Last night marked another fantastic showing for Strikeforce. I honestly can’t remember the last time that they put on a snoozer card (at least on their non-Challengers series). The lack of pre-fight hype didn’t do the events that unfolded last night any justice. Even through the controversial Mousasi-Jardine decision, every fight left me on the edge of my seat (or jumping on the couch).
Aoki def. Beerbohm via 1st round submission
While all of us predicted that Aoki would win via submission, none of us expected his performance to be so dominant. While he came out of the gate throwing a head kick, we all knew what the main goal for Aoki was: GET THE FIGHT TO THE GROUND. It didn’t take long. About a minute in, Aoki had Beerbohm’s back. From there, it was all downhill. Aoki held on as Beerbohm tried to grind him off against the cage. After fully taking Beerbohm’s back, Aoki secured a neck crank/rear naked choke which forced Beerbohm to tap. After the fight, a very emotional Aoki bowed to the cheering crowd and appeared to thank everyone (even if they didn’t give him the microphone).
Mousasi and Jardine fight to a DRAW
In one of the most controversial decisions I’ve seen in a long time, Gegard Mousasi and Keith Jardine fought to a draw. The opening round saw Jardine secure 4 takedowns relatively easily. Mousasi tried to defend the takedown on the feet, but was unsuccessful nearly every time. Perhaps Mousasi’s strength isn’t defending the takedown, but what he does from the bottom. Once Jardine was on top, his offense was totally nullified by Mousasi. In fact, Mousasi was able to do much more damage on the ground. The turning point for the fight came in the first, however, when Mousasi tagged Jardine with an illegal upkick. The referee deducted a point from Mousasi with no warning. While I scored the first round 9-9, two of the official judges 10-8.
Rounds 2 and 3 were ALL Mousasi. Gegard pounded Jardine in every aspect of the fight. Even when Jardine was able to secure a takedown in round 2, Jardine landed 2 strikes from dominant position while Mousasi was able to land 11, according to Mauro. There were several times where Jardine was ROCKED by Mousasi’s explosive offense. As Mousasi would wade in throwing some heavy leather, Jardine tried to fire back. Unfortunately, he ended up on he receiving end of some serious damage. By the end of the second round, Jardine was wearing a crimson mask. I thought the fight might even be stopped at the end of round 2 because of all of the cuts.
However, the fight dragged on and Jardine was dominated in round 3, again. Although some thought it could have been a 10-8 round, I didn’t think Mousasi did enough damage or dominate nearly enough to deserve that nod. While he did turn in an impressive round, Jardine managed to scoot out of any dangerous positions Mousasi put him in.
As the scorecards came in, I was sincerely hoping that logic and common sense would reign supreme. I had the fight scored 29-27 with a 9-9 first round and Mousasi winning the last two. As soon as Mauro said “there seems to be some confusion” I gave up all hope. While one judge did agree, it was little consolation. A majority draw of 28-28 was rendered.
Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker mentioned that a rematch was in order in the post-fight presser. I sincerely hope NOT.
Melendez def. Kawajiri via round 1 TKO
Once again, while we here at the Bridge thought we had it all figured out, we were in for a shocker. Even after a long layoff, Melendez came out on fire against Kawajiri. Melendez was quick and precise with his striking, dropping Kawajiri early with a nasty uppercut. Everywhere Kawajiri wanted to take it, Melendez was game. Gilbert was able to stuff any takedown attempt from Kawajiri and land some nasty shots on the feet. For me, personally, there were two “oh shit” moments in this fight. The first moment came when Melendez had Kawajiri in the Thai clinch and blasted him with two clean knees to the face. You could literally hear “El Nino’s” knees smashing off of “the Crusher’s” face. The second came at the close of the fight. Melendez was able to muscle Kawajiri to the ground and landed four absolutely disgusting elbow strikes to the face. When I say “disgusting,” I don’t mean illegal or in bad taste, but rather just brutal and vicious.
Those three elbow strikes are what ended the night for Kawajiri who was totally outclassed this evening.
Diaz def. Daley via round 1 TKO
Going into this fight, I became more and more excited to see what type of fireworks were going to fly when these two finally had it out. And boy did they have it out. No matter what sort of analysis I try to add to this fight, it’s not going to do it justice. These two literally tried to kill each other with rights and lefts. Diaz was dropped twice by Daley who refused to follow him down to the ground. Daley even rattled off a soccer kick that was dangerously close to illegal in the heat of battle. However, it was Nick’s fight IQ that kept him in the game. He stuck to a gameplan of out-slugging the slugger and it paid off. At the end of the first round, both fighters connected with a shot simultaneously. Daley shrugged Diaz off, but when he tried to follow, even though his mind was willing, the body was not. Daley lost his balance, clearly reeling from the blow that Diaz had dealt and collapsed. Diaz sprung into action and swarmed with punches. Big John McCarthy called the fight with 3 seconds left in the first round.
Upon my first watching, I had no idea what had happened that caused Daley to go limp. However, in the replay, you can see Diaz land a nasty right to the temple of Daley. Complain as some might about a quick stoppage, it was clear that Daley was on a different planet. He even needed help standing up to get to the stool for the post-fight exam.
Another unreal card from Strikeforce. You can say a lot f things about Strikeforce, but the fact that they put on some of the most exciting fights night in and night out is awesome. Not all of the fights are great matchups, but at least they’re entertaining! This is a great showing for the first post-Zuffa version of Strikeforce. If this is what we have to look forward to, Strikeforce could EASILY become a household name, especially with the UFC archive footage they now have added to their arsenal.
Given the events that unfolded tonight, I feel this is an appropriate video. Enjoy: