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‘TUF 12′ & Strikeforce Aftermath: Decisions are Fine, But We’ll Take the KOs, Thanks


If you insist on framing Saturday night’s dueling MMA action as a head-to-head matchup between Strikeforce and the UFC – and we do, since we’re media types, meaning we can always be counted on to find the easiest storyline and absolutely beat it to death – then you have to consider it a victory for Scott Coker and Co. Strikeforce came into the evening with the better card on paper and on this night the chalk held up. By virtue of back-to-back-to-back-to-back knockouts (if you count Antonio Silva’s TKO over Mike Kyle, which we do), last night Strikeforce was the metaphorical broken clock that turns up right twice a day, the dog’s ass that finally catches some sun. Meanwhile, every live fight on the UFC’s broadcast of the “Ultimate Fighter” season 12 finale went the distance. Both shows were decent, but after months of incessant bitching we should know by now that MMA fans will take a night full of stoppages over a night of scorecard verdicts every time.

During any given week on this website we give Strikeforce an unending raft of shit on the basis of its general incompetence, so it only seems fair to hand out some props on the rare occasion when the company doesn’t screw up in any obvious way. Good job, Strikeforce. We’d love to sit here and tell you last night’s show was indicative of the promotion “figuring it out” somehow, but frankly it seems like it just got lucky with a bunch of dynamic knockouts. Still, the fact this show went off as well as it did after the original fight card got scrambled by late injuries is sort of remarkable. Now it just remains to be seen how many people actually watched it.

The night’s most memorable performances certainly went to Robbie Lawler and Paul Daley, who produced two of the nastiest consecutive KOs we can recall in a long, long time. Neither ending was by any means unexpected, but together in back-to-back fights they seem sort of shocking in retrospect.

Despite a track record of difficulty standing up with left-handed strikers, Matt Lindland came out of his corner at the opening bell looking to trade punches with Lawler. It turned out to be the worst trade since the Manhattan Indians gave their island to the Dutch for $24 in trinkets. As anticipated, Lawler quickly knocked Lindland cold (scary cold) with a right uppercut, right hook combo that left the 40-year-old wrestler first lying, then convulsing, then hunched on a stool staring at his own feet, probably trying to figure out who they belonged to. Good win for Lawler and hopefully the last time we see Lindland in the cage, like, ever. Teaming up on some shady real estate deals with Chael Sonnen seems like a better long-term plan than continuing to risk any more punch-inflicted damage to his brain area.

Daley meanwhile proved he can even make winning look kind of sleazy, coming to the cage in a “Puss Out Fight Gear” T-shirt (seriously, we couldn’t make that up), landing a torrent of left hooks that reduced Scott Smith to a literal face plant and then calling out not one, but two guys during his post-fight interview. First KJ Noons, says Daley, then Nick Diaz, if you please. The Brit is nothing if not ambitious. Still, give Daley credit for best prefight quote, when he quipped something to the effect of “When I hit people, they stay hit” during his hype vignette.

Other notable performances included Dan Henderson getting back on track with a TKO over Babalu Sobral that was otherwise only remarkable due to kind of an uncharacteristically late stoppage by Big John McCarthy. Hendo will probably fight for the 205-pound title next, Coker says. Also, Kyle seemed to only help his own upwardly trending stock with a surprising first round against Silva, before the size advantage caught up with him and “Bigfoot” blasted him into the netherworld in the second.

Only Benji Radach’s decision loss to Ovince St. Preux utilized all the time allotted. Radach frankly looked like a dude taking a fight on a week’s notice a class above his normal weight division and – after referee Mike England took a wait-and-see attitude toward letting Radach absorb punishment without a stoppage – the fight itself looked more like it belonged on the UFC’s Saturday night show.

Segue way!

The “TUF 12” finale will likely only be remembered for four reasons:

1) Jonathan Brookins and Michael Johnson had a decent back-and-forth battle for the reality show crown that ended with Brookins winning, but somehow looking far more vulnerable than before. Turns out, when the kid can’t get a quick-and-easy takedown and RNC finish, his standup sucks. Really bad. Luckily, Brookins has lightning fast takedowns, good top control and punches hard on the ground, when he gets around to it. Would like to see both these guys stick around in the Octagon for a bit.

2) Stephan Bonnar fought an astonishingly smart fight against Igor Pokrajac. It was like Bonnar woke up Saturday morning and suddenly remembered he’s a decent wrestler with a BJJ blackbelt. Either that or he realized quickly that Pokrajac was going to get the better of the striking exchanges. Either way, a Bonnar who comes in with a good game plan and uses his well-rounded skills to secure some wins? That’s a Stephan Bonnar we can get behind. Dude has earned it after five years of crazy slugfests.

