Strike Force: Nashville review
by Scott Newman(MMA)
Posted on April 23, 2010, 6:58 AM
Strike Force: Nashville
-Was going to do UFC 107 and WEC 47 first, but I figured I may as well get this one over and done with. And yep, itís another Strike Force show with an awful subtitle. I mean, itís not even like people donít know Henderson or Shields so why not just call it ĎStrike Force: Shields vs. Hendersoní? Or if youíre not confident in the names, just come up with some sort of catchy title.
-For those who have had their heads buried in the sand for the past nine months or so, this was Strike Forceís second live show on CBS following a decent first effort in November with Fedor headlining. Here I guess they were banking on the former UFC star Henderson to draw the big numbers and justify however much money Scott Coker had splashed out to get him.
-Your hosts are Gus Johnson, Mauro Renallo and Frank Shamrock. They discuss the three title fights on the card, and of course being a CBS broadcast those are the ONLY fights. And they were hoping to get the show done in two hours! Insane. Naturally Gus Johnson butchers Aokiís name.
If anything, this fight just shows how shallow Strike Forceís talent pool is, particularly at LHW, as while King Mo is undoubtedly a hot prospect and could well develop into a top-five level talent, at 6-0 with his best opponent being Mike Whitehead I (and most other fans) thought that Mousasi was too much of a step up for him at this stage. In an ideal world Mousasi wouldíve been defending against someone else while Mo gained more experience, but in Strike Force there *is* nobody else.
Still, a rewatch of Chael Sonnen vs. Nate Marquardt Ė where a world-class wrestler was able to stifle what most would consider to be a more skilled, well-rounded fighter en route to victory Ė made me wonder how Mousasi would cope with Moís unbelievable wrestling ability, especially considering Gegard hadnít even faced what youíd call a good wrestler during his career. Even so though, I couldnít see Mousasi being denied here and figured heíd weather an early storm before TKOing Mo in the second or third round.
Side note, but using the EA Sports MMA video game to show what Frank Shamrock thinks the fighters should do in the cage is absolutely retarded and something Strike Force ought to drop right away. I liked his segments on previous shows but using the video game just looks amateurish.
Round One begins and both men look tentative early before Mo deflects a high kick. Right hand glances for Mo and he begins to tease changing levels for a takedown. Single leg attempt from King Mo and he takes a couple of punches en route to getting a takedown. Upkick from Mousasi and he looks for a triangle, but Moís having none of that and he slips free. Mousasi looks to control Mo from his back using a butterfly guard, but Mo pins him into the cage and lands some punches. Mo avoids some more upkicks and passes to side mount, but Mousasi looks incredibly relaxed and Mo decides to stand up over him. Another couple of upkicks land but donít see to have much affect, and Mo drops some punches down into the guard. Mo is staying on top here but he isnít especially doing much damage with his ground-and-pound. Mousasi is pinned into the fence though. Mo stands back up and drops back into the guard with more shots, as he looks to pass over the legs and avoid the upkicks. Reversal from Mousasi and he escapes to his feet, breaking a clinch with an elbow. Takedown attempt from Mo again but this time Mousasi stuffs it and throws a head kick that misses. Pair of knees land for Gegard but Mo drives forward with a double leg and plants him on his back. Mo looks tired now but then flurries with some punches before Mousasi pops up to end the round. Good opening round for Mo but heís looking tired now. 10-9 King Mo.
