("Pucker Up." PicProps: Strikeforce)
CagePotato’s inaugural “Holy Crap, We Take Back Everything We Said About You Yesterday” award has absolutely, unequivocally got to go to Jan Finney for taking a hellacious beating from 145-pound female champion Cris “Cyborg” Santos. Finney came up in weight and into the fight with a less-than-stellar professional record, but she took everything Cyborg had (and maybe then some) before finally succumbing to a belated second-round TKO. Let us say for the record that if Strikeforce fires Finney without giving her at least one more fight, there is no justice in this world. What’s the company planning to do with the winner of that upcoming Sarah Kaufman vs. Roxanne Modafferi bout, anyway?
On a personal note: Jan, it may not be politically correct or anatomically accurate for us to say this, but you are one tough son of a bitch.
In fact, not that it was necessarily her fault, but referee Kim Winslow let this fight go on waaaay longer than we were comfortable with watching it. At some indistinguishable point while Cyborg was battering Finney with an ungodly barrage of strikes – including one of the nastier knees you’ll see this side of Zoila Frausto vs. Rosi Sexton – things went from “Ok, well Finney’s not winning this” to “Alright, that will probably do” to “Dear God, Winslow, you gonna do anything about this?” Somewhere in there, Cyborg lost a point for pounding Finney on the back of the head but it didn’t matter, this one was never going anywhere near the scorecards.
When Cyborg finally did finish it after an additional 2:55 of fighting in round two, the feeling was more sweet, merciful relief than anything else. Also, not that we’re trying to tell them their business, but if we had been in Finney’s corner between rounds we might’ve gently tried to broach the subject of not answering the bell for the second. Just sayin’.
In another hard-hitting but far less ugly bout, Le avenged his only career loss by taking advantage of the holes presented by Scott Smith’s all-attack, all-the-time fighting style. Strategy-wise, what we want to know is, who in their right mind sat down with Smith, after considering the entirety of his previous MMA career, and said: “Scott, what I think we need here is a more aggressive, riskier, even more fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants game plan,”? Look, Smith is one of the most likable guys in all of MMA and it’s a joy to watch him compete, but for the sake of his career it might be time for him to start utilizing those JuCo wrestling and surprising submission skills we’re always hearing about.
The second installment of Le vs. Smith looked a lot like the first, except this time Le was able to muster the poise and cardio to finish Smith off after crumpling him with a spinning back kick in the second round. Afterward, Le got on the mic and talked at length about all the cookies and pizza he was going to eat now that the fight was over. Yep, just a 38-year-old man getting super excited about his milk and cookies, nothing weird about that.
In the televised card’s first bout, Josh Thomson slipped past Pat Healy via third-round submission. The fight itself was most notable for Frank Shamrock and Gus Johnson’s continued comments about how Healy wanted to “get dirty” on Thomson. Also because Shamrock inexplicably declared that he’d scored a first round clearly won by Thomson in favor of Healy and then a second round clearly won by Healy in favor of Thomson. Which leads us to this:
Frank Shamrock is retiring from MMA to become a fulltime broadcaster. I know, I know, there isn’t enough Kleenex in the world for the tears we’ll cry over this news. Because this is Strikeforce, Shammy’s retirement announcement was a long, drawn-out affair that involved one of his typically self-absorbed speeches while his immediate (and oddly unaffected-looking) family stood by his side in the cage. It was, to say the least, weird and unnecessary but Strikeforce has so wholeheartedly fed the beast of his own self-image by continually referring to Shamrock as “The Legend” during its broadcasts that maybe it felt it had no choice but to make a big deal out of his otherwise totally underwhelming retirement announcement.
“At this point, I’m a better talker than a fighter,” Shamrock said later in the broadcast.
Wow, if true, that really is a scary thought.
Stikeforce ‘Fedor vs Werdum’ Complete results:
Fabricio Werdum def. Fedor Emelianenko via submission (triangle choke, armbar), round 1
Cung Le def. Scott Smith via TKO, round 2
Cris Cyborg def. Jan Finney via TKO, round 2
Josh Thomson def. Pat Healy via submission (rear-naked choke), round 3
Chris Cope def. Ron Keslar via TKO
Bret Bergmark def. Vagner Rocha via unanimous decision
Yancy Medeiros def. Gareth Joseph via KO
Bobby Stack def. Derrick Burnsed via split decision