I’ll be completely honest: I didn’t watch Strikeforce’s farewell card live last night. I recorded it, and watched it when I was done watching football. Am I just that dedicated of a 49ers/Packers fan? Not quite; last night was the first time I watched either team play all season. Rather, my mentality was that I haven’t been changing my schedule to accommodate Strikeforce events for the past two years now [Author Note: Damn, was the buyout really two years ago already? Time flies when you're watching something die.], so why start now for the promotion’s
Reading through the collection of Strikeforce tributes online, it’s obvious that I’m not the only one feeling this way. Articles and tweets about the demise of Strikeforce have been respectful, but not overly-sentimental, and the comments sections of various liveblogs covering the event didn’t exactly blow up for the occasion. There were none of the regrets, what-nows and what-could-have-beens that usually come along with failed business ventures - just a few awkward goodbyes as Zuffa prepared to pull the plug on the machine that no longer served any purpose.
And honestly, why would anyone other than Strikeforce’s employees, fighters and Scott Coker feel any differently? The death of Strikeforce doesn’t mark the end of a promotion that has been pumping out relevant fights for the past two years. It isn’t the death of an alternative option for fighters not wanting to sign with Zuffa. It isn’t the even the end of free MMA on basic cable.
I guess it would be different if this card was stacked with the fighters who made Strikeforce Strikeforce, such as Cung Le, Nick Diaz, Alistair Overeem, Ronda Rousey, Gilbert Melendez and Luke Rockhold, but they’ve either been assimilated into the UFC by now or they’ve pulled out of the event due to injury/apathy. Instead, this card served as one final night of squash fights – one of which actually ended differently than you may have expected.
So let’s talk about the upset on the main card. Tarec Saffiedine shocked us all not simply by defeating Nate Marquardt, but rather, by how easily he managed to do so. Saffiedine made effective usage of his crisp striking by absolutely battering Nate the Great throughout the bout, peppering Marquardt with leg kicks until his leg resembled Junior Dos Santos’ face. Saffiedine felt he needed to win in order to get an offer from the UFC, and it showed in his effort. Saffiedine’s conditioning, game plan and overall performance was far more convincing than Marquardt’s output last night, plain and simple.
And for those of you preparing for MMA Jeopardy, yes, Tarec Saffiedine is officially the final welterweight champion in Strikeforce history.
As for the rest of the card, there isn’t much to honestly say. We knew Cormier was going destroy what’s his name, and he did. Cormier may have been too ambitious with his callouts of both Frank Mir and Jon Jones after the fight, but if he gets past Frank Mir, I know I’m not the only person who is curious to see how he would do at 205. The fact that Josh Barnett was sick throughout fight week, yet still utterly dominated the big, scary-looking Nandor Guelmino was a testament to both Barnett’s skills and the lopsided nature of this matchup. Don’t get too excited about seeing Barnett back in the UFC though; it doesn’t sound like he’s in a rush to sign back on. Gegard Mousasi choked Mike Kyle into retirement in a little over four minutes, while Jacare Souza kicked off the night by locking UFC-loaned jobber Ed Herman in a kimura in just three minutes and ten seconds.
It wasn’t exactly the most glamorous way for Strikeforce to have gone out – and it certainly wasn’t the preferable way – but Strikeforce went out on the highest possible low note. The fights may have been squash matches of little significance, but damn it, they were at least fun to watch, so that has to count for something. Fun fights that don’t really matter in the long run – if that’s not Zuffa-owned Strikeforce in a nutshell, then what is?
Farewell, Strikeforce. You did what you could with what you had to work with, for the few people who still cared in the end. Now, back to business as usual.
Tarec Saffiedine def. Nate Marquardt via unanimous decision
Daniel Cormier def. Dion Staring via TKO (punches), 4:02 of Round Two
Josh Barnett def. Nandor Guelmino via submission (arm-triangle), 2:11 of Round One
Gegard Mousasi def. Mike Kyle via submission (rear-naked choke), 4:09 of Round One
Ronaldo Souza def. Ed Herman via submission (Kimura), 3:10 of Round One
Pat Healy def. Kurt Holobaugh via unanimous decision
Roger Gracie def. Anthony Smith via submission (arm-triangle), 3:16 of Round Two
Tim Kennedy def. Trevor Smith via sumission (guillotine), 1:36 of Round Three
Ryan Couture def. K.J. Noons via split decision
Adriano Martins def. Jorge Gurgel vie unanimous decision
Estevan Payan def. Mike Bravo via TKO (strikes), 4:01 in Round Two