Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Werdum Wrap-Up

Posted on June 27, 2010


YouTube – Fedor vs Fabricio (complete fight)

The biggest upset of the year. Scratch that, the decade.

Some time ago, I controversially stated that I considered Fedor Emelianenko no better than the #5 Heavyweight in the World. I maintain that rankings are an arbitrary practice that should only be treated as a discussion-starter rather than an argument-ender. To that end, part of my motivation was to see what kind of reaction I would get to putting Fedor in the middle of the pack. My reasoning, though, was sincere: he hadn’t looked good against a low-ranked Heavyweight and, in recent years, had only managed to beat wash-outs.

That said, Fabricio Werdum submitting Fedor with a triangle choke is one of the biggest upsets this sport will ever see, even to someone who didn’t buy that “The Last Emperor” was the same fighter he was five years ago.

If you’ll pardon the cliche, it marks the definitive end of an era for the Heavyweight Division.

Now we find ourselves in a new age, where more and more men throughout the world are finding out about the sport of Mixed Martial Arts and plying their trade. Athletes from all walks of life are seeing the financial opportunities, bringing with them varying styles and a level of depth never before seen in this weight class.

Until tonight, most heavyweight fighters were either terrorized by the Russian bulldozer or haunted by him. Those who could not fight him for contractual reasons – such as UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar – could only be considered at best the #1 Heavyweight not named Fedor. Tonight, that wraith was exorcised by Werdum’s triangle choke.

What the future holds for Fedor and Strikeforce is anyone’s guess. It was more than just a legitimate loss on his record. Strikeforce lost its superfight between Fedor and Overeem. M-1 has lost its meal ticket and sole bargaining tool. Brett Rogers has lost the claim to fame to be the only man in recent years to put Fedor on the proverbial ropes. The only real winner seems to be Dana White and the UFC, who can now smugly display their “I told you so” smiles while MMA pundits and Fedor enthusiasts implode.

More results and thoughts after the jump.

Josh Thomson def. Pat Healy via Submission in R3 (Rear Naked Choke)
It was actually a great showing by Healy, who displayed prowess in both offense and defense on the ground. He even won the second round (handily in my opinion) and showed that he deserved to be in the conversation when it came to future Lightweight contenders. Unfortunately, Thomson was a perpetual submission machine tonight and it was inevitable that Healy was going to get caught.

Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos def. Jan Finney via TKO in R2 (Stoppage Due to Strikes)
Finney took one of the worst beatings I’ve ever seen in any combat sport. This was akin to watching a fight in Japan where the crowd favorite started losing handily, while the referee allowed the beating to continue. The problem is, this isn’t Japan, and we treat this as a sport where the safety of fighters needs to be our primary concern, not as entertainment based on a vague notion of what the Japanese call”fighter’s spirit.” Referee Kim Winslow has shown competence in all other fights I’ve seen her officiate, but letting brutal beatings like this go on for as long as it did puts fighters at risk and sets a very dangerous precedent.

Frank Shamrock Retires
An entire segment was devoted to Frank Shamrock’s major announcement, which was his permanent retirement from the sport.  What should have been a classy and touching moment for the devoted crowd in San Jose quickly devolved into a farce. The package highlighting Shamrock’s career and hailing him as a pioneer for the sport that helped mold it and bring it to the mainstream was narrated by Frank himself. Then, he walked all the way to the entrance from his position at cageside, then walked back to the cage as the biggest pyrotechnics display of the evening went off behind him. It was an epic display of Frank’s eccentricity and hubris. In short, it was perfect. Thanks for the memories, Frank.

Cung Le def. Scott Smith via TKO in R2 (Stoppage due to strikes)
Nobody was as disappointed as I was when I saw a spin kick from Le hit Smith flush in the side. Smith immediately lost his air and fell on his knees to the canvas. Although I saw a great amount of pain on his face, I also saw a man who was searching deep within himself to find something to bring him back from the precipice of defeat, just as he’d done so many times before. Sadly, it was not to be tonight.

Bobby Stack def. Derrick Burnsed via split decision (29-28, 29-28, 27-30)
Yancy Medeiros def. Gareth Joseph via KO (punch) at 1:19 of round 2.
Bret Bergmark def. Vagner Rocha via unanimous decision.
Chris Cope def. Ron Keslar via TKO (punches) at 4:32 of round two.