Fighters.com’s sixth-ranked middleweight and EliteXC Champion “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler (15-4) and “Hands of Stone” Scott Smith (13-4) sizzled in three-and-a-half-rounds of stand-up in Newark, outside of New York City, Saturday night in the prime time network premier of mixed martial arts.
Former Ultimate Fighters Lawler and Smith fought to a controversial no contest halted when Smith absorbed a finger in his right eye from a defending Lawler.
Smith protested the end of a fight that was building into the primetime MMA era’s sequel to Griffin v Bonnar, while Lawler hung his head in disappointment.
“Hands of Stone” opened round one of his title challenge establishing his high kick. Lawler was cagey in defense, pawing a jab and feigning a takedown.
It wasn’t long before the fireworks shot off and didn’t end. Lawler countered a Superman punch from Smith with a straight right. Smith belted back with a right high kick, backing up the champion. Lawler threw haymakers in defense, then clinched up to throw hooks to Smith’s head. The warriors traded body kicks to end round one.
Lawler established his jab in round two, setting up an uppercut. Smith defended with Thai clinch in which he landed knees and elbows as Lawler struggled to free himself. The fighters crashed into the cage and dirty boxed, Lawler landing uppercuts while Smith countered with elbows.
The fireworks came to an anti-climactic end in round three as doctors inexplicably called an end to the fight after Smith took a Lawler finger to the eye.
Slice Has “A Lot To Learn”
“I’ve got a lot to learn, a long way to go,” Kimbo Slice admitted after enduring a spirited assault from “Colossus”.
Thompson kept his pre-fight promise early, putting Slice on the mat with a single-leg takedown. Thompson postured up and pounded Slice; but, Slice easily stood out of Thompson’s mount.
Thompson pressed Slice to the cage and worked a standing guillotine; but, Slice battled out with an elbow to Thompson’s head. Slice ate another punch and the pair went back to the mat.
Slice worked an interesting neck crank from side control; but, Thompson defended and the two scrambled back to their feet before Thompson dropped Slice again into side control and hammered elbows.
Thompson committed to an Americana; and, Slice rolled Thompson into half-mount, attempting his own Americana while Thompson worked a Kimura.
Slice was able to get back to striking at the beginning of round two; but, Thompson took Slice down at will.
The final minute-and-a-half of the round, Thompson pinned Slice’s right arm beneath his knee from half-mount and pounded fists and elbows to Slice’s skull.
“I didn’t know he was going to be that strong on the ground,” said Slice.
Slice threw from the round three bell, landing a right overhand that caused blood to trickle from Thompson’s left, cauliflowered ear. Slice followed with a series of straight lefts and right uppercuts before the referee stepped between the fighters at :38.
Thompson pushed the referee in protest of the stoppage.
Slice said, “I knew I busted his ear. The ref did a good job, because I was going to aim for it again.”
Baroni Smoked by Villasenor
Baroni scored the early advantage catching a “Smokin’” high kick and dumping Villasenor to mat. Baroni followed with rights, but backed off and allowed Villasenor to stand.
Villasenor jawed Baroni with a short left.
“It was all about fighting at range. Me and me coach been workin’ on that,” Villasenor said.
Baroni backpedaled and Villasenor closed to a standing guillotine.
Villasenor admitted, “I knew the choke wasn’t going to be secure enough to make him tap, but I knew he was going to be wheezing after that.”
Villasenor released the choke and hammered a 4-1-2 combo that dropped “NYBA”and ended the fight.
Grim Ending for Murphy
“This mean a lot to me. I’m movin’ up and up and up,” Rogers said.
Murphy scored a right punch early, leading to a clinch at the fence. Rogers pummeled off the fence and slipped a right hook to Murphy’s jaw during an exchange. Murphy collapsed and the referee ended the fight by TKO.
Murphy danced in the cage in celebration.