Strikeforce has come and gone from the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, leaving empty seats and the occasional snack wrapper or beer bottle where thousands of screaming fans once stood watching “The Last Emperor” Fedor Emelianenko (31-4) fight for the second time in the Windy City. The world’s second most powerful force in MMA presented one of its most stacked cards to date last night and while some of the bouts went pretty much as expected, big things still went down. From the first bell of the prelims to the last punch of Fedor’s main event brawl against “Hendo” Dan Henderson (28-8), MMA Gospel was there, looking for the lasting effects a card with this much name recognition would have on the MMA world.
Fedor Emelianenko vs. Dan Henderson: Henderson via TKO (Strikes), Round 1, 4:12
Marloes Coenen vs. Miesha Tate: Tate via Submission (Arm Triangle), Round 4, 3:03
Robbie Lawler vs. Tim Kennedy: Kennedy via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27), Round 3, 5:00
Paul Daley vs. Tyron Woodley: Woodley via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28), Round 3, 5:00
Scott Smith vs. Tarec Saffiedine: Saffiedine via Unanimous Decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27), Round 3, 5:00
Bellator’s most popular host, The Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Hollywood, Florida, will welcome perhaps the most talented division of all the Bellator ranks. The middleweight tournament is set and eight men will enter the cage to fight their way to the top. Ruled by the aggressive and powerful champion “Shango” Hector Lombard (27-2), the middleweight division has to produce a truly gifted challenger to make it worth his while and Bellator has done just that with eight of the best the world has to offer. With several returning fighters and plenty of new faces looking to take Bellator by storm, Season 5 is perhaps the deepest tournament pool to date.
Strikeforce Heavyweight and K-1 Champion “The Demolition Man” Alistair Overeem (32-12) has reportedly been cut from Strikeforce.
After much back-and-forth talk from Overeem, his camp, and the Strikeforce and Zuffa brass about his Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix semi-finals match-up with “Bigfoot” Antonio Silva (15-2), Overeem ultimately withdrew from the fight July 18, stating that the September 10 fight date would not allow ample time to heal from the broken toe he allegedly sustained even prior to his quarter-finals bout against “Vai Cavalo” Fabricio Werdum (14-5-1), in which he won the decision after three relatively uneventful rounds. Additional injuries to “The Demolition Man” have been reported but not yet confirmed.
Friday’s edition of “Inside MMA” first broke the news of Overeem’s release and was immediately followed by an official statement from HDNet regarding the matter. Overeem’s trainer Martijn de Jong also confirmed the cut, though Strikeforce officials have yet to release a statement to confirm or deny Overeem’s departure from the organization.
After the smoke clears from “Hands of Steel” Scott Smith (16-8) and Tarec Saffiedine’s (10-2) card-opening bout and “Semtex” Paul Daley (24-11-2) and “T-Wood” Tyron Woodley (10-0) square off, Strikeforce will deliver a trio of bouts that have captured the attention of MMA fans worldwide. First, 185ers “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler (18-7-1) and Tim Kennedy (14-3) will face each other in a slugger’s duel to climb one step higher on the middleweight ladder. Then, in the co-main event, incumbent champion Marloes Coenen (17-4) will pit her Golden Glory kickboxing and renowned submission skills against “Takedown” Miesha Tate (11-2). Finally, in the evening’s featured attraction, current Strikeforce and former PRIDE 205lbs. champion “Hendo” Dan Henderson (27-8) will face one of the most respected and controversial figures in MMA history, “The Last Emperor” Fedor Emelianenko (31-3). After suffering back-to-back one-sided losses, Fedor Emelianenko flirted with retirement and faces falling out of the top ten for the first time in his career should he fail against “Hendo”. Henderson himself is riding a pair of KO wins and is looking at a triumphant and profitable return to the UFC with a win over the Russian Sambo master under his belt.
