Who saw this one coming?
Daniel Cormier was giving up over 10 inches in reach, seven inches in height and nearly 40 pounds in weight last night (September 10, 2011) against Antonio Silva in the co-main event of Strikeforce Grand Prix: "Barnett vs. Kharitonov."
So how in the world was he able to repeatedly tag the bigger man, stun him on multiple occasions and eventually knock him out cold in less than four minutes?
Perhaps Cormier read AintNoSunshine's guide to getting inside of a longer opponent.
We'll break it down inside:
Silva at first looked like he'd be pushing Cormier around, quickly forcing him into the fence after some lunging strikes but Cormier pushed off and circled away.
Then it happened.
Cormier exploded forward with an overhand right that dropped "Bigfoot" to the canvas.
So how did the strike land?
Cormier had found his range with the previous strike he'd thrown, a doubled-up left jab that was inches short of connecting.
He takes a huge left step forward to close the distance and by looping his right arm, he's able to throw it over Silva's low lead left hand to connect flush with the Brazilian's exposed chin.
Even though Cormier had Silva hurt, he kept his wits about him. After realizing that the big man was not going to be put out with hammer strikes from guard, the Olympic wrestler backed out.
Once both men had reset, Cormier stunned Silva with a quick left jab and then stopped the former EliteXC heavyweight champ in his tracks with a straight left.
Silva entered desperation mode at this point and actually tried to take Cormier down with a double leg attempt but was easily stuffed and thrown to his back. After getting to his feet, he threw a right kick to the body that Cormier not only caught, but threw his own leg out and swept the big man to the canvas with a thud.
The finish to this fight was incredible.
Cormier catches another kick, ducks a right hand and tags "Bigfoot" with another straight left.
Silva began backing up and Cormier again closed the distance with a quick stutter step to connect with a snapping left jab. He follows this with a short left hook once inside and then unloads a HUGE right uppercut to the face that knocks Antonio Silva out cold.
He throws two hammer fists afterwards, but they were completely unnecessary. They were more the product of poor referee positioning and some hesitation than anything.
For Antonio Silva, speed kills. Daniel Cormier was able to close the distance and connect with huge punches to his face before he could even react to them. The commentators talked about Silva's focus in training with sweeping methods from his back. It appears he may have been a bit too concerned with the American Kickboxing Academy fighter's wrestling and completely underestimated his striking.
There aren't a ton of interesting fights left for Silva under the Strikeforce banner. A fight with Sergei Kharitonov would potentially be interesting. Other than that, he could fight a prospect like Shane Del Rosario (depending on his recovery from the car accident) or someone like Chad Griggs. It appears "Bigfoot" will simply have to wait until the Strikeforce situation is dealt with and he's not holding many cards for negotiations now either.
For Daniel Cormier, that is currently the defining performance of his burgeoning MMA career. His striking was crisp, he looked incredibly confident and he finally showed some serious power in his hands after previously showcasing six consecutive rounds of stand-up against outmatched but durable foes. The only thing to keep an eye on would be his positioning while kicking at Silva's legs when he was standing. He could have eaten an upkick to the knee and had his knee dislocated.
Cormier will move on to the tournament finals against fellow top grappler Josh Barnett, hopefully in early 2012 depending on the status of his tender hand.
So what do you think Maniacs?
After coming out of nowhere, how pleasantly surprised were you with Cormier's speed and power against Silva? Can the former two-time Olympic wrestler win this whole tournament?
All gifs from Zombie Prophet at IronForgesIron.com.