Unfortunately my home net access is shot, so I could not get on and get my opinions in after Saturday night but what better way to do it than right now!? I will certainly say this, Strikeforce is slowly upping the ante in the impending war with the UFC. The aura and importance they put around the Gina Carano/Cris Cyborg main event was incredible. I mean, in the back of my mind I knew exactly how the fight would go and it went that way but for a moment I really was excited for this showdown and they justified it being the focal point of the show over other title fights like Gilbert Melendez/Mitsuhiro Ishida and Renato Sobral/Gegard Mousasi. So let's take a look at the good, the bad, and the ugly after the jump:
- A slimmer Fabricio Werdum, gone were the love handles he sported in his last outing against Junior Dos Santos which aided in the highlight as it flailed like a crash test dummie once he got hit. Werdum at this weight looked a lot leaner and although we did not get to see how lesser fat helped, it at least made him look like he was in good shape.
- The opening montage. I think that really made the feel of the women's match up more important. Unfortunately it focused a little too much on Carano rather than giving both equal time, but that was to be expected.
- Gegard Mousasi - wow, while I didn't rule out him winning, I didn't expect him to do so in such quick and brutal fashion. He's truly a big asset to Strikeforce, unfortunately, the light heavyweight division is very thin outside of the UFC, so it'll be interesting to see who they match him up against for his first title defense.
- The DREAM deal, which allows fighters from both promotions to crossover to the other. I think this is good because the current talent pool in Strikeforce is pretty slim and when things such as the Josh Thomson injury happen, they have an easier way to find a good back up opponent. It'll be interesting though to see how this effects their relationship with fighters from the Sengoku organization, as Jorge Santiago is closely linked with Sengoku but has also fought in Strikeforce.
- The three man announce team. Sometimes it works, other times it doesn't. In the case of Joe Rogan, Mike Goldberg, and Randy Couture...it worked. For some reason Mauro Ranallo and Gus Johnson seem to talk over one another at times and Frank Shamrock does a good job but seemed a little quieter than usual on Saturday night. I think one of the most important things in selling a fight on live television in the announcing. Having been to a live event, that's the one thing that's sorely missed and takes away from the overall impact. While I like both Mauro and Gus, they're styles just don't mesh in my opinion. Goldberg and Rogan, while at times annoying themselves, at least gel well together as Rogan seems to be the brains of the operation while Goldberg is best served as spouting out random thoughts or advertisements. Hopefully, they get it together in the future or trim down to a two man team and have Mauro and Frank do the bulk of the show.
- Strikeforce's overall focus of their champions. While the acquisition of Fedor Emelianenko is great and is a huge story, I can guarantee more fans know 'He's Coming' than who Strikeforce's champions are. They did do a great job in getting over the Women's title but it seems that all the other champions or title bouts in the company play second tier to their main stars. That's where Strikeforce has to up their hype machine. The UFC has undoubtedly the best marketing crew in getting fans to care about a title bout and moreover their champion. Even in the dark days of Matt Serra as welterweight champ, they used different arcs to get fans to care about any and all of his upcoming title defenses. They need to really learn to bring focus to their champions because ultimately that sells their shows. I can guarantee if they announced a heavyweight title bout between Fedor and champion Alistair Overeem, casual fans would not care as much as if they had shown a package showcasing their champion. Let's hope they take some notes from Zuffa in that regard and get things rolling.
- Not that it was a bad show, but something just didn't gel well while I watched. Like, I was underwhelmed. Honestly, I got the same feeling when watching UFC 94 and this had the same big fight aura around it. Although this is not a gripe on Strikeforce because they have no idea what's going to happen in the cage, every fight seemed so one-sided that other than a few spurts in the Women's fight, I was never on the edge of my sheet. Ishida/Melendez at least went a few rounds, but never did I feel Melendez was in trouble and never did I get that 'hop-out-o-your-seat' moment. Mousasi just basically ran through Babalu which was great because it shows he's the real deal but I was hoping for a barnburner.
- Too much focus on Fedor and not enough on the rest of the roster. This is the number one problem I've seen with all organizations outside of the UFC. They find a guy that is easily their superstar, make them their focal point, but give no one else any proper spotlight. Much like the opening montage basically all about Gina Carano and her climb and the obstacle in her way. I have a strong feeling this show brought in some new fans to Strikeforce. This was a prime opportunity to showcase their talent, even if by clips or highlight packages, they needed to grab onto the audience they were getting...some just to see the beautiful Gina Carano. Instead, they kind of brushed over their talent and gave too much time to Fedor and only mentioned some of their other stars by name. I did like how they had an interview with Jake Shields but would it have hurt for them to do highlights of Overeem, Robbie Lawler, Nick Diaz, Scott Smith, Cung Le, and even Frank Shamrock? Maybe I'm nitpicking but I felt this was a prime opportunity to capture the audience a grow their fanbase and they kind of dropped the ball. Oh and when a guy fighting for their biggest rival is given mic time, that's not the smartest business move..lol
- Not so much ugly, but the face Gegard Mousasi had at the staredown was hilarious. Dude looks like a nerd but fights like a stud. My wife even noticed that and was sure he was going to get killed by 'that guy that looks like a serial killer'. She was pleasantly surprised.
- A fetal positioned Gina Carano. In most cases, that would NOT BE UGLY but would be some of ours fantasies but in this case, seeing the likeable Carano just being overpowered and beaten down was hard to look at. I was under the impression that 5 minute rounds would benefit Gina, it looked to be her undoing as she had too long to try to fend off Cyborg before a period of rest. Oh well, back to the drawing board.
So all in all, I was entertained, I would say last week's shows were slightly more appealing and left me much more satisfied but Strikeforce will work the kinks out, I have faith in them.