Before “The Last Emperor” Fedor Emelianenko (31-3) steps into the cage to face the dangerous for all the same reasons “Hendo” Dan Henderson (27-8), Strikeforce will treat the Windy City to a dose of mixed martial arts action featuring “Hands of Steel” Scott Smith (16-8), Tarec Saffiedine (10-2), “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler (18-7-1), Tim Kennedy (14-3), “Semtex” Paul Daley (24-11-2), and “T-Wood” Tyron Woodley (10-0). Joining this stellar cast of warriors are the ladies who make up the co-main event, Women’s Welterweight Champion Marloes Coenen (17-4) and her challenger “Takedown” Miesha Tate (11-2). Coenen failed in her run at 145lbs. but dropped to the welterweight division and submitted two previously undefeated fighters in former champion Sarah Kaufman (14-1) and “Girl-Rilla” Liz Carmouche (3-1). Tate, for her part, won her way into title contention by returning to the Challengers Series with a three-fight win streak that saw her defeat two top opponents in one night. The match means the world to WMMA, as the womens’ place on the primary Zuffa roster rests squarely on the sustainability of the women’s welterweight division. After the performance Kaufman put on last Friday, these ladies will have to bring their A-game to prove that there is more than one 135er with the skills to interest the MMA world at large and, more importantly, the Zuffa brass that decides whether the ladies stay on the Strikeforce main card or find themselves sent back to a niche market appeal on the Challengers Series.
This Saturday night, one of the world’s premier mixed martial arts promotions presents what may be its most impressive card to date with Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Henderson. Heavy-handed brawlers “Hands of Steel” Scott Smith (16-8), “Semtex” Paul Daley (24-11-2), and “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler (18-7-1) will square off with Tarec Saffiedine (10-2), “T-Wood” Tyron Woodley (10-0), and Tim Kennedy (14-3) respectively, and nearly guarantee highlight reel-worthy matches as well as a knockout or two. The co-main event sees the ladies take the spotlight with Womens’ Welterweight Champion Marloes Coenen (17-4) putting her belt on the line against top wrestler “Takedown” Miesha Tate (11-2). MMA fans across the globe wait with bated breath for multiple-time Russian Sambo Champion and arguably the most popular fighter in the history of the sport, “The Last Emperor” Fedor Emelianenko (31-3), to step into the cage on the heels of two consecutive losses to face fellow PRIDE veteran and proud owner of the most dangerous overhand right in MMA, Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion “Hendo” Dan Henderson (27-8).
Here, MMA Gospel’s staff make their own predictions of how the night with infinite possibilities will play out. Don’t be shy – post your picks for Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Henderson’s main card, and don’t forget to tune in to Showtime this Saturday at 9pm ET to catch the fights live.
Two legends of MMA will collide in a long-awaited match-up this Saturday night in Hoffman Estates, Illinois as Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion ”Hendo” Dan Henderson (27-8) will meet “The Last Emperor” Fedor Emelianenko (31-3) for the first and possibly last time in their respected careers. Strikeforce Women’s Welterweight Champion Marloes Coenen (17-4) will finally take on “Takedown” Miesha Tate (11-2) in the night’s co-main event. Former UFC contender “Semtex” Paul Daley (24-11-2) will face Big 12 wrestling champion “T-Wood” Tyron Woodley (10-0) and “Hands of Steel” Scott Smith (16-8) will open the card against “Sponge” Tarec Saffiedine (10-2). Also on the card is former title challenger and Elite XC Middleweight Champion “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler (18-7). Lawler has had mixed success within Strikeforce, with two bone-chilling knockout wins and three losses, the most recent being his title fight against champion “Jacare” Ronaldo Souza (13-2). Lawler will face former US Army sniper and former title challenger Tim Kennedy (14-3) in a barn burner match-up that will likely lead one to another title shot against the man who defeated them both.