3) Yeah, Nam Phan got screwed about as bad as you’ll ever see a fighter get screwed by a judges’ decision. After inheriting a surprisingly stiff first post-TUF matchup against Leonard Garcia, Phan afforded himself beautifully, appearing to win all three rounds with his more effective striking. Then he lost. It was the kind of showing that makes you wonder what the fuck the ringside judges are watching, exactly. Guess they gave the fight to Garcia on volume of strikes thrown (and missed) alone. It also prompted color commentator Joe Rogan to call out NSAC chairman Keith Kizer on the air for the state’s refusal to address the issue of its shitty judges. This hasn’t been a great week for Kizer.

4) Man, Cody Fuckin’ McKenzie. What. The. Fuck. ’Nuff said.

Cagepotato Comments

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Smitty- December 6, 2010 at 11:53 am
@ FaH Q NL15
My pleasure bro. There are a fuck load of good people on here that have answered questions I've had in the past (both obvious and not), but there are also people that will try to rip you too. It's just part of how it goes down on CP. Glad to help.
RwilsonR- December 6, 2010 at 10:02 am
I watched both events, and I thought both were good. But I think the TUF Finale actually showcased a lot better MMA than the SF event. SF had a lot of mismatches with big strikers involved, and the knock-outs were great, but there wasn't a lot of intrigue as to what was going to happen in their fights. TUF didn't have the KO's, but it had a lot of good back-and-forth matches. Both were entertaining, though.

I do think it sets the bar pretty low for SF that they have to have a night of mismatches with big knock-out artists to have an event that is as good as the most amateurish product that the UFC offers. TUF Finales aren't even UFC Fight Nights, let alone full PPV events.

I thought the the three best moments were:
-Watching Matt Lindland getting flatlined, and then brought back to life (they must have had the EMT's do a defib when the camera panned away). I always thought it was a joke about two years ago when everyone was ranking Lindland at #2 at MW, and saying he was the only challenge to Anderson Silva. Yeah right.
-Watching the look of disbelief and bewilderment on Greg Jackson's face when HIS fighter was announced as the winner.
-Watching Cody McKenzie do his thing, in his goofy Alaskan way. Just amazing!
AussieJosh- December 5, 2010 at 11:57 pm
Overall a good weekend of fights!

Hey ............. Remember at the start of this season of TUF they showed a guy getting KO'd in the back yard!? What happend to that!? I never saw it on any of the eps...........?
RSparrow- December 5, 2010 at 10:51 pm
You can't knock out a fucking neanderthal (Silva), and I'm pretty sure they were looking for him on Destination Truth.

DangadaDang- December 5, 2010 at 8:10 pm
My sadness at the inevitable fact that Smith was KO'd was only momentary because of that fuckin Cody Mackenzie guy. Chokes. You. Thefuck. out.
Organ Donor- December 5, 2010 at 7:47 pm
is it me or did Buffer laugh when he read the first score in favor of Garcia?
ThaCrakin- December 5, 2010 at 7:17 pm
LOL @Kingmade he is the Tommy Toughnuts of Cagepotato haha take your Ed hardy T-shirt off put your beer and nachos away, take your UFC dvd our the playstation and come back to reality my friend! Kingmade= tough guy FAIL besides i bet my uncle could beat up your uncle...... clown
FaH Q NL15- December 5, 2010 at 7:05 pm
Thanks for clarifying man, and I figured that was the case. I understand it was a slightly obvious question but I just wasn't positive about it.

My man. You're probably older than me yet you seem like such a fuckin child
the glza- December 5, 2010 at 6:54 pm
pat miletich looks like he's trying to sell you a used car.
cursed5- December 5, 2010 at 6:03 pm
Phan won that fight by a country mile. He also didn't "afford" himself beautifully, he "acquitted" himself beautifully.
Mr_Misanthropy- December 5, 2010 at 5:51 pm
@ Karma

You're right, Bisping will never be able to pay. He must forfeit his life as payment. I like everything about Boneses other than the snitching part (he said so himself).
TheYert- December 5, 2010 at 5:40 pm
Man I thought Lindland was dead. He needs to retire before he gets his ass killed. I hated to see Scott Smith get KO'ed like that, but that was a hell of faceplant. He nose must be fucked.
kiai_NT- December 5, 2010 at 5:25 pm
Maybe the judges are trying to crack down on 'elusive' fighters. First Machida, then Nam.

