All-in-all, this has been a pretty bad night for Strikeforce. Two of its biggest stars get finished, and another wins via a pair of illegal strikes that go unnoticed. The only good thing for the promotion was Daniel Cormier’s preliminary thwomping of Jason Riley… at least one of its rising stars did what he was supposed to and kept his record intact.
HW: Chad Griggs def. Bobby Lashley (TKO due to ref stoppage, 5:00 R2)
Chad Griggs has something to tell his grandkids, and Lashley proves that he’s not quite ready for the big-time yet. Or does he? Did Lashley just get winded, or was he exhausted due to the loss of blood, or maybe even experiencing some shock due to the depth of the cut? Don’t get me wrong, a loss is a loss, but let’s not forget that another famous heavyweight experienced the first loss of his career due to a cut. And then decided not to lose again for almost a decade. Bobby’ll be just fine by that rhetoric.
WHAT’S NEXT? Griggs will come down with a bad case of Mackens Semerzier Syndrome and drop his next fight in convincing fashion against mediocre competition, and Lashley will bounce back with a vengeance. Hell, maybe Lashley/Griggs 2 makes sense.
LW: KJ Noons def. Jorge Gurgel (KO, 0:19 R2)
Probably would have been a pretty competitive fight, if not for A) the late punch thrown by Noons after the bell sounded for R1, and B) the knee that connected to a downed Gurgel’s dome. Gurgel was reeling after the punch, and the knee sealed the deal. Would Noons had won otherwise? Maybe, but that’s not what the fans will be talking about.
WHAT’S NEXT: Even with the illegal blows giving him a bit of the benefit of the doubt, Gurgel is not looking so hot. If he would have won tonight, he still would have dropped his last 3 of 5, so it’s not much of an improvement. KJ, on the other hand, is that much closer to stepping into the eye of the storm. (El Nino… get it? Guys? Anyone? Hello? So cold…) Standing in his way, however, are a really fancy pair of pants. If Melendez will be on the shelf for a while longer, then Noons/Beerbohm is the match to make.
VACANT MW TITLE: Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza def. Tim Kennedy (UD: 49-46, 48-47, 48-47)
Seemed like one that could go either way. Jacare’s solid striking was probably the difference in this one. Glad to see all 3 judges at least agree, and to not see widely different scores as is usually the case in close contests. Gotta love subjectivity.
WHAT’S NEXT: Will Miller fight Jacare or Diaz first? If Diaz, then Jacare could see the winner of Luke Rockhold/Matt Lindland, or perhaps Cung Le is ready? Kennedy is unfortunately gonna take quite a hit, but there’s enough talent at MW to choose from. Scott Smith seems like a great choice to me.
LHW TITLE: Rafael “Feijão” Cavalcante def. Muhammed Lawal (TKO due to strikes, 1:14 R3)
Doesn’t seem like this was the same takedown machine that beat Gegard Mousasi, and that’s exactly what had to happen. Lawal’s got some heavy hands, but he has a long way to go before he’s thought of as a proficient striker. He got caught, nothing flashy, just a classic case of how not playing to your strengths hurts you as a fighter.
WHAT’S NEXT: Now that Lawal’s no longer the champ, there’s no reason to not give Sobral a shot at Cavalcante. Easy peasy. As far as Lawal goes… maybe Robbie Lawler? Maybe Mike Kyle, en-route to a rematch with Cavalcante? I would rather see Lawler, but Kyle probably makes more sense at this point.
FINAL NOTES: Kaufman/Coenen and Lindland/Rockhold have been announced for October, and Kaufman/Coenen better damn well be the ME. No co-ME bullshit, she’s a champion (and a damn good one) and she needs to be treated as such. Also, Fedor is still in talks to re-up, so we may see him in a November show. But against whom? Antonio Silva seems like the unfortunate beneficiary of a Fedor comeback beatdown, but stranger things have happened. Either way it will almost certainly be a CBS show if it happens.
Finally, I don’t have it in spreadsheet form, but Steelers and Casey both go 2/4, calling Souza and Noons and whiffing with (what should have been sure bets) Lashley and Lawal. Yours truly also whiffed on Souza and went a trim 1/4. Yechk. Griggs/Cavalcante would have been a NICE parlay… alas.