Second round and Mousasi pushes forward but Mo grabs a double leg and gets him down again, this time in half-guard against the cage. Mousasi turns his back and tries to escape to his feet, but Mo uses a ride to keep him on his back. Some good punches from Mousasi land from the guard, some of the best work Iíve seen someone do from their back in a while. Mo stands over him, but takes a couple of upkicks en route to dropping back in. Mo manages to shrug the legs off for a second to land some punches, but Mousasi looks more active this round and he kicks him away again. Backfist attempt misses for Mo and he takes some more upkicks and punches from Mousasi who remains on his back. Mousasi escapes to his feet, and now Mo looks pretty gassed, as he takes a knee to the head. Another takedown follows though as Mousasi doesnít seem to have any answer for the wrestling thus far. Mousasi is outlanding Mo from his back though. More upkicks and punches from the back for Gegard and then he kicks off and pops up to his feet. Another takedown follows though and Mousasiís on his back in guard again. Triangle attempt from Mousasi but Mo manages to posture up and slip out. Sweep from Mousasi allows him to his feet and now he has Mo seated against the cage taking punches. Mo escapes to his feet but Mousasi takes the back and hops on, looking for a choke, but as he gets the hooks in the bell sounds. Better round for Mousasi and I have it even at 19-19 going into the third.
Third round and Mo is breathing heavily as they come out. High kick from Mousasi is blocked and then Mo misses a superman punch. Sloppy combo from Mo is blocked. Combo lands for Mousasi as King Mo has his hands down. Mo gets a tie-up though and they head into the fence and exchange some punches. Punching exchange continues and then Mo manages a leg trip and gets into the guard. Mousasi ties him up and now both men look tired. Few punches land for Mo but Mousasi looks okay on the bottom. Heís not as active from there as he was in the 2nd though. Mousasi looks for a sweep, but Mo gets a side headlock and then releases to punch him some more, landing some solid blows as Mousasi looks to cover up. Action slows down a little and the crowd begin to boo as both men look exhausted. Mo continues with the ground-and-pound though and heís winning this round. More work from Mo on top and the round comes to an end. 10-9 King Mo so itís 29-28 going into the fourth in favour of the challenger.
Championship territory now, Round Four, and Mousasi comes out throwing some kicks. Combo lands for Mo and backs the champion up, and then he hits another takedown and pins Mousasi into the cage again. Mo stands over him for a moment and then drops back into the guard, and then stands again where he eats a couple of upkicks. Mo drops back into the guard and this time Mousasi turns to his side to attempt a reversal. Mo controls him with a ride though and lands some punches to keep him down. Big upkick lands for Mousasi as Mo stands, but the challenger avoids a triangle and ends up back in the guard. Big chant for King Mo now as he works with more ground-and-pound, not devastating work, but Mousasiís slowed down so much from the second round that Moís winning this fight purely based on takedowns and control now. Ref calls a stand-up with two minutes to go and they trade some punches before Mo looks for a single leg. Mousasi blocks it for a moment but in the end heís forced onto his back again. This time Mo gets into side mount, where he delivers some knee strikes to the body. Mousasi manages to work into half-guard as the camera catches a shot of King Moís left eye which is practically swollen shut. Iím guessing from the work Mousasi did in the second round. More of the same follows as Mo lands some punches from the top, Mousasi answering with some shots from the bottom. Mo stands over him to end the round. 10-9 King Mo again so Mousasi needs to finish him in the final round to win.
Fifth and final round, and what a gutsy showing from King Mo. Takedown is stuffed by Mousasi early. DRIVING double leg plants Mousasi on his back though and Mousasi finds himself in half-guard. Mo avoids the upkicks and forces Mousasi into the cage again, then stands over him again and takes a kick before dropping into the guard. I donít get why Mo keeps standing over him when he keeps eating upkicks when he does. Three-and-a-half minutes to go though, and Mo can win this fight by just holding Mousasi down and landing some punches. Mo does just that, but Mousasi lands with an illegal upkick to which Big John McCarthy calls time and checks Mo over. Heís fine to continue, but good lord is his eye swollen. McCarthy deducts one point which means Mousasi is screwed unless he KOs or subs Mo now. They restart in Mousasiís guard, and Mousasi begins to work with punches and hammer fists from the bottom again. Mo remains on top though and now Mousasiís face is pretty marked up as well. Mo passes into side mount for a second before Mousasi scrambles back to a butterfly guard. Reversal allows Mousasi to his feet and he lands a combo, but Mo grabs him with a rear waistlock before letting go. Mousasi comes in swinging now, but Mo hits ANOTHER takedown to the guard with a minute to go. This time Mo stands up and Mousasi is forced to join him, odd decision from the challenger as Mousasi stalks forward with punches. He canít land anything though and Mo puts an exclamation point on it with a double leg to end the fight. I have this round 10-8 for Mo with the point deduction, so itís 49-45 overall.
