Kimbo Slice vs. Tank Abbottt

doc's sports | T.O. Whenham ( Thu 24th, January 2008 )

Kimbo Slice vs. Tank Abbott - one of the most bizarre, over-hyped MMA fights in recent memory.

Kimbo Slice vs. Tank Abbott - one of the most bizarre, over-hyped MMA fights in recent memory. The unproven Internet sensation meets the has-been for glory and not much else at Elite XC 'Street Certified' on Saturday Feb. 16. It probably won't be much of a fight, but it will certainly be a spectacle. The question of interest, though, is whether there is a betting opportunity. Here's a look.

First, the background. No one knew who Kevin Ferguson, the 6-2, 250 pound 33-year-old who goes by the name Kimbo Slice, was until he started showing up on the Internet. He lived in Miami and worked security for a pornography producer. He also liked to fight in his free time, and those street fights started showing up online. The fight that really got Slice noticed was an all-out brawl against Sean Gannon, a police officer from Boston. Gannon beat Slice, but Slice still did more than enough to become a star.

Slice made his MMA debut last June against Ray Mercer, the washed up 46-year-old former heavyweight boxing champion. It was just an exhibition but it used full MMA rules. Needless to say, it wasn't much of a test for Slice, who won in the first round. Slice made his pro debut for EliteXC in November against Bo Cantrell. It was a total joke - Slice won in just 19 seconds after Cantrell submitted to a flurry of punches.

Tank Abbott is older at 42, bigger at 280 pounds, and much more experienced than Slice. He has had two runs in UFC. The first, which ended in 1998, saw him post an 8-7 record and fight once for the heavyweight championship. He returned in 2003 for three fights, but never made it out of the first round while suffering three losses. Since then he has bounced around to several promotions, and has two wins in five fights against an undistinguished group of opponents. Abbott was at Slice's Mercer fight, and the wheels were set in motion for this fight with a post-fight confrontation.

The time between Abbott's two runs in the UFC are when things get interesting. He spent three years wrestling in the WCW. He was supposed to feud with Goldberg, but that never happened. Instead, he had an undistinguished career as a laughing stock and jobber. The low point of his career and probably his whole life was when he lost to actor David Arquette for the WCW title.

The odds for this fight are truly ridiculous. Though he is unproven, it seems likely that Slice has an edge. Regardless, no inexperienced fighter would reasonably justify odds of -350. Abbott is a 250 longshot.

The biggest problem in handicapping the match is that Slice is totally unproven against experienced professional fighters, even those that are well past their prime. His opponents tell us nothing. Gannon can't help us out much more. After beating Slice in the street fight, Gannon caught the eye of the UFC. They promoted a fight against journeyman Branden Lee Hinkle at UFC 55. Hinkle won by TKO in the first round. That doesn't give us much confidence that Slice is ready for the big time, though he has had years to train and prepare since he and Gannon last met. He has been training with Bas Rutten, the coach who has a 22-match undefeated streak as a fighter.

The fact that Slice is training and trying to improve gives him a huge edge over Abbott. Tank comes from the old school, and training has never been his favorite thing. Slice also has a big advantage when it comes to standing in and throwing punches. Both guys have taken a lot of hits, but it seems likely that Slice will be able to both take more damage and inflict more. It is very unlikely that this thing will get out of the first round, and reasonably unlikely that it will go more than two minutes. It will be a slugfest. That plays into the styles of both huge heavyweights, but the yonger, fitter, faster Slice has the clear edge.

When deciding how, or if, to bet this match you need to look at it for what it is. Slice is on the rise, and he is trying to make himself a star and get a place in the UFC. To do that he needs to keep winning in impressive fashion, and he needs to do it against fighters that the public will recognize. They don't have to be good as long as they have a name. Abbott fits that bill perfectly, and it seems likely that he was handpicked by Slice and his crew because they are confident he can and will be beat. The challenge is to figure out if the risk of an upset is low enough to make the -350 reasonable. It probably is, and Slice will likely win, but I don't see a lot of value in the fight. There certainly isn't any value in playing the longshot here.

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