It's pretty rare when the UFC and Strikeforce, the two most well know mma organizations in N. America have events airing the same night at basically the same time. It's even more rare when the smaller Strikeforce promotion puts on the better card with more exciting fights. The mma media as a whole was probably in Las Vegas, I mean why pass up an opportunity to cover the UFC, not to mention no one wants to piss off Dana White for not choosing him. Just like a scorned girlfriend, he'd have you banned from UFC events so fast if you passed on the opportunity to interview him and instead went to Strikeforce. For those media members that were in St Louis this Saturday night, they were treated to a non stop card from top to bottom.
While the TUF cast aways, Damian Maia, Kendall Grove, Stephan Bonnar and Igor Pokrajac were grinding out decisions, the stars of Strikeforce were going toe to toe, going back and forth and putting on one of the most exciting top to bottom cards of the year. The card saw top 10 HW Antonio Silva come back from being dropped early in the first round, to knocking Mike Kyle senseless in one of the best survivals and comebacks I've seen in a long time.
It was all quick and to the point from there on out. Robbie Lawler, Paul Daley and Dan Henderson all recorded impressive KO victories and the show was over. I wasn't expecting Daley and Hendo to win that easily, not because they aren't the better fighters, but because Babalu and Smith are both formidable opponents with very strong chins. I expected Lawler to run through Lindland, his striking is superior and he trains every day with some pretty strong wrestlers.
What's next for these guys after their big wins? Silva is lobbying to fight Overeem, that's the initial reason he called out his brother. I personally have never been overly impressed with Silva, but the way he recovered and showed patience in his comeback win made me believe in his ranking. I would have to say Henderson is at least one win away from a title shot, and with King Mo planning on coming back once his knee is 100%, I think that would make an interesting fight and number one contender's match up. I mean two wrestler going toe to toe with the opportunity to fight for a title on the line gets me excited every time.
The surprise of the night to me is Daley calling out KJ Noons. First off, KJ is a professional boxer, and still has more ground game than Daley, more over KJ is a lightweight. Why would a welterweight call out a lightweight who just lost to the champion? Grow a pair and just call out the champion. Daley came to Strikeforce from the UFC after sucker punching Josh Koscheck, so the fans already know who he is, it's not like Strikeforce would have to put much into the marketing of this fight, I mean Daley and Diaz could sell it themselves and I always like to see a slick submission which is how I'm betting this fight would end.
As usual, the UFC is being talked about the most after the event, and as usual the majority of the talk is about the judging. I personally thought the Pham.Garcia fight was close with Nam winning the second round, and that being the only round that was definitive. The score that threw me off the most was the 29-26 score in the Brookins/Johnson fight. Really? If anything the first round could have been 10-8 Johnson, but I don't think Brookins scored a 10-8 round. In my honest opinion, that was one of the easiest fights I've ever scored, it was 29-28 Brookins. I think Strikeforce should be very happy this morning, everyone is talking about their exciting event while those same people are only talking about judging in the UFC. Let's see what kinda show they put out in Jan. and if Fedor is on that card, who knows, Strikeforce just may have the better year in 2011.