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Strike Force: Fedor vs. Werdum review
by Scott Newman (MMA)
Posted on July 17, 2010, 11:18 AM

Strike Force: Fedor vs. Werdum

San Jose, California

-First things first, I guess Strike Force ought to change their opening video package, as the last guy it shows celebrating is Jake Shields, who just signed with the UFC. And thank God for that too, now he can fight at 170lbs against live opposition again.

-Your hosts are Gus Johnson, Mauro Renallo and Frank Shamrock. Oh, for fuckís sake. Strike Force got a ton of positive feedback over the announcing at the Los Angeles show because they used Mauro with Stephen Quadros and Pat Miletich. And while I can understand them bringing Shamrock back, why the fuck bring back Johnson who is by far the worst announcer in MMA right now? I mean, seriously. I could do a better job and Iíve never announced a thing in my life. At least I understand the sport, which is more than can be said for this moron. Mauro outright says that the winner of Fedor-Werdum gets a shot at Alistair Overeemís title, which is important later. And LOL at Mauro trying to sell Bobby Lashley and Lavar Johnson as title contenders. No offense, of course.

Lightweight Fight: Josh Thomson vs Pat Healy

Originally, Thomson had been set to fight the winner of Mayís Lyle Beerbohm-Shaolin Ribeiro fight here, but both men ended up unavailable and when Strike Forceís next choice JZ Cavalcante couldnít make it either, Healy stepped in, dropping to 155lbs from his usual 170lbs. Although Healyís got some REALLY good wins on his resume (Carlos Condit, Dan Hardy, Paul Daley) I couldnít see him taking out Thomson who is one of the top Lightweights in the world in my opinion.

First round and Healy pushes forward but eats a left hook early on. Nice takedown from Thomson but Healy sprawls out back to his feet and forces the Punk into the fence. They exchange some knees along the fence before Healy drops for a takedown. Thomson stuffs it and reverses by taking the back, and he looks to slide off the side into an armbar ala Lilí Nog. Healy looks in some difficulty, and the arm looks extended, but somehow Healy slips free and winds up on top, only to fall right into a triangle! Thomson canít quite tighten it up though, and it looks like heís going to transition to the armbar again. Finally Healy manages to escape, seating Thomson against the fence. Josh works up to his feet, but Healy grabs a rear waistlock and hits a nice German suplex! Thomson looks fine though and tries to work to his feet again. Healy manages to get both hooks in though, rolling him over to work for the choke. Scramble from Thomson and he goes for a leglock, looking to get a heel hook, but Healy slips to his feet and hits a takedown. Thomson sprawls out though and escapes to his feet with just under a minute to go. Into the clinch, and Healy botches a takedown and winds up on the bottom, and the round ends there. Great first round but it has to go to Thomson for the close submissions I would say. 10-9 Thomson.

Round Two and they exchange some strikes early, with Thomson landing some real crisp combinations. Healy gets a takedown though and looks to take the back again as Thomson tries to get to his feet. One hook in and he looks to use the fence to get the other, finally sliding it in. Thomson continues to squirm, but takes some shots to the head before he manages to roll onto his back in half-guard. Short punches land for Healy as Thomson works and manages to get to full guard. Healy immediately passes to half-guard though and continues to work away with punches. Thomson escapes to his feet, but Healy quickly elevates him and brings him back down, where he takes an upkick before Thomson goes for a triangle. Healy pulls free and now it looks like heís going for a leglock, but Thomson drops some nasty elbows to the thighs as Mauro channels Joe Rogan by ranting that vertical elbows should be legal. Healy winds up back in Thomsonís guard, where the Punk goes for another armbar, but again Healy shows some tremendous defense to escape. Healy ends up back in Thomsonís guard, dropping some short punches and hammer fists, and the round ends in that position. 10-9 Healy so itís even going into the third.

