(King Mo accidentally gets some Rockstar in his mouth while attempting to lather the mat with it. Photo courtesy of Fight Magazine.)
Two competing MMA events on Saturday night made for a busy weekend of arbitrary numerical calculations for the Potato Index’s super computer. We didn’t even get to play our customary Sunday game of “Oregon Trail,” that’s how hectic things were. But the numbers are in from Strikeforce: Evolution and WEC 45, so let’s take a look at who’s up and who’s down after Saturday night.
Scott Smith +109
A technically brilliant performance it wasn’t. Smith was clearly overmatched, but he hung tough, wore Le down, and then put his power to good use. It might not have been the best performance of his career, but it’s one people will remember for a long, long time.
Cung Le -77
He can say his acting career had nothing to do with the loss, but something made him fade down the stretch. He got tired and he got lazy and then he got knocked out. It’s almost as if taking a fight between movie roles as a favor to your boss is a good way to get your nose smashed into a pulp.
Donald Cerrone +72
A win is a win, even if it comes after the other guy’s junk has been turned to mush. Obviously the groin strikes weren’t intentional, but you can only have so many fights where inadvertent fouls play a prominent role before people stop giving you the benefit of the doubt.
Ed Ratcliff -48
A hard-fought battle and a tough loss show that while he has some skills, he’s just not at that level yet. Chin up, 9mm. A loss to a guy like the Cowboy is nothing to be ashamed of.
Gilbert Melendez +82
He forced Thomson to fight his fight and took over in the later rounds, showing significant improvement since the first meeting. He deserves to be called the Strikeforce lightweight champ, though everyone knows that’s little more than a consolation prize in a division where B.J. Penn is clearly the overall king.
Josh Thomson -34
The good news? His leg held up well and his cardio didn’t seem effected by the time off. The bad news? His timing wasn’t quite where it needed to be, and the result was a clear-cut loss. Everyone loves a trilogy, right?
Anthony Njokuani +63
A rangy lightweight with explosive striking could go far in the WEC if his takedown defense and/or ground game is solid enough. That may take some time, but we’re excited to see where this guy can go.
Chris Horodecki -51
Walking away from an opponent who’s been picking you apart makes you seem a little too relaxed in your WEC debut. Horodecki clearly isn’t going to be the best kickboxer in the division, so he needs to round out his game a little more. That, and don’t turn your back. Ever.
“Jacare” Souza +79
Not only did he put on a clinic once the fight hit the mat, but his striking looked sharper than ever. Could it be that the submissions wiz has finally found the last missing piece of the puzzle?
Matt Lindland -65
He had no answer for Souza on the feet or on the mat. He’s still a wily competitor, but maybe no longer a truly formidable one. It happens to everybody, even “The Law.”
Joseph Benavidez +43
Dynamite comes in small packages, and if you don’t shut Benavidez down early he will blow your ass up. Is his lack of height and reach enough to keep him from ever seeing the top of the division?
“King Mo” Lawal +62
Lawal’s unorthodox striking style out of a wrestler’s stance could create problems for lots of guys, particularly if they’re as easily countered as Whitehead. Strikeforce has a real commodity here, and bringing him along at the right pace will be essential.
Mike Whitehead -59
The cut to 205 may be difficult for Whitehead, but when he doesn’t make it he lets himself get too big and much too slow. You’d think he would have learned that by now.
Strikeforce announcing team +/- 0
Between the hard sell from Mauro Ranallo, the flashbacks from “The Legend” Frank Shamrock, and the awkward post-fight interviews from Stephen Quadros, it’s a long night on Showtime. Still better than some, but they make Rogan and Goldberg look like the best eva.