(My God, Daniel Cormier is going to WRECK this dude.)
Tomorrow night, the once great promotion known as Strikeforce will fade into obscurity, joining the ranks of such infinitely-inferior-yet-similarly-dissolved promotions as Affliction, EliteXC, and the oft forgotten Tank Abbott’s Backyard Brawlin’ Beergut Buddies.
So with their future careers on the line, make sure to swing by CagePotato at 5 p.m. EST to catch weigh-ins for all of the fighters participating at tomorrow’s Strikeforce: Pros vs. Joes event. Who knows? Maybe some of the randoms plucked from MMA obscurity will be too scared to show up, or piss themselves when they realize the huge mistake they’ve made. In either case, it should be fun.
But if Jorge Gurgel’s assertion that the fighters who lose on Saturday will not be headed to the UFC is in fact true, one thing we will surely not witness this weekend is caution. So with that in mind, we threw together a little poll: Which (massive) underdog could most likely score an upset at ‘Strikeforce: Marquardt vs. Saffiedine?’ All the usual suspects are included in the survey that awaits you after the jump, so join us in a little harmless speculation, won’t you?
Meet Nandor “The Hun” Guelmino, a.k.a the man Josh Barnett will face in his final Strikeforce appearance at the hilariously mistitled Strikeforce: Champions event on January 12th. As you might have noticed, he is a terrifying individual who looks something like the freakish offspring of The Tall Man, The Silver Surfer, Imhotep, and an eighty pound bag of cement. With a record of 11-3, Guelmino has collected 7 straight victories not by consuming the souls of his opponents before pulling their spinal chords through their assholes as one would imagine, but rather by two earthly TKO’s, three submissions, and a pair of decisions. At 6’3” and just over 230 pounds, perhaps the most freakish thing about Guelmino is that he will actually be giving away some size to Barnett, who usually weighs in at just under 250lbs.
Having collected 6 victories by way of submission, it will be interesting to see how Guelmino will deals with the aggressive grappling attack of a guy like Barnett. My prediction: By lifting Barnett above his head, putting him in The Torture Rack, and spiking him through the canvas like a football. He will then grab the microphone from Gus Johnson and proclaim himself to be Ashta, Devourer of Worlds before unleashing a hellish sand monster in his likeness that descends upon the audience and wipes them out in one final flurry. Despite the massive loss of life, the moment will ultimately be declared a bit of redemption for Strikeforce.
Of course, reality is a cruel mistress, and YAMMA Pit Fighting ended up happening despite the best efforts of an injury curse. Much like the aforementioned Heroes of Wrestling, Meyrowitz attempted to cash in on our love of nostalgia by booking a bunch of aging has-beens, never-weres, nobodies and ne’er-do-wells to compete in the promotion’s inaugural event. Never mind that half of the roster hasn’t been relevant in a decade (using “relevant” as loosely as possible in some cases), or that one of the fighters was best known for getting knocked out by a leg kick, or that another fighter was best known to casual fans for his stint on Celebrity Rehab; they’re going to brawl, you guys! Add on one of Brock Lesnar’s Team Deathclutch punching bags, the cheapest journeyman-for-hire you can find, an obese former Toughman Contest champion and some obscure Russians who dabble at sambo — because, you know, Fedor — and we’ll have all the tools for an exciting bankruptcy case after no one watches this. Tack on the incredibly cheesy, stuck-in-the-mid-90s “On the streets it’s against the law — in the pit it is the law” tagline, and laissez les bons temps rouler.
Let’s be honest, Potato Nation. Tim Sylvia is probably one of the most toughest motherfuckers you know. True story: While in college, I once sent a him a private video message in which I made fun of his fight with Ray Mercer, his appearance on Blind Date, and his nickname, “Fatty Boom-Boom,” for a good twenty five minutes. I’m not sure how, but the very next day, he showed up to my school, slept in my dorm room, beat the fuck out of my roommate and took his bed, then proceeded to smack all of my teachers, professors, RA’s, and deans before my very eyes.
Now, if that happened to my hand, it would be a wrap — you wouldn’t be able to stop me from sobbing. But Josh Barnett is cut from a different cloth than you or I. Despite suffering this uncomfortable-looking break within the first 30 seconds of his Strikeforce headlining fight against Black Fedor/Bro Cop on Saturday, the Warmaster bravely battled on for five agonizing rounds, only letting the pain show after the match was over. That’s what you call a savage and a true champ. Daniel Cormier also re-broke his hand early in the fight, but until he provides us with x-ray evidence, we’re going to have to proclaim Barnett the winner of their unofficial Gnarly Hand Injury contest.
