The Strikeforce World Heavyweight Grand Prix has reached its conclusion and the result is one that none of the odds makers could have predicted. When the smoke cleared after a year of mixed martial arts action, it was an alternate, Daniel Cormier (10-0), who emerged the ultimate victor after dominating one of the sport’s most respected veterans in “Warmaster” Josh Barnett (31-6) for five full rounds. “El Nino” Gilbert Melendez (21-2) retained his belt in a razor thin Split Decision in his rubber match against “The Punk” Josh Thomson (19-5). The pair of three-round affairs that opened the night’s action, however, took far less time to determine the outcome. “Feijao” Rafael Cavalcante (12-3) got revenge for his 2009 loss to “Mak” Mike Kyle (19-9) in just 33 seconds and “The Kiss” Chris Spang (5-1) added a third knockout to his resume in just over three minutes at the expense of “The Rock-N-Rolla” Nah-Shon Burrell (8-2). It was one of those rare nights where not a single bout disappoints.
—MAIN CARD (on Showtime)—
Heavyweight Grand Prix Final Fight
Josh Barnett vs. Daniel Cormier: Cormier via Unanimous Decision (49-46, 50-45, 50-45), Round 5, 5:00
Lightweight Championship Fight
Gilbert Melendez vs. Josh Thomson: Melendez via Split Decision (48-49, 49-48, 49-48), Round 5, 5:00
Light Heavyweight Fight
Rafael Cavalcante vs. Mike Kyle: Cavalcante via Submission (Guillotine Choke), Round 1, 0:33
Nah-Shon Burrell vs. Chris Spang: Spang via KO (Punch), Round 1, 1:35
After much to do about fallen emperors and Ubereems, buy-outs, drops outs, upsets, and late replacements, the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix has finally reached its conclusion, provided neither “The Warmaster” Josh Barnett (31-5) nor “DC” Daniel Cormier (9-0) has anything unexpected hinder their ability to compete in the match-up. In addition to the tournament finals, Strikeforce has booked a trio of bouts worthy of supporting the organization’s greatest endeavor to date. “El Nino” Gilbert Melendez (20-2) will put his lightweight strap on the line against “The Punk” Josh Thomson (19-4) in the pair’s long-awaited rubber match. “Feijao” Rafael Cavalcante (11-3) will continue to recover from the loss of his title as he looks for a second straight win, and revenge, against “Mak” Mike Kyle (19-8-1). Opening the card, Challengers Series import “The Kiss” Christopher Spang (4-1) will seek redemption for his Strikeforce debut loss as he steps in the cage across from “The Rock-N-Rolla” Nah-Shon Burrell (8-1). It’s a strong card and it has been a long time in the making, and for fans it has a lot of live up to.
Strikeforce hits the ground running in 2012 as it dishes out MMA action this Saturday night from the Hard Rock Cafe and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. The California-based promotion’s veterans welcome new faces to the main card and hope to stake their claim within their respective divisions. Knockout artist ”The Evolution” Tyler Stinson (22-7) takes on “The Sponge” Tarec Saffiedine (11-2) in the main card’s opener. One of the welterweight division’s top dogs, “T-Wood” Tyron Woodley (11-0) collides with the fast rising Jordan Mein (22-6). “The Monsoon” Lorenz Larkin (11-0) takes a step out from the Strikeforce: Challengers series to face his stiffest test to date, “King Mo” Muhammed Lawal (8-1). Just as many who watch NASCAR hope to see a crash, the casual MMA observer comes to watch someone get knocked out and with Adlan Amagov (2-0) and “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler (18-8) suited against each other, the crowd should be on the edge of their seats. Middleweight gold is up for grabs in the main event when champion Luke Rockhold (8-1) defends his newly earned title for the first time against “The Dean of Mean” Keith Jardine (16-9-2). Strikeforce has stepped up its game over the past several years, and if this card is any indication of what’s to come, fans are in for an exciting year.
