|Posted by Mark Figula on September 11, 2011 at 5:45 PM|
By Mark Figula, The Mouth of MMA Senior Editor
It started with eight and now is down to two. Strikeforce's last, best idea has left two men standing who are neither an emperor nor a demolition man - although the latter chose greener pastures in facing Lesnar at UFC 139. His stand-in, Oklahoma State's wrestling phenom, Daniel Cormier proved that he belonged in the tourney with a drubbing of Antonio Silva.
The pending match-up of Cormier and Josh Barnett is an intruiging one. Perhaps no one would have considered Cormier a real contender at this point in his career, but wrestlers of his caliber are never more than a year at a top MMA camp away from doing serious damage in the cage.
As Cormier noted in his post fight interview, Josh Barnett is the most complete opponent he'll have faced. Cormier clearly has power and is probably not being overly confident when making the claim that "Josh won't take me down." If Daniel's hand (hurt when connecting with the giant chin of Silva) is able to heal up fast enough, he should meet Barnett sometime early next year. It will be anybody's fight.
Other fallout from the card was equally as eye opening...
After a 19 month layoff, AKA's Luke Rockhold took a unanimous decision win over Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza. The Brazilian showed better striking than most of his jiu jitsu counterparts in the sport, but it was not nearly enough against the hungry challenger who threw nearly twice as many strikes as the soon to be deposed champ. Jacare did try to take the fight to the ground often, but Rockhold showed fantastic ability to avoid being put in inferior positions while working his way back the feet. Rockhold might not have been well known before this fight, but he has a bright future ahead of him.
The other Brazilian Jiu Jitsu phenom on the card, Roger Gracie looked completely over matched in his one round KO loss to Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal. The former champ was all bluster after his win:
“I just threw this right hand. I caught him upside the ear,” Lawal said. “I wasn’t sure he was out, so I hit him with some street punches, some club punches, you know what I’m saying?”
While this win may not put Lawel back in title contention, it certainly puts him only a fight or so away. For Gracie, it's back to the drawing board. The lanky grappler will have to show he can develop a stand-up game or at the very least enough of a wrestling game to put the fights on the ground where he wants them.
Also on the main card Pat Healy showed his heart and well rounded game when he pulled out a submission win against Maximo Blanco.
The biggest winner of the night, however, was San Jose's AKA with a perfect 4 - 0 sweep.
Mark "The Ezequiel" Figula is the biggest wuss to ever enter a cage... the most spindly chickenass dude to ever tap out at NAGA... the boy who was told that the pen is mightier than the sword... and thus he writes. Check out his home page of scribblings at www.markfigula.com.