It's been a couple weeks guys, sorry. I started a new job and had zero time. I'm now back on a "normal" schedule!
I was lucky enough to attend the Strikeforce card this weekend. I got to say it was one of the better events I've been to as far as mixed martial arts action is concerned. Some fickle fans may complain that Strikeforce events are full of mismatched matches, but I couldn't disagree more. Do they have as many "top 10" fighters in any divisions (other than heavyweight) as the UFC? Probably not, but like Scott Coker told me after the press conference, "Paul Daley was top 4 or 5 before he fought Koscheck." He's right. Funny thing is, a lot of fans complain that Fedor's opponents get an inflated ranking just before he faces them, yet those same "fans" fail to realize the same happens in the UFC. Is Dan Hardy top 5? Daley obviously isn't! Point is, true fans of MMA want to see exciting match ups between two men who bring it and fight, and Strikeforce brings us those match ups!
The undercard on Saturday night was amazing. With the exception of one of the amateur match ups, I can't think of a fight that disappointed. I am one of those fans that has absolutely zero interest in watching two women fight, but have to admit that the two women's fights were amazing. Both ended with brutal knees and were filled with great displays of striking. The only thing that seemed to go "wrong" during the prelims was how fast they were finishing. At one point they had to stall for about 20 minutes before starting a new match up just so they didn't finish the prelims 45 minutes before the Showtime card was scheduled to begin.
The first two fights on the main card went exactly how I expected them to go. Roger Gracie defeated Trevor Prangley via rear naked choke and Herschel Walker defeated Scott Carson via TKO. The one thing I took from these two fights was that Gracie needs to work on his stand up...and I mean work on it a lot. Yes his jits is amazing, but history has shown us that being a one dimensional mixed martial artist in this day and age just isn't effective once you start competing against better opponents.
The middleweight title fight between Robbie Lawler and Jacare Souza was an amazing back and forth battle. At one point when Souza was in side control, turned into north/south position and then back over to side control, a fan directly behind me yelled for the ref to stand the fighters up. That is the main complaint I have with going to events live! At least at home I don't have to hear a moron with no clue yelling at the ref when a fighter is clearly in a dominant position. At one point in the first round, Lawler seemed to have Souza hurt, then dropped him. Robbie followed him to the ground, and in my opinion let Souza off the hook and ultimately cost Lawler the title. After a great first round, won by Lawler, we saw an amazing round 2. Souza was able to lock in 2 armbars in the second round, and Lawler amazingly escaped from both. It was a great display of submission defense as Lawler was able to survive and more importantly go into the third round standing again. In the third, Robbie looked tired. Souza gets a takedown, and eventually chokes Lawler out. At the press conference after the fight, Robbie said he was tired after the first 3:30 minutes and his body just wouldn't move. He said it was as if he was moving in slow motion.
By the time the main event had come around, I was in a semi Twitter battle with King Mo Lawal. I had posted a comment on Twitter saying that my only complaint of the night was that the Showtime portion of the card was going to be over in an hour. I give Mo a lot of credit, not only is he a really nice guy, but he's a true fan of MMA. He is constantly defending Strieforce, especially when fans tell him he should go to the UFC. He truly appears to want to see great fights rather than be a "groupie" to one organization.
As a big Nick Diaz fan, I was admittedly a little nervous for this match up with Cyborg. I didn't see it as the huge mismatch that a lot of fans saw it as. I've seen Cyborg's stand up improve dramatically over the last year, and knew he'd use those vicious leg kicks to try and chop Diaz down. The first round was very close, maybe even a dreaded 10-10 round. It was painful to watch Diaz take kick after kick to the thigh and not even seem to think about checking them. The second round saw more of the same, kicks from Cyborg while Diaz opened up with punches. I love when people say Diaz doesn't hit hard, go back and watch Cyborg's head snap back after each punch lands, and then look at his face after the fight. Cyborg was obviously sick of getting punched, so he took Diaz down and that was all she wrote. I don't know what the qualifications are to get a black belt in jiu jitsu at shootbox, but they're obviously not the same as Caesar Gracie has (he's given out 3).
Overall it was an amazing event live. When I watched it right when I got home, the only complaint I had was commentary. Pat Militich is great, other than that their team is garbage. I also asked Scott Coker about the failure to utilize the full 3 hour time slot and received a good, fair answer. Coker told me that Showtime actually gives them a 2 hour window, they want the event over by midnight. At the post fight press conference, Herchel Walker as well as Diaz, both were in rare form. More on that later, I need to go through my recordings. What did you guys think of the action Saturday night?