Judges have it a unanimous decision, for the new Strike Force Light-Heavyweight Champion, King Mo! Massive, massive upset on the face of it, but then again, and to take nothing away from Mo here, but perhaps Mousasi was a little overrated given that at 205lbs, the only top fighters heíd beaten were Sokoudjou (who is hit-and-miss at the best of times) and Babalu whoís probably past his prime at this stage. To me it looked like Mousasi underestimated how good Moís wrestling was going to be, and that forced him to switch his gameplan to just outlast Mo from the bottom and take over once the challenger gassed. The problem though Ė after an excellent second round from Mousasi Ė was that while Mo did gas, so did Mousasi and even when he was gassed, Mo was still able to hit takedowns at will and when youíre working on top from someoneís guard then the judges will always tend to favour that.
Credit where credit is due though, this was a massive win for King Mo and even though heís nowhere near reaching his potential yet, I still think heís a handful for anyone in the world at 205lbs purely based on his wrestling and athleticism. Not only did he show those attributes, but he also showed a ton of heart to fight through clear exhaustion and a left eye that was swollen shut. No idea who Strike Force match him with next as their 205lbs division is so thin, but it should be fun anyway. I enjoyed this fight a lot even if it got tiresome at points as each round was wash, rinse and repeat in the end.
-Mauro Renallo interviews Dan Henderson backstage who claims thereís no added pressure in fighting on CBS. Well, when youíve headlined big UFC PPVs before and fought in front of thousands in PRIDE then thatís to be expected. On the subject of Jake Shields he pretty much calls him a boring fighter and says heís going to knock him silly.
Great fight on paper; probably not the smartest matchmaking from Strike Force. Like when they brought marketable guys like Marius Zaromskis and Melvin Manhoef over from DREAM before, why blow your wad right away and put them against your top guys from the off, when you could build them up to the big fights and actually introduce them to the US crowd? Case in point, Aoki is a huge star in Japan and yet nobody in the US save for the hardcore fans give a crap about him. And yet here he is, fighting for the Strike Force World Title in his first fight with the company, live on CBS! I mean, surely itís lose-lose either way? If Aoki wins then a nobody (to the US fans) just beat your top guy, and if Melendez wins then itís a win over someone nobody has heard of. Stupid stuff.
As for the fight, given that this would be Aokiís first time in a cage, he wouldnít be allowed to wear his spandex tights, and Melendez was pretty much the best wrestler that heís ever faced (sorry, but Eddie Alvarez is overrated) I ended up taking El Nino via TKO in a similar way to how Mach Sakurai took out Aoki in 2009.
Stakes ended up being a little higher too because the recognized #1 in the division (BJ Penn) had lost a week earlier and so a lot of online writers (not me, to be the man you have to beat the man and that means Frankie Edgarís top dog) were claiming that if Aoki could win then he ought to be ranked the #1 Lightweight in the world.
We begin and they circle around with Melendez landing a couple of punches to the body and keeping a low stance. About a minute in Aoki throws a low kick and then drops to his back, but Gilís having none of that and waits for him to get up. Crowd begin to boo as thereís so little action, but then Melendez takes a thumb to the eye and referee Mario Yamasaki calls time. He squints a bit and then decides to strangely use Yamasakiís sleeve to wipe his eye. They restart and Gilbert throws a couple of punches, but Aoki grabs his arm and pulls guard. He looks for an armbar but Melendez pulls out and then exits the guard. Awful kick from Aoki misses and Melendez lands a punch to the side. Sprawl from Melendez and he refuses to enter the guard, then changes his mind and dives in with a solid right hand. Couple of good shots from Melendez as Aoki tries to tie him up, but he takes some punches and then they come back to their feet. They continue to circle and Aoki lands a kick to the body, but he takes some punches from Gilbert and doesnít look comfortable to say the least. Knee to the body from Gilbert and then he backs out to end the round. Easy round for Gilbert Melendez, 10-9.
