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Old 09-29-2008, 01:09 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Ten Ways to Beat Kimbo Slice - Article by IronMan

Originally posted at MMAOpinion.com.

Maybe it sounds arrogant, maybe it sounds disrespectful, but I was talking to some friends about the upcoming Kimbo vs. Shamrock bout and we came to the conclusion that a Shamrock loss proves nothing.

The only way that it’s going to prove anything about Kimbo’s improvement is if he shows that he has recently shored up any of the holes in his game.
Photo courtesy of Cage Potato.

Photo courtesy of Cage Potato.

I was explaining to these friends why I think Kimbo is an illegitimate fighter, and why I think he’d be the easiest fighter to coach against, and I decided that, since the worst it can do is push Kimbo to improve his game and legitimize himself, or dish him out a loss and shut up his annoying internet bandwagon, I might as well talk a little bit about how I would coach against Kimbo.

For the sake of being interesting, I’m not going to be so stupid and so presumptious as to say “take Kimbo down.” His ground game is one very generic, very obvious weakness. Instead, to keep it interesting for all of you guys, I’m going to give a little bit of detail, specific things that I would be teaching a fighter to exploit.

While Shamrock may not take advantage of these, I think he will, at the very least, try to use a few of them against Kimbo, and while I point these out, keep in mind that these are habits Kimbo has had all through his street fighting career, but they are still very much present in his recent professional performances.

10. Pathetic Guard

It’s painfully obvious to any jiu-jitsu practioner watching Kimbo that he has absolutely no understanding of how the guard works. An efficient groundnpound from the guard might be enough to crush Kimbo, should his opponent really posture up and let lose with the hands a little (a la Fedor vs. Nogueira, with the standing groundnpound). Realistically, though, if I were coaching against that weak a guard game, I would insist that my fighter pass the guard, and then work for a submission from side control (I’ll get to why I’d like my fighter to stay in side control in a little bit), where Kimbo is not going to be any threat, though it’s hard to say that he’s any more of a threat from the guard.

9. Wrestler’s Posture

Obviously, I’m not taking a shot at wrestlers, but Kimbo has this same habit that many folkstyle wrestlers, early in their career, develop. When he gets caught in the clinch, he tends to drop his head and upper body down. Not only is this a problem in terms of getting caught in chokes, it also opens him up to a lot of attacks from the clinch. Knees become available, as do uppercuts to the body (or even the face, though the angle is a little wierd) with the free hand. This also opens up a whole new world of takedowns, especially in the Greco Roman and Judo department. While a solid judoka or Greco wrestler would probably toss Kimbo around like a heavybag, with a little training, even a fighter without that particular grappler background might be able to figure out how to exploit it.

8. Poor Instincts and Weighting from Inside the Guard

I will say that Kimbo’s posture in the guard has looked better than I expected it to, but he hasn’t really been in a substantial guard, only those shoddy attempts by Thompson. Even in the few moments he spent in the half guard, though, it became obvious that Kimbo Slice really has no idea how to pass the guard. He doesn’t know how to control his weighting (he stays on his knees alot when he should be sprawling back to apply pressure) and he doesn’t use his hips. Again, these are things that an expert in jiu-jitsu would destroy him over, but even a substantial blue belt could figure out how to control him if he was making these kinds of mistakes.

7. Scrambles

Kimbo is strong, but he’s not quick, and as a result of that, he is inevitably going to lose a lot of scramble attempts against a fighter with a decent wrestling or jiu-jitsu background. This is one of the areas where Shamrock, even in his old and decrepit state, may look to mess Kimbo up, because Kimbo transitions from position to position very poorly, and a savvy veteran who understands the transitional positions can make Kimbo pay, even while Kimbo thinks he’s in a good position (like if, for instance, Ken were to set up a kneebar as Kimbo was looking to take the back). Unless Kimbo spends a substantial amount of time drilling full with someone who knows the ground game and the transitions, he will be in trouble in this area, and I’m not convinced (from watching his development up to the Thompson fight, and his performance in that fight) that Kimbo has done enough training with Bas on that element.

6. Weak Boxing and Poor Pacing

Kimbo doesn’t have the ability to keep his hands up as he gets tired. This is actually a mistake that many fighters make, even pure strikers. Really, it becomes an issue of your arms getting tired, your legs taking punishment and your mind stopping its focus on technical aspect, especially keeping those hands up. As the fight goes on, Kimbo leaves his chin open a lot, and while he’s got a tough chin and will pick his hands up as soon as he gets hit hard, if he catches a really substantial shot late in the fight, it will be because he’s been dropping his hands and creating openings.

5. Minimal Damage from the Clinch

If Kimbo showed us little else in the Thompson fight, he showed us that he can put his opponent in the clinch, and that he can, to some degree, force a fight to stay standing, but he also showed that as long as he is clinched up with his opponent, he really has no ability to do any damage. His knees are pretty weak and so tying his hands up renders him pretty much useless. The only way that Kimbo will do damage is by way of the push-and-bomb, where he breaks off of the clinch and starts utilizing his hands. I’ll get to the technical failure of Kimbo’s kickboxing in a little bit as well, as it makes up a handful of his most serious technical issues, but what’s particularly problematic about this is that it makes wrestlers and judoka really tough matchups for Kimbo once they tie him up, because he can’t do enough damage to discourage the clinch.

