(“I never thought I’d say this, but…gimme $500 on the doughy white dude with the perfectly round head.” / Photos courtesy of the Strikeforce Fedor vs. Silva Weigh In Pics gallery on CombatLifestyle.com)
There’s not much in this world that would compel me to rent a car and drive to New Jersey on a Saturday night, but the return of Fedor Emelianenko and the beginning of the greatest heavyweight tournament since the days of PRIDE certainly qualifies. Yes, folks, yer boy BG is at the IZOD Center tonight, and I’ll be providing some play-by-play for the beefy main card. Until then, I’ll simply be chilling in press row, basking in the power of this laminated card hanging off of my neck. Bro, you wish you were me.
The action begins at 10 p.m. ET with the introduction of all eight grand prix fighters, even though only half of them will actually be competing tonight. Live round-by-round results will be piling up after the jump; refresh the page every few minutes for all the latest. And because I don’t say it enough: Thank you for being here.
Preliminary card quick results:
- Jason McLean def. Kevin Roddy via split decision (29-28 x 2, 28-29)
- Josh LaBerge def. Anthony Leone via TKO (doctor’s stoppage), 5:00 of round 1
- Sam Oropeza def. Don Carlo-Clauss via verbal submission (strikes), 4:10 of round 1
- Igor Gracie def. John Salgado via submission (arm-triangle choke), 3:04 of round 2
- Marc Stevens def. John Cholish (kneebar)
(Quick note- Ben is reporting that the internet signal at the event has gone to shit, so he won’t be able to update live from the event. Instead, I (Chris Colemon) will be disappointing you throughout the event. May God have mercy on us all.)
We are underway with a Pride-worthy introduction! All of the tournament competitors take the stage. HUGE pop for Fedor. We’ve got fireworks; we’ve got Strikeforce-brand letterman jackets(?); ladies and gentlemen, we’ve got a tournament to start.
Valentijn Overeem vs Ray Sefo
R1: Both fighters are throwing heavy strikes. Sefo blocks a high kick from V. Reem. Both men swinging away. Valentijn tries that kick he learned from Seagal, but no dice. Overeem with a takedown. On top of Sefo in side control against the fence. Overeem locks up a neck crank and it is all over!
Overeem def Sefo via neck crank, 1:37 of R1
Chad Griggs vs. Gian Villante
R1: These two are going at it! Griggs with some power knees to the body. Villante answers with a couple of hard body kicks. Big strikes from both guys, with Griggs getting the better of the exchanges. Griggs rocks Villante, but Gian forces him to the cage. Villante breaks away with an elbow to the head, but they’re swinging away again and Griggs is hurt. Villante shoots for a takedown but gets stuffed. BIG head kick from Villante, and Griggs is wobbly…what the fuck, this is a good time to stop the fight for a mouthpiece? Griggs is bleeding, but he floors Villante! Villante back to his feet, but he’s dropped again by Griggs. Griggs finishes him with a few strikes on the ground.
Griggs def. Villante via tko, 2:49 of R1
Interviews with the rest of the tournament competitors. Barnett cuts a nice WWE promo about looking to add some more heads to his mantle. Rogers is a little less verbose on the mic.
Shane Del Rosario vs. Lavar Johnson
Johnson kicks things off with a solid right. D-Ros clinches and forces him to the cage. Johnson reverses and get the takedown. Johnson in full guard, landing a few blows. Rosario escapes and they’re back on their feet. Now Johnson clinches and is looking for another takedown but settles for a knee and a very solid body shot. Rosario with some shots and Johnson with another good body shot. Rosario is the aggressor on the feet and nails a takedown of his own. Rosario moves from side control to mount. Rosario starting to open up a little, but he’s not landing too much from the mount.Rosario goes for the armbar with 30 seconds left and Johnson taps!
Del Rosario def. Johnson via armbar, 4:31 of R1
I’ve been so busy typing, I just noticed Gus Johnson’s tie. Jesus, doesn’t this guy have his own fashion line or something? With his makeup and Frank’s braces, it’s like an episode of “My Super Sweet 16″.
Sergei Kharitonov vs. Andrei Arlovski
R1: Arlovski with a nice volley kicks, working from the outside. A few punches from Arlovski. Kharitonov slow to get off. The two clinch briefly. A brief stalemate with no one engaging is followed by a few exchanged punches. Kharitonov lands some body shots from the clinch. Kharitonov is starting to let go with uppercuts. He knocks Arlovski down and OUT!
Kharitonov def. Arlovski via KO, 2:49 of R1
Judging from the crowd reaction to his post fight comments, there are a lot of Russian speakers in the audience tonight. I’ve heard rumors we’re in for a surprise announcement this evening, so that should be up soon.
There we have it. Gina is back in Strikeforce! I guess that explains her presence at Extreme Couture last week. The announcer babe asks Gina if this is an official announcement. Did she just get here? What the fuck does she think those cameras are pointed at her?
Up next, our main event…
Fedor Emelianenko vs. Antonio Silva
R1 Big Dan in control; let’s hope for the best here. Silva starts us off with a punch, but Fedor is delivering big combos. Silva with a nice solid shot, but Fedor eats it and looks no worse for wear. Silva in a low stance. Fedor throws a punch and Silva forces him into the fence, using that weight advantage to press him into the cage. Wow, pretty quick separation from Big Dan. Silva is on the hunt with some big strikes. Both men dropping bombs! Fedor is cut and bleeding. Silva has him clinched against the fence again. Fedor looks like he’s cinching up a guillotine, but Silva drops back and they go down. Fedor jumps back up, but then follows him to the ground and lands a few shots. Fedor stands again, but jumps back to half guard. Fedor tries for a kimura, but Silva escapes and we’re back on our feet. Silva with a nice punch, then he clinches Fedor and takes him back to the cage. Both men unleash again with both landing. Silva takes it to the ground once more. Very solid round with action from both men.
R2: Silva with the takedown right out of the gates. Fedor maintains half guard. Silva working some shots, but Fedor avoiding much damage. Silva moves into side control, north south, now full mount! Silva drops some heavy blows and takes his back, but Fedor rolls back. Fedor takes more abuse and gives his back once more. Silva goes for a rear naked, but Fedor rolls over once more. EVEN MORE heavy shots from Silva! Fedor is in big, big trouble with 2:30 left in the round. Silva slaps on an arm triangle and gets over to Fedor’s side. This looks bad for the Last Emperor. Nope, Fedor escapes! Silva, sill in half guard, with Fedor looking awfully drained. Silva is spent himself and takes a moment to catch his breath. Are we looking at a 10-8 Silva? Silva rolls for a knee bar, but the two men trade leg locks as Fedor goes for an ankle. Silva waives his finger, “No you didn’t!” What a round for Silva!
Fedor’s eye is totally Koschecked. Confusion as they get ready for the next round…Big Dan calls off the fight between rounds! HUGE UPSET as Antonio Silva forces the stoppage and advances to Round 2!
Antonio Silva def. Fedor Emelianenko via doctor stoppage after R2
The fight was called due to Fedor’s eye being completely closed. The crowd sounds displeased. Silva seems happy to shake his haters off in the post-fight interview. As happy as he is right now, I’m sure Dana’s happier.
Fedor states that this could be his last time to step into the cage. No need to explain how crazy of a night this is, so I won’t drag this on any longer. Thanks for having me, it’s been real.