My review of Strikeforce: Marquardt vs. Saffiedine, which was the final Strikeforce event ever. Thank God.
Tarec Saffiedine def. Nate Marquardt: I was high on Saffiedine prior to this fight, and even though I thought Marquardt was a bad match-up for him, he showed everyone why he’s a high caliber fighter. He used leg kicks to slow down Marquardt and never let him get off. It was actually a little surprising that Marquardt, a longtime veteran of the sport, couldn’t check a single leg kick. As talented as Marquardt is, it’s time to give up on him in big fights. How many times does the guy have to let us down before we realize that he’s not mentally strong? Losing to Anderson Silva, and even Chael Sonnen, is one thing, but Yushin Okami and Saffiedine were good match ups for him and he failed. Not only thing but he’s a caught cheater, which is a sign of mental weakness. If he goes to the UFC, he’ll have success against some guys and probably look good in the process, but when something important is on the line, bet on him to shit the bed. As for Saffiedine, his stock definitely went up, but I don’t know how he’d fare against some of the better welterweights in the UFC, especially those with elite wrestling. Working in his favor is that fact that he pushes a good pace and is very though to finish, meaning he’d be a tough out in a five round fight, but in a 15-minute bout, he could drop the first two rounds and need a finish in the third, which could be tough considering the fact that he’s not much of a finisher and the top guys at 170 are hard to put away. I still look forward to seeing him compete at a higher level though and think he’ll continue to surprise people.
Daniel Cormier def. Dion Staring: Cormier fought like he just wanted to get in some cage time and not get hurt. So in that sense, mission accomplished. He didn’t look overly impressive, but after the fight he announced that he’ll be fighting Frank Mir in April, so I can understand him taking it easy in order to avoid injury. In hindsight, Staring should be ashamed of his performance as he played right into Cormier’s hands by clinching up, allowing himself to be easily put on his back, where he had no clue how to defend. Cormier had his way with Staring, which was to be expected, although people seem down on him after this performance. Of course a domination of Mir can quickly change those opinions. After Mir, Cormier wants to fight Jon Jones, which would be a nice fight if Cormier can make 205, which is still a big question. How a win over Mir earns you a title shot at light heavyweight is beyond me, but I guess that makes more sense than losing a fight at middleweight and getting a title shot.
Josh Barnett def. Nandor Guelmino: Barnett wasted no time in this fight. He got Guelmino down, went for a leg lock, and when that failed, just decided to mount and easily choke out Guelmino, who had no clue how to defend an arm triangle. Barnett was apparently really sick during training camp but that doesn’t really matter when you’re fighting a bottom of the barrel heavyweight who looked like he belonged at light heavyweight. Barnett did his pro wrestling shtick after the fight and didn’t really answer the question about whether or not he’ll be headed to the UFC. My guess is that he’ll end up in Bellator where he can continue to crush cans but also wrestle for TNA, where he’ll probably be pretty effective since he’s a solid pro wrestler.
Gegard Mousasi def. Mike Kyle: Mousasi started slow and then he remembered that he’s a top 10 fighter and Kyle sucks on the ground. So he took him down, easily passed to mount, and beat the hell out of Kyle before submitting him three different times with a rear naked choke. Mousasi can hang with a lot of guys at 205 and I look forward to seeing him in the UFC. His wrestling defense may cause him trouble, but, to his credit, he does a lot of damage from the bottom position and has a good ground game. Plus, according to him, he’s finally taking MMA seriously so I assume that he’ll be working more on his takedown defense in the future.
Ronaldo Souza def. Ed Herman: Souza is legit. Not that beating Herman is much of an accomplishment, but he made it look easy, which is what you want out of a guy like Souza against inferior competition. He out-struck him on the feet, showed some good clinch work, and made short work of him on the ground. The most impressive thing about Souza were his takedowns. He took Herman, a competent wrestler, down with ease twice. The second takedown was a thing of beauty as he landed right into side control, which led to the fight ending kimura. I can’t wait to see Souza in the UFC because he has the skills to hang with anyone, is very athletic, and is constantly improving. It wouldn’t shock me if Souza is in a #1 contenders fight for the UFC title by the end of the year. The middleweight division is rather shallow and Souza matches up well against any fighter.