This Saturday night the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California plays host to UFC 139: Shogun vs. Henderson much to the delight of fans both in the crowd and around the world via Pay-Per-View. Light heavyweight funnyman “The American Psycho” Stephan Bonnar (13-7) takes on “Kingsbu” Kyle Kingsbury (11-2). Welterweight stand-outs “Hitman” Martin Kampmann (17-5) and “The Horror” Rick Story (13-4) duke it out to regain relevance. UFC newcomer and former Strikeforce Middleweight Champion Cung Le (7-1) takes on legendary slugger “The Axe Murderer” Wanderlei Silva (33-11-1) in what is a guaranteed firefight. “The California Kid” Urijah Faber (25-5) and Brian Bowles (10-1) look to claim their shot at bantamweight gold in a #1 contendership fight. The main event is a hardcore MMA fan’s dream as PRIDE legend and former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion “Shogun” Mauricio Rua (20-5) takes on the only man to hold the PRIDE welterweight and middleweight belts, “Hendo” Dan Henderson (28-8). The winner will regain traction in the 205lbs. division and given both fighters penchant for slugging, this fight could go down in history as one of the all-time greats.
—MAIN CARD (Showtime)—
Josh Barnett vs. Sergei Kharitonov: Barnett via Submission (Arm-Triangle Choke), Round 1, 4:28
Daniel Cormier vs. Antonio Silva: Cormier via KO (Punches), Round 1, 3:56
Ronaldo Souza vs. Luke Rockhold: Rockhold via Unanimous Decision (50-45, 48-47, 48-47), Round 5, 5:00
Roger Gracie vs. Muhammed Lawal: Lawal via KO (Punch), Round 1, 4:33
Maximo Blanco vs. Pat Healy: Healy via Submission (Rear Naked Choke), Round 2, 4:27
Feast or Famine. Such is life. Such is MMA. I think over the last week there were about 738 fights. UFC on Versus: Kampmann vs. Sanchez, Strikeforce: Feijao vs. Henderson, Bellator 35 aka The Welterweight Tournament, Chicago Cagefighting Championship with lovable Twitter Smartass/Badass Felice Herrig and the venerable legend and fan favorite Jens “Lil Evil” Pulver headlining. GASP! That’s too much, Billy!! ( From Buffalo 66 http://twitpic.com/4784p3 ) See, now you’re all in on my references. And yes, for the record, I shot that from my TV & uploaded it, just so you would get the reference. I love you that much… Well, either that or I was just procrastinating. Tomato – Tomahto.
So what do I do? Do I focus on a few key fights and ignore everything else or do quick thoughts on everything? Decisions, decisions. Damn, the new season of The Ultimate Fighter is coming up soon and I’ll have that to add to everything else to write about. I need a nap.
After another night of excellent mixed martial arts bouts Strikeforce: Feijao vs. Hendo is in the books. The card delivered something for every fan with a technically masterful decision, a quick finish submission, a come from behind title fight victory, and a brutal KO finish all found amongst the evening’s results. The California-based promotion played well off of the star power and name recognition in former UFC tournament and PRIDE divisional champion “Hendo” Dan Henderson (27-8) and the niche market draw of its WMMA roster to build interest in a card that also featured potential title contenders for the lightweight and middleweight belts. This was a change for the better for Strikeforce as the promotion has displayed a history of stacking all of their big named fighters on tri-annual super cards while the middle tiers of their divisional rosters are left to promote themselves. Strikeforce’s use of “Hendo’s” star power and the draw of WMMA to help introduce its talented second level fighters to the casual fan base was a definite step in the right direction for the nation’s second largest MMA promotion.
