Strikeforce: "Overeem vs. Werdum," which featured the second half of the first leg of the promotion's heavyweight grand prix tournament, went down earlier TONIGHT (Sat., June 18, 2011) from the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.
Werdum would get the better of Overeem in their first encounter via submission, but it was clear this evening that the Dutch striker was determined to ensure that lightning didn't strike twice.
Overeem consistently refused "Vai Cavalo's" repeated requests to follow him to the canvas, standing above the Brazilian, massive arms widespread, telling him to get off his butt and exchange blows.
Unsurprisingly, for the most part, Werdum rebuffed those advances, too.
In the end, it was was essentially a stubborn fight, meaning that both men had zero interest playing into each others strengths. Werdum did play Overeem's game a bit more than the "Demolition Man," actually landing a few solid strikes that appeared to leave their mark.
It wasn't enough to get the win, however. Werdum turned it on late in the third round, but it appeared to be a case of too little, too late. His flopping and floundering on the mat in the first two rounds more than likely really hurt him in the eyes of the judges.
Nonetheless, it wasn't the sparkling, career-defining performance that just about everyone expected from Overeem. He fought an admittedly careful fight, which results in a semifinal match up opposite Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva, also a jiu-jitsu stylist.
He was right.
Barnett wasted no time, taking down the hard-hitting tire technician in the opening minute of the first round and riding him for the additional four. The proud and experienced "catch wrestler," who secured full mount for a time, angled for submissions, attempting to finish the fight in short order.
"The Baby-faced Assassin" eventually did, but it didn't come until the second frame. He was once again able to secure a dominant position thanks to a rather sprightly 500-pound scramble that eventually ended in an arm triangle choke.
It was pretty much academic, unlike his odd post-fight rant about skulls and back pockets and championship gold. He'll have to talk to Sergei Kharitonov about that in the tournament semifinals.
But I doubt he wants to hear it, either.
Former Elite XC lightweight champion K.J. Noons took to the cage against Jorge Masvidal, hoping that a winning performance would catapult him to another championship berth against reigning division kingpin, Gilbert Melendez.
Don't count your chickens before they hatch, Karl.
He ran into an absolute buzz saw tonight in Masvidal, who beat him to the punch and nearly finished him off with a sick throat kick, brutal knuckle sandwich combination that likely would have sent most mortals to La La Land.
To his credit, Noons -- bloody and beaten -- survived and continued to charge forward for two additional rounds. He never even came close to turning the tide -- Masvidal was just on his game tonight.
He countered the aspiring boxer, landed takedowns virtually at will and basically took him to the woodshed for 15 full minutes. Very impressive performance and one that will possibly lead to a well-deserved title shot.
One that will likely be that last in the division for Strikeforce -- there just isn't enough talent at 155-pounds right now to keep it alive. In the meantime, Masvidal will likely fill a very important void.
Should be a very entertaining fight ... if it happens.
Even though, Cormier, 32, is no spring chicken, he appeared to be in entirely different gear against the lumbering, stiff 40-year-old "Snowman." He chose to abandon his strongest asset, keep his distance from the Brazilian jiu-jitsu and showcase his improving stand up skills.
It was a recipe for success.
The fight wasn't even close. Cormier peppered Monson with frequent jabs and random power shots for 15 minutes to earn a unanimous decision win.
Monson didn't even appear interested in setting up a submission. At all. Maybe it was Cormier's gameplan or Monson believed that he could land one big punch and end it quickly.
It didn't happen, snapping his eight-fight win streak. The good news is that he apparently revealed in his pre-fight production interviews that he intended to test the light heavyweight waters in the near future.
That's a good idea.
Cormier might even want to consider it, too. He looks promising; however, he also looks a little soft ... especially when compared to bigger heavyweights.
In the opening fight of the Showtime telecast, Bobby Lashley bubble-buster Chad Griggs and his scraggly mutton chops were looking to score their third straight unlikely victory inside the Strikeforce cage.
"The Grave Digger" was up against veteran Valentijn Overeem -- the older brother of Alistair -- in yet another fight that he wasn't supposed to win. But once again, to the chagrin of Strikeforce match makers, the heavyweight "cockroach" once again rose to the occasion.
Griggs landed a takedown early in the first round and quickly followed it up with punishing ground and pound, which had "The Python" writhing in pain and looking for an easy way out.
He found it, tapping to strikes to the incredulity of just about everyone watching at the arena and at home.
It wasn't pretty, but it seems that's often the case when Griggs steps inside the cage. Nonetheless, he comes to fight each night and finishes them ... quickly.
Perhaps a fight with Cormier in the near future is in the cards. Maybe he can squish him.
That's a wrap from "The Lone Star State," Maniacs. Now it's time to share your thoughts on everything that went down tonight inside the cage.
Best and worst of tonight's action?
For complete Strikeforce: "Overeem vs. Werdum" results and play-by-play coverage of the televised main card click here.