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Strikeforce: 'Lawler vs Shields' recap and final thoughts

Strikeforce: "Lawler vs. Shields" from the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Missouri, on June 6, has come to a close.

The big story coming out of the live Showtime broadcast was the "Grimm" upset for the ultra-popular Andrei Arlovski, who was obliterated inside thirty seconds by the lead-fisted Brett Rogers.

Arlovski went for a routine low kick to open the bout but when Rogers bumrushed him, "The Pitbull" retreated -- and forgot to bring his head with him. Rogers seized the opportunity and drilled Arlovski with a crushing left-right combo that sent the Belarusian to the floor.

At first glance the lightning-fast stoppage by John McCarthy seemed to border on premature, but the Showtime replay confirmed that the stoppage was on point -- and likely a big favor to Arlovski -- who could have been on the receiving end of some serious damage.

The fireworks from that fight were enough to make up for the rather anti-climatic main event that saw Robbie Lawler play right into the hands of jiu-jitsu ace Jake Shields.

"Ruthless" was getting his timing down and picking his spots, but inexplicably offered up his neck on a silver platter when Shields jumped into guard.

Lawler contemplated a Rampage-esque slam to break out (with a little help from the cage), but Shields had it locked down and Lawler was forced to throw in the towel.

As expected, Nick Diaz and Scott Smith put on a ridiculous display of striking as the two started banging from the opening bell. Diaz was clearly getting the better of the exchanges but Smith (as usual) showed a ton of guts and determination and even answered the maniacal Diaz blow-for-blow on several occasions.

The final numbers had Diaz throwing 397 punches -- and landing more than 50 percent of them. Think of E. Honda on weed and you have tonight's performance in a nutshell.

There was some fan-unfriendly scuttlebutt from the peanut gallery about Diaz ending it with a "cheap" submission, but after the display he gave us in rounds one and two there was little to prove in the striking department.

After all, why end up like Benji Radach when you have a black belt under Cesar Gracie?

The match up between Joe Riggs and Phil Baroni turned out to be a pleasant surprise with plenty of action. The two exchanged on their feet and on the ground for the entire fight with "Diesel" clearly getting the better of the exchanges.

He may not be "the best EVA " but the "New York Bad Ass" did show improved cardio despite fading in the last stanza. Riggs was sharp throughout. One thing that didn't fade was Baroni's heart -- even after taking several big knees to the face and head.

Maybe with this win Joe Riggs has finally earned that shot at Jake Shields he so desperately wanted.

Rounding out the main card was Kevin Randleman, making his long-anticipated Strikeforce debut after fighting only once in almost three years.

The effects of the layoff were quite apparent as "The Monster" was out of gas by the end of the first. Whitehead didn't fair much better in the conditioning department, as the rumor mill inside the Scottrade Center claims he was forced to cut from 236 pounds to 205 the day of the weigh-ins.

As a result, the two failed to electrify the St. Louis crowd -- though to his credit "Iron" Mike was the busier of the two and did show a lot of heart after getting clowned in the third. Whitehead now pushes his record to an impressive 15-1 since March of 2006.

Randleman's meter is running as the 37-year-old has to make some major adjustments -- and fast if he hopes to compete in the Strikeforce light heavyweight division (or anywhere else for that matter).

The undercard saw the considerable momentum Rafael Cavalcante had built up during his 3-0 run under the Elite XC banner quickly vanquished courtesy of a Mike Kyle assault towards the end of the second round.

A plump "Feijao" showed brief flashes of the talent that garnered him so much praise, but in the end looked to be victimized by his own poor conditioning, setting up the crushing right hand by Kyle that put him to sleep for several minutes.

And following the stoppage, "MAK" made sure he gave Anderson Silva, who was cageside in support of Cavalcante, all kinds of dirty looks -- which "The Spider" gave right back.

Maybe that kind of intensity will jumpstart the seemingly stalled attack of Silva when he competes at UFC 101 on August 8. Perhaps any Griffin injuries can therefore be traced back to the scowl of Mike Kyle.

'Lawler vs. Shields' was a solid show with a major upset that will be talked about for days to come. If you missed any of the action, be sure to check out our complete Strikeforce results and blow-by-blow coverage by clicking here .

Now that's enough out of me for one night, it’s time to hear your thoughts. What did you think?