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.
MMA Gospel Radio’s Gary Friedman and Amy Barton kicked off this week’s show with an in-depth round table discussion of the upcoming Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix with MMA Gospel staff writer Cole Moorman and Rich of My Take Radio. The panel discussed each of the tournament’s eight participants as well as the brackets, and some interesting points were covered ranging from the involvement of “The Last Emperor” Fedor Emelianenko’s (31-2) infamous management team at M-1 Global to the inclusion of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion “The Demolition Man” Alistair Overeem (30-12) in the early tournament rounds.
After over a month of speculation, planning, and contract negotiations, Strikeforce has confirmed that it will be holding its inaugural heavyweight tournament starting next month. The eight-man single-elimination Grand Prix is set in four stages; the quarter finals will be held on two events and the semi-finals and the finals will each take place on separate cards. All of Strikeforce’s biggest named heavyweights are involved in the tournament including current Strikeforce, K-1, and DREAM heavyweight champion “The Demolition Man” Alistair Overeem (30-12), who will be competing in the Grand Prix to defend his Strikeforce title.
The UFC plays host to the top MMA fighters in the world. On top of them all holding the heavyweight crown is Brock Lesnar (5-1). This Saturday at UFC 121 he will face off against Cain Velasquez (8-0) in what will be a true test to the skill set of both competitors as mixed martial artists. If Lesnar wins he looks to continue a growing winning streak which includes two title defenses and wins against some of the toughest competition in the heavyweight division. With the contested number one heavyweight Fedor Emilianenko’s (31-2) defeat by the hands of Fabricio Werdum (14-4-1) in the main event at Strikeforce’s June card, some have questioned whether or not Brock could truly be dubbed the top heavyweight in the world. A win against Velasquez would solidify his status as the “Baddest Man on the Planet”.
Saturday, October 9, Strikeforce returns to the Shark Tank at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California. The California based promotion has chosen its home base to launch another campaign to remain the number two MMA promotion in the country following the Overeem/Fedor/Werdum debacle and the mishandling of the women’s welterweight tournament. At the helm, a heated rematch between Stockton thug and Strikeforce welterweight champion “Diablo” Nick Diaz (21-8) and the only man who has beaten him in four years, KJ Noons (9-2). Also on the card, the women’s welterweight champ Sarah Kaufman (12-0) defends her title against Marloes Coenen (15-3) and the always entertaining “The Punk” Josh Thompson (16-3-1) takes on Japan’s favorite Brazilian lightweight “JZ” Gesias Cavalcante (14-2-1). Strikeforce needed a PR boost like a dead man needs a casket and a good way to get it is by putting two solid fighters with a lot of bad attitude and mutual disrespect in front of the cameras for a week ahead of time then cap it off with the all but unique attraction of a woman’s match to pull in any stray 18-25 year olds who may be watching the UFC’s counter programing on Spike TV. The card means a lot for Strikeforce, who needs a night of fights so stellar it makes up for the heavyweight confusion and the woman’s tournament they decided to put on a card headed by “Diesel” Joe Riggs (32-12). To the fans, the card is just another great night of fights that makes a monthly Showtime subscription worth having.
“UFC Heavyweight Champion of the World….!” When Bruce Buffer says these words, every fan in the arena as well as those watching around the world knows that the best heavyweight fighter in the world is being introduced. There is never a doubt that the man who holds a UFC title is the best because the UFC ensures that this is the case, ordering instant rematches when there is an argument about who won a title bout and placing their champions at the top of the most prestigious UFC Pay-Per-View cards. If Jesus himself were slated to appear on a UFC card, he would co-main for the champ at best. Also, belt or not, you would never see Brock Lesnar (5-1) on a Fight Night. This is because the UFC understands the importance of proper promotion. Dana White and company follow the two most sacred of promotional laws: never devalue your own company’s titles and if you have a unique attraction, maximize it. These rules not only carried the UFC through the ban era of the mid to late nineties, but built the UFC into the financial powerhouse it is today. Following these rules cost a promotion nothing and even the smallest of amateur promotions follow them. Why can’t Strikeforce seem to get on board?
