Strikeforce Grand Prix, Part II Postmortem

Posted: June 19, 2011 in Journalism, MMA
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Three-Idiots

Ranallo, Shamrock, and Johnson

Saturday night’s Strikeforce card, aired on Showtime, was about what I expected: some good fights, some stinkers, some fighters showing they’re overrated, and poor fight calling by the Trio of Idiots.

Pre-fight

Mauro Ranallo is well on his way towards a transformation into Dana White. I expect to see him wearing contact lenses soon enough. Or maybe me if he grows facial hair. As for Gus Johnson, he made quite a fashion statement (http://twitter.com/#!/MMADork/statuses/82269195022241793).

Chad Griggs  def. Valentijn Overeem

First fight of the night, and we have a “winner”! It’s appalling that those paid to watch the fights aren’t paying attention. Valentijn Overeem clearly tapped. While it’s disappointing that he tapped, it’s even more disappointing that the announcers, Gus Johnson, Frank Shamrock, and Mauro Ranallo didn’t see it. I was tweeting, writing the first draft of this blog, watching Inception on HBO, and even I saw it. Michelle (@luvinGSP) was doing laundry and hanging out with her MMA-ignorant mom, and her mom saw it! It was obvious, yet the Trio of Idiots were questioning the stoppage.

Interlude #1

There was the all-important “celebrities in the crowd” shot between the first two Showtime fights, and it was disappointing. Meisha Tate is cute, but it’s self-serving to show her, so no points there. Igor Olshansky is a Cowgirl and thus irrelevant to me. Herschel Walker was never as fast as Darrell Green. Michael Irvin is a former Cowgirl and thus completely irrelevant to me. Ho hum.

Daniel Cormier def. Jeff Monson

Brian Stann tweeted that Monson constantly trash-talks America. I hate mixing politics with sports because, having professional political experience, I can tell you that there are plenty of nice people with views differing from yours. Let’s keep politics out of the one thing on which we can all come together and cheer. Mauro Ranallo apparently does not understand that based on his on-air comments. Stann apparently does understand that based on his subsequent retraction. Let’s not do the damage from the start, though, okay guys?

Oh, and as for the fight, Monson got hammered. Cormier is still undefeated, which would mean something to me if he had UFC experience. In fact, since he’s gotten into Strikeforce (a big time league), he hasn’t finished a fight. Granted, he’s had only two. I’m not trying to get down on the guy, because he seems to have class. I’m just saying that it’s too early to pick him as a future champion. We don’t know one way or the other.

Interlude #2

While K.J. Noons was being introduced, I noticed something for the first time: Strikeforce fighters come in by themselves rather than with their cornermen. They meet their cornermen at the cage. I also noticed that Strikeforce is now using an Octagon instead of a round cage.

Still, I saw Valentijn Overeem tap, so I’m still ahead of the Trio of Idiots.

Noons-Hematoma

An impressive showing of heart by K. J. Noons.

Jorge Masvidal def. K. J. Noons

Jason Probst picked Masvidal, which surprised me. I guess I’m a dope. Masvidal had a great round 1 and 2. Compustrike had Masvidal landing 73 strikes to Noons’s 40 through the first two rounds according to the Trio of Idiots. Looks like no title shot or UFC-crossover for Noons anytime soon, though Dan Henderson makes a great point.

And yes, Mauro Ranallo, we know Michael Irvin played football. Thanks for telling us.

Interlude #3

I love that a draw results in a “sudden victory” 4th round, though I still object to that term (a win isn’t awarded to the first fighter to “score” in that round). I know that’s been done before, but the UFC doesn’t do it (outside of TUF) and should start. Combined with my belief that the athletic commissions shouldn’t discourage rounds from being scored 10-10 when they’re actually even rounds, I think that would improve the sport.

Josh Barnett vs. Brett Rogers

Rogers-Stance

Why should pro fighters be intimidated by this picture? His stance says, "Please break my ribs."

I think it’s great that Rogers has gone from “changing tires at Sams Club” to being a main-event fighter on national TV; however, he shouldn’t be in main events. He’s just a big guy that hits hard based on his weight, not his technique, which is virtually non-existent. Even though he’s soundly hated by the MMA world, Barnett is top-ten material, or at least close to it. Rogers doesn’t belong on the same card as Barnett, let alone fighting him.

