Sunday, June 19, 2011

Strikeforce: Overeem vs. Werdum Leftovers and Fan Perspective Notes

I had the pleasure of attending last night's Strikeforce - Overeem vs. Werdum event. It was a stacked card, and the production met Zuffa standards. American Airlines Center in Victory Park welcomed a festive, but not packed crowd. Here's a few notes from a fan perspective:

A few side notes:
  • The Maverick's NBA Championship win was the underlying theme, behind the event itself. Strikeforce and the fighters did an excellent job of taking advantage of the crowd's beloved team, mentioning it throughout the show, and displaying Mavs images over the screens.
  • Several celebrities were in the house: Big Black and his sidekick Rashawn 'Bam Bam' Davis took up a whole section, just the two of them. Michael Irvin sat cageside with his two sons who, by the way, appeared very frightened when the saw that bloody mound rising out of KJ Noons head.
  • Popular and often controversial ref/judge Cecil Peoples manned one of the judge's tables. I noticed he spent an awful lot of time texting on his cell phone, unless there's some CompuStat app for judges or a handheld scorecard device that I've never heard of.
  • I'm assuming Dana White and Lou Fertita were still down in Brazil absorbing UV rays and watching tan, half-naked women drop it like it's hot. Scott Coker and Reed Harris appeared to have things under control in the cockpit.

The Fights:
  • In a 180 lb. catchweight bout Na-Shon Burrell clearly outwrestled Joe Ray in a fine display of balance and athleticism. Burrell won a clean decision.
  • It was 10th Planet JJ over BJJ as Conor Huen defeated Magno Almeida via decision.
  • JZ Cavalcante and Justin Wilcox ended early with a No Contest. For those, who watched from home, you may not have noticed that it was Wilcox who actually stepped right into JZ's open hand.
  • Chad Griggs made easy work of Valentijn Overeem in a bout that should've been on the undercard in the first place.
  • Daniel Cormier dominated Jeff Monson for three rounds, but didn't appear to let loose. Cormier is an Olympic caliber wrestler who's striking has improved progressively, but if he's going to compete with the sharks of the 265 lb. division, he's going to have to get more aggressive than what he showed tonight. But hey, who won't take a win over a monster like the 'Snowman.'
  • Jorge Masvidal was not match for KJ Noons. Masvidal mixed it up. He took Noons to the ground, where he is his weakest, and he matched Noons' in the striking department, leaving a large gash and golf ball-sized lump on Noons' forehead in the process.
  • Josh Barnett is back, and it was evident that he's taking no prisoners after the way he manhandled Brett Rogers. Brett Rogers' ground game is nonexistent, and was thus no match for a highly skilled, experienced fighter like Barnett. Funny, I was thinking, if Barnett were to train with a guy like Barnett, he'd be a force in the heavyweight division.
  • Overeem vs. Werdum was comedy central for the opening moments of round one. The butt scooting, monkey rolling, and guard baiting by Fabricio Werdum were enough to make both fighters jokingly crack smiles early on. However, despite the boos and apparent displeasure of fans, Werdum stuck to his Jiu Jitsu game plan. He stayed active enough on his feet and kept Overeem locked down enough in the guard to make it a close one. Honestly, I was surprised to see Overeem's hand raised. While we all want to see a 'stand-up-and-bang' fight, the scorecards don't shouldn't lie, but when the judges are texting LOL's and smiley faces to their old lady at home instead of paying attention to the one thing they get payed for, you might as well flip a coin. Thanks again Cecil Peoples!

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Strikeforce: Overeem vs. Werdum
June 18, 2011
American Airlines Center,
Dallas, Texas

Main Card
Alistair Overeem def. Fabricio Werdum via unanimous decision
Josh Barnett def. Brett Rogers via submission (arm triangle choke), R2
Jorge Masvidal def. K.J. Noons via unanimous decision
Daniel Cormier def. Jeff Monson via unanimous decision
Chad Griggs def. Valentijn Overeem via first-round TKO

Preliminary Card
Gesias Cavalcante vs. Justin Wilcox is ruled a no decision
Conor Heun def. Magno Almeida via unanimous decision
Nah-Shon Burrell def. Joe Ray via unanimous decision
Isaac Vallie-Flagg def. Brian Melancon via split decision
Todd Moore def. Mike Bronzoulis via unanimous decision

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