When Matt Hughes surpassed Royce Gracie at UFC 60, every serious writer in the sport hailed it as the changing of the guard in mixed martial arts. The term was used once again when Rashad Evans knocked out Chuck Liddell just last month. Those transitions were nice, but they have nothing on Ken Shamrock and Kimbo Slice. The ultimate clash between old and new, the superfight on October 4th represents the final changing of the guard in our beloved sport. Yes, legends like Hughes and Liddell have lost, but the defeats have come to some immensely experienced and talented young stars. If Kimbo, one of the greenest fighters in the sport, can dethrone Ken Shamrock, it will signify the change that began when Anderson Silva put a knee through Rich Franklin’s face. But as everyone prepares for what EliteXC has all but programmed to happen, there’s one man who sees it differently. Meet Ken Shamrock.
Owner of a 26-13-2 record, Shamrock is one of the most experienced fighters in the sport. He’s lost five in a row dating back to 2004, and it’s easy to forget that Shamrock honed his craft by competing in the very first UFC event and the early days of Pancrase. He holds wins over Bas Rutten and Dan Severn, is one of five members of the UFC Hall Of Fame, and was one of the most decorated UFC champions of all time. So why is Shamrock facing off against one of the most untested fighters in the world? Other than the obviously intriguing style match up, it’s equally easy to remember Shamrock’s recent history. He’s become the gatekeeper at 205 and since he’s been called upon in hopes of having Kimbo beat a legend, it’s safe to say that Shamrock has never been this easy to beat. However, recent interviews suggest that he’s never been this hungry.
Meanwhile, Kimbo Slice approaches this weekend’s fight from a completely different angle. He’s undefeated in MMA and he is without a doubt the most popular 3-0 fighter on the planet. Following a less than spectacular TKO of James Thompson, questioning whispers turned into screams regarding Kimbo’s true ability. The potential that Bas Rutten raved about was marginalized to a quiet discussion over whether or not Kimbo could beat any UFC heavyweight. But as memories of the lackluster performance fade and the Kimbo hype machine falls into full gear, casual fans envision Kimbo as the next big thing. If he is going to be just that, a convincing win over Ken Shamrock is necessary.
Ken Shamrock has been content to strike in his last few bouts and it’s doubtful he’ll try to shoot on his larger opponent. Kimbo would obviously rather stay standing and so this is where the battle is expected to take place. It’ll be a good old fashioned saloon shootout on October the 4th, and just like in the old Westerns, this stage is only big enough for one overrated star.
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