Another Strikeforce event, another great night of fights. It seems to be a pattern with Strikeforce recently, one that doesn't seem to be letting up with the upcoming Heavyweight tournament (as well as another tournament at a different weightclass possibly on the horizon). Not only were the fights exciting, but the all-around production for the event was done well (I will discuss further later on).
First, the in-ring product. There wasn't really a "lack of action" during these matches that you seemingly get all the time during UFC ones. There were a couple slow spots in Jacare/Lawler, but other than that, the workrate was nice. You saw variety in all four matches. They all had exchanges on the feet as well as control/submission on the ground with very little stalling which serves to keep the crowd (live or at-home) in it. Roger Gracie looked good against a tough Trevor Prangley, showing good fundamentals in his standup, Clearly Gracie is not a worldbeater and with just three fights, who would expect him to be. What can I say about Herschel Walker? The man is 48 years old taking on one of the toughest sports in the world. While he didn't look picture perfect, he showed marked improvement since his last victory and dominated his opponent. People keep saying "Oh, if he was 20 years younger...", nah, it's more like if he was 5 years younger.
Souza had to make somewhat of a comeback after being rocked by Lawler in the first round. Luckily for him, Robbie pulled a Fedor and jumped in his guard rather than await the stand up. Like I said earlier, there were a couple dry spots, but the submission was all but expected. Nick Diaz continues to be one of the pound-for-pound most exciting fighters in MMA. There's rarely a dull moment (I can't even remember one) and any lull in action is quickly filled by some DIaz trash talk. Santos is a savage brawler, but Diaz wasn't afraid to stand and keep the fight exciting. When Santos started to land some big shots in the 2nd round, Diaz's chin held up under pressure until he was able to submit his opponent following a Santos takedown.
The cage wasn't the only place this broadcast shined. From the opening, Strikeforce wanted to use this show for two purposes, one was to obvious showcase great fights; the other was to promote their next upcoming cards featuring the Heavyweight tournament. One place Strikeforce gets criticized in (and rightfully so) is their inability to promote upcoming events due to lack of organization. That's something they were clearly working. The announce team did not annoy me especially Mauro. I felt both Pat "Shilletich" Miletich (tm Michael David Smith) and to a lesser extent Frank Shamrock did a pretty good job in breaking down certain aspects of the striking game during the main event.
One of the main areas I was most happy with was time management. While many complain about the lack of prelim fights shown during the card (and I somewhat agree with those complaints, but I understand that it's a Showtime call), I was happy that the event was over in under two hours. Of course if I had paid 55.99 for it, I would want my full 3 hours, but that brings me to a larger point. Strikeforce was able to have 4 fights (including entrances and introductions), 2 of which were title fights in less than 2 hours. They were able to do so because they didn't fill the show with mindless fluff like recap videos that we've already seen before. Strikeforce was still able to push their future events heavily, but could you imagine the UFC PPVs if they cut out the fluff. They'd be able to fit six fights easy. Now I understand that it's a little harder to do that if your welterweight champion can't finish fights, but I'm sure it can be worked around.
So this brings me to my last point and, unfortunately, it's one I've brought up quite a few times. Now, anyone's mind that is free from bias has to admit that the event was quite good. However, it seems that people (fans and media alike) aren't as accepting of that. The topics people have chosen to cover about this event range from the bizarre ('Roger Gracie has limitations') to the stupid ('OMG Nick Diaz said 'Fuck you bitch' with his lips. OMG was that to Mre. Cyborg?') to those that make you want to say "shut the f*ck up" ('OMG, no way Herschel Walker eats one meal a day. Maybe some steroid soup, amirite fellas? Cuz he's old.'). I don't know what it is about Strikeforce doing decent things that makes people come out the woodwork to try and tear it down. After a bad 2010 where they were (rightfully) criticized for dumb errors on their part, they seemingly have it together in 2011 and some fans and media are still stuck in the mud. I expect it from fans, well because they're fans, but media?
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