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‘Strikeforce: Feijao vs. Henderson’ Aftermath — Master Hendo, the Curse Is On Thee

(“Dudes, *tell* me you just saw that!” Props: Esther Lin/Strikeforce)

Add the Strikeforce Light-Heavyweight Championship to the list of MMA’s Great Curses. When Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante fell victim to Dan Henderson‘s mythical “H-Bomb” right hand last night in Columbus, he became the fourth-consecutive Strikeforce LHW champ to lose the belt without making a single successful defense. (Quick refresher: Babalu Sobral lost it to Gegard Mousasi, who lost it to King Mo, who lost it to Feijao, who lost it Hendo.)

Time will tell if Dan Henderson suffers the same fate. In the meantime, the decorated vet’s arrival as champion helps bolster the 205′ers as a marquee division in Strikeforce. Besides Dan and all the former champions previously mentioned, SF’s light-heavyweight roster now includes guys like Roger Gracie, Mike Kyle, Rhadi Ferguson — tell Fedor Emelianenko to drop 20 pounds, and you’ve got the makings of another great World Grand Prix, especially if their heavyweight tournament continues to run into delays.

Both fights in the evening’s “championship double-header” ended just as well as the promotion could have hoped. In the main event, Dan Henderson’s years of experience and wrestling prowess were enough to keep him in the game after getting rattled by a knockdown in the first round. Henderson sprung back to his feet and scored an immediate takedown, resting on Feijao until the cobwebs cleared.  After that, Henderson’s clinch game, takedowns, and impressively diverse striking kept Cavalcante on the defensive until Hendo landed the big right hand that he’d been loading up the entire fight, catching the champ on the sweet-spot of his jaw. If Feijao wasn’t out from the punch, the brutal follow-up shots on the ground ensured it.

Henderson mentioned after the fight that he wanted to break the curse of the Strikeforce light-heavyweight title, but he’s already broken one curse already: The Curse of Black House. The three submission losses on his record all came at the hands of current BH leaders (Anderson Silva, Big Nog, Lil’ Nog). Demolishing their protege must have made his victory that much sweeter.

In the co-main event, women’s 135-pound champion Marloes Coenen weathered a nasty storm from an extraordinarily game Liz Carmouche, who came into the fight on just two weeks’ notice and with less than a year of professional experience under her belt. After swelling up Coenen’s right eye with strikes in the first round, Carmouche spent a good deal of rounds 2 and 3 in full mount, pounding away at the champ, who couldn’t do much besides cover up. But Coenen turned the tables in round 4, responding to a takedown attempt by pulling guard and tapping Carmouche with a triangle choke. After a surprisingly tough challenge from the “Girl-rilla,” Coenen’s next title defense will be against Miesha Tate, who she was supposed to meet last night. (Tate’s succinct review of Coenen’s performance can be seen here.)

In other main card action, Tim Kennedy‘s first-round submission of Melvin Manhoef was almost depressingly formulaic: Get the Dutch striker on his back as soon as possible, and choke him out. Manhoef’s takedown defense was impressive in the opening minutes, and his leg kicks — including one that dropped Kennedy on his ass — were as painful-looking as ever. But Kennedy was tenacious in his goal to bring the fight to the mat, and once he succeeded, it was only a matter of time before Manhoef succumbed to a rear-naked choke, his fourth submission loss in his last seven fights, and his third-straight defeat overall. Back to Japan for Melvin?

In the televised broadcast’s opening bout, Jorge Masvidal made his first Strikeforce appearance in three years, dominating formerly-undefeated lightweight Billy Evangelista in all facets of their contest, but not showing much urgency to get the finish. The less said about that fight, the better.

