If you missed the Strikeforce preliminary matchup between Maximo “Little Wanderlei” Blanco and Pat “The Spoiler” Healy, what the hell is wrong with you? Blanco is the highly entertaining prospect who’s been handing out brain damage in Japan for a hot minute, and news of his American debut against Josh Thomson was enough to make my nipples hard. Then Thomson pulled out, and Healy was announced as the replacement, which I was kinda bummed about. Then I cheered up, because I still was getting to watch Maxi go all Beast Mode on a dude. It’s Maxi Time, bitches!
Well, long story short: The Max Murderer lost his North American debut, tapping out to a rear naked choke at the end of the second round.
Not the end of the world, though — Blanco could string a few wins together in the minors, and all would be right with the world, while tearing through Strikeforce’s lesser-known lightweights in highlight-reel fashion. Then I hear news that Little Wanderlei — but not Healy — was on his way to the UFC.
According to Maximo’s management company SuckerPunch Entertainment (and yes, that is a very ironic management company for a guy that a few opponents have called “dirty“), Blanco is headed to the UFC as a featherweight, dropping down to 145 for the first time in his career.
The only explanation that I can come up with is that Zuffa is looking to bolster the featherweight division, which is fairly shallow, compared to other weight classes. Still, it’s a surprising development, since I cannot think of another fighter off the top of my head that went from Strikeforce to the UFC on a loss. In fact, I’m pretty sure that’s ass-backwards from how we expect these things to work.
Stay tuned; as soon as I hear about an opponent and date for Blanco’s UFC debut, I’ll let you know.
Until then, how pissed off is Pat Healy right now?