Round Two and they pick up from where they left off, with Aoki stepping forward and eating some punches. Aokiís stand-up is appalling. Takedown is avoided and then Aoki pulls guard, but he canít do much outside of wrist control and Melendez lands some punches. Aokiís sporting a bloody nose now. Melendez is doing a really good job in the guard. He stands free and Yamasaki calls Aoki up. Melendez continues to press, landing the right hand to the body, as Aoki has very little answer for this. This is pretty dull though as Gilbertís playing it really safe. Mauro tells us Aokiís landed four strikes so far, which is pathetic. Aoki shoots and manages to pull guard again, but Gilbert lands a couple of punches and then sits just outside the guard, holding the legs as Aoki canít upkick him. Ref brings them back up and Gilbert blocks another takedown and drops some solid punches into the guard, pinning him into the fence to close the round with some shoulder strikes. 10-9 Melendez but the crowd are not liking this and neither am I.
-We cut away for an interview with Jake Shields, who calls Henderson one of the all-time greats and says he canít wait to fight him. He says he doesnít care that heís the underdog and if anything it takes the pressure off him.
Round Three and Melendez comfortably avoids a pair of takedowns and Aoki desperately forces him into the cage, but still canít get him down. Gilbert ends up dropping into the guard, putting Aoki against the fence, and once again Aoki uses wrist control but little else. Right hand from Gil and then he stands free, and we get an odd moment of indecision as Yamasaki looks to be calling Aoki up, but then Melendez dives back in with a right hand that lands before Yamasaki calls both of them up. Huh. Weird refereeing. They restart standing and Melendez avoids another takedown and this time refuses to enter the guard as Aoki chases him like a crab. Fans boo as Melendez sits just outside the guard and then calls him to his feet. Aoki again drops to his back, this time taking a sharp right hand, and now heís pinned against the corner of the fence. More good punches from Melendez but to be honest theyíre few and far between. Aoki tries to get his legs up for a submission but Gilbert is having none of that and he powers out and lands some more punches. Ref brings them up with thirty seconds to go and Melendez closes in with punches and shrugs off a knee from Aoki. Round ends there. 10-9 Melendez and this has been a walkover for him thus far.
4th round and Melendez lands a nice right hand early on. Weak flying knee misses for Aoki. Aoki drops to his back again and Melendez decides to engage him in the guard and lands some punches to the head and body. Back up for Gil and Yamasaki has to force Aoki to join him. Good right hand from Melendez and he easily avoids another takedown. Couple of really good right hands land to the body of Aoki. Uppercut to counter a takedown attempt and a knee drop Aoki to his back but Melendez backs up and forces him to stand. Crowd begin to boo loudly now as Melendez stalks Aoki and lands a combination as Aoki looks lost in there. Another takedown attempt fails miserably and Yamasaki calls Aoki up again. Weak takedown attempt by Aoki is easily avoided and the crowd get pissed off as Aoki scoots towards him like a crab. Beautiful diving right hand lands for Melendez and he follows with a left that lands flush and has Yamasaki pull him off, but as Gilbert starts to celebrate Yamasaki tells him he was stepping in to force Aoki to stand. Ugh, that was awful refereeing, pretty much the second time heís done it in this fight too. Aokiís face is marked up bad now. He fails on another takedown and Melendez lands a right hand into the guard and looks to follow up again. Aoki gets a warning for grabbing the gloves, and the round ends with Melendez standing up. 10-9 Melendez and there is no way Aoki wins this fight.