Round Three and they trade punches to begin, with Thomson landing a pair of solid right hooks. Takedown stuffed by Thomson and he lands with a hard right. Front kick to the chest by Thomson but Healy closes the distance and works into the clinch. Thomson breaks off though and keeps his distance, landing a right hand again. Healy manages to close the distance into the clinch again, forcing him into the cage, but Thomson again breaks free. Healy closes in once more and drops for a takedown this time, managing eventually to get Josh off his feet, where he takes the back, but as he tries to get hooks in Thomson flips him over, landing in north/south. That was a nice move. Healy spins from the bottom, but gives his back, and Thomson controls him with an over/under before slapping the hooks in. Healy looks in trouble as Thomson gets a body triangle and locks up the rear naked choke, and after a fight Healy ends up tapping.

Great opening fight with a lot of back-and-forth action. Healy really brought the fight to Thomson but the Punk gutted it out and came away with one of his most impressive wins in recent memory. Give me Thomson vs. Shaolin, JZ or Kawajiri next and Iíll be a happy man. As for Healy he definitely earned another shot with Strike Force and I think at 170lbs where heís a little more comfortable heíd be a fun fight for Tyron Woodley.

-Mauro interviews Alistair Overeem to discuss Fedor-Werdum. Alistair says itís a hard fight to predict but hopes Fedor wins because heíd like to fight him in the future.

Strike Force Womenís 145lbs Title: Cris Cyborg vs Jan Finney

Still not a fan of Womenís MMA, sorry. To be fair though Cyborg is definitely a star at this point, which is surprising in a way given she isnít as pretty as how youíd expect a poster-girl to be (see Gina Carano, duh). Strike Forceís biggest problem though is finding opponents for her Ė case in point, Finney usually fights at 135lbs and was stepping up to 145lbs for this opportunity. Cyborg on the other hand looked about the same size as her 170lbs husband just a week before this fight. Really, Erin Toughill and Carano (who sheís already fought) are the only women that match her size and so until Scott Coker gets Erin into the cage with her then weíre going to end up with uninspired matches like this one. Referee for this one is Kim Winslow which is the first time I can recall three women in the cage with no dudes.

We begin and they TRADE WILDLY right away and of course Cyborg lands harder and backs Finney into the cage. Knees inside from Cyborg before they break off. Finney looks to throw some jabs out but Cyborg lands a WILD FLURRY that puts her down and follows with a vicious knee as Finney gets up! Finney somehow takes the barrage and ends up clinched against the fence again, where we can see that sheís cut under the left eye. Cyborg breaks off and they exchange once more, and this time Cyborg viciously drops her face-first. Finney desperately goes for a single-leg, but Cyborg stuffs it, gets on top and starts to rain shots down before choosing to stand. Ref calls Finney up and itís a MASSACRE again as Cyborg gets the better of the trade and drops her with a combination. This ought to be stopped methinks. Finney ends up on all fours, taking knees to the body, before Cyborg forces her onto her back and smashes her with more punches. This is becoming hard to watch. Looks like itís been stopped...but instead Kim Winslowís called time for an illegal blow to the back of the head, taking a point from Cyborg. Jesus. Finneyís face looks like hell. Incredibly, they decide to restart and Finney trades wildly again, showing some tremendous heart, but Cyborg backs her into the fence again. Cyborg breaks and unloads again, and somehow Finneyís still standing. A big shot puts her back down, and once again sheís holding on for dear life. Cyborg pounds at the head again, and why this hasnít been stopped I donít know. Finney manages to kick her away, but Cyborg gets right back on to unload some more. Has Winslow been hanging out with the Mazz or something? Finney at this point is stuck in the turtle position just trying to survive. Crowd begin to boo wildly, hopefully because this fight is a shitty mismatch that shouldíve ended about two minutes ago. Round somehow ends there. Disgusting. Even with the point deduction Iíve got that 9-7 for Cyborg.

Second round and Finney comes out swinging, landing a big right, but Cyborg unloads a flurry and puts her on the back foot again. More shots and Finney is about to collapse. She goes down onto her knees where Cyborg lands some more, putting her on her back now, and more abuse follows before Finney tries a leglock! Cyborg pulls out and calls her back to her feet, and somehow she continues to attempt to trade with zero success. Into the clinch again before Cyborg wobbles Finney with another heavy combo. She manages to slow the onslaught by clinching again, but Winslow calls a break and this allows Cyborg to flurry again with a big knee, and this time itís mercifully over.

