for real. But I guess the referee had the two or three times that Thompson was hurt in the earlier rounds in his head, plus than he also got hit on his cauliflower ear that busted open and he had a different look in his eyes.
All the things that went wrong or he didn’t do, we DID train for, but like I said, training and fighting are two different things. I know him and when he sees the mistakes that he made and realizes that he probably would have won the fight when he would have closed his guard in round number two so that Thompson couldn’t have had escaped his guillotine choke, he’s not going to be happy and is going to make sure it won’t happen again, the same counts for the few little other mistakes he made, he will see them himself, and never make them again.
They say “fatigue makes cowards out of man”, well, that wasn’t the case with Kimbo, he kept on fighting, his technique got less because of it and people will now judge him on that, but that’s OK, he will be a different kind of animal next time.
All and all it was a great night of fights, I think that everybody who tuned in kept watching, at least a high percentage and that the evening was a success. It had great ratings and from what I understand CBS is really happy.
And one more time to finish this story, although Kimbo was the main event and everybody see him as a main event so expect this “perfect fighter”, this was only his fourth fight, he will tell you, and everybody else, that he’s still a little guy trying to learn the game. For somebody who did this only three times before, I say it was a great performance
Oh, and he didn’t tap just watch the show..
Godspeed and party on!!
P.S. People ask me if the fight should have been stopped at the end in the second round, I say YES because those are the rules, it should have been stopped because Kimbo didn’t do anything to improve his situation. But I think what made the ref NOT do it was the fact that Kimbo was giving his thumbs up the whole time to let the referee know that he was OK.
This was the refs decission, not Kimbo’s.