Fifth and final round and Aoki pushes forward to open, but he canít do a thing and Mauro tells us heís landed FIFTEEN punches in the whole fight. Thatís shameful. Another takedown is easily stuffed and this time Aoki claims a thumb to the eye or something. Yamasaki checks him and then they restart as Mauro rips on Aoki for milking the rules in Japan. I am loving this even though the fight pretty much sucks. Aoki manages to pull guard and looks for the rubber guard, but Melendez forces him into the cage and then braces his own head against the fence to avoid a triangle. Short punches land for Gil and then he pulls out of the guard and throws a flurry. Melendez calls him up to his feet and stalks him, landing a right hand. Shock horror, another takedown easily avoided as Aoki ends up flopping to his back again. This is a laughable showing from such a lauded fighter. One minute to go and Aoki pulls guard again, but Melendez stands free and stuffs another takedown. Seconds to go now and Melendez sprawls and lands some punches, then waves Aoki up and puts an exclamation point on it by decking him with punches to end the fight. 50-45 Melendez, easy win on my scorecards.
Judges have it a unanimous decision, 50-45 all round for Gilbert Melendez, still the Strike Force World Lightweight Champion. This was truly an eye-opener as Aoki was unable to do anything to Melendez; every one of his takedowns was stuffed and his stand-up was so inept that he only landed eighteen strikes overall. And itís not like Gilbert purely sprawled-and-brawled too, as he seemed comfortable pounding Aoki from the guard too. What this says about the competition in US MMA as opposed to Japanese MMA, well, you make your own mind up. To me itís even more evidence that the Lightweight fighters in Japan were always a little overrated and the level of wrestling in the US means that the Japanese talent are always going to find it difficult when they face off. Fight was terrible for the most part simply because Aoki did pretty much nothing while Melendez followed a strict, admittedly smart gameplan rather than fight for entertainment, but if Iím honest, part of me enjoyed seeing Aoki get exposed.
-Despite the first two fights going the distance and CBS only wanting this show to run two hours, they decide to show highlights of Mayhem Miller squashing tomato can Tim Stout on the undercard. Mauro tells us that this sets Mayhem up for a rematch with Robbie Lawler in June. Remember that for later.
In all honesty I still donít know why Dan Henderson signed with Strike Force to begin with. I mean, sure, they mightíve been offering him slightly more money and a chance to fight on CBS, but the company isnít even properly established yet I wouldnít say and so itís such a risk for a guy like that to leave the UFC, where youíre guaranteed good money and PPV slots and more stability. Look at the last guys who jumped ship from UFC (Tim Sylvia and Andrei Arlovski who went to Affliction) and tell me who came out of that one better?
Personally I was also surprised that they ended up matching Henderson with Jake Shields at Middleweight as opposed to Gegard Mousasi at Light-Heavyweight (which I wouldíve thought wouldíve been a better fight), but then when you consider that Shields was on his last contracted fight and wasnít signing a new one then it makes more sense. My own opinion was that Strike Force were trying to get some leverage over Shields by matching him with a guy who, on paper, was a stylistic nightmare for him. Still, it was risky for them because on the off-chance that Shields could win, he could then walk to the UFC with a win over a former UFC title contender under his belt, leaving them with a very expensive flop signing in Henderson. To be honest though I couldnít see that happening, as the only way Jake was going to win this fight was on the ground and I really couldnít see him getting Henderson down. Admittedly, Hendo had been taken down by lesser wrestlers like Murilo Ninja and Ricardo Arona before, but those guys are big, powerful dudes, and Shields is a blown-up Welterweight, so my pick was Henderson by standing KO.
Frank Shamrock, it must be noted, is HILARIOUS on commentary for Hendersonís entrance here, saying that Henderson is the strongest guy heís ever grappled with, and he thinks heís going to destroy Jake Shields here. Or perhaps thatís just him being optimistic! Man, Iíve heard biased commentary before but good lord. Shamrock then SLAMS Shields for taking no chances in the cage. Dude, do you not realize Shields has finished all but one of his fights since like, 2006? Mauro tries to talk up a possible fight between Shields and Shamrock in the future by telling Frank that Shields said he could beat him in less than a round, but given that that is really the most likely outcome of that fight then I hope I never have to see it. Just retire, Frank, please!