4. Tracking

One of the things that impressed me most about Kimbo, watching his old street fights, is his ability to pick his strikes. He’s definitely a patient, stalking fighter who’s willing to move a little bit to create opportunities to do damage. The problem, though, is that he’s not very good at tracking the movements of his opponents. Even a slow fighter like a late-fight-Thompson was still managing to avoid some of his punches and stay out of Kimbo’s way, even while Kimbo cut inside. This is a serious indicator that Kimbo has a tracking issue, and he generally resolves that by waiting for his opponent to hit him, but a quicker, savvier kickboxer would be sure to stay light and work around Kimbo constantly, aggravating his inability to follow with his punches and do the necessary damage.

3. Lower Body Attack

Kimbo can’t hurt an opponent with the leg kicks. He’s certainly not going to be high kicking anyone for the big knockout for a while. The reality is, the chances of Kimbo Slice catching a high kick or big knee knockout are really low for the same reason he probably won’t be getting a submission for a while, he’s got no real hip movement. He does move his hips when he punches, but he hasn’t figured out how to transition that to lower body movement, and I don’t think he’ll be figuring this out anytime soon.

2. Elbows

It’s not a matter of throwing elbows, it’s a matter of where you keep the elbows when they’re not being thrown, and if you watch Kimbo on the ground, it’s obvious that he’s got no idea what to do with them. James Thompson almost caught him in a kimura, and that was hardly the only time that Kimbo left his arms exposed. A decent submission fighter (not even a master) who attacks Kimbo from the side control, where the opportunities for americanas, kimuras and armbars on both arms can present themselves, especially under a dynamic attack with some decent weight transition that the position presents (where as the mount is more static), is going to confuse the crap out of Kimbo and aggravate his bad habit as he goes to push his opponent off. While Kimbo bends his arms to capitalize on that upper body strength, he’s going to give up an arm, and when he does, a decent submission fighter needs to be able to reach around, lock that arm down and go for the submission.

1. Flat Feet

Every time I watch Kimbo move forward, I think about how bad he would have been as a boxer. He’s not necessarily slow, and he’s decent at closing the distance, but he walks flat on his feet. This opens him up for leg kicks and anyone who’s got a quick double leg, but what’s more important isn’t necessarily the openings on the lower body (though I would certainly encourage any fighter going up against Kimbo to exploit the leg kicks), but the effect that these movements have on the upper body. As Kimbo moves, his movements are very telegraphed. His steps are obvious by the way he shifts his weight (as opposed to the quicker, almost jumping steps of a kickboxer on the balls of his feet), and as he moves his weight isn’t forward and ready to attack, as it is with a boxer preparing to throw a jab or a cross. Anyone with the ability to really pop a jab, and the power to hurt a guy like Kimbo with about 10 or 20 of them, could cause Kimbo problems just by hitting him every time he moved forward instead of respecting his power so much that they spent the whole fight backing away, because the cornerstone of the standup, and the general game, that will beat Kimbo Slice is going to be one that makes him look ridiculous by showing how his movement is ineffective in this sport.

Hopefully, Shamrock will be able to pull this off, but if he’s not, there’s always the next guy Kimbo fights. Hopefully that guy will be less than 40 years old and have some decent credibility.
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Old 09-29-2008, 01:26 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Awsome breakdown man, thx for posting it!
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Old 09-29-2008, 01:48 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Awsome breakdown man, thx for posting it!
Anytime, man. I've been watching Kimbo fight for a while and these holes are pretty consistent. I wish I could say they weren't, because the guy gets alot of hype, but that's the reality of it.
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Old 09-29-2008, 02:12 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Good break down man pretty astute but to see someone implement it is what im looking for...although having them give him someone who could actually do it would be nice too.
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Old 09-29-2008, 02:14 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Good Luck beating Kimbo. He is the future and in October Shamrock will realise this. Be there or be square
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Old 09-29-2008, 02:17 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Niice write up Ironman. I imagine limiting yourself to only 10 ways was the toughest part of the job.
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Old 09-29-2008, 02:18 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Good break down man pretty astute but to see someone implement it is what im looking for...although having them give him someone who could actually do it would be nice too.
There are many guys who can. The question is whether or not Elite XC will let those guys fight Kimbo. They seem to be coddling him.

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Good Luck beating Kimbo. He is the future and in October Shamrock will realise this. Be there or be square
Way to read the article!
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Old 09-29-2008, 02:19 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Niice write up Ironman. I imagine limiting yourself to only 10 ways was the toughest part of the job.
Yeah. I actually posted it originally with two #6's (caught it skimming through), so I had 11.

Still, I had alot of ideas just watching the Thompson fight. His issues are pretty severe, and I hope that Bas is taking a look at them.
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Old 09-29-2008, 02:24 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Yeah. I actually posted it originally with two #6's (caught it skimming through), so I had 11.

Still, I had alot of ideas just watching the Thompson fight. His issues are pretty severe, and I hope that Bas is taking a look at them.
I am sure Bas is aware of the problems wih Kimbo's game but Kimbo just isn't showing much if any improvement. If he was improving slowly tht would be one thing but he is just staying stagnant.
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Old 09-29-2008, 02:27 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I am sure Bas is aware of the problems wih Kimbo's game but Kimbo just isn't showing much if any improvement. If he was improving slowly tht would be one thing but he is just staying stagnant.
That's sort of my problem with him.

I love Bas as a fighter, and I think he's a monster, but I'm not sold on his coaching ability. I hardly think that his coaching Kimbo is being as helpful as everybody (including Kimbo) seems to think.

I'm surprised Kimbo didn't stay in Miami and work with a major camp, or come out to California and train with a big camp out here. I thought that would have been a great idea for his game, but that's just me.

Like you said, what he's doing now doesn't seem to be working.
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