A lot will be at stake for EliteXC when it returns to prime-time network television on Oct. 4 during the third installment of CBS’ “Saturday Night Fights.” After drawing a strong rating for its debut CBS show on on May 31, the promotion drew a disappointing rating for its encore on July 26. With the promotion struggling financially, EliteXC desperately needs to come through with a strong rating.

EliteXC will be going against a replay of UFC 86 on Spike TV, post-season MLB on FOX, and college football on ABC that same night and is hitching its hopes on a main event featuring 34-year old former Internet street fighter Kimbo Slice and 44-year old UFC Hall of Famer Ken Shamrock.

Promotion for the Oct. 4 thus far has been sedate in comparison to the heavy push the May 31 show received. However, the marketing appears to be ramping up as commercials hyping the return of Slice aired this past Sunday during CBS’ NFL telecasts.

The stakes for EliteXC are high but they are also high for the fighters themselves. Slice remains a strong draw for the promotion but that could change if he’s unable to redeem himself following his lackluster effort vs. James Thompson during the first airing of SNF. As for Shamrock, he has refused to address the possibility that this could be his last fight, but for an aging veteran with just one win in his last eight fights, the decision whether to continue his career may be taken out of his hands if he does not come away victorious.

For an extended look at exactly what Slice and Shamrock will be fighting for in a couple of weeks, please read my latest column on CBSSports.com.

Also on CBSSports.com is the first blog from TUF 8 light heavyweight fighter Tom Lawlor. Lawlor, who trains out of American Top Team and is considered one of the favorites to reach the finals, gives a breakdown of all the fights from the first episode and also discusses who he believes he’ll be matched up against in his qualifying bout.