Round One and Henderson comes out with the low stance and the right hand cocked ala his fight with Toquinho in the UFC. Takedown attempt from Shields but Henderson stuffs it and NAILS him with a right! Shields faceplants and Hendo pounces, but Shields somehow manages to survive the onslaught and goes for a leglock! Henderson looks to escape by leaning against the cage, and finally he manages to pull free. They come back to their feet as Shamrock calls Shieldsí chin non-existent. Well, heís still in this fight dickhead. Couple of kicks from Shields but Hendo counters with a right that nearly knocks him down again. Flurry from Henderson has Shields in trouble again and Jake drops to his back but Hendoís having none of that and forces him back up. Another right hand puts him on the deck and now Shields is reduced to crawling for a takedown. Henderson lets him back up and closes in with more punches but Shields manages to survive again. Jesus, every time Henderson lands here Shields looks in trouble. They wind up clinched against the cage but little happens so the ref separates them. More punches from Hendo before Shields hits a double leg, but Hendo quickly reverses and gets to his feet, then forces Shields into the cage and lands some knees. Round ends against the cage and Shields did well to survive there. Well, Shields did very little while Henderson nearly had him out on a couple of occasions, so Iím going 10-8 for Dan Henderson in that round.
Into the 2nd and they exchange a couple of jabs before Shields looks for a single leg. Henderson tries to block it and they twist around on the ground before Henderson almost takes the back. Henderson almost looks for a rear naked choke, but Shields rolls free and gets on top, and then passes into half-guard and then into full mount! Holy shit. Henderson looks to hold on as Shields postures up and lands some punches, and after that first round who couldíve seen this coming? More punches from Shields and heís dominating this round. Henderson tries to slip free but Shieldsí mount is rock solid and he continues to land punches at will. Hendo tries with some backfists from the bottom, but heís eating punches here with very little defense. This is insane. Henderson has no answer for this and if Shields had more punching power then you could make an argument for stopping this. Hammer fists end the round as Hendo slips into half-guard. Total domination from Jake Shields and I think thatís a 10-8 too, so itís 18-18 going into the third. Incredible turnaround from the first.
Round Three and Shields opens with some jabs and low kicks as Henderson looks out of gas to me. Takedown from Shields but Henderson manages to scramble to his feet and break off. Shields continues to get the better of the stand-up though, landing the jab and a right hand, before hitting another takedown. Henderson tries to scramble but winds up stuck on his back, this time getting full guard. Shields works to pass and gets into half-guard, then slips his leg free into side mount. Hendo tries to cover the mouth but to no avail and Shields transitions to knee-on-belly. Hendo looks to elevate him off but Jakeís base is too good and he remains in side mount landing some short punches and hammer fists. Shields looks for a top-side guillotine and slips into mount, but Henderson manages to wriggle his head free. Punches from the mount from Shields and then he almost gets an armbar right before the buzzer. Another round in the books for Jake Shields, 10-9 this time though as it wasnít quite as good as the second for him I donít think.
Round Four begins with Henderson winging the right hand, but Shields avoids it and they trade some jabs before Shields gets a single leg. Henderson manages to scramble to his feet, but Jake shoots on another single leg and drives Hendo into the fence. Crotch lift attempt from Henderson and they roll into a weird position, but Shields ends the scramble by slamming Hendo onto his back again. Side mount for Jake Shields and he works into full mount again. Canít ever recall seeing Henderson dominated like this as even the Anderson Silva fight was largely even before Silva put him away. Side mount again and it looks like Shields is isolating an arm, but instead he winds up in half-guard and goes back to punching the head and body. Back to side mount now and then Jake steps over to full mount. Total ownage. Crowd begin to boo now but I donít see why as Shields is beating the hell out of Henderson even if he doesnít seem to have the power to put him away. Round ends and itís another one-sided 10-9 for Jake Shields. I have this 38-36 going into the final round.
