Sunday, March 6, 2011

Teevo Perspective: Bellator 35 and Strikeforce: Strikeforce: Feijao vs. Henderson Leftovers

Did 'ya miss me?!

Employment obligations and a Saturday night course of events that could easily write the sequel to The Hangover, kept me from updating the site over the past couple of days. At any rate, your favorite keyboard warrior is back!

Thank God for Teevo! The conveniences of modern technology kept me in the loop, so I can deliver some late notes from Bellator 35 and Strikeforce: Feijao vs. Henderson. Granted, you've all probably watched these events or checked out the results, I still believe that watching the recorded version forces that viewer to watch more analytically.

Bellator 35

Bellator 35 began the promotion's fourth season with the opening rounds of this season's welterweight tournament. It also served as Bellator's promotional debut with their new broadcast partner, MTV2. The first thing I noticed about this program was its standard quality. It's too easy to notice this on an HD television, as the picture is a little fuzzier. Just to make sure, I checked the HD configurations on my television and cable box, and they were all fixed at 1080 as I suspected. MTV needs to work this out. I can watch Jersey Shore in HD, but Bellator looks like my grandmother's wooden-framed floor set -- really?

As for the fights, I think this season's welterweight tournament should throw a few sparks. Brent Weedman's upset victory over Dan Hornbuckle was the change of monotony this season needs. We simply don't need to see the same names recycled every season. Weedman matched Hornbuckle's ground game in the first round, and I think that was enough to give him a considerable edge over three tough rounds.

Olympic Judoka Rick Hawn showed off his striking skills to earn a unanimous decision over hard-nosed Brit Jim Wallhead. For Hawn, this bout was good enough for a workout.

Jay Hieron earned a controversial submission victory over Anthony Lapsely. Lapsely looked good for a short thirty seconds before the veteran Hieron took Lapsely's back early in the first round. Hieron secured a rear-naked choke. Referee Josh Rosenthal checked Lapsely's arm with no response, drawing the stoppage. Lapsely immediately argued the call with Rosenthal, insisting that he was not limp or asleep, and that he could not respond with the arm because it was trapped. I played this scene back in slow motion, but it was difficult to see exactly what happened from the camera angle. I'm not sure that Hieron was actually trapping Lapsely's arm. It may have been that Lapsely was posted up on the arm, or that his own body weight was weighing it down. Either way, I maintain that a fighter must be able to prove their ability to intelligently defend, and if not, the referee is required to consider the fighter's safety first -- sorry Anthony Lapsely.

In other tourney action former champion Lyman Good made easy work of Chris Lozano over three rounds. Rick Hawn will be a challenge for Good, but I think Good has the experience edge over Hawn, and we'll most likely see him face Jay Hieron (who has the experience edge over Weedman) in the finals.

On another note, I'm very dissapointed that we didn't get to see Zoila Frausto return to the Bellator cage against Karina Hallinan. Bellator is stirring the same pot that Strikeforce put itself in some time ago by not honoring its female champions. While she did earn a win in the undercard rematch, Hallinan, who entered the bout at 3-4 is a step down for Frausto who is hot right now. Frausto has a very difficult time making 115 lbs., but there are plenty of female 125 lb. opponents out there (ie. Tara LaRosa, Aisling Daly).

Strikeforce: Feijao vs. Henderson

Despite postponing what is part of the biggest heavyweight MMA tournament of the century, the Strikeforce train keeps moving, and I must admit that the quality of bouts continually gets better in Cokerville. After watching 'Feijao vs. Henderson,' I've pretty much summed up the theme of the event as "A Night of Teachable Moments."

Jorge Masvidal made his Strikeforce return, putting a dent in Billy Evangelista's flawless run. He utilized his size and reach to jab his way to a unanimous decision victory following an active ,(despite booing from uneducated fans) mixed up fight. But on the flipside, while Evangelista did not extend his 10-0 record, he did take home a valuable learning experience from a more experienced opponent. It's the type of experience that makes great fighters, and if Evangelista keeps with it, he could find himself among the "greats."

Melvin Manhoef displayed perhaps his best takedown defense in the first minute of his second Strikeforce fight. The bout was bound for the ground as Tim Kennedy intelligently pressed for the takedown. Word is, Manhoef has been concentrating on his takedown defense, now only if he can get the ground aspect in order.

Liz Carmouche gave Golden Glory product and reigning Strikeforce Women's Welterweight champion Marloes Coenen the business for four rounds. She kept Coenen against the cage and on the ground. However, Carmouche didn't respect the veteran's ground game. Coenen might represent what is arguably the world's best striking school in Golden Glory, but it's her ground game, not so much her striking that has lead her success. But again, it's all about experience, and that is what Liz Carmouche earned last night.

Dan Henderson used his trademark right hand to stop Rafael Cavalcante late in the third. The fight went back and forth with Cavalcante stunning Henderson in the opening moments of the fight. Cavalcante's lesson is simple. It's the perfect example of an "Old Bull, Young Bull" situation:

Standing on the hill an old and young bull
Eying a view that is more than joyful.
Below, in the meadow, oh what a sight,
A herd of cows stand… passions to ignite…

The young bull - hot-blooded - itching to go,
Cries out loud: “Wow, wow and yet again wow!
Each one of them is just like a ripe peach,
Let’s dash down quickly and let’s grab one each!”

The old bull stands his ground, majestic, cool,
Looks at the young one: “What impetuous fool!”
Head down, teeth to grass, he takes a mouthful,
And scornfully addresses the young bull:

“Slow down my young friend; don’t give me B. S.
We walk down slow, calmly, with cool finesse.
We are bulls with balls; let’s fulfil our call,
Slowly, one by one we shall take them all.”
                       - Peter J. Oszmann

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