Saturday, October 9, 2010

Oct 9th Strikeforce

Well I just finished watching the fights, and all in all I would say it was a very impressive card. Some of the best fights I have ever seen on a strikeforce card, and a solid card overall. Woodley vs Galvao started it off, and this was the worst fight of the night. Woodley was very impressive right from the start, perhaps overly cautious but less than a minute in, nobody can blame him for that. Galvao obviously wanted to get it to the ground, but he needs to work on his wrestling. He got tagged a few times and seemed out of it, and with some of the worst take down attempts I have seen in professional MMA he left him self wide open for Woodley to finish it off with ease.

Surprisingly Kaufman vs Coenen was up next, which seems like yet again a bit of a slight to the women's 135 lb division considering this is supposed to be the co-main event. Regardless, the fight started about as I expected. Kaufman came out tentative, not used to dealing with someone with Coenen's striking, as well as someone who has a reach advantage. Coenen was similarily tentative, and a lot of feeling out occurred. Coenen landed a few body kicks, while Kaufman controlled the clench showing obviously superior strength. Personally I think the first round was a toss up, but I think the judges would have given it to Coenen.

Second round starts out as more of the same, Coenen starting to show some aggression, Sarah throwing a few counters and clinching up, grinding Coenen up against the cage through most of the fight. Lots of inside knees and such, mostly uneventful until the end of the round when Coenen tries to trip an off balance Kaufman, succeeds but somehow Kaufman - basically midair - manages to pull a reversal as she lands on the mat. It was quite remarkable, and Kaufman spend that last few seconds in top position landing a few shots and doing a good job of avoiding the submission attempts Coenen was throwing.

Third round starts out more of the same, again that stalking attitude missing, likely do to the reach advantage of Coenen. They go to the ground again and Kaufman quickly manages to secure top position again, and begins delivering some decent ground and pound while fighting off Coenen's repeated submission attempts. Suddenly as Kaufman postured up Coenen managed to secure a lightning fast armbar which ended the fight, Kaufman very quickly tapping as it was instantly locked in. The ref was slow to stop the fight, and it looked like Kaufman's arm was hyper extended, but not broken. For some reason Strikeforce seems to give the women very poor refs, which is unfortunate. It has been a significant factor in past women's bouts in this division. I was pulling for Kaufman in this fight, as I actually used to train with her at Zuma, but she is an awesome fighter and will be be back at the top in no time.

The next fight was JZ vs Thompson, and it was the best fight of the night by far. Both men were showcasing their amazing talents, and it was a very close fight. Both this fight and the main event, Diaz vs Noonan were too furious a pace for me to do a play by play so I will just summarize a few things. Thompson basically took the first two rounds, while JZ took the third. I believe JZ grabbed the cage to save himself from a take down, then quickly took an off-balance Thompson down, but Thompson won so it is irrelevant, and nobody else seemed to notice.

Anyway a few observations:
#1: JZ is a beast.
#2: Thompson is crazy good, and fast.
#3: Never, ever leave it in the judges hands. How any judge could score the fight 30-27 is beyond me, it was so obviously 29-28 that even the winner commented on how poor the judging was.

Regardless it was a great fight, and the right man was awarded the win.

As for the main event, minus the first round it was essentially a boxing match. Diaz had a very impressive takedown, and showed some amazing pressure, control  and position BJJ magic while on top of Noonan. After this round it was all on the feet with Diaz seeming to dominate for the most part. I had it 4 rounds to 1 Diaz, but it was an odd fight and 3-2 scores wouldn't surprise me either.

As for commentary, I think both men seriously need to expand their game. Diaz is an amazing fighter, with very unorthodox boxing and is well known for his BJJ prowess. Noonan's boxing was also very impressive. However wrestling was completely absent from this fight. Had Diaz had some wrestling skills he would have finished this fight easily, and Noonan would have benefited as well. Regardless, with MMA where it is at today I do not expect any fighter completely lacking in an aspect as important as wrestling (especially for a BJJ fighter) to stay at the top of the heap overly long. I think the Silva vs Chael fight demonstrated it perfectly, Silva is by far the most impressive striker in MMA, and a respected BJJ black belt even with those credentials the wrestling of Sonnen nearly cost him his belt. The same situation will eventually occur with Diaz, fighters coming up are far too well rounded.


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