Final round and Henderson is gassed and reduced to swinging wildly with the right hand. Couple of kicks and jabs from Shields and then he avoids some power hooks and gets a single leg to half-guard. Side mount from Jake and then once again he steps into full mount. Henderson looks lost from his back. Arm triangle setup from Shields but he gives it up to posture up and land more punches. Henderson works into half-guard and now Shields goes for the Matt Hughes style far-side kimura, but he canít get it so he ends up passing to mount to land punches again. Arm triangle attempt again and this time it looks locked up, but with Shields in full mount rather than side mount itís hard to finish something like that and Henderson slips free. Shields looks to take the back, but Henderson almost reverses and so Jake keeps base and rolls back to full mount. Total masterclass on the ground from Shields. Armbar attempt from Shields but he loses it and then locks up a kneebar, and the round ends with Henderson defending that. I have this 48-45 for Jake Shields in an unbelievable comeback.
Judges have it 49-46, 49-45 and 48-45 for Jake Shields. That was pretty much the performance of his career against his toughest opponent thus far. Shields weathered a horrible storm in the first round and showed a huge amount of heart and toughness to get through it, and then came roaring back from the second round onwards, and as has been the case in his previous fights at 185lbs, Henderson ran out of gas and had no answer when Shields put him on his back. And now with his Strike Force contract done and dusted it looks like heíll be jumping to the UFC to most likely face off with GSP at 170lbs. And for the haters out there, well, when was the last time Dana and the crew screwed something up? Looks like letting Hendo loose might not have been such a big deal after all.
Sadly, things get really silly post-fight as Gus Johnson attempts to interview Shields (who mentions some disrespect from Strike Force and CBS)...before Mayhem Miller suddenly pulls a Kanye and muscles in from nowhere, getting in Jakeís face and asking him ďwhereís my rematch, buddy?Ē...and then all hell breaks loose with Shields and then Gilbert Melendez shoving Miller before the whole Cesar Gracie camp jump on him, including the Diaz brothers who are clearly throwing punches and kicks, and it all ends in a wild, ridiculous brawl with Gus Johnson yelling over the top ďGENTLEMEN, WEíRE ON NATIONAL TELEVISION!Ē. Unbelievable. I mean shit, as if the garbage with Kimbo Slice being pushed as Elite XCís poster-boy on CBS wasnít bad enough, then Strike Force end up pulling this nonsense?
Eventually they get Shields out of the cage for the interview but at this point the damage is done and that brawl is probably going to be seen as the death knell for Strike Force on CBS. Show ends with Shields and Frank Shamrock shaking hands and Shamrock giving Jake props before Mauro slams Mayhem for what heís done. Sigh.
Iíve seen people online slamming this as like, the worst MMA show ever, and while itís not close to that, it certainly wasnít very good and the shameful scene at the end of the show, coupled with three over-long, not all that entertaining fights means that I highly doubt CBS bring Strike Force back in the fall like they were mentioning on the broadcast. Apparently the ratings absolutely bombed too, which is what happens when you donít build fights correctly. As for the fights, Mousasi-Mo was passable but got very repetitive, Aoki-Melendez was interesting due to the Aoki factor but certainly wasnít that entertaining, and while Shields-Henderson probably wouldíve been a FOTYC had Jake finished it in the second round, by the fifth even that was getting tiresome. Overall the big winner was Jake Shields as heís likely earned himself a fat UFC contract with his showing, and it wouldnít surprise me to see the likes of Melendez and Lawal joining him in the future. Strike Force took a massive risk when they decided to position themselves as the top rival of the UFC and I donít think itís going to pay off at all for them in the long run. Thumbs way down for this one.
Best Fight: Shields-Henderson
Worst Fight: Melendez-Aoki
Overall Rating: **
UFC: 107-111, Fight Night 20 & 21, Versus 1, TUF X Finale
WEC: 47 and 48
King of the Cage: Various shows