Streetfighter Kimbo Slice survived to fight another day and mixed martial arts made its debut on free television like a teen-ager making a first appearance at a prom.

Elite XC put its best foot forward and scored a knockout with several competitive and explosive bouts on CBS and national television on Saturday night at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.

Slice, with his experience in hundreds of street fights including many caught on video, needed every ounce of knowledge to subdue Britain’s James “Colossus” Thompson (14-9), who entered as a question mark opponent, but left as a gallant warrior with a better than expected chin.

Thompson deserves full applause.

The Englishman came to fight and showed every weakness of Slice’s arsenal,  especially avoiding the take down. The Miami strongboy just couldn’t find the antidote to Thompson’s takedowns and found himself on the ground several times.

If not for Slice’s trainer Bas Rutten, think of the possible outcome.

Instead, Slice was able to use his strength and the advice of his trainer to escape several near fatal strangleholds and mounts. After the second round, as Thompson pinned him against the cage, it was only a lack of time in the round that saved Slice to fight another day.

When Slice stood up to begin the third round, he looked like a beaten warrior in search of landing a knockout blow. It wasn’t that the Floridian couldn’t land his punch, it was Thompson’s chin that seemed able to absorb hellacious blows.

Within seconds of the third round Slice found the mark for his punches,  including a right hand that busted open Thompson’s cauliflower ear. Blood immediately flowed and suddenly Slice had an obvious target.

He made good use of the ear.

Several more right hands, including a pinpoint right uppercut,  snapped Thompson’s head up and down like a bobble head doll. The referee immediately stopped the fight though the rugged Brit never went down 36 seconds into the third round.

Slice collapsed to the floor.

“I’ve got a long way to go,” said Slice (3-0) after the fight.

Maybe so, but he never gave up. Even when Thompson was piling punch after punch on his noggin as he helplessly hung on.

He passed his first real test.

But MMA as a whole does not have a long ways to go. Perhaps female fighting as a whole got a boost when Gina Carano battled Kaitlin Young (4-2) in a brave display of tactical fighting and gritty determination.

Carano (6-0) proved too strong for Young, who never gave up, but whose face sustained bruising and swelling from withstanding right hands like a windmill.

More importantly, female fighting, which has always been overlooked especially in boxing, was able to showcase technique, power and nonstop action between the two women warriors.

It’s about time that America gets to see what only a few know: female fighters provide the best action.

Carano pummeled Young and forced a knockout at the end of the second round.

In the battle for the EliteXC middleweight title, Rob Lawler kept his title when opponent Scott Smith was accidentally poked in the eye by a finger and told the ringside doctor he couldn’t see. The doctor stopped the fight.

According to MMA rules if a title fight does not go beyond three rounds, then it is ruled a no contest, therefore Lawler kept his title. But for almost three rounds, Smith and Lawler battered each other relentlessly. Then came the finger to the eye and action was stopped at 3:28 of the third round.

Another middleweight fight saw Joey “The Boxer” Villasenor stop Phil “The New York Badass” Baroni with a series of punches and knees. It was a left hook that started the downfall for Baroni. After that, Villasenor unleashed the power to force a technical knockout at 1:11 in the first round.

It was the first time that regular television had ever shown an MMA show live for the entire country. On a whole, you couldn’t have asked for anything better. It was MMA at its best and most colorful.