Previewing EliteXC: Street Certified

Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson and David “Tank” Abbott weigh-in for EliteXC: Street Certified. Photo by Tom Casino/EliteXC.

Here’s a little preview breaking down the main card of tonight’s EliteXC: Street Certified fight-by-fight, including detailed predictions along the way.

The event, which is slated to take place at the University of Miami’s BankUnited Center, features a main event between EliteXC heavyweight sensation and internet street fighting legend Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson and infamous former UFC brawler David “Tank” Abbott.

Former UFC heavyweight champion Ricco Rodriguez will take on American Top Team’s Antonio Silva in the co-main event. Scott Smith, James Thompson, and Yves Edwards are among the other notable fighters that will compete as well.

A total of eleven fights rounds out the card. The five fights on the main card can be seen starting at 10 PM ET on Showtime. All of the six preliminary bouts can be viewed at EliteXC parent company ProElite’s official website beginning at 7:30 PM ET.

Kimbo Slice vs. Tank Abbott

Just by looking at tomorrow night’s bout between Kimbo Slice and Tank Abbott, the average fan can likely already tell that Abbott doesn’t stand much of a chance. It’s nothing against Tank, but Kimbo simply has too many ways to win this fight. He’s the superior fighter going into this one and it’s hard to dispute that. I’ve been catching some flack from Abbott fans about my stance going into this fight. As much as I don’t want to say that, it’s true. He’s the better technical striker. He’s younger, stronger, faster, more explosive, more athletic… the list goes on and on.

Let’s be honest here. Since 1998, Abbott has only won two fights and he’s lost seven of his last eight fights. His lone win was a knockout of Wesley “Cabbage” Correira, who spoiled Abbott’s UFC homecoming back in 2003 by defeating the Huntington Beach native courtesy of a cut. However Tank has been through the fire before. Looking past his record, he’s hung in there with some of the best and he always has the ability to end the fight with one punch. That one punch though is the only way that he’s going to be able to win in this one.

Tank has power. We all know this, it’s no secret. Despite what everyone may think, Tank has the power to knock Kimbo out, there’s no question about it. All we have to do is look back to Abbott knocking out Correira in 2005, you know that guy we all thought had a head full of concrete and stuff and couldn’t be knocked out? Kimbo doesn’t have the best chin. We’ve seen it before in his street fights. However the key here is whether or not he will want to engage in a stand-up war with Tank. Just like in his exhibition bout against Ray Mercer, he could just opt to take Tank down, where he has a clear cut advantage. It’ll be interesting to see what happens.

Tank obviously has the edge in experience going into this fight. Even though Tank really has only one way to win this fight, the fact that he’s been fighting for well over a decade bodes well for him. It’s likely that Abbott has seen positions during the course of a fight that Kimbo hasn’t, no matter how many different scenarios Bas Rutten tries to put Kimbo in during training sessions. There is no pressure for Tank Abbott going into this fight. None. He has nothing to lose. In 10 years, he’s won once and that’s it. However all of the pressure is on Kimbo in this one. Unlike Mercer who obviously didn’t even attempt to learn ground skills for their fight and Bo Cantrell who came in on short notice, Tank poses a huge threat in the exact place in this fight where Kimbo is the best.

I know it sounds like I’m leaning towards picking Tank in this one but I can’t do it. I expect Kimbo to stand with Tank for a little bit in this fight but eventually he’ll probably take him down and pound on him enough to be able to force a stoppage. I don’t see this one going past the first round.

Ricco Rodriguez vs. Antonio Silva

Interesting fight and an intriguing clash of styles. Two of the biggest things going into this fight are the mental and physical status of Ricco. By mental, I mean where his head is exactly at going into this bout. His appearance on VH1’s Celebrity Rehab will likely have at least some kind of affect going into this bout. After all, just by watching the show you can tell that it was a mentally draining experience. Rodriguez disputes this notion with the fact that this is the first fight in a long while where he has actually come in looking in decent shape. He’s still not in the shape he was while heavyweight champion of the UFC but it’s visibly apparent that he’s getting there.

