The latest Strikeforce event went down last night, September 10th in Cincinnati, Ohio. The main events featured the semi finals of the heavyweight grand prix, where Daniel Cormier and Josh Barnett advanced to the finals with first round victories.
There is a reason you have to see the fights, because no matter how much you know and how much you scout, there will always be surprises! And this Strikeforce event was no different.
First, let me point out that my scouting report on Roger Gracie was correct! His chin is suspect, and King Mo found it before the end of the first round. Gracie took one big shot, and he rolled over and died.
Then there was the ‘Jacare’ versus Luke Rockhold title fight at 185 lbs. With the UFC taking Alistair Overeem and Nick Diaz, and hopefully Gilbert Melendez, the UFC got some quality guys. At 185 lbs, I don’t think either of these guys can hang in the UFC, they are simply a notch below. And I’m not sure Rockhold did enough in this fight to even win the Strikeforce title. Yes he was a little busier, but he got no takedowns, he got dropped at least once and he never threatened to finish the fight. Personally, I had Jacare winning 3 of the 5 rounds.
Josh Barnett, as I thought, advanced to the finals of the heavyweight tournament by making short work of Sergei Kharitonov. Barnett came in with a gameplan that he executed flawlessly, and he took absolutely no damage in getting the job done.
Then, in the other bracket, relative newcomer Daniel Cormier literally ate Bigfoot Silva alive. It serves as a reminder of several things. Despite only having eight fights, Cormier was very calm and collected, and it is because these elite wrestlers have literally competed thousands of times in their wrestling careers, so experience and nerves are not really a factor.
The other reminder is simple, never judge a book by it’s cover. Cormier may look a bit flabby perhaps, but he is an elite athlete. Cormier showed great speed and power in the few short minutes it took him to dispatch Silva.
Which sets up an interesting final for this tournament between Josh Barnett and Daniel Cormier. My tendency is to pick Barnett, as he will have knowledge of what to do with a wrestler like Cormier, but I must admit Cormier has a new fan here. Additionally, he trains at AKA, as elite an MMA academy as there is in the country, so I’m going to look for him to progress very quickly.
One thing I didn’t like was the announcing crew stating the finals were slated for early next year. This tournament has dragged on, and neither finalist took any real damage here in these fights. Let me repeat my call here – the UFC needs to absorb this final, and it needs to put it behind Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos on the November 12th card that will air on FOX. Before this, I wasn’t sure Cormier was going to be UFC material, I wanted to see more. Well, this past Saturday he showed the world he is UFC material.