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The ego has landed: Recap and analysis from Strikeforce: 'Shamrock vs. Cung Le'

The HP Pavilion in San Jose had a final attendance of 16,326 for the Strikeforce: "Shamrock vs. Cung Le" event.

Considering the stranglehold the UFC has on the casual MMA fan, that's a pretty impressive number.

What was even more impressive was watching Cung Le rise to the occasion against an opponent that many thought was too skilled for the San Shou warrior.

Le is too green, Le has suspect conditioning, Le has no ground game.

Ladies and gentlemen, Le is the new Strikeforce middleweight champion.

Longtime fans will recall a similar scenario when a young, up-and-coming Ruskie named Fedor Emelianenko first challenged the PRIDE deity known as Antonio Rodrigo "Minotauro" Nogueira.

I'm not saying that Le is the next Fedor, but to be 6-0 with 6 (T)KO's is an awfully good start.

I've heard the conspiracy theories since the end of the fight, and to be perfectly honest, I'm not buying any of them.

I'm not naive enough to think that no sporting event is ever fixed, but anyone who understands the motives behind fixing an event understands this was neither the time nor the place.

Besides, I've been following Frank Shamrock long enough to know his ego would never allow him to roll over for anybody.

And speaking of ego, it may have cost Shammy the fight. He wasn't a lame duck by any means, and his striking was probably as good as I've ever seen it.

The problem was that he couldn't adjust to Le's versatility in his kicks. There was no pattern. A lot of strikers are predictable. Low kick, straight right. High kick, spin.

Le was all over the map. He uses kicks like Anderson Silva uses punches. They were coming from so many different angles that Frank could only defend and that kept him from getting inside.

I kept waiting for Frank to go to the ground. But he promised to keep it standing, and I think in Frank's eyes going to the ground would be admitting defeat. Conceding that Le is the superior striker may have been the only way for Shamrock to win.

Still, Frank is a warrior and he can take punishment. He was close to ending it in the third but Le found a way to answer. To me that gives a level of credibility to his championship.

This was not a flash KO, rather a three round war of attrition. From a striking perspective, it's got my vote for fight of the year.

And of course there is also the other end of the spectrum. I'm speaking of the world's greatest streetfighter. No not Kimbo Slice, the other legendary streetfighter named Marlon Sims.

Sims was KOed in the third round against Billy Evangelista. I don't fault him for the loss, but he looked like a streetfighter in the process. In that I mean he looked like someone who was pulled off the streets and asked to fight.

Gilbert Melendez retained his lightweight title by mauling Gabe Lemley but truth be told I didn't think "El Nino" looked as sharp as he has in the past. Like his loss at Yarennoka, he left himself open on more than one occasion and fought a little recklessly.

And speaking of reckless, did Gabe Lemley owe Herb Dean money? Lemley took a lot of punishment before getting rescued.

Unfortunately no one could rescue Ryan Jensen. He was tough on the ground but the replay showed him trading blows with his eyes closed in a state of perpetual flinching. Not a good strategy against a seasoned guy like Joey Villasenor.

At the post-fight press conference someone asked Wayne Cole what camp he was affiliated with to which Cole's response was "My garage". After the armbar he slapped on Mike Kyle, he should start shopping himself around.

The Drew Fickett that phoned it in at the weigh-ins was thankfully nowhere to be found at tonight's show. In his place was the venerable "Master" we're used to and the way he dispatched Lim was an indication that he's got his sights set on Jake Shields for June 14.

And since we're on the topic of the next Strikeforce event, can they please bring back the same dancers? Nothing like solid legs and a thick booty to get a stadium full of alpha males pounding on their chests (present company included).

Overall this was a solid event. I have never heard a crowd pop like they did for the main event. They love MMA in San Jose and when you pull in the kind of attendance Strikeforce did you can bet they'll be back.

And so will I.

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