Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Cormier RecapLast night in San Jose, California, a finale 15 months in the making took centre stage live from the HP Pavillion and a new heavyweight star was born.
But there was so much more to last night's card besides the Josh Barnett/Daniel Cormier match, so here is a recap of last night's card.
I can't speak much on the evening's first match between James Terry and Bobby Green, as it was the one fight I did not have the chance to watch. That said, Terry escaped with a split decision victory over Green, with scores of 28-29, 29-28, 29-28.
The first televised match featured unbeaten Brazilian Yuri Villefort taking on up and coming Quinn Mulhern in a welterweight tilt. In what can only be called a grappling clinic from both men, we were treated to numerous submission attempts, counters, just a great overall pure MMA match on the ground. In the end, Mulhern was able to break Villefort's undefeated run by securing the spilt decision win, via score of 30-27, 28-29, 29-28.
Next up was a light heavyweight match between Gian Villante and Derrick Mehmen. From the opening bell, Villante held the obvious standup advantage, but Mehmen was game to engage with the Matt Serra disciple for three solid rounds of action. In the end, Villante scored a 29-28, 30-27, 30-27 unanimous decision win.
In what I would call one of the most determined MMA performances I have ever seen, Guto Inocente, aka, Carlos Augusto Filho, defeated Virgil Zwicker via a 29-28, 29-28, 30-27 unanimous decision score in a light heavyweight matchup. But it was Zwickers performance in this fight that may have stolen the show of the entire evening. Taking strikes that would have left almost any man unconscious, Zwicker pressed forward the entire fight and was able to turn what many thought was a foregone conclusion knockout win for Inocente into a contender for fight or the year.
If you have yet to watch this match, try your hardest to find it. You will not be let down.
The evenings final preliminary match featured Gesias "JZ" Cavalcante taking on long time Greg Jackson pupil Isaac-Vallie Flagg at 155 pounds. Despite being the heavy underdog to many due to "JZ"s worldwide pedigree, Flagg was able to display some very solid boxing and outpoint the Brazilian on route to a 29-28, 29-28, 28-29 split decision victory.
The preliminary card of the event may have been one of the best undercards I have ever seen, and it was a perfect segway into the main card action.
The opening match of the main card feature Chris Spang, not to be confused with his brother Andreas, who the previous evening lost to Maiquel Falcao in the Bellator Season 6 Middleweight tournament final, taking on up and coming prospect Nah-Shon Burrell at 170 pounds. Spang's striking pedigree was shown very early on as he was able to swarm Burrell early and often before the referee called a stop to the action at on 3:25 of the 1st round via TKO.
Former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Rafael "Feiajo" Cavalcante was up next, as he took on fellow 205 pounder, Mike Kyle. The two men had met in 2009, with Kyle scoring a 2nd round KO victory, but last night could not have gone more different. Feijao rushed Kyle early in the 1st round, landing a devestating knee that knocked Kyle into the cage. Second later, Feijao applied a jumping guillotine choke and Kyle was forced to tap :33 seconds into the 1st round.
The night's co-main event picked up where the 2 men left off in 2009, with Gilbert Melendez and Josh Thompson finalizing what may be the greatest trilogy in MMA history. After 15 total rounds between the men since 2008, last night's affair was almost a carbon copy of the 1st 2 matches.
Both men showed off a very well rounded MMA game, landing strikes, takedowns, and in Thompson's case, applying a series of rear naked chokes late in the 4th round, but was unable to secure one deep enough to finish the Strikeforce lightweight champion Melendez. In the end, Melenedez scored a 47-48, 48-47, 48-47, which was promptly met by a series of boos from the San Jose crowd, who felt Thompson had done more than enough to win the rubber match.
And finally, the card's main event. In the final of the Strikeforce heavyweight Grand Prix, MMA legend Josh Barnett took to the cage to face fast rising heavyweight star Daniel Cormier. In a match many felt would be a great test for Cormier, maybe too big to soon to some, the former Olympic wrestler controlled Barnett from start to finish and utterly dominated the former UFC and Pride star Barnett in every aspect of the fight. Barnett's closest moment to victory was a knee bar attempt in round 4, but Cormier was able to escape fairly quickly, and in the end, earned a 49-46, 50-45, 50-45 unanimous decision win to become the Strikeforce heavyweight Grand Prix champion.
Overall, last night's Strikeforce card, top to bottom, may have been the greatest they have ever held. If you have yet to see the event, do your best to find a replay of it somewhere.
Published by Jasyn Zangari - Sun, 20 May 2012 20:26