No offense to Cyborg, who did nothing wrong, but that was the worst fight of the year, period. Iíd rather see Minowaman against Jimmy Ambriz or Hong Man Choi than see that again as it was possibly the most shameful mismatch Iíve ever come across in MMA. Finney had a ton of heart, but sometimes the ref needs to step in to prevent someone with that much heart getting badly hurt, and in this instance Kim Winslow failed miserably in her role. This was a flashback to the human cockfighting days of MMA and if Erin Toughill isnít Cyborgís next opponent then the ref who takes the fight needs to be told to stop it as soon as Cyborgís inevitable onslaught begins. Shameful stuff.

-We go to a video package narrated by Frank Shamrock himself, basically about how MMA has grown and how he was around from the beginning, and that MMA has been his life. Really great video actually. This leads into Frank announcing his official retirement (for good this time I guess) by saying that when he was 22, his brother Ken gave him two important things Ė an ass-whooping, and a love of MMA. He goes on to talk about how heís been around the world for the past fifteen years and that Gilbert Melendez, etc are the future and heís the past. He pays tribute to Scott Coker and Strike Force, calling Coker an ďhonest promoterĒ. Random observation but Coker looks like an ageing, fat BJ Penn. Cool segment but I wish Frank would mend his bridges with Zuffa because if anyone belongs in the UFC Hall Of Fame, itís Frank Ė the first truly well-rounded mixed martial artist, one of the greatest fighters of all time, and the forerunner for the likes of Georges St-Pierre, todayís greatest fighters.

Middleweight Fight: Cung Le vs Scott Smith

This was a rematch from their fight in December í09, which saw Le use his flashy striking to pick Smith apart, until his inability to put Smith away came back to hurt him when ĎHands of Steelí caught him with a big shot in the third to knock him out. Coming into this one the feeling was that weíd see a similar fight to the first, and with Leís focus not really being on fighting again (his wife gave birth a few days prior to the fight) I figured Smith would catch him for the same result. Pre-fight Gus Johnson notes that one of Leís more recent fights came against Frank Shamrock and it was ďone of the better fights of the seasonĒ. Good lord is this guy a retard. Le also has Channing Tatum in his corner. Whatís next, Liam Neeson and Bradley Cooper cornering Rampage?

First round begins and Smith comes charging out swinging, but Le backpedals and gets out of the way. Smith keeps on bringing it and Le looks a little flustered, being forced into the cage in a clinch. Couple of punches to the body from Smith but little else is going on and they break off. Smith continues to push forward, but he hasnít landed yet. Le begins to counter, landing a couple of shots as Smith comes in, particularly with the left hand. High kick puts Le on his bike, but it didnít land cleanly. Straight left from Le wobbles Smithís legs and he shoots for a takedown, but Le sprawls out to avoid and holds a front facelock. Couple of shots to the body from Le. Smith pushes for the takedown and then gets to his feet in the clinch, forcing Le into the cage. Combo breaks for Smith. Both men swing some big shots and the Le lands with a high kick and follows with a one-two and a series of knees that drop Smith down to all fours. Doesnít look like Le knows what to do with the front facelock position though outside of club to the body. Seconds to go and the round finishes there. 10-9 Cung Le, easy round to score.

Second round and Le comes out with a flurry and a head kick. Smith charges in to answer, but eats some on the counter and Leís movement is allowing him to avoid the big shot from Smith. Beautiful spinning back kick to the body takes Smith off his feet for a moment and as he pops up Le follows with a left hook to the body and a knee to drop him! Smith ends up turtled and Le begins to pound at the body with punches and knees, before Smith stands back up. Le gets a rear waistlock and lands some knees to the legs, then breaks off. Smith pushes forward again, but another spin kick to the body drops him hard, and this time Le flurries away for the stoppage.