—MAIN CARD (on Showtime)—
Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Championship: “Feijao” Rafael Cavalcante vs. Dan Henderson: Henderson via KO, Round 3, 0:50
Strikeforce Women’s Welterweight Championship: Marloes Coenen vs. Liz Carmouche: Coenen via Submission (Guillotine Choke), Round 4, 1:29
Billy Evangelista vs. Jorge Masvidal: Masvidal via Unanimous Decision, Round 3, 5:00 (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Tim Kennedy vs. Melvin Manhoef: Kennedy via Submission (Rear Naked Choke), Round 1, 3:41
Tonight, the world’s second most powerful force in MMA visits Columbus, Ohio for Strikeforce: Feijao vs. Henderson. While the MMA world is frustrated over the delay of the continuation of the Strikeforce World Heavyweight Grand Prix, Scott Coker and his promotional team keep moving along, providing cards that serve up the very best Strikeforce has to offer in the meantime. Tonight, the California-based promotion gives the fans a pair of title fights and a couple of fan pleasing brawls to provide the primer. As is the promotion’s tradition the under card features 11 Ohio native fighters showcasing their skills for the hometown crowd. Let’s take a closer look at the main card to be aired on Showtime.
The year 2010 showcased a wealth of fights and events for the mixed martial arts world to marvel over. “The Answer” Frankie Edgar (13-1) defeated one of the greatest lightweights of all time in “The Prodigy” BJ Penn (16-7-1). Boxing great “Lights Out” James Toney (0-1) stepped into the the cage to face UFC Hall of Famer “The Natural” Randy Couture (19-10) in what was intended to determine the superior combat sport, MMA or boxing. Couture pummeled Toney for nearly three minutes of pure fan delight before submitting him via Arm Triangle Choke. The MMA world was shaken and the heavyweight rankings sent into a state of disarray when the top ranked “The Last Emperor” Fedor Emelianenko (31-2) was handed his first legitimate loss via first round submission to Fabricio Werdum (14-4-1).
To follow up with the 2009 roster exchange agreement between the Strikeforce, DREAM, and M-1 Global MMA promotions, the UFC ended 2010 with the intake of the WEC organization. With all the memorable fights and events that have taken place in the last 12 months, 2011 is the year where prospects can become contenders, fighters inflicted with injury or tribulations return to fight their way to a title, and champions become legends.
Here are some of the top fighters to look out for in 2011.
Tonight, Strikeforce returns to the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Missouri with a fight card that is sure to be one of the promotion’s best efforts of the year, if not ever. Former Elite XC and ICON Sport Middleweight Champion “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler (17-6) takes on Team Quest co-founder “The Law” Matt Lindland (22-7), “Hands of Steel” Scott Smith (16-7) makes his welterweight debut against British slugger “Semtex” Paul Daley (22-10-2), and former Elite XC Heavyweight Champion ”Bigfoot” Antonio Silva (13-2) goes to battle against late replacement “MAK” Mike Kyle (14-7) who steps in for the injured “The Python” Valentijn Overeem (26-21). The card is headlined by two pioneers in the sport of MMA. In the main event, UFC and PRIDE veteran dangerous “Hendo” Dan Henderson (25-8) takes on the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt “Babalu” Renato Sobral (33-9). The two men faced off nearly 11 years ago in Japan and saw Henderson walk away with the Split Decision nod from the judges. Now the two will go at it again to settle the score.
Looks like Strikeforce’s December 4 “Henderson vs. Babalu” card might be making a comeback after all.
What promised to be the organization’s biggest event of the year was nearly reduced to shambles just last week after three of its biggest fan-drawing bouts, two of which were on the main card, were forcibly scrapped due to fighter injuries. The event’s deterioration began last Wednesday when 48-year-old former NFL great Herschel Walker (1-0) withdrew from his match against one-time WEC veteran Scott Carson (4-1) after sustaining a deep cut under his left eye during training. Then, that same day, welterweight Jesse Finney (6-1) dropped out of his main card fight with UFC veteran “Hands of Steel” Scott Smith (16-7), also due to an eye injury, for which he required immediate surgery. Just three days later one of the card’s biggest draws – “The Python” Valentijn Overeem (26-21) – also helped lighten the card’s load by pulling out of his fight with former Elite XC Heavyweight Champion “Bigfoot” Antonio Silva (13-2) after suffering an elbow injury. Strikeforce: Henderson vs. Babalu suddenly was reduced in size by one-third, and the change in line-up left the promotion scrambling to find comparable replacements on short notice. But all is not lost.