(I know what you’re thinking: Why the hell did they leave Nandor Guelmino off the poster? Well I don’t mean to alarm you, but that bright shining ball of fire in the background *is* Nandor Guelmino.)
Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the end of the world. Tonight’s last-ever Strikeforce event went from a championship triple-header to Squash City in a hurry, and it’s okay to feel depressed about it. (If you need somebody to talk to, call 1-888-BRO-TATO and one of our mental health professionals will be on the line shortly.)
On the main card this evening, Nate Marquardt puts his welterweight title on the line against Belgian standout Tarec Saffiedine, Daniel Cormier and Josh Barnett try not to shit the bed against their unheralded opponents, Gegard Mousasi returns from a long layoff to face Mike Kyle, and Ed Herman crosses the UFC/Strikeforce DMZ to bang with the always-dangerous Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza.
Like a spirit guide leading us from one realm of existence to the next, Jim Genia will be sticking round-by-round results from the “Marquardt vs. Saffiedine” Showtime broadcast after the jump, beginning at 10 p.m. ET. Make your voices heard in the comments section, and please, let’s honor this moment.
Please stand by…
“Like a spirit guide”? Is that a reference to my Native American heritage? Booyah, Jim Genia here, ready to deliver some tender hospice care to the terminally ill Strikeforce. But shed not a tear for its passing, as it lived a long, fruitful life.
Also, this past year Strikeforce kinda sucked.
Results from the prelims:
-Ryan Couture def. KJ Noons via Split Decision (29-28, 27-30, 29-28)
-Tim Kennedy def. Trevor Smith via Submission (Guillotine) at 1:36, R3
-Pat Healy def. Kurt Holobaugh via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
-Roger Gracie def. Anthony Smith via Submission (Arm-Triangle Choke) at 3:16, R2
-Adriano Martins def. Jorge Gurgel via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
-Estevan Payan def. Michael Bravo via TKO (Punches) at 4:01, R2
First bout of the main card: Jacare Souza vs. Ed Herman.
As a former Strikeforce middleweight champ who’d faced just about everyone worthwhile in what has traditionally been an anemic division, Souza literally had no one to dance with at this last Strikeforce event. Wat do?! Well, the options were to either put an ad on Craiglist or get someone from the UFC to slum it. Enter: TUF runner-up Herman, because, hey, why not.
Round 1: These two waste no time mixing it up, with Herman and Souza getting up close and personal against the cage and banging on each other with their fists. They separate, and when Herman lurches forward to re-engage, the Brazilian easily changes levels and takes him down. From his back, Herman furiously fires off upkicks to his opponent – which, uh, with Souza on his knees trying to pass the American’s guard, is pretty illegal. The referee stands them up, warns Herman but inexplicably does not dock him a point, and to add insult to injury, restarts them on the feet. No matter. Souza blasts Herman in the grill with a front kick, dumps him back onto the canvas, and nails the shoulder-busting kimura submission that has Herman tapping at 3:10 of the first round.
Jacare Souza def. Dave Herman via Submission (Kimura) at 3:10, R1
Next up, Mike Kyle vs. Gegard Mousasi.
Once upon a time, Kyle was a dude who’d fight you, bite you, and kick you in the head when you were on the ground. But after a lengthy suspension and possibly a readjustment of his psychotropic drug regimen, Kyle has returned a calmer, more mature competitor. Mousasi was once a Strikeforce light-heavyweight champ, a title he earned by virtue of his pinpoint-accurate boxing – and a title he lost by virtue of his dismal wrestling. So, yeah, good times.
Round 1: Kyle comes out headhunting, and Mousasi answers with some solid head-movement and a kick that slams into the American’s leg with a sound like a baseball bat slapping into a slab of meat. They trade more kicks and punches, and the former champ ducking low and grabbing Kyle around the waist. No takedown comes, so they separate and bang it out some more. With three minutes left, Mousasi gets the takedown, and on the ground he slowly but surely begins the prison rape that results in Kyle’s doom. First it’s side-control, then mount, then massive blows from above, and the end comes when Mousasi slips on the rear naked choke and forces Kyle to tap at 4:09 of the first round.
Gegard Mousasi def. Mike Kyle via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 4:09, R1
Next, Josh Barnett vs. Nandor Guelmino.
Barnett was once a UFC champ before he pissed hot and had to give up the belt, yet he’s remained relevant throughout the years by kicking ass just about everywhere else. He of course fell short in Strikeforce’s much-maligned heavyweight grand prix, coming in second place to Daniel Cormier, but his opponent tonight is literally just some dude with a cool name and nothing else.
Round 1: It takes about all of nine seconds for Barnett to get Guelmino down. He spends a minute there, methodically dropping a forearm or two, then falls back into a heelhook attempt that Guelmino escapes from by getting back to his feet. The former UFC champ follows him up, clinches, and pulls him down, then slides into mount and deftly applies an arm-triangle choke. Guelmino taps out at 2:11, and we never hear from him again.
