Saturday, 26 February 2011

Looking Back At Strikeforce's Recent Shows

It’s three-for-one time as I take a look back at the three most recent offerings from Strikeforce, only one of which was shown on television here in Britain. How did I get these shows? Surely you don’t need to ask that this far into the 21st century.
Diaz vs. Cyborg began with light heavyweight action as Trevor Prangley faced Roger Gracie.

After an early feeling out period it wasn’t long before Gracie took control on the ground, securing the mount before taking Prangley’s back and taking advantage of his opponent’s self-confessed “glass neck”, synching in a rear naked choke for the very impressive first round submission win.

It was up to heavyweight for the next fight as Scott Carson went up against Herschel Walker.

A one-sided battle saw Walker go to work after a quick Carson head kick. This was all Walker needed to light his fire as a left from the former American football star sent Carson crashing.

From there it was all Walker as he went to work with the ground and pound. Carson briefly escaped, only to be taken straight back down. More ground and pound followed, and with Carson offering nothing in return it wasn’t long before the referee stepped in to give Walker the TKO win.

The first title fight of the evening saw Jacare Souza defending the Middleweight title against Robbie Lawler.

This was an awesome performance from the champion. Although Lawler managed to get off a few good strikes Souza all but dominated with his excellent ground work.

It was a thing of beauty to watch as Souza seemed able to transition at will, adding in some nice ground and pound and a couple of arm bar attempts in the second.

The end came in the third round when Souza took Lawler’s back and synched in a rear naked choke for the well deserved submission win.

The main event saw Evangelista Cyborg challenging Nick Diaz for the Welterweight title.

This proved to be an enthralling encounter. For nearly two complete rounds these two put on a hell of a striking battle.

It began with Cyborg attacking Diaz’s right leg, following up with some crisp striking. But it wasn’t long before Diaz came back and rocked Cyborg with some great strikes of his own.

And that was how the action played out until the final thirty seconds of round two. Cyborg took the fight to the ground with Diaz quickly attacking his arm and locking in an arm bar for the submission win. Who would have thought it after that great striking battle.

Fedor vs. Silva was a show full of heavyweight action, beginning with K-1 legend Ray Sefo facing Valentin Overeem.

I really wanted old Sugarfoot to win this one, but even though he got off some fast strikes early on it was all over as soon as Overeem took the fight to the ground. A neck crank later and it was all over, Overeem getting the submission win.

Next up was Chadd Griggs as he went up against Gian Villante.

This may not have been technically brilliant but it was great to watch. Both fighters came out swinging, and it wasn’t long before Griggs began to rock Villante with some big shots. Villante managed to get in one big kick, but Griggs’ attack was so relentless he was able to knock Villante down twice, following him down the second time to secure the TKI win.

The next fight saw Shane Del Rosario going up against Lavar Johnson.

A very intriguing back and forth battle saw Johnson get in some good powerful shots early on, but his insistence on taking the fight to the ground played right into Del Rosario’s hands.

Del Rosario soon took the mount and unleashed with the ground and pound before he moved to the side and locked in an arm bar for the submission win.

Then it was on to the World Heavyweight Grand Prix tournament quarter-finals, beginning with Andrei Arlovski against Sergei Kharitonov.

I really wanted Arlovski to win here, but I knew deep down it wasn’t going to be. Arlovski began well with some nice strikes and dirty boxing, but when Kharitonov began to unload with the heavy stuff a right hand sent him crashing. A brief moment of ground and pound followed until the referee wisely stepped in to stop the fight, giving the Russian the big TKO win.

The second quarter-final, and main event, saw Fedor Emelianenko going up against Antonio Silva.

The first fight of the show to make it out of the first round once again showed that the great Russian hope is actually human.

From the moment the fight started Fedor looked very cautious against his much bigger opponent, and he had his moments Silva was more than able to keep up with him.

The second round completely belonged to Silva. As soon as he took Fedor down he controlled the Russian, showing some great transitions and submission attempts.

But it was the ground and pound that did the most damage, his massive fists causing a ton of damage to Fedor’s eye. The Russian’s only real moment of offence came with a knee bar attempt at the end of the round.

The fight was called off soon afterwards when the doctor examined Fedor’s eye, calling the fight off when he deemed him unable to continue, giving Silva the tremendous win.

Strikeforce Challengers 14 began with a catchweight bout, made at 150 pounds, between David Douglas and Nick Gonzalez.

Douglas came into this one with a big height and reach advantage, and he used that to great effect from the start, coming forward early with some nice combinations before sending Gonzalez down with a left.

Douglas quickly followed him down, and a rear naked choke later the submission win was his in just 65 seconds.

It was up to the welterweight division next as Erik Apple faced Ryan Larson.

A great display of grappling by Larson saw him control almost every aspect of the ground fight. Apple’s only offence of note came with a heel hook attempt towards the end of the first round.

Larson continued his dominance in the second round, and after transitioning from position to position he secured the submission win with a triangle choke, just reward for a great display.

Lightweight action in the form of Ryan Couture against Lee Higgins followed.

After an extensive feeling out period this fight didn’t really spring into life until the second round when Couture took control after dropping Higgins with a right. From there he controlled the action on the ground, although Higgins showed some sound defensive skills.

Higgins came back slightly at the start of the third, but Couture soon re-established control, finally securing the submission win in the dying seconds with a rear naked choke.

Another catchweight bout, made at 160 pounds, saw Bryan Travers taking on Carlo Prater.

The blink and you’ll miss it affair of the show. Prater got the quick take down, locked in the d’arce choke, with Travers quickly tapping out after just 38 seconds.

The main event saw Lyle Beerbohm taking on Pat Healy in the lightweight division.

This was an intriguing back and forth affair. Through three rounds both men put on great grappling displays.

The best moment came in the second round when Healy applied a reverse leg triangle while going for a kimura at the same time, something I’ve never seen before.

With the fight going the distance it was down to the judges to render a decision as Healy took the close unanimous win.

In conclusion - this is the first time in ages I’ve reviewed three MMA shows like this, and I was half expecting the odd stinker in here.

But there wasn’t one. Each and every fight on all three shows delivered as we saw great displays of both striking and grappling, as well as a couple of upsets along the way.

So in all these three shows get the big thumbs up from this particular writer. If you haven’t seen them already I recommend that you do.