On the preliminary card, Jorge Gurgel got back in the ‘W’ column with a 44-second guillotine choke submission of Billy Vaughan — his first submission victory since his pre-UFC days — while Ohio’s own Roger Bowling rebounded from the first loss of his career by taking a unanimous decision over Josh Thornburg. Full results from “Strikeforce: Feijao vs. Henderson” are below:

Main Card
Dan Henderson def. Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante via TKO (strikes), 0:50 of round 3
Marloes Coenen def. Liz Carmouche via submission (triangle choke), 1:29 of round 4
Tim Kennedy def. Melvin Manhoef via submission (rear naked choke), 3:41 of round 1
Jorge Masvidal def. Billy Evangelista via unanimous decision (30-27 x 3)

Preliminary Card
Roger Bowling def. Josh Thornburg via unanimous decision (30-27 x 3)
Jorge Gurgel def. Billy Vaughan via submission (guillotine choke), 0:44 of round 1
Jason Freeman def. Jason Riley via TKO (strikes), 1:52 of round 1
Brian Rogers def. Ian Rammel via TKO (strikes), 4:23 of round 1
Mitch Whitesel def. Marc Cofer via submission (guillotine choke), 3:55 of round 1
John Kuhner def. JP Felty via submission (triangle choke), 4:31 of round 2

Cagepotato Comments

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KINGMADE- March 7, 2011 at 2:21 pm
@Fried Taco

Kimbo's response will be something along the lines of... "Maybe the Canadian Geese should have retired when they were on top"
joshuan29- March 7, 2011 at 9:05 am
This article brings up a good Point. Fedor would own at 205, and I believe he would annihilate anyone in the world at 205, short of Bones Jones, who incidentally I think would take out Cain V even at well under Cains weight
Fried Taco- March 7, 2011 at 7:53 am
@Kimbos Bread - is it just me, or are the Canadian geese not migrating as far south as they used to? It seems I see them going south later and coming back sooner than I remember when I was a kid. What are your opinions on the affect the alleged global warming has on geese migratory patterns?
slummy- March 6, 2011 at 9:13 pm
I was very impressed with Hendo on saturday. I though he looked better than he has in years. Any questions raised about his bad back were answered. He was able to outgrapple a much larger opponent in the clinch and even reversed a takedown attempt by Feijao. He also outstruck him overall landing cleaner punches throughout the bout. Very impressive!

P.S. If you get punched in the face hard enough to make you go face first into the mat....IT DID DAMAGE!!! I don't see how it's in any way lucky when what he did was exactly what he meant to do.
jeanclaudetransam- March 6, 2011 at 8:57 pm
Not many people know that Shang Tsung used to give privates at Team Quest in the 90's. Hendo and Couture now devour the souls of defeated opponents while Sonnen shit talks them until they explode. Fatality!
RwilsonR- March 6, 2011 at 6:16 pm
When Jake Shields loses to GSP at 170, it is good to know he can always go and become the Strikeforce champ at 205.
Cup Cheick- March 6, 2011 at 6:06 pm
I donno you can say Hendo is legit and its so awesome he has the belt as much as you want. But tell me that you can honestly say that either fighter was champion caliber is ridiculous. The only reason he has survived like he has is he is Wandy tough(I know how that sounds but any Hooters going MMA fan could call him one dimensional and not be argued with edge wise). The game has passed him. Feijao looked horrible just like we talked about before.He is a fluke. Sure did Hendo look better then ever..Yeah I guess coming from a guy who lost two in a row in shit manner in the UFC. Did he look amazing.. Absolutely not I mean he easily could have lost in the 1st had Feijao had even the slightest killer instinct(See Bisping vs Hendo). I donno I just can not find my self caring about any of it. As much as I want to like Strikeforce I still can't help but think neither fighter or any is a legit threat to UFC fighters..

Even at that the card sucked. Shit announcing(we all know it),WWE style entrances, 7000 fans pshh whatever..trying to get us to care about hack fighters, or convincing us Shamrock knows what he is talking about!?!?
ThrashingMad- March 6, 2011 at 4:30 pm
I want to be that chair in the Tate pic.
Elentius- March 6, 2011 at 2:54 pm
I m so fucking happy to see Hendo get a belt again. All it takes is a tap on the jaw in the right spot. No way Fago slipped or anything like that. He got knocked out and Hendo can beat any LHW now.
k-onda- March 6, 2011 at 2:34 pm
Hendo's an all-timer, and now doing this at 40+; history in the making, great to see.
Get Manhoef the hell out of MMA, I could watch him kick box all day long, but him on the ground is just sad.
dillweed- March 6, 2011 at 2:09 pm
possible dumbest shit ive ever read kimbo welcome to the world of mma
Koeikan- March 6, 2011 at 1:27 pm
@Kimbos Bread:
Watch the second and third round again. Hendo started taking control of the standup before landing that "lucky" punch of his.