I was annoyed by Mauro Ranallo’s tie in to Texas wrestling, claiming Barnett might use the Kerry von Erich claw. I understand that Barnett likes to call himself a catch-wrestler to honor pro wrestling, but this isn’t scripted.  This is a fight, not a stage play about a fight. Leave that that stuff out of my sport. I know I might not be in the majority here (though I should be), but before you jump all over me wrestling fans, note well that I’d be saying the same thing if Joe Rogan said, “Brock Lesnar should be tackling Cain Velasquez like a defensive lineman would tackle a quarterback,” and I’m a football fan. Also, that gave Frank Shamrock the opportunity to take a dig at his adopted brother Ken, calling him a pro wrestler as a means to insult him. I’m not doing that. I don’t care what you like, and I watched wrestling as late as my early 30s (I’m 43), so I have no reason to criticize it or you. It isn’t even close to MMA, though, so there’s no good reason to mention it.

Interlude #4

I really want people to read my blog, but if you aren’t pumped for Dan Henderson v. Fedor Emelianenko, please go away. We’re never going to see eye-to-eye.

One good thing about Zuffa buying Pride and Strikeforce, and one of the reasons Dana White always cites for buy other organizations, is the video library. We were shown the submission victory of Fabricio Werdum over Alistair Overeem before the fight, and that footage wouldn’t be available if it weren’t for both buyouts. I know some of you are worried about a UFC monopoly, but there’s some food for thought.

Alistair Overeem vs. Fabricio Werdum

Ranallo noted that Werdum came out striking, and Shamrock responded, “That’s what he needs to do.” I’d like to see any evidence at all of Shamrock saying that before the fight. I firmly believe that he said that only because it seemed to be working at first. Anyone can call a fight after they’ve seen it.

After Werdum made it clear that he wasn’t willing to fight on his feet, Overeem started to complain. I thought it was funny that Overeem swept Werdum at one point, sending him to the mat, and then complained that Werdum went down. Way to work the crowd.

Strikeforce has some nice ring card girls.

Oh, sorry . . . back to the fight. By round 2, the fight was still tense, but in a sense quite boring. Neither fighter was willing to fight outside their element, so all we could hope for is one fighter forcing the other into his game and getting a quick stoppage. Round 3 was more of the same. Note, though, that I’m not angry at the fighters. I believe the fighter’s first responsibility by far is to himself and his victory. They both fought intelligently. I wish I had an answer, though, for how make the fighters willing to fight a more exciting fight. At least in the second to last minute of round 3, Overeem seemed willing to fight from within the guard, but as soon as he had an easy escape, he took it.

This performance, combined with the facts that Werdum got in some solid strikes in the firstround and that Overeem was winded after the fight, will do little to quell the debate over his place on the top-ten list. He beat Werdum, but not by doing what champions do: forcing the other fighter to fight your fight then whooping him. People will still say that he can’t get better than a decision against a top-ten fighter. Is Overeem a sham? Is he the #2 or #3 heavyweight in the world? Probably somewhere in between. If he beats Bigfoot, even in an exciting fight, people will probably say that Bigfoot sucks, having beaten no one that matters except an over-the-hill Fedor. The bottom line is that none of this can be resolved until Overeem has more MMA matches against top talent under his belt. For now, he beat a top-ten fighter, and that should at least get rid of the “sham” argument.

Todd Moore vs. Mike Bronzoulis

I decided to walk the dogs. No report.

Follow me on Twitter @MMADork
Follow Strikeforce on Twitter @strikeforce
Follow Showtime Sports on Twitter @shosports
Follow Mauro Ranallo on Twitter @MauroRanallo
Follow HBO on Twitter @hbo
Follow Michelle on Twitter @luvinGSP
Follow Brian Stann on Twitter @BrianStann
Follow Daniel Cormier on Twitter @dc_mma
Follow the Ultimate Fighting Championship on Twitter @ufc
Follow Jason Probst on Twitter @JasonProbst
Follow Brock Lesnar on Twitter @DCBrockLesnar
Follow Alistair Overeem on Twitter @Alistairovereem
Follow Fabricio Werdum on Twitter @FabricioWerdum

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