Strikeforce returned to the Showtime airwaves last night (March 3, 2012) with "Tate vs. Rousey," broadcasting live from the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
In the main event of the evening, Miesha Tate put her 135-pound title on the line against undefeated contender Ronda Rousey, who secured her shot at the division crown by winning four straight contests via first round armbar.
Make it five.
The "Rowdy" one, who not only talked the talk heading into last night's main event, but also proved she could walk the walk, got all she could handle from Tate, who shrugged off an initial arm-lock right out of the gate. In fact, "Takedown" was able to rattle off a few submission attempts of her own, proving her ground game was on par with that of the former Olympian.
Well, at least for a little while.
Rousey was able to once again secure a dominant position and lock up a limb with just over 30 seconds left in their frenetic opening frame, but this time, there was no giving it back. Tate showed an incredibly high tolerance for pain, grimacing and squirming as the clock ticked away, but the inevitable tap -- and horrific still shot of her broken wing -- came at the 4:27 mark of round one.
Snap, crackle, pop.
While one champion was being crowned, another was in the broadcast booth, keeping a keen eye on the 155-pound affair between Josh Thomson and Karl James Noons. It's been said that "heavy is the head that wears the crown." Well, even heavier is the eyelids that watched that fight.
Because Thomson fought "like shit."
That's according to "The Punk," who was visibly upset with his unanimous decision win over "King" Karl. The former lightweight champion attributed his poor performance, one that had the Columbus boo-birds harmonizing by the start of the second stanza, to a pair of Staph infections during training camp.
Not that it stopped him from demanding a trilogy with Gilbert Melendez.
Thomson stifled Noons with his wrestling-based attack and even had the former EliteXC straphanger gasping for air from an arm-triangle choke, but their inability to keep the fans in the game makes it difficult to generate any kind of excitement for a rematch against "El Nino."
Especially with so many terrific (and fresh) match-ups awaiting Melendez in the UFC.
One person who knows a thing or two about mixing it up inside the Octagon is Paul Daley. The British bomb-dropper made a name for himself under the ZUFFA banner by pasting more than a few careless welterweights.
Kazuo Misaki would not become one of them.
The Japanese import made a successful debut not just in Strikeforce, but in the 170-pound weight division as well. And he did it by beating "Semtex" at his own game. Daley, who's been criticized for having the ground game of a cigar store Indian, made a concerted effort to continually take the former PRIDE middleweight to the floor.
Because he just couldn't hang on the feet.
Misaki was quicker to the punch, lighter on his feet and simply out-struck his bewildered foe, who seemed more concerned with landing the knockout punch than finding his range and working his jab. Daley also allowed the "Hitman" to control the center of the cage, busted up nose and all.
In the end, it cost him the fight.
But it may not have cost him his job, which unfortunately can't be said for Scott Smith, who dropped his fourth straight fight under the Strikeforce banner when Lumumba Sayers strangled him en route to a first-round submission win. The Coloradan needed just over 90 seconds to melt the "Hands of Steel" with a lightning-fast takedown that Smith tried to convert into a guillotine choke.
Instead, it got him scooped and slammed.
In fact, Sayers used the gorilla press and subsequent canvas-crash to lock in a choke of his own. Smith pawed and clawed at the offending arm, but in the end he chose to tap, rather than nap. Based on his recent struggles, that tap may as well have served as his resignation.
See you in Bellator.
"Jacare" came out like a man possessed and despite his vaunted jiu-jitsu prowess, controlled the first three rounds of action through crisp striking and calculated aggression. Students of the ground game, however, did not go home disappointed.
The Brazilian took advantage of his late replacement in the third and final frame, dragging his weary foe to the ground and sinking in an arm-triangle choke. While the win in "Discovery City" still leaves him one spot behind Tim Kennedy in the line of eligible contenders, it unquestionably put the remainder of the division on notice.
Mr. Rockhold, take us to DEFCON 3.
That's a wrap from Columbus. Now it's your turn to discuss Strikeforce: "Tate vs. Rousey" in the comments section below. And after last night's main event, there's certainly plenty to talk about.
Have at it.