BTW, I think hitting the mat may have brought him back more than it put him out. It doesn't matter if a blow is glancing, it's how much it jars their head. Feijao was already leaning back, with his head turned and not in a position to take the punch. He fell with his hands down and body limp and didn't brace his fall at all (hmmm...). After he hit the mat, he bounced and then moved his hands up and Hendo got his hooks in... but after the (vicious) GnP it was too late.

IMO Feijao never really looked comfortable and was too tentative. He should have been using more movement and been more active IMO.

In the second, Hendo started to take control of the standup and then Feijao would look for the clinch. He didn't have much luck there since Hendo was always able to consistently get the position against the cage. When he went for a takedown, Hendo was able to reverse.

In between the second and third I'm sure his corner told him not to clinch up with him... They engaged in the standup more and Hendo put him down, but Hendo was winning the exchanges leading up to it...

HEY- March 6, 2011 at 1:13 pm
Just watched the footage again as Kimbos Bread suggested. What a great fight... especially round 3! :D
ktronics- March 6, 2011 at 12:51 pm

He was mixing it up a little bit with the leg kicks, jabs/left hooks and even a couple superman punches. Nothing earth shattering but its more diversity than we have seen out of Hendo in a while.

Hendo is an interesting fighter. Not on anybody's P4P rankings but he matches up well with anyone really.
ccman- March 6, 2011 at 11:07 am
True, but that was a MUCH younger hendo. And a hendo who trusted his wrestling much more. And after he seemed to take to it in the ufc.
Turd Furgeson- March 6, 2011 at 11:02 am

He was in Pride for quite a while, and wasn't allowed to elbow in the head on the ground.
ccman- March 6, 2011 at 10:57 am
as already stated, hendos gone 1 trick pony. Diverse striking? Front leg kick overhand right over and over hardly makes one diverse. I like hendo but his wrestling has become an afterthought and the second his chin loses an ounce of durability he will go the way of the liddell. And I think we saw a bit of it last night on his getting clipped in the first. 3 years ago hendo woulda walked thru a tap behind the ear.I say his longevity is dependent on him returning to offensive wrestling and not just using it to save his ass. Plus sf not allowing elbows on the ground has completely taken G&P out of his game... not good.
Kimbos Bread- March 6, 2011 at 10:50 am
@ d.harn

Last I checked, everyone throws a haymaker with the intention of knocking the opponent out. But when the haymaker doesn't land flush, and the opponent gets knocked out by hitting the mat, it's arguably a lucky shot.

Watch the footage again.
d.harn- March 6, 2011 at 10:36 am
No punch from Hendo is lucky. Last time I checked, he tries to get the knock out with every one he throws.
Kimbos Bread- March 6, 2011 at 10:21 am

LMAO at Hendo riding a rascal.

Alright fine, I recant.
But you bastards deserve to see Hendo get KTFO'd like Liddell vs Evans (followed by loosing his bowel in the ring) during a title defence. It's gonna happen. And then, ya'll be craving some Kimbo's Bread and a lesson on migratory bird patterns.

anderson wanderlei paulo thiago alves silva- March 6, 2011 at 10:19 am
he should make a run at the 185 belt
Maine Blazer- March 6, 2011 at 10:18 am
I keep thinking about the Japanese philosophy when it comes to when fighters should retire: and that's after a loss, not a in. They view it as if you can keep winning, then wtf are you doing quitting?
PERPATRAITOR- March 6, 2011 at 10:08 am
Yea hendo should retire. He totally got lucky to win that title shot. I saw him ride his rascal all the way to the ring.
HEY- March 6, 2011 at 9:56 am
ahahaha I thought about that "L-word" thing right after I posted it. <3 WMMA
Kimbos Bread- March 6, 2011 at 9:49 am

Uh oh...I don't think I'm gonna get any sleep tonight.