It was a bout that was hopefully going to be a starmaking performance for either man when top welterweight contenders Tyron Woodley and Jordan Mein waged war on the main card of Strikeforce: "Rockhold vs. Jardine" last night (January 7, 2011).
Woodley entered the cage with an undefeated record and a small wave of hype while Mein had defeated four notable opponents in 2011 alone to enter contender status in Strikeforce.
It was a bout which was supposed to get fans excited about the next potential future Strikeforce welterweight champion.
So why were fans booing both men out of the cage? Find out inside as well as what's next for both fighters.
Mein looked cautious early, wary of Woodley's takedown, but when it came, he could do nothing to stop it. There was a slight resistance along the cage, but it was only delaying the inevitable. Woodley gained top position and remained there for the rest of the round.
The problem? His inactivity. Woodley didn't try to pass guard. He didn't try to posture up and drop big punches or elbows after perhaps the first initial strikes immediately following the takedown and he didn't try to go for a submission after the initial takedown when he threatened with an arm triangle.
Once Mein regained full guard, he was simply content to bury his head into the Canadian's chest, not even looking at his foe, and drop random punches to Mein's sides. Mein was actually more effective throwing elbows to the top of Woodley's exposed head than anything else, although the top position should have been enough to win the round.
Woodley wasn't the only one to blame, however. Mein was completely ineffective off his back as well. Elbows from bottom simply aren't enough when you aren't capable of either getting back to your feet or trying to submit your opponent off your back.
This went on for three straight rounds and despite there being plenty of opportunities to stand the fight up, the referee actually chose when Mein was threatening with a keylock to bring them to their feet. It was just a bad night for referees all around.
In the end, Woodley top-controlled his way to the judges scorecards where, surprisingly, two of the judges not only gave Mein a round off his back, but one of the judges gave Mein the fight, despite spending about 2 minutes standing out of 15 tops. Regardless, Woodley won a snoozer of a split decision.
For Jordan Mein, this was simply a frustrating fight. He didn't put up nearly enough resistance that would have been necessary to tire Woodley out and take over in the later rounds. Also, he didn't do hardly anything off his back to concern the American Top Team fighter. He's a dangerous striker, but he was almost entirely shut down by a fighter who was almost completely relying on one skill to defeat him. Hopefully this was a wake-up call for him to either get better at popping back to his feet, being more active off of his back or improve his takedown defense. He's gonna need it against the elite welterweights anyways.
Expect to see Mein against some other top Strikeforce welterweights coming off a loss like James Terry, Eduardo Pamplona or perhaps fellow main card welterweight loser Tyler Stinson.
For Tyron Woodley, he won, but there's a big difference between winning and impressing. He did not impress hardly anyone with that victory. He wasn't aggressive, he didn't look to do damage or pass guard or finish the fight. He looked like a fighter who didn't want to take any risks whatsoever or try to improve his position. It's almost like he's regressing, although that can't possibly be true after all the time he's been putting in with great fighters at ATT. This wasn't the performance of someone that Strikeforce would potentially want to have headline fights. There's Georges St. Pierre's recent fights, there's Jon Fitch but Tyron Woodley took the cake last night. It was that bad.
Unfortunately for Strikeforce, they're pretty much out of options. Woodley is likely going to be fighting for the title with his next bout against either Bobby Voelker or in a rematch against fellow main card winner Tarec Saffiedine, although "The Sponge" apparently broke his arm in his fight. One wildcard option suggested by some fans could be if Jon Fitch heads over to Strikeforce and challenges for the title there because he's clearly not going to be doing so in the UFC for many years.
At least that's an intriguing possibility.
So what do you think, Maniacs?
Did you feel the same way about Woodley's performance as most everyone else did? Does he deserve a title shot after his victory?