Photo by Esther Lin used courtesy of Showtime.
Strikeforce: "Rockhold vs. Kennedy" went down at the Rose Garden in Portland, Oregon, last night (Sat., July 14, 2012), establishing nine winners who will move on from the evening in search of their next big conquest.
There was plenty of winning to go around during the fight card that featured two championship bouts, but there were two big standouts during this particular night of mixed martial arts (MMA) action.
Nate Marquardt became the new Strikeforce Welterweight champion. Luke Rockhold successfully defended his Middleweight title. Roger Gracie and Lorenz Larkin both made triumphant moves down to 185 pounds and looked great in so doing.
You could even give a tip of the cap to the entire Strikeforce organization for delivering a fairly decent fight card on the heels of two nearly consecutive events by its "big brother" organization, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
In the end, there's always somebody that comes out on top as the biggest winner. Subsequently, there's also that guy or girl who under-produces in such a way that it just leaves a foul taste in your mouth.
After the jump, we'll take a look at who stood out as the biggest winner and lowliest loser from Strikeforce: "Rockhold vs. Kennedy."
Though there were many deserving candidates, for me, the biggest winner of the night has to be Nate Marquardt.
After what was quite possibly the worst year of his life, including being cut by the UFC, having a wash-out of a short stint with BAMMA, then finally being allowed to stand back under the Zuffa umbrella, Marquardt made weight (and even came in a half pound under the limit), stuck to his gameplan and kept his word by knocking out the previously unbeaten Tyron Woodley.
The fight was not without its roadbumps, but overall, Marquardt looked like the better fighter for the entirety of the bout.
He was bigger, stronger, had better striking and really looked good at 170 pounds.
Not only did he get a big monkey off his back by getting a win after the long delay, he also proved that this divisional move may have rejuvenated his career.
If "The Great" is able to put another performance or two like that together, it won't be long till he finds himself back in the familiar UFC Octagon.
He made some mistakes. That's a given. But Marquardt is one of the better and nicer guys in all of mixed martial arts (MMA). He paid for his sins and did his time. I think it's time we all move on.
For this one, I'm going to have to go with the Strikeforce promotion, in general. Paint me a "hater," and that's fair enough. But after watching two UFC shows in such a short span of time, I just can't get over Strikeforce's bad production quality.
And that's not on Zuffa. That's entirely on Showtime and Strikeforce.
For starters, how do advertise the fact that you're going to televise the entire preliminary card, then have Jason High vs. Nate Moore go on, right before the TV broadcast kicks in?
To boot, the fight ended up featuring very exciting finish from High, who is one the organization's more noteworthy welterweights. (Not that they have a ton.)
It's just felt sloppy, and as the cameras turned on and focused in on Mauro Ranallo and his band of bunglers, you could tell he was frazzled and that they were trying to figure out what to do next.
Why would you televise every fight except one? And then, if you go that route, why wouldn't you explain that to anyone in the world?
It just felt very "bush league."
Speaking of Ranallo, it would be impossible for me to get through a Strikeforce recap without noting how absolutely terrible he and Frank Shamrock are.
And usually, I give Pat Miletich a pass, but I almost feel his time around the dynamic doofus duo has brought his abilities down to their level.
Every broadcast, Ranallo finds some dumb catchphrase, early on, latches onto it and then never lets go, until he beats it to death.
Shamrock just sits there smiling, because he wants everyone to know he doesn't have braces anymore, but he isn't smart enough to realize that the fans can't hear that when the camera isn't on him.
When he does muster up the courage to say something, it's usually wrong, and he almost never finishes his sentences.
Which works out great, because Miletich is usually there to jump in and finish the sentence, which usually turns into Pat making a statement that almost always sounds like him cheering for a fighter with whom he is friends or a former training partner or coach.
And don't even come at with me your ill-though out comebacks about them being better than Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan. They absolutely are not. You don't believe it. You're just trying to be different and get attention. Stop it.
Goldberg and Rogan have their shortcomings, and the UFC production is not always perfect, but it blows everything else out of the water. And it isn't even close.
I just feel that if you do something as a team, for years, you should eventually get better at it. I've never got the feeling that Strikeforce and its production team have done that, which is sad, because every now and then, they have some pretty enjoyable fight cards.
Anyway, those are my nominees for biggest winner and lowliest loser. Who are yours?