While it would seem that Rodriguez has a clear edge on the ground in this fight, I’m not so sure that aspect is going to come into play in this fight. Silva’s ground game is very underrated and he should be able to hang with Rodriguez if the fight goes to the canvas anyway. I see this fight staying on the feet. Rodriguez’s game plan has to be to keep the fight close. The last thing he wants to do is create distance and exchange on the feet with Silva because he’ll most likely end up getting knocked out.

Silva is a specimen to say the last. His size alone is impressive but when coupled with his heavy hands and ability to move his feet like a fighter that is competing in the lower weight classes is amazing to watch. Gary Shaw continually claims that Silva has the skills to be able to hang with the top heavyweights out there but until he actually fights them, his statement is going to fall on deaf ears. A win over Rodriguez will certainly help the cause as the troubled former Team Punishment member provides the toughest test of Silva’s young career to date.

Unless Rodriguez can somehow drag Silva to the ground and catch him in a dangerous position during a scramble, I really don’t see him winning this fight. This one will probably go into the second round, but Silva will likely overwhelm him with strikes at some point during the five-minute session.

Scott Smith vs. Kyle Noke

Let me start off by saying that Noke really impressed me in his win over Seth Kleinbeck the last time we saw him. Granted the win was caused by a cut but he still looked good nonetheless. Later tonight he goes up against former “Ultimate Fighter” cast member Scott Smith. While Smith might be the most household name out there, just about everyone has seen his highlight reel knockout of Pete Sell after nearly being finished off himself.

Going into this one, one would assume that it would be a war on the feet. I mean after all, look at the nicknames for both fighters, it seems like they both love to knock people out, right? While that may hold true for Smith, “KO” doesn’t necessarily describe Noke’s game. For the record, Noke hasn’t stopped an opponent with strikes in nearly five years. Noke’s gameplan going into this should be to take Smith down to the mat, where the lack of a submission game for Smith should give Noke a huge opportunity to win this fight.

Unforunately for Noke, Smith is a solid wrestler and his takedown defense is pretty good too. While Noke almost has a sure-fire win if he can control Smith on the canvas, he’s going to have quite the time attempting to take the middleweight convert down. The strain of continuous failed takedown attempts should eventually wear on Noke, who I predict will end up being overwhelmed with strikes at some point in the final round.

James Thompson vs. Brett Rogers

Here’s an undefeated heavyweight prospect against a hard-hitting Englishman that is relatively hit-or-miss in his fights. James Thompson returns to action for the first time since being knocked out by Neil Grove as he takes on Brett Rogers. If you’re looking for a guaranteed fight to see someone get knocked out, look no further as this is the fight that you want to watch. Don’t blink either, it should be over relatively quickly.

I can’t tell you much about Rogers. After all it only took him a little over a minute and a half to finish off Ralph Kelly in the only fight I’ve seen him in at EliteXC’s “Renegade” event this past November. However he’s stopped every opponent that he’s faced and has put three of them to sleep so I think it’s safe to say that he’ll want to keep this one on the feet.

It’ll be interesting to see how Thompson approaches this fight. He’s really struggled over the past couple of years and finally opted to attempt to improve his game by hooking up with Xtreme Couture. The guys there have the ability to revolutionize his game completely so I’m going to go out on a limb and say that I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if Thompson looked to take this fight to the ground. With that said, history is on the side of those who want to see someone get knocked out. I’ll take the more polished and experience striker in this one. Thompson by KO in the 1st.

Yves Edwards vs. Edson Berto

This is a fight that I’m really looking forward to. I’m cheering for Yves on his road back to greatness but Berto has looked great recently, even in his loss to K.J. Noons. It’s probably the most evenly-matched fight on the televised portion of the card but to be honest, I don’t like Berto’s chance in this one. While he’s a very well-rounded fighter, Edwards is as well and has him beat in every single category.

While I expect Yves to dominate this fight, I don’t expect him to finish Berto, who has been known to put up quite the fight even during losing efforts. Watch for Edwards to handle Berto all fight long and cruise to an easy decision win, continuing to make his new American Top Team mates proud.


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