You make some good counter-points and I do agree with the fact that he did use more than just strength on the take down after re-watching. I also have no real bias as I can't stand houston. I felt this was just a fight for entertainment purposes for pitting two guys that knock out and get knocked out. I really did not see Kimbo look very good on the ground upon re-watching and I do take your points under consideration. However I think that his game should be much higher before getting the exposure and TV spots (and even the fights) that he has. He does not deserve where he is at in my opinion. He is a hype job that has REALIZED he has to be humble and "hungry" in order to get any respect. His macho attitude quickly got checked when he was exposed at the C level (seth Petro). Kimbo was a big bully that that fought guys that didn't even want to fight him (the guy on the internet with the eye practically falling out was begging to stop). Kimbo's handlers, even on the internet level kept the fights standing...especially when he fought and lost on youtube. EliteXC did the same thing. So I do not think he is fully genuine. I think he is playing the appropriate game to get exposure and training but that doesn't mean I respect his rise. I think he is helping with the decline of the perception of the sport. The casual is looking at some of these fights and thinking the stereotype "meathead bar brawlers." My wife watches both the UFC and boxing matches with me. I am a martial artist, former high school D1 wrestler and golden gloves boxer so she knows and appreciates my passion for combat sports. She LOVED watching Edger dominate with pure skill with his wrestling and higher level stand up boxing. She couldnt stand how, in her words, "bummy" Kimbo and Houston looked. SHe is right. They just stood there and Kimbo could hardly adjust his gameplan to Houstons very low level game. I am sorry but I am not changing my opinion on the fact that a B level fighter would have let a leg kick hit, watch Houston's hand drop and follow with an overhand right to end the fight. Now when we switched to Paul Williams and Martinez (whether people know the fight or not) she couldn't help but get engaged with very high level fighting.
If Kimbo and these entertainment fights and fighters keep coming to the UFC and MMA in general, I see a decline in the level that it was growing at in terms of athleticism. I see too many football players and people wanting to "test their skills" just jump in the MMA...and doing so with success because it is bringing the organization money. I love the sport but I am seeing that they are becomming more concerned with just putting on "styles make fights" instead of putting on the best fights. I don't care if a fight takes 25 minutes and it takes place all on the ground because I appreciate high level transitions and people that can dominate. The average fan cannot and that is what the UFC is starting to cater too and Kimbo is a shining example of that IMO>
Fact of the matter is that MMA is a WHOLE different beast than boxing. Kimbo was checking most of those leg kicks and none of them were landing with any sort of force. Houston was baiting Kimbo and trying to land a big counter punch, it was pretty obvious. If Houston wanted those kicks to mean anything he would've put a bit of force into them like he did in the third. His gameplan wasn't "Kick him until he gets TKO'd with that knee" like it may have looked, it was "Kick him and try and get him coming in and knock his ass out!" Thats why he was only kicking with his lead leg and he was doing so fairly gently, so he could return that foot quickly and so he still had all his power in the back foot for when Kimbo came in trying to throw haymakers.
That's the reason I'm impressed with Kimbo is because he DIDN'T bite on those kicks. He checked them and kept circling and never got frustrated. He waited for Houston to make mistakes instead of making a huge one of his own. When Houston DID make mistakes he capitalized on them BIG TIME. Kimbo also passed Houston's guard like butter and mounted him twice, almost took his backand instead almost snapped his neck. There's no denying the fact that Kimbo is very seriously becoming a student of the game. He IS humbled now and heknows he needs to train and learn to fight correctly if he's ever going to do anything in the sport. That's why many of us are so surprised by him, because he was exactly what you said he was, but he is no longer.
Also, there's no need to be mad at Kimbo for where he's at, because he's at a C level in the UFC right now. Houston isn't much ofa name after being destroyed and then basically cut from the UFC. The UFC gave him someone with a name, but who doesn't even rank in the division anymore. So while it may look like they're giving him high profile fights, they aren't, he is exactly where he should be. My guess is his next fight is against someone like Al-Turk, Al-Hassan (dude who got his shit snapped), Rodney Wallace (who doesn't even have a pro record apparently?), Kyle Kingsbury or Igor Pacrajak. Those are all b-to-c level fighters in the UFCs LHW division. He probably won't fight anyone with a name for at least two more fights. If you think about it, the UFC isn't going to be able to sell him if he's terrible, so they're going to want to make sure he's actually raising his skill level and getting things done right. There's no way this will turn into a Brock Lesnar situation.