Yeah, we were praying for something to happen in that fight, too.
Heading into last night’s Strikeforce card, there were a lot of potential storylines. There was Werdum continuing to clean out Strikeforce’s heavyweight division. There was Overeem avenging his loss to Werdum five years ago in devastating fashion. There were the returns to relevance of Josh Barnett and Jeff Monson, the rise of Daniel Cormier and “Othereem” getting the fans to learn his name. Yet after the event was over, the most compelling thing we can take from it is that Dallas has some educated MMA fans. While your average Affliction clad meathead was booing from the start of Cormier vs. Monson until the end of the night, Dallas fans only booed during Overeem vs. Werdum.
Normally I hate when fans boo fighters, but to say Overeem vs. Werdum was boo-worthy doesn’t begin to capture what a disappointment the main event was. We expected fireworks, and instead were given an even less relevant version of Silva vs. Leites (at least that fight was for a title). If that fight was under the UFC banner, Dana White would have immediately issued an apology to the fans and a threat to fire Werdum over another performance like that. To say the least, Werdum’s chances of getting back into the UFC were more than likely squashed by that
fight three round Thales Leites impression.
Werdum stuck to his “punch punch flop” strategy despite getting the better of Overeem in multiple standup exchanges. For that matter, FightMetric actually gave Werdum the fight, 29-28. So does that mean Werdum got robbed? Of course not. You’re judged by aggression, and Werdum showed absolutely none through his unwillingness to do anything other than flop. Say what you want about Overeem’s performance, but it’s not his fault that he didn’t blindly pounce into Werdum’s guard, especially after Werdum’s victory over Fedor. The bottom line is, if you’re strategy is going to be “beat him on the ground”, then it’s your responsibility to get the fight to the ground. It’s not your opponent’s responsibility to play to your strengths. Perhaps we’ll find out more about Overeem when he’s fighting Antonio Silva. Or when he’s actually fighting in a meaningful fight with Strikeforce. You know, where his title is on the line against a credible opponent. I digress.
It’s hard to get too excited about Josh Barnett’s victory over Brett Rogers as well. Yes, Josh Barnett looked as dominant as ever, slamming Rogers and rendering him an oversized grappling dummy. As we knew he would. It’s not like a victory over Bret Rogers has ever meant too much, especially considering he was coming into this fight on a two fight skid in Strikeforce and most recently lost a round to Warpath. Considering Sergei Kharitonov’s struggles against good wrestlers, it’s doubtful that Barnett’s fight with him will answer any questions we have about Barnett, either. At least we know that Josh Barnett can still be counted on for a ridiculous post fight interview, so there’s that I guess.
If there was one positive, slightly unexpected surprise from last night, it was Jorge Masvidal’s performance against KJ Noons. Jorge Masvidal made KJ Noons ineligible for “matinee idol of this sport”, if that’s even a real thing. Masvidal thoroughly outclassed Noons, taking him down at will and getting the better of most of the standup exchanges. A title shot against Melendez makes sense for Masvidal after a performance like this.
On a final note, Cormier and Griggs were both victorious last night, but neither guy’s victory says as much about them as it does about their opponents. I hate to say it, but Jeff Monson looked absolutely lost in the cage with Daniel Cormier. His striking would spike any boxing coach’s blood pressure, and he couldn’t even attempt to get Cormier in his guard. It’s hard to tell whether this was a testament to Daniel Cormier’s time at AKA, or just the result of Jeff Monson not fighting against elite heavyweights for years. Now might be a good time to think about that drop to 205 for Jeff Monson, especially if he plans on staying in Strikeforce. Likewise, Valentijin Overeem pretty much gave up as soon as Griggs took him down. Give credit to Griggs for getting the stoppage, but it doesn’t exactly show us anything.
Full Results, courtesy of MMAMania.com:
Alistair Overeem def. Fabricio Werdum via unanimous decision
Josh Barnett def. Brett Rogers via submission (arm triangle choke) at 1:11 round two
Jorge Masvidal defeats K.J. Noons via unanimous decision
Daniel Cormier def. Jeff Monson via unanimous decision
Chad Griggs def. Valentijn Overeem via TKO at 2:08 round one
Gesias Cavalcante vs. Justin Wilcox results in a no contest because of an accidental eye poke in round two
Conor Heun def. Magno Almeida via unanimous decision
Nah-Shon Burrell def. Joe Ray via unanimous decision
Todd Moore def. Mike Bronzoulis via unanimous decision
Isaac Vallie-Flagg def. Brian Melancon via split decision