Josh Barnett def. Nandor Guelmino via Submission (Arm-Triangle Choke) at 2:11, R1
Next, Daniel Cormier vs. Dion Staring.
After winning the aforementioned heavyweight grand prix, Cormier is pretty much a lock on being someone of note in the UFC. But first he has to get through the always-dangerous Staring, who… who… Ah man, I can’t do it. I can’t lie to you. Staring is the only man on the planet not named Nando Guelmino who was dumb enough to agree to face a top-level heavyweight he has no business being in the cage with. So hold onto your hats, because this one might be ending with a deep voice declaring “Fatality!”
Round 1: Staring stands in front of Cormier with his hand outstretched, perhaps as some sort of gesture of peace or maybe a distraction. Cormier doesn’t fall for the trick, though, and nails him in the face with a high-kick. Seconds later Cormier tries a trip that Staring avoids, but the follow-up throw does it, and the number one heavyweight in Strikeforce scrambles around threatening his foe with a crucifix and an armbar. Staring escapes back to his feet, gets taken down again, escapes back to his feet, and gets taken down even more easily. From mount, Cormier simply batters him, and to the surprise of many, Staring makes it to the end of the round.
Round 2: Staring comes out aggressive, and is immediately stifled against the cage by Cormier’s far-superior wrestling. They break after a minute and Staring is huffing and puffing, and when they tie up, Cormier uses a textbook inside-trip to put his opponent down. Staring rolls and turtles, eats punches and rolls some more, all the while eating enough leather to choke a horse. Cormier is on him like white on rice no matter where he goes, and with the beating delivered nonstop and Staring’s defense nonexistent, referee John McCarthy is forced to step in at 4:02 of Round 2 lest Staring die.
Daniel Cormier def. Dion Staring via TKO (Punches) at 4:02, R2
Next and final bout: Nate Marquardt vs. Tarec Saffiedine.
Marquardt was always the bridesmaid but never the bride in his tenure with the UFC, but when he showed up at Strikeforce’s doorstep and had a stellar performance against Tyron Woodley, he was suddenly a man with a championship belt. Saffiedine has been a top contender in the organization for a while, and his keen striking and Team Quest-honed wrestling should make for a nice little scrap in this main event.
Round 1: It takes 30 seconds for one of these guys to break their steady circling and land something, and it’s a fast kick to the thigh by Saffiedine. They circle some more, and Marquardt lands kicks of his own. It’s pretty much tit-for-tat, until the champ comes forward, eats a punch and drops to a knee for a split second. Saffiedine attempts to capitalize, yet he’s met with a takedown attempt, and when he stuffs it and they separate, one thing is clear: the challenger is faster and crisper with his strikes. Perhaps cognizant of that fact, Marquardt makes sure the rest of the round is spent clinching against the fence.
Round 2: Like the opening of the first, they start off this round circling, and after a minute expires Marquardt goes for a takedown. He doesn’t get that one, but gets the next one 30 seconds later. Saffiedine pops right up, and Marquardt resumes trying to push the Belgian fighter through the fence like he’s a piece of cheese on a grater. Referee McCarthy gets sick of the man-huggery after a bit and pulls them apart, and Saffiedine continues to chips away at his foe with lightning-like leg-kicks. The horn sounds with Marquardt looking like he’s shook.
Round 3: Saffiedine continues on with his mission to turn Marquardt’s leg into hamburger, so of course Marquardt tries hug him to death against the cage (with varying levels of success). They make some space and Saffiedine walks forward covering up but coiled like a cobra, and Marquardt attempts a flying knee that really does nothing. The two bang on each other a bit, Marquardt with punches and Saffiedine with his kicks, and the horn sounds with the champ going for a fruitless takedown attempt.
Round 4: Marquardt’s thigh is a bright shade of purple, and Saffiedine resumes chopping it to bits. The champ turns up the heat with his punches, yet each successive shin to his leg threatens to crumble him. Marquardt changes tact and tries to catch those kicks, but to no avail, and from the punching exchanges he ends up with blood on his face. It is almost all Saffiedine at this point.
Round 5: The limb destruction continues, and to show he’s got other tricks, Saffiedine throws a sweet question mark-kick that Marquardt barely dodges. They end up grinding against the cage for a bit, then separate and kickbox – an endeavor that the Belgian striker cannot lose. With 45 seconds to go, Saffiedine flips the script and nails a takedown, and finishes the round beating on Marquardt from above. There is no doubt he’s got the unanimous decision in the bag when all is said and done.
Tarec Saffiedine def. Nate Marquardt via Unanimous Decision (48-47, 49-46, 49-46)
That’s all she wrote, folks. Have a nice night. Or don’t. I don’t care.