Chicago, Illinois’ Sears Center plays host to one of the year’s most spectacular cards when Strikeforce and M-1 Global come together to present Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Henderson. “Hands of Steel” Scott Smith (16-8) takes on “Sponge” Tarec Saffiedine (10-2) in a welterweight battle. Two crowd favorites collide when US Army veteran Tim Kennedy (14-3) is granted his wish to fight knockout artist “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler (18-7). The ladies grace the Windy City when “Takedown” Miesha Tate (11-2) challenges Marloes Coenen (17-4) for the female 135lbs. welterweight title. In the main event, “The Last Emperor” Fedor Emelianenko (31-3) meets Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion “Dangerous” Dan Henderson (27-8) in a catchweight battle that fulfills a long-time PRIDE FC fantasy. In the middle of all this action, former Strikeforce welterweight contender “Semtex” Paul Daley (24-11-2) hopes to let his hands bring him back to title contention when he fights up-and-coming prospect “T-Wood” Tyron Woodley (10-0). Daley’s hands are a weapon in itself but the unforgiving wrestling of Woodley leaves many smothered before tapping out. Now with former welterweight champion “El Diablo” Nick Diaz (24-8) vacating the title challenge reigning 170lbs. king “Rush” Georges St. Pierre (22-2) under the UFC banner, a win for either fighter would pull them closer to a shot at the belt.
This week will begin a brand new arch in MMA Gospel’s Technique of the Week featuring Hapkido master Ed Perdomo and his assistant Adam Valencia. This set of three will focus on the set-up in a big way. It has always been stressed throughout the year- long run of Technique of the Week that the set-up is everything and as we draw closer to the anniversary, just six weeks away, MMA Gospel has chosen to present two arches that stress the core principles of grappling that have always been the underlying theme of Technique of the Week. This arch will begin with a Reverse Half Nelson Sweep from Turtle to Side Mount, and will continue into a pair of submissions from the Scarf Hold in the following weeks.
Saturday, July 30 will mark one of the Strikeforce organization’s biggest cards to date. Supported by the high drawing Women’s Welterweight Championship bout between incumbent Marloes Coenen (17-4) and “Takedown” Miesha Tate (11-2) and Strikeforce superstars “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler (18-7-1), Tim Kennedy (14-3), “Semtex” Paul Daley (24-11-2), and “T-Wood” Tyron Woodley (10-0), the main event between controversial former king of the heavyweight division, “The Last Emperor” Fedor Emelianenko (31-3) and former PRIDE multi-divisional champion and Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion “Hendo” Dan Henderson (27-8) is a fight that has the hearts of MMA fans everywhere astir. However, before the big names take the stage, two men who have quietly toiled away putting on “Fight of the Night” performances will open the card. “Hands of Steel” Scott Smith (16-8) has never been in a boring fight – win, lose, or draw he always brings a certain dramatic element to the cage with his memorable brawls. His opponent Tarec Saffiedine (10-2) has put on world-class performances on the international stage and has finally landed himself on the big show after a three-fight stint in the Strikeforce Challengers Series. Now the two are set to collide and while the casual fans may not remember the names, they are certain to remember the fight.
Featherweight firepower lit up the Casino Rama in Rama, Ontario last night with both tournament semi-finals of the stacked Summer Series 145lbs. bracket. Former Bellator lightweight title challenger Pat Curran (14-4) took on British top featherweight “Kid Ninja” Ronnie Mann (20-3) in the main event supported by the action packed co-main event between former Sengoku Featherweight Champion “Monster of Rio” Marlon Sandro (19-2) and young gun Jiu-Jitsu fighter “Naza” Nazareno Malegarie (18-2). Along side the semi-finals were two feature fights in the heavyweight and lightweight divisions. WEC and IFL veteran and London, Ontario’s own “The Polish Hammer” Chris Horodecki (18-3) took on “The So Cal Kid” Chris Saunders (9-2). Beginning the main card on MTV2 was returning heavyweight striker “Goliath” Neil Grove (11-3) against the high octane finisher Zak Jensen (10-7).