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UFC 113 Preview: Kimbo Slice Draws Ex-NFL Football Player Matt Mitrione in Sophomore Appearance

Kimbo_vs_mitrione_medium In heavyweight action, the ultra-popular former backyard brawler turned mixed martial artist Kevin "Kimbo Slice" Ferguson (4-1, 1-0 UFC) will make his sophomore debut with the UFC as he takes on fellow The Ultimate Fighter season ten contestant and former NFL defensive lineman Matt Mitrione (1-0, 1-0 UFC). Kimbo was successful in his debut at The Ultimate Fighter season ten finale as he defeated the heavy-handed Houston Alexander via decision. He had previously defeated James Thompson, Tank Abbott, and Bo Cantrell under the EliteXC banner, but eventually lost to late replacement Seth Petruzelli at EliteXC: Heat in October of 2008. The loss has been said by many to be the cause of the demise of EliteXC.

While Kimbo had some limited experience against basement-level competition before his stint on The Ultimate Fighter, Mitrione didn't have any professional fights to his credit. He defeated a veteran puncher in Scott Junk via majority decision in his first fight on the reality series, but was eliminated from the competition after falling to British fighter James McSweeney in the quarterfinals.

Kimbo's battle against Houston Alexander was somewhat of a surprise. While Kimbo did show some weakness in his conditioning, footwork, and ability to check leg kicks, he was able to land some heavy blows to Alexander's chin that hurt him momentarily in a number of different instances during the fight. He proved that he had the strength to lift and overpower his opponent, albeit his positioning on the ground was rather rudimentary. With a little time and training, Kimbo will could have some skills to compliment his striking ability that could make him somewhat dangerous to the lower-tier fighters he's facing.

Mitrione's debut was a bit easier. After battling for five minutes to stuff Marcus Jones' takedowns and submission attempts, Mitrione landed a two-punch combination in the opening seconds of the second round to knock Jones out cold. While many fans haven't discounted the fact that Mitrione has the power to crush his opponents with punches, he does lack the overall ability due to his infancy in the sport. He did show some good techniques in cage walking and gaining his feet against Marcus Jones, who had a solid Brazilian jiu-jitsu background. But will that come into play against Kimbo? Probably not.

Let's face it. This is a fight that goes right in line with the four main card fights under the main event. Both fighters will be looking to land the big blow to end this fight. Mitrione's reach won't be a huge problem as Kimbo does have some lengthy limbs, but his weight advantage should be ideal for pushing Kimbo around and putting him into bad situations along the fence. If Mitrione has been training on the ground, it's possible we may see that type of fight. But to be perfectly honest, Mitrione doesn't strike me as the guy who intelligently formulates gameplans that give him the obvious edge.

I actually think Mitrione is the winner in this fight. While Mitrione doesn't display any sort of unbelievable skill-set that just trounces Kimbo, he does have heavy hands, good enough knowledge to escape the floor, and almost a 30 pound weight advantage if Kimbo comes in in the 225-235 range. But, I'd almost consider this a toss up. Both guys aren't skilled enough to be technically better than one another, so whoever lands the first huge blow should win.


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