The women once again took center stage in Strikeforce as “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey (6-0) continued her rapid ascent to MMA super-stardom with yet another first-round Armbar submission. This time the victim was former champion Sarah Kaufman (15-2) and the bout took just 54 seconds. Also continuing on the path to greatness was blue chip journeyman Ovince St. Preux (12-5). “OSP” opened the main card in spectacular fashion with a third-round highlight reel KO of TJ Cook (12-5). Grappling specialist Lumumba Sayers (6-3) had the script flipped on him as “Lionheart” Anthony Smith (17-8) lured him into his guard for a first-round Triangle Choke win. “The Sponge” Tarec Saffiedine (13-3) managed to out-work Roger Bowling (11-3) en route to a Unanimous Decision in the anchor bout and the co-main event saw “Jacare” Ronaldo Souza (16-3) put hot prospect Derek Brunson (9-2) away in spectacular fashion with a solid right hand. It was a solid showing for the junior organization of the Zuffa family and made another strong impression for the ladies with Dana White. MMA Gospel is here to recap the action.
It was an amazing weekend for MMA. The UFC kicked off its flyweight division with an entertaining, non-stop, action-packed scrap between Ian “Uncle Creepy” McCall and Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson on Friday night. And Saturday night saw women’s MMA reinvigorated by two great fights between Sarah Kaufman and Alexis Davis and the Strikeforce Women’s Bantamweight Title bout between Miesha Tate and Ronda Rousey. However, it wasn’t all good…
Here on MMA Gospel, we do a column after fights called “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” and I’m going to use that format with my own spin: The Epic and the WTF?! It was originally going to be “The Epic, the Shitty and the WTF?” but I found it hard to separate the shitty from the WTF.
The second installment of Strikeforce action in 2012 takes place this Saturday in the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. “Hands of Steel” Scott Smith (17-9) returns from a timely lay-off to take on one of the middleweight division’s rising new stars, Lumumba Sayers (5-2). “The Punk” Josh Thomson (18-4) is back from injury and will be greeted by KJ Noons (11-4) in his return. Midway through the main card, two dynamos of the sport meet as knockout artist “Semtex” Paul Daley (29-11-2) battles a fellow veteran in “Hitman” Kazuo Misaki (24-11-2). Bristol Marunde (12-6) makes his Strikeforce debut in the co-main event but has a steep mountain to climb in the form of submission ace, “Jacare” Ronaldo Souza (14-3). The main event has been turning heads for some time and now it finally comes to fruition when “Takedown” Miesha Tate (12-2) puts her women’s welterweight title on the line against “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey (4-0). With all the action already placed on the main card, here’s a glance of what to look out for when the combatants take to the cage.
Strikeforce Lightweight Championship
Gilbert Melendez vs. Jorge Masvidal: Melendez via Unanimous Decision (50-45, 50-45, 49-46), Round 5, 5:00
Strikeforce Women’s Featherweight Championship
Cris “Cyborg” Santos vs. Hiroko Yamanaka: Santos via KO (Punches), Round 1, 0:16
Gegard Mousasi vs. Ovince St. Preux: Mousasi via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28), Round 3, 5:00
KJ Noons vs. Billy Evangelista: Noons via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28), Round 3, 5:00
Strikeforce looks to end 2011 with a bang as it unleashes its latest installment of MMA action with Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Masvidal this Saturday night. While Strikeforce appears to be wading in the sea that is the Zuffa media machine, a promising main card has been set that both casual observers and die-hard fans can truly enjoy. The preliminary card is filled with action of its own but the main card is what is set to steal the show. Billy Evangelista (10-2) and KJ Noons (9-4) open things up with a likely display of stand-up prowess. “The Dreamcatcher” Gegard Mousasi (25-3-2) pits his reputation as DREAM Light Heavyweight Champion against blue chip monster “OSP” Ovince St. Preux (10-4). WMMA takes the stage as Strikeforce Women’s Featherweight Champion “Cyborg” Cristiane Santos (10-1) brings her vicious Muay Thai striking game to bear against Jewels stand-out Hiroko Yamanaka (11-1) and in the main event, lightweight king pin “El Nino” Gilbert Melendez (19-2) defends what’s his against “Gamebred” Jorge Masvidal (21-6). Let’s dive in and see what to expect and who might come out on top this Saturday night.
June 26, the contract between WMMA’s most prominent champion, 145lbs. queen “Cyborg” Cristiane Santos (10-1) and the Zuffa-owned promotion Strikeforce expired. In the days since, many rumors have surfaced regarding her future and the reasons behind the promotion’s decision to waive their rights outlined in her championship clause. These rumors range from extremely likely, (Santos asking $150,000 a fight to continue with the promotion) to the believable if unlikely, (Zuffa wanting to focus on the more talent rich 135lbs. weight class), to the outright absurd, (Zuffa is run by sexist pigs bent on the destruction of WMMA). While these debates will continue until an official statement is released, and indeed, will likely continue after such a statement in the case of the Zuffa-hating conspiracy theorists, the real question is who really comes out as the biggest loser in this situation: Strikeforce for losing a huge draw and exciting fighter, or WMMA itself for seeing its undisputed queen expelled from the biggest stage in the sport?
