Photo by Esther Lin, Forza LLC via Getty Images
In one of the least surprising results of the night, catch wrestling master Josh Barnett utilized his grappling skills to have his way with a completely outclassed Brett Rogers last night (June 18, 2011) on the Strikeforce: "Overeem vs. Werdum" main card.
Barnett entered his fight last night with plenty of questions surrounding his history with steroids, his long layoff away from the cage and the possibility that he wasn't going to get licensed by the Texas State Athletic Commission.
He used his pro wrestling mentality as a distraction, stealing the show at the Strikeforce open media workouts and stealing the microphone (literally) from Gus Johnson in his post-fight interview.
Find out how Barnett handled Rogers after the jump.
As the fight began, it was apparent that Josh Barnett wanted nothing to do with Brett Rogers standing. He quickly cornered "The Grim," scooped him up above his head and slammed him to the canvas.
Even reaching out and grabbing onto the top of the cage wasn't enough to save Rogers from being put on his back. Barnett was content to ride out his positional advantage for much of the first round, perhaps he was still getting into the groove after such a long layoff from competing against top world-class fighters.
Rogers did a decent job of avoiding submissions early, using his legs to push off the cage and escape danger but Barnett slickly passed right back to mount where he would remain for the rest of the first round, ignoring the boos from the crowd.
In the second round, Barnett opened with by landing a solid hook to Rogers' chin and when the former title challenger dove forward with a clinch attempt, "The Baby-Faced Assassin" easily reversed him with what almost appeared to be a belly-to-belly suplex directly into mount.
This time, Barnett was not content to simply ride out his positional advantage. He immediately began looking to do damage or submit his opponent. He quickly locked in an arm triangle (or in catch wrestling, a "head and arm choke") and Rogers had completely given up by this point, tapping out before Barnett could even finish passing to side control to tighten the hold.
If someone was scripting exactly how Josh Barnett could win this fight, they couldn't have done a better job than the ex-UFC heavyweight champion did last night. He smartly used his catch wrestling to completely neutralize Rogers' striking and avoided getting hit by anything significant.
For Brett Rogers, it's even more obvious than before that he doesn't belong in the cage with the best heavyweights in the world. He's now lost three consecutive fights in Strikeforce and it's going to be difficult finding a suitable opponent for him to fight next if he's allowed to continue to fight for the promotion. Perhaps Valentijn Overeem to help give him a confidence boost.
Josh Barnett's path has already been decided. He'll be facing Sergei Kharitonov in the semifinals of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix. This will clearly be a step up in competition against a man who's competed against some of the best in the world and actually come out victorious. We'll get a much better feeling of where Barnett stands in the division if he can put on a similar show later this year.
So what did you think Maniacs?
Are you ready to forgive Josh Barnett or will his past transgressions follow him to his grave? Where does Brett Rogers go from here?