Depending on who you were, last night’s The Ultimate Fighter 10 Finale either proved that Kimbo Slice deserves to be in the UFC or Houston Alexander really doesn’t.
Kimbo was victorious in his UFC debut last night, as he defeated Alexander via unanimous decision. While the victory was the biggest of Kimbo’s career, the fight often looked amateurish, and included Houston Alexander spending nearly the entire first round circling the cage.
“We prepared for some of his attacks, but I wasn’t prepared for the ring-riding that he did,” Kimbo stated after the fight. “If I would have went in there foolishly, I would have got knocked out.”
Kimbo stated that he worked hard to stay patient, but found himself calling Alexander out in the fight.
“It wasn’t difficult to stay patient, but I was like, ‘Come on, man.’ A few times, I called him out. I called him by his name and I said some things in the ring, like, ‘Let’s do this.’ I reverted back to the streets a little bit, verbally. He didn’t engage. He stuck to his plan, so I said to myself, ‘I’m not going to be foolish and run up on him.’ I wanted to be a smart fighter as well.
“I guess the first round we were feeling each other out. Neither one of us wanted to foolishly rush in. Every fighter’s got a puncher’s chance, so I guess neither one of us wanted to take that chance of getting KOed in the first round.”
While Kimbo managed to stay patient in the first round, the crowd of 1,400 at The Pearl in The Palms didn’t. They booed both fighters throughout the first round, and Kimbo admitted that it was hard to dismiss their reaction.
“That was hard,” he admitted. “I was really thinking street; I did for a minute. But I had to bite down. Someone told me before, ‘Bite down hard and fight smart.’ I bit down hard, and I just stayed smart with what I knew. It’s hard. I’m not going to lie.
“It’s not an easy thing because I first was a streetfighter, and being a streetfighter, there was no training in my style of fighting. I just went in there basically with my instincts, watching the guy’s movement, and countering him. But at this level of the game, and as a professional fighter in the UFC, you have to be like genius-type smart because you have all these dimensions you have to ball in one. You’ve got to know when to counter and when to not hit, when to not engage and try to wait it out.”
The pace picked up in the second round, as Kimbo managed to take control and score multiple takedowns on Alexander, including a big slam that looked utterly painful.
“Knowing that I cut weight I knew that I was a little bit stronger than he was because he’s normally a light heavyweight and I’m normally a heavyweight,” said Kimbo. “I knew within the fight that I was gonna get a slam, I just wanted to wait until the right time and capitalize on a good one.”
Kimbo continued to dominate his opponent during the second round, and at one point attempted a rear-naked choke, however was unable to fully secure it. Kimbo quickly gave up the hold and mounted Alexander.
“When I took his back, I was going for a choke hold,” he stated. “I was going to go for the rear-naked or 10-finger choke. When I realized I didn’t have it as good and he turned into me, I just went ahead and tried to look for something else. … I didn’t want to exert a whole lot of energy on a hold that I knew wasn’t guaranteed. So I just said, ‘OK, I’ve got to let the hold go, but be smart about it and either work for something else, look for something else or get back on my feet and bang it out.’
“I’m not going to say I was in my comfort zone (on the ground),” he continued. “But I knew a few things, enough to where we were able to get back up. I tried a little ground and pound here and there.”
The third round was a lot closer, as Alexander was able to knock Kimbo down with a leg kick, and Kimbo was able to follow up with a takedown which probably won him the round. Looking back at the fight, Kimbo admitted to have wanted to finish his opponent.
“I would have preferred to knock him out, I could have used that extra quarter ($25,000 bonus),” he quipped. “But it went the way it went. You’ve got to be happy with a victory, regardless of how it comes.”
Regardless of how the fight went, the victory assures Kimbo that he will fight another day in the UFC. While Kimbo noted that it’s hard transitioning from street fighting to MMA, he’s going to continue working at it.
“It’s hard,” he said. “It’s not an easy thing. I first was a street fighter. Being a street fighter, there was no training in my style of fighting. I just went in there based on my instincts, watching the guy’s movement and countering him.
“But at this level of the game, as a professional fighter in the UFC, you have to be almost genius-like smart because you have all these dimensions to battle. You have to know when to counter and when to not hit and when to engage and when to try to wait it out.
“There’s a lot you have to go through. (I hope) this shows my maturity as a mixed martial artist.”