Last night, Strikeforce graced the American Airlines Arena in Dallas, TX with the second installment of its World Heavyweight Grand Prix quarter-finals. The event was perhaps one of the ugliest events in recent MMA history with a fight-ending accidental eye poke and what appeared to be a dislocated elbow or possibly a seriously broken arm in the prelims and a main card that featured one extremely bloody fight and several one-sided beatdowns. To make matters worse, the main event saw “The Demolition Man” Alistair Overeem (32-12) channel his inner “The Spider” Anderson Silva (28-4) against Fabricio Werdum (14-5-1) who felt a need to emulate Thales Leites (16-4). The main card itself was lopsided to the point that the match-making would be called into question had the fighters not have stacked so well on paper with “The Snowman” Jeff Monson (37-12), “The Python” Valentijn Overeem (27-22), “The Grim” Brett Rogers (11-3), and KJ Noons (9-4) suffering complete domination at the hands of Daniel Cormier (7-0), “The Grave Digger” Chad Griggs (10-1), “The Babyfaced Assassin” Josh Barnett (22-5), and “Gamebred” Jorge Masvidal (19-6) respectively. MMA Gospel is here with the post-fight shakedown.
Chad Griggs defeats Valentijn Overeem via TKO (Strikes), Round 1, 2:08
It took just over two minutes for Griggs to effectively dispatch the elder of the Overeem brothers. Griggs slipped a head kick 30 seconds into the first and in his typical aggressive style, slammed Overeem to the mat with a lateral drop and proceeded to unload punches with serious bad intentions. The remaining 1:30 of the fight was a lesson in the history of Valentijn Overeem: he got in a bad spot and completely shut down. Overeem took dozens of hard shots to the head and was only saved from a shameful Submission (Strikes) being added to his record by the fact that the referee missed his tap as he was stepping in to stop the fight. Griggs again proved that he isn’t in the cage to play games and wrestle to decisions – “The Grave Digger” is there to bury people and will attack like a junkyard dog until he does.
Daniel Cormier defeats Jeff Monson via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27), Round 3, 5:00
In what many thought would be the evening’s premier ground battle, OSU and US Olympic Team wrestling stand-out Daniel Cormier faced former PAC-10 and Abu Dhabi Combat Club champion Jeff Monson. The match was far from what was expected though as Cormier proceeded to dominate the entire bout without attempting a single takedown. Throughout the fight, Cormier blasted “The Snowman” with a storm of straight punches. Monson retaliated with a few big overhand rights but was trading punches on a 10:1 basis with Cormier. The end of the fight was a predictable 30-27 decision for Cormier who adds a bloodied and completely outclassed Jeff Monson to his growing list of victims.
Jorge Masvidal defeats KJ Noons via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27), Round 3, 5:00
The night of lopsided beatings continued into the lightweight title contendership bout between former welterweight title challenger KJ Noons and blue chip prospect Jorge Masvidal. The fight was predominantly a stand-up affair which many would feel favored KJ Noons with his professional boxing background, but much like “Diablo” Nick Diaz (24-8) did, Masvidal used the threat of the takedown and submission game to keep Noons timid and gun shy as he tore him apart with vicious leg kicks and long, straight punches. By the end of the first round, Noons was breathing from his mouth and had multiple cuts on his face and head. By the end of the second, he had a noticeable limp from the repeated leg kicks and one of his eyes had begun to swell shut. By the end of the final frame, fans were just happy that Masvidal had taken time off from punching Noons in the face for a few takedowns because any more punishment would have been considered inhumane. The judges rendered three 30-27 scores, but the first should have been 10-8 and the fight was completely one-sided. Attention lightweights: there is a new gun in town and his name is Jorge Masvidal.
Josh Barnett defeats Brett Rogers via Submission (Arm Triangle), Round 2, 1:17
“The Babyfaced Assassin” made no effort to hide his game plan heading into his bout with Brett Rogers. He said he was going to put Rogers on his back and twist something until it came off or the referee made him stop and that’s exactly what he did. The former Sam’s Club tire attendant has made a name in MMA for his brutal KO power, but he seems to have left out a very key element in his training. He has absolutely no ground game. Once Barnett had him on the mat, a feat which he accomplished via slam into side mount less than a minute into the first round, the fight was all but over. The first round consisted entirely of Barnett smothering Rogers and moving from side mount to quarter mount to mount in search of a limb to torque. Rogers got a second chance when the round ended, but his time on his feet was even more brief in the second. Barnett took Rogers down directly to mount and secured an Arm-Triangle Choke to end the fight before grabbing the mic during the post-fight interview and going on a pro-wrestling-esque promotional rant about adding “The Grim’s” head to his pile of skulls. Another completely one-sided fight that adds fuel to the fire of the critics who have claimed that, tournament or not, Strikeforce heavyweights in no way stack up to the UFC elite as the long gone former UFC champ smokes one of Strikeforce’s golden boys.
Alistair Overeem defeats Fabricio Werdum via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28), Round 3, 5:00
First things first, Fabricio Werdum in no shape, form, or way won this fight by any stretch of the imagination of even the most skewed manipulation of the judging criteria and to say otherwise is borderline ignorant. The fight was unbelievably dull and consisted of Werdum winging a multitude of ineffective arm punches before getting blasted to the mat by Overeem’s counters where he tried everything from grabbing “The Demolition Man’s” ankles to pulling guard to try and get the fight to the mat. In fact, at one point he even begged Overeem to come into his guard in a truly pathetic display of how a one-dimensional skill set leaves a fighter at any decent opponent’s mercy. Overeem for his part showed almost no aggression. He simply swatted Werdum to the canvas repeatedly and then motioned for him to stand-up and receive another. To make matters worse, both men were completely exhausted after the mid-point of the fight. It was a glaring reminder of why Werdum was unable to cut the mustard in the UFC and a solid example of how Overeem’s success in K-1 does not warrant a place in the discussion concerning the world’s number one heavyweight. For Werdum, his day in the sun is likely over, and Overeem now needs a violent destruction of “Bigfoot” Antonio Silva (15-2) to regain his stature in the heavyweight division. Had Zuffa not purchased Strikeforce, last night would have prompted an even bigger “:)” from Dana White.