Photos by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images
It was a busy night for mixed martial arts fans with the Ultimate Fighter 12 Finale running head-to-head from Strikeforce's show headlined by Dan Henderson and Renato Sobral from St. Louis, Missouri. Work obligations had me focused on the Strikeforce show, but I had the UFC offering playing in the background. Let's rundown the proceedings.
- Strikeforce offered the better show on paper with Dan Henderson, "Babalu" Sobral, Robbie Lawler, and Paul Daley up against the likes of Jonathan Brookins, Michael Johnson, Stephan Bonnar, and Igor Pokrajac. And with four brutal knockouts, Strikeforce's show outshined a TUF Finale full of decisions. I don't know if the UFC counterprogrammed Strikeforce or vice versa, but it terms of the finished product, Strikeforce won hands down.
- Michael Johnson improved his striking and Jonathan Brookins showed he can recover from adversity, but neither showed me they can survive in the UFC's shark tank of a lightweight division. Johnson, who dealt with cardio problems throughout his time in the TUF house, ran out of gas after a first round in which he brutalized Brookins on the feet. Brookins escaped with the TUF plaque, but he'll get lit up unless he learns to protect his face going forward.
- Illusions, Michael. Tricks are for whores. What else but magic can explain the power that Leonard Garcia holds over the judges? I watched Garcia's fight with Nam Phan out of the corner of my eye, but the FightMetric numbers suggest that Garcia stole another one. Want to impress the judges? Walk forward and swing your fists like it's an AC/DC show.
- From our Strikeforce predictions yesterday: "Watch Matt Lindland vs. David Terrell and Matt Lindland vs. Vitor Belfort. Tell me if you can find the similarity between Terrell, Belfort, and Lawler. Hint: it rhymes with "mouth saw." Lindland didn't show urgency in clinching with Robbie Lawler and paid the price for it. Lindland's entering Chuck Liddell territory and needs to take a step down in competition if he wants to continue his fight career.
- Well, I guess Dan Henderson should just stop fighting at 185 pounds. I thought "Babalu" could use his reach and speed to outwork Henderson standing, and figured his offensive wrestling could give Henderson fits. Maybe it could have, but Henderson's right hand is still a neutralizer at 40 years of age.
- I don't know what was more impressive: Mike Kyle dropping Antonio Silva at the sound of the opening bell and controlling him for the entirety of the round or Silva looking recovered and fresh at the start of round two and smashing Kyle with Thor-like punches from mount.
- Of the four knockouts on the night, Paul Daley had the most impressive. After outclassing Scott Smith through the first two minutes, he unleashed a left hook that vacated Smith's consciousness before he hit the mat. Semtex indeed.
- I saw a lot of people grabbing Kendall Grove as an underdog bet, and I wasn't sure why. Ricardo Almeida took Grove down often at UFC 101, and Demian Maia has shown a more effective and dynamic takedown game. So, it wasn't a shock to me to look up and see Maia dragging Grove down from the clinch time and time again.
- Speaking of Maia, has anyone else better incorporated strikes into a world-class jiu-jitsu game? Dude strikes from every position. And strikes. And strikes some more.
- From FightMetric: "