I gave the fight to Nam, but Garcia did have the aggression. Still, I was pretty pissed at Nam for not capitalizing in that 3rd round. Garcia would throw two telegraphed punches and then put his hands down. All Nam had to do was counter and flurry....or go for at least one double leg and he would have secured the win...instead he got comfortable and relaxed....Lesson is, defend yourself at all times, and when you can... FINISH THE GOD-DAMN FIGHT!
KarmaAteMyCat- December 5, 2010 at 4:52 pm
@ Misanthropy

Bones snitching out kids when he was a young punk? seems like a tad bit of a sketchy thing to say. Bisping can never pay enough for the record he's obnoxious, boring, and British.
Mr_Misanthropy- December 5, 2010 at 4:48 pm
@ KremateYerCat

It's OK because Jon Boner gave Hamill a freebie so now his universal Karma balance has been restored. Bisping still has to pay up for his windfall, however. Boner can hang out on a limb, he probably owes a couple freebies for snitching kids off when he was a young punk.

@ Danomitosis

I feel your Sherdog pain. I have barely been able to stomach the writing over there for about two years now, even Jake Rossen is just a whiny gimp these days. I sometimes go there if I'm in a good mood to get a laugh about the crazy ways in which mostly illiterate people can have great fun experimenting with the English language.
SgT.SauceD- December 5, 2010 at 4:41 pm
Yea garcia got another bullshit decision. Fans really decided to call him out on this one too even though it ain't his fault in the slightest.

Strikeforce had a great night of fights.I just wish their production/presentation value was a whole helluva lot better than what it is. Also I thought Ranallo's head was going to explode when Hendo knocked out Babalau. Seriously, listen to it. It sounds like he's taking and angry dump or something.

As for the UFC card, well, it was putting me to sleep. And that is something that is only going to get worse due to the UFC/WEC merger. A lot of fighters are going to be handed pink slips in the coming months. Quite frankly I think Dana White has fighters scared shitless of losing their jobs. Everyone knows that unless Dana has a soft spot for you you could be looking forward to the chopping block if you go on a slide in the UFC. Hell sometimes (Gerald Harris) all it takes is one bad performance loss. Fighters are shitting their pants over job security so they do the bare minimum to win the fight and don't take any major risks (exciting fights)

And it's only going to get worse from here on in boys.
mr_popo0- December 5, 2010 at 4:35 pm
hendo vs. gergard anyone?
KINGMADE- December 5, 2010 at 4:08 pm
@Fah Q NL15

Fah Q OK15.
Gladheateher- December 5, 2010 at 4:06 pm
+1 well said Danomyte
Kizer really took the glove to the face. You gotta love Rogan's candor.

I might have missed this from earlier but how about the colonel Saunders beard Cody Mckenzie was pulling off. All for one, one for all!
Smitty- December 5, 2010 at 3:45 pm
@ FaH Q NL15
That's the 10 point system. When a judge scores the fight 29-28 in favor of Garcia, he is sayin that Garcia won the fight. They gave Garcia 10 points for the 1st and 3rd rounds (probably) and 9 points in the 2nd, and gave Phan 9 points for the 1st and 3rd rounds, and 10 for the 2nd. So when 2 judges say he won the fight 29-28, that's what makes it a "unanimous" decision. The judge that scored the fight 30-27 for Phan is the only one that thinks he won. In my opinion and the rest of the MMA universe he's the only one that got it right, but he is the minority of the 3 judges.
KarmaAteMyCat- December 5, 2010 at 3:40 pm
Nam got screwed but atleast it wasnt as bad as the Bisping vs Hamill screw job..
Knee Deep- December 5, 2010 at 3:30 pm
On top of that he did it while moving away. It isn't as bad as Brock's interpretive dance technique but still not a recommended method of defending against strikes.
Ballkick- December 5, 2010 at 2:45 pm
I'm glad Knee Deep brought up the fact about Brookins wading into a stand- up exchange leading with his chin. Now that in itself wouldn't be so bad if he wasn't also throwing his punches from his chest. I also predict a canvas nap in Brookins future if his coaches do not correct both bad habits.
I was taught hands up,...chin down and drive it home to my fighters by making them pay every time I hold pads for them. Pain is great motivator.
Brooking can thank his hard chin for his win,...cause it looked like he was well on his way to la la Land a couple of times.
mmmiles9000- December 5, 2010 at 2:24 pm
What am I the only one that would rather see a good MMA than just a quick KO? Strikeforce was mostly a bag of pathetically badly matched fighters. Lindland vs Lawler? I mean, really? Even Hendo vs Babalu (and I am a huge Babalu fan - we named a drink after him!), and Daley vs Scott Smith was very predictable.

I would rather watch competitive;y matched fighters put on a few decisions than sit through more Strikefarce shows. 3 guys that got kicked out of the UFC for unsportsmanlike behaviour? Come on. I'd like to see Hendo and Daley fighting better competition.
ThaCrakin- December 5, 2010 at 2:07 pm
LMAO @Almost North this is true man!! Dude just keep his head there like it was okay to do! At some point there it has to cross your mind that you should probley try to just stand back up!!