Mauro haters, hit mute now. Actually, everyone hit mute and read what I say about the fights below. (Video: YouTube/ShoSports)
Bruised and battered. Cut and bloodied. Josh Barnett’s face wasn’t one of a man who got out-wrestled last night. Olympic-level or not, wrestling doesn’t leave you looking like you put your head through a meat grinder. Don’t get me wrong, he did get out-wrestled last night, he just got out-struck as well. He got out-everythinged, if you want to get technical.
It didn’t have to be that way, of course. A lot of men would have wilted earlier–much earlier–in the onslaught of Daniel Cormier’s attack. But Barnett never thought of taking the easy way out, and today his face testifies to the evolving game of Cormier. The AKA product showed great versatility in his striking, staggering Barnett with heavy hands, head kicks, and knees. His combinations come fast, hard, and often, which explains why his hand surgeon is on retainer (yeah, he broke his hand again last night). When he did grab hold of “The War Master”, his grappling pedigree shone as well. He sent Barnett stumbling across the cage from the clinch and dolled out single-leg frequent flier miles, at one point flipping the former UFC champion in the air before slamming him to the mat.
The good news is, Josh Barnett vs. Daniel Cormier is a hell of a matchup — a classic generational battle between a battle-tested old veteran and a hungry up-and-comer. (As it turns out, Barnett is only like a year-and-a-half older than Cormier, but work with me here.) Also on the main card: Gilbert Melendez and Josh Thomson fight for Strikeforce’s lightweight title for the third time, while light-heavyweights Mike Kyle and Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante throw down in a rematch of their own.
Handling the play-by-play for the tonight’s Showtime broadcast of Strikforce: Barnett vs. Cormier is our own Elias Cepeda, who will be posting live results after the jump starting at 10 p.m. ET. Refresh the page every few minutes for all the latest, and let us know how you feel in the comments section. You ready for war? Because guys, we are always ready for war.
It may have lost some steam along the way, but the Heavyweight Grand Prix, Strikeforce’s little engine that could, is pulling into the station this evening. Tournament finalists Daniel Cormier and Josh Barnett will slug it out to decide who rules the now-defunct Strikeforce Heavyweight division and get their face plastered on one of those cheesy motivational office posters. Cormier, the two-time Olympian, tipped the scales at 238lbs; his opponent, Josh Barnett, will enjoy a 10lb advantage when they climb into the cage. Those of you ballsy enough to bet “other” as the tournament winner way back in January ’11 are on the verge of a mega-payout this evening.
Strikeforce Lightweight champ Gilbert Melendez will defend his title in a rubbermatch against Josh Thompson. Rumors swirled online that a serious knee injury would sideline “The Punk” from tonight’s bout, but he was able-bodied enough to step up on the scale. Both men tallied a weight of 153lbs and will look to settle the score in San Jose.
We’re liveblogging the crap out of this thing tonight, so join us back here for the festivities.
Tomorrow night in San Jose, Josh Barnett will face the greatest challenge of his post-PRIDE career when he meets Daniel Cormier in the finals of Strikeforce’s World Heavyweight Grand Prix. (FYI, we’ll be liveblogging the Showtime main card starting at 10 p.m. ET, so don’t make any big plans.) Barnett’s comfort-level in the cage and catch-wrestling expertise have led him on a four-year winning streak, and one more victory could earn him an improbable return to the UFC. In honor of this pivotal moment for the Warmaster, we decided to round up his five greatest submissions. Enjoy, and shoot us your predictions for Barnett vs. Cormier in the comments section…
Barnett’s first submission in the Octagon came against gigantic kickboxer Semmy Schilt, who had made his UFC debut the previous month by smashing Pete Williams. Wisely, Barnett avoids the standup game entirely, immediately taking the Dutchman to the mat. Schilt is absolutely helpless underneath the Babyface Assassin, and eventually gives up mount. Barnett waits for the right moment then attacks Schilt’s arm, giving up position in the process. It doesn’t matter — Barnett sinks the armbar at the 4:21 mark of the first round and establishes himself as a fearsome heavyweight grappler.