Pretty entertaining fight but Le still showed a lot of holes in his game, namely having big trouble putting away Smith even when he was badly hurt because he didnít seem to know what to do on the ground. At 38 I doubt very much whether heíll make much more noise in MMA. As for Smith, eh, he lost but heíll probably always have a job with one promotion or another just because heís always exciting. For all intents and purposes both guys are in the same place they were after the first match, regardless of the result!

Heavyweight Fight: Fedor Emelianenko vs Fabricio Werdum

Where to start? Firstly, although a lot of fans criticised this fight, Werdum is at least a proven top ten Heavyweight and a solid opponent for Fedor. With that said though, everyone knows the money fight for Strike Force (not mentioning the UFC in this equation) is Fedor vs. Overeem so why not book that? Oh yeah. Scott Coker *did* try to book that, but the clowns at M-1 Global stalled with the contract and messed it up. Why Coker and crew continue to deal with such shysters I donít know. Anyway, I figured this one would go the way of Fedor, probably by knockout early on, as I didnít see how Werdum could get Fedor to the ground to work his impressive BJJ game. On a totally unrelated note, Fedor is ORANGE here, almost as tanned as he was against Mirko Cro Cop in PRIDE.

We get underway and Fedor stalks forward, avoiding a leg kick. They exchange some wild punches, both men pretty much ducking their heads and swinging, and Fedor catches Werdum with a clipping left and drops him. Werdum quickly goes to the crab position and Fedor comes swinging into the guard, but almost gets caught in a triangle! He manages to pop out of that and begins to flurry with hammer fists, but unbelievably he finds himself locked in a triangle choke again! The hold looks deep and Werdum grabs hold of the arm as well, locking in the triangle/armbar combination....and FEDOR TAPS OUT!~!

Well, holy shit. Huge upset. Not the biggest of all time as Werdum was at least top ten ranked, but still, this is Fedor! Having said that, the guy was bound to lose at some point Ė I just didnít think itíd be to Werdum. Looked like he just got sloppy for a second and with a guy as dangerous on the ground as Fabricio Werdum you canít afford to do that, particularly as I donít think Werdum was actually that hurt from the shot that put him down in the first place.

Post-fight Werdum is naturally elated while Alistair Overeem looks a little gutted at cageside, I guess because his big money match just went down the pan. Fedor meanwhile looks slightly disappointed, never being one to show much emotion. In fact, his ludicrous M-1 Global entourage look more upset than he is, which is understandable as they just saw their cash cow and their biggest bargaining chip to their ridiculous co-promotions Ė Fedorís unbeaten run Ė go down in flames. Iím actually a fan of Fedor as a fighter but I canít say Iím upset with this loss if only because itíll hopefully signal the end of the awful M-1 Global co-promotion rubbish. Right now it hasnít been decided whether Werdum will actually fight Overeem for the belt or whether theyíll do the Werdum-Fedor rematch, or whether theyíll actually go straight to Overeem-Fedor Ė who knows? Ė but hopefully this gives Strike Force a little more power over the M-1 guys now and they wonít be able to make any more silly contractual demands.

-Announcers wrap up the action of the night, obviously concentrating on the Werdum upset. Gus Johnson is still unspeakably awful, for those wondering. Quick highlight reel ends things.

Final Thoughts....

Well, the Werdum-Fedor upset makes this one pretty much required viewing for any MMA fan anyway, but itís a pretty good effort for Strike Force, with Thomson-Healy being the stand-out fight but Le-Smith being a lot of fun too. Sure, Cyborg-Finney sucks and is downright disturbing to watch, but I guess if youíre a real vampire you might enjoy it so itís not like one of the most boring fights of all time or anything like that. Two thumbs up for this one, then, and hopefully this is the last we have to hear of M-1 Global.

Best Fight: Thomson-Healy
Worst Fight: Cyborg-Finney

Overall Rating: ***1/2

Coming Soon....

UFC: 112-116
King of the Cage: Various shows

Until next time,

Scott Newman:

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