Strikeforce may be a lame duck promotion but it can still provide thrills

Last night's Strikeforce event was a ton of fun, wasn't it?

It pretty much had a little bit of each facet that makes up mixed martial arts (MMA): thrilling knockouts, slick submissions, and one bout where the two fighters gave it their all from bell to bell.

But after the sweet reverie of violence and brutality was over, the question of how much longer Strikeforce would exist began to creep into many fan's minds.

It's a harrowing thought. Even though Zuffa -- the UFC's parent company -- already owns the San Jose-based promotion and has since earlier this year, the day it becomes defunct will mark one giant step towards an MMA monopoly where Dana White and company hold nearly every card.

And since the clock appears to be ticking on Strikeforce's contract with Showtime -- presumably the only major deal that is keeping a complete usurping of the promotion's roster by the UFC from happening immediately -- it almost seems like we're simply going through the motions each time we sit down for a Strikeforce event.

"Lame duck" is a political term to describe the period between the election and inauguration of a new official. The official who is on his way out no longer has the same clout he once had and is somewhat neutered. While the term is mostly reserved for members of Congress and even the President of the United States, it's an apt descriptor for the situation Strikeforce finds itself in now.

But that doesn't mean the promotion can't book fun cards like the one we saw last night. If the House Scott Coker Built is to meet its end early next year, we can already make educated guesses as to what that final card will look like.

And it's a doozy.

Aside from Challengers Series, the next Strikeforce event is slated for December. It's likely to be headlined by Gilbert Melendez defending his lightweight strap against Jorge Masvidal and there are rumors than Cristiane Santos will return to the cage in a title bout as well. Who "Cyborg" will face remains a mystery for now, however.

Beyond that, it appears as if the promotion's following event will house the finals of the heavyweight grand prix. Likely to take place in February 2012, it could also be the show that satisfies Strikeforce's contract with Showtime.

Unless the contract is extended two more years -- and there is a possibility of that happening to be sure -- it certainly looks as if Strikeforce's swan song on the premium cable channel will be crowning either Josh Barnett or Daniel Cormier as their top heavyweight.

Two former UFC champions, a handful of highly ranked fighters, and the greatest heavyweight to step inside the cage or ring made up the stable of warriors looking stand victorious after all the dust settled. All that remain are "The Warmaster" and "DC," who will no doubt clash in an exciting bout.

What else should we expect to see on this presumably final card?

Newly crowned middleweight champ Luke Rockhold put on an inspired performance last night when he weathered a two round storm from Ronaldo Souza to wrestle -- or rather strike -- away the 185-pound title. Perpetual contender Tim Kennedy was quick to jump on Twitter to stake his claim as first in line to challenge Rockhold.

Barring injury, that fight will likely be signed. It should be a great fight, one that will rival the bout from last night although the title itself is almost an afterthought. As Mania's own Geno Mrosko opined during the event, "That Strikeforce middleweight title is meaningless. What made Rockhold's performance great was it was essentially his UFC audition."

I couldn't agree more with this. The young American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) product immediately endeared himself to Zuffa brass with his gutsy performance. "Jacaré" expressed a desire to rematch his opponent from last night but if and when he stands opposite Rockhold again, it will be inside the Octagon rather than a Strikeforce cage.

Strikeforce's women's bantamweight champ is also likely to be on the card. Miesha Tate won the title back in July and is looking to defend against former foe Sarah Kaufman or new foil Alexis Davis. Davis picked up an impressive win last night -- her second under the Strikeforce banner -- and could definitely make a case for contender status.

Kaufman, of course, was the first 135-pound champion and defeated Tate two years ago. Prior to "Takedown's" title bout with then champ Marloes Coenen, Kaufman made a half joking, half serious tweet about how a fighter she had defeated was getting the shot.

The finals of the heavyweight grand prix and two title fights from the men's middleweight and women's bantamweight divisions sounds intriguing enough, right?

How about a "King Mo" and "Feijao" rematch? That do anything for you?

After brutally knocking out Roger Gracie last night, the former champ made clear his desire to exact a measure of revenge against the Brazilian who beat him for the belt last year.

Rafael Cavalcante was busy last night as well knocking out his opponent in insanely impressive fashion. A head kick sailed over Yoel Romero's head but a spinning back fist put the Cuban on queer street. Romero survived getting knocked out then but upon getting back to his feet, "Feijao" delivered a knee right to the kisser.

While it won't be for a title, a rematch between these two heavy handed sluggers is sure to provide fireworks.

Barnett/Cormier, Rochkhold/Kennedy, Tate/Kaufman, and Lawal/Cavalcante. What say you, Maniacs?

Sound like a good way to send Strikeforce off with a bang?

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