Just three short months after successfully defending his UFC heavyweight crown against Shane Carwin (11-1), Brock Lesnar (5-1) will return to defend his belt again against young gun Cain Velasquez (8-0) on October 23, 2010 at Anaheim, California’s Honda Center as the headlining bout for UFC 121. While the card has not been “officially” announced by the UFC, UFC president Dana White has confirmed this bout as well as two others featuring lightweights “Hands of Stone” Sam Stout (15-6-1) and “Relentless” Paul Taylor (10-6-1) and middleweights Ryan Jensen (15-6) and TUF season eleven winner Court McGee (10-1). Also rumored to be slated for action on this card is the always crowd pleasing “Rampage” Quinton Jackson (28-8). UFC 121 is already shaping up to be a card with ramifications that run deeper than just the UFC’s pecking order and the chief among those is the answer to the most intense debate between MMA journalists in recent months: Is Brock Lesnar the number one heavyweight fighter in the world?
On July 3, 2010 the UFC returned to the MGM Grand Garden Arena to determine not only the promotions heavyweight champion, but the man who many would consider the number 1 heavyweight fighter in the world. In addition to the showdown between the unbeaten interim champ Shane Carwin (11-1) and returning heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar (5-1) there were also bouts between lightweight standouts George Sotiropoulos (13-2) and “Batman” Kurt Pellegrino (16-5), a rematch between TUF alumni “American Psycho” Stephan Bonnar (12-7) and “The Polish Experiment” Krzysztof Soszynski (20-10-1), a middleweight affair between Yoshihiro Akiyama (14-3) and “The Crippler” Chris Leben (21-7), and a welterweight war featuring “Lights Out” Chris Lytle (29-17-5) and “Immortal” Matt Brown (11-9). UFC 116 delivered like no one thought possible with every fight. From the prelims to the main card every single fight delivered non-stop action and most of the bouts showcased the entire spectrum of true MMA skill sets. However, like every contest, there were winners and losers at UFC 116, but in MMA nothing is ever that simple. Some winners lose, some losers win, and some losers, well, let’s just say they lose more than just the fight. This is an analysis of who came out ahead, who came out a little rough, and who would have been better of staying at home called The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.
On July 3, 2010, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, the multitudes of UFC fans worldwide will witness the greatest heavyweight fight since “The Last Emperor” Fedor Emelianenko (31-2) faced Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovik (28-7-2) in 2005 when UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar (4-1) squares off with Interim Champion Shane Carwin (11-0) not only for the UFC crown, but also for the title of number one heavyweight fighter in the world. Never has there been a bout in the UFC heavyweight division between two such incredibly dominate fighters, not in terms of record per say, but in terms of results. Brock Lesnar is a giant of a man who is far more athletic than the majority of fighters from 185lbs up and he has utterly dominated everyone he has faced since his loss to Frank Mir (13-5). Shane Carwin is just as big, if not bigger, and has never taken more than four minutes to finish an opponent. This fight was already set to be one of the most anticipated bouts in UFC history, but with the fall of Fedor last Saturday, it has become positively epic. The only thing I worry about is how Brock and Shane plan to live up to all the hype in the 2 minutes 55 seconds their fights last on average.
Strikeforce strikes again, and I’m trapped inside a glass box of emotions on this one.
There were four fights on the main card of Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Werdum and none of them went to decision. This sounds like it could be a promising night for Strikeforce however the only issue is that the heavyweight division appears to be in a bit of disarray after a surprising outcome in the main event.
By now many of you already know the result of “The Last Emperor” Fedor Emilianenko (32-2) and Fabricio Werdum (14-4) which was a relatively quick submission for the underdog Werdum in round 1. One thing about this fight seemed a little odd to me. I don’t believe this fight was “fixed” in the sense that the majority of people may suspect it was however, I found it strange that an MMA veteran of 34 fights would go into the guard of a BJJ black belt for ground and pound with his head down. When they showed the replay I couldn’t believe what was happening in front of me. It’s not that I believe Fedor is untouchable or unbeatable, I just refuse to believe that he’s never heard of a triangle and doesn’t know how to defend one.
Shortly after the Main event ended quickly Dana white tweeted the following “:D”. I’m pretty sure I know why Dana is smiling, and furthermore how Strikeforce will keep the smile on Dana’s face.