Saturday's "Strikeforce: Houston" was quite the interesting show. We had awful officiating, upsets and two new champions. Here are my thoughts:
You have to be impressed with Daniel Cormier. Three fights in four weeks? Two heavyweight title fights? No problem. Cormier breezed through his mini-gauntlet, winning all three bouts, including his 62 second win against Jason Riley on Saturday. Cormier is still learning, but you can't discount the experience he's gained in this short time span. The term "world-class" is thrown out a lot in regards to wrestlers, and most of the time, it's no close to being the case. For Cormier, a two-time Olympian, it's absolutely true. At any weight, being a great wrestler is advantageous. At heavyweight, I feel like it's a huge advantage. Add in the fact that Cormier's striking game seems to be coming along well and I think we might have a very good mixed martial artist on our hands here.
Someone who's not is Bobby Lashley. It might seem absurd to say, but is it time for Lashley to pack it up and call it a day in MMA? What we saw Saturday was just strange. He showed no killer instinct, managed to get stood up out of the mount and gassed out in a fight he was winning 20-18. This was just a bizarre fight and Lashley, considering his age and lack of progress to this point, needs to seriously evaluate his goals in relation to this sport. He's not making any noticeable progress and that likely won't come. A fight with Dave Batista might be the only thing left (and that fight is easier to make now with a Lashley loss, actually), but that is not a pay-per-view fight anymore. A CBS fight, maybe. But that would not be a good display of MMA on network television, although that hasn't stopped anything before.
It's good to see KJ Noons back to his old ways. Stopping Jorge Gurgel with punches has never been done before and Noons laid it on him. That being said, this was another strange fight. Noons drilled Gurgel after the bell of the first round, hurting him badly. Yet, it seemed like nothing was made of this. It should've been, at the very least, a point deduction, or at worst, a disqualification. But for nothing to happen is absurd. I was watching a fight on "Friday Night Fights" a few weeks back where a fighter was deemed unable to continue after being drilled with the second punch of a combo after the bell. It certainly wasn't intentional, but the blow ended the fight. This was after the 8th round. So the fouling fighter was docked two points and it went to the scorecards. He still won, but the point I'm making is at least something was done. It was a prudent decision by the referee. That was not the case here. It's debatable whether Gurgel should've been able to even continue or not. Then the referee again takes his sweet time in making the stoppage after a clearly not-OK Gurgel gets dropped with an absolutely vicious two-punch combo to start the second round. Completely absurd and embarrassing series of officiating follies here. Could Nick Diaz be next for Noons?
I enjoyed the middleweight title fight between Jacare Souza and Tim Kennedy. To some extent, I think we saw two fighters who respected each maybe a bit too much. They didn't really let it fly until the 5th round. The final 15 seconds were the most exciting of this one. As for the decision, I believe the right fighter won. It's unfortunate, though, that we didn't get to see Jacare's ground game, nor did we really get to see Kennedy seriously pushed, either. This was a missed opportunity to see these two grapple, which I believe would've been very good.
I don't know what more to say about the main event than I did on the radio show. King Mo definitely got away from his wrestling. The fight was either 1-1 or 2-0 Mo after two rounds depending on who you asked, but I had a feeling that Rafael Feijao was just landing too much and that would eventually catch up with Lawal. It did. Feijao came into this fight very undervalued in my opinion. Nobody was picking him to win, but he certainly had (and has) the striking skills to win this sort of fight. The outcome of this fight wasn't out of the realm of possibilities, not by a long shot. I think when Lawal looks back on this fight, he's going to regret his performance. This was a missed opportunity for sure. There's no doubt he'll come back stronger. As I've written time and time again, high-level wrestlers seem to have more resilience than any other breed of fighter. Lawal is so smart that he'll recognize and work on what needs to be worked on.