Brazilian Chute Boxe practitioners “Cyborg” Evangelista Santos (17-14) and “Cyborg” Cristiane Santos (10-1) could be considered the first couple of MMA. Team Black House fighters “Lil’ Nog” Antonio Rogerio Nogueria (18-4) and “Minotauro” Antonio Rodrigo Nogueria (32-6-1) can be deemed the siblings of submission, and Dan Miller (13-4) and “The Mongoose” Jim Miller (19-2) could be considered the true blue-collar brothers of battle. Now, in the latest edition of families who are making their legacy known in combat, “The Natural” Randy Couture’s (19-10) son, “Natural Light” Ryan Couture (1-0 Professional, 4-0-1 Amateur), is getting set to blaze his path in MMA history. Although Randy made his career known by using his Greco-Roman wrestling to bend his opponents to his will, his son’s legacy in the amateur level is being paved with the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu that has ended each of his five wins via submission. With professional level fighters and trainers alongside him at Xtreme Couture, Ryan might just have the right tools at his disposal to take the lightweight bracket by storm. After a successful first round submission victory in his professional debut last summer, Couture is returning February 18 under the Strikeforce banner hoping to keep the winning streak alive.
Strikeforce presented another Showtime sports event with welterweight champion “Diablo” Nick Diaz (23-8) taking on Chute Boxe fighter “Cyborg” Evangelista Santos (17-14) in the main event in one of two title fights this past Saturday night. Before these two took to the cage at the “Shark Tank” of the HP Pavilion Center in San Jose, California, big names such as Roger Gracie (4-0) of the renowned Gracie family came to not only remain undefeated, but to prove his family is still as much of an influence in MMA with not only instructing Jiu-Jitsu but fighting as well. Herschel Walker (2-0) hoped to master another battlefield when he traded out the gridiron for six sides of steel, and elite middleweights “Jacare” Ronaldo Souza (13-2) and “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler (18-7) met for the middleweight championship.
Strikeforce returned to Showtime last night with its “Diaz vs. Cyborg” card, broadcasting live from its headquarters city of San Jose, California at the HP Pavilion for an explosive evening of fights. Up for grabs were both the welterweight and middleweight titles, as well as Roger Gracie of the highly regarded Gracie family (4-0) attempting to stay undefeated in a clash with Muay Thai kickboxer Trevor Prangley (22-7) and crossover superstar Herschel Walker (2-0) taking on Scott Carson (4-2). The crowd was primed and ready to go crazy, and with the event that included exciting finishes and all-out-wars, Strikeforce surely did not disappoint with its latest effort. Here’s how the fights turned out.
Okay, Spilled Bag of Fights… here we go… Aesop Rock on the iTunes, coffee, vanilla cream cookie. Wait. Looks like we could use a refill on the coffee – hold on… Okay. Spilled Bag of Fights. Here we go… I’m writing this fucking thing on Notepad. I’m in exile, you see. No, not exile… I’m a refugee. Did I spell that right? I dunno. Fucking Notepad doesn’t have spell-check. I should just write this in e-mail…
Okay, here we are in e-mail. So, anyway, I’ve very specifically avoided writing much about me, the guy behind the bag, and try to keep it pretty focused on MMA. And since this is ostensibly an MMA wrap-up column, what better time or platform to ramble on about things that have nothing to do with MMA? Such as the fact that my room in my apartment in LA is uninhabitable due to a combination of a leaking roof and a week-and-a-half of straight rain. So, I’m in Las Vegas visiting Moms and unsure what to do next since the landlord seems to think I should pay the same amount of rent for an uninhabitable apartment as one that fulfills one of the basic requirements of a shelter – i.e.: fucking SHELTER! My contention is that if I wanted a leaky, moldy shelter, I could probably fashion one from some plastic and a cardboard box behind the auto parts store. Sure, I’d miss some of my favorite TV shows and MMA but no one would expect rent for it. So, as I wait in Vegas to find out what the response is to my “How about I don’t pay for what I’m not getting?” offer, I sit down nonetheless and write a Spilled Bag of Fights, for you, loyal readers. For you. Now, when I call the column “Phoning It In”, it’s partially because I don’t have much to write about but also a clever play on words since I asked you guys on Twitter what to write about and I put your suggestions and my responses at the end of the column… like you were phoning in… heh?! See what I did there?? eh?