Remember, this is blogging. This is real-time. These are subject to change as time-elapsed thought can alter initial perspectives.
1. I mentioned this on Twitter: Talk about finishing the job. Shogun couldn't even be a little denied. I was both right and deeply wrong in my prediction and all of the talk of Franklin McNeil's injury report seemed false or meaningless. What I thought was right was Machida's desire to take the fight to the floor early and often to disrupt rhythm and throw off balance. The problem is that Machida is not adept at dealing with sustained pressure. He's good at dictating transitions, but not good at direct, pushed offense in his face (in this case, quite literally). He often backs out in circular motion instead of straight back, but with his head leaning back and exposed waiting for openings. Most of the time opposition do to little or become weak willed in the pocket. Shogun exhibited neither of those qualities and fulfilled the promise of becoming champion .
2. Here's how dominating Shogun's victory is: we don't care about Machida. What's next for Shogun? If Rampage defeats Evans, the build-up for a potential Shogun vs. Rampage rematch will be at a fever pitch. Rampage will be coasting off what I can only assume will be a post "A-Team" movie bump (debut is June 11) and the buzz factor will be enugh with the story of the rematch to be easily sold.
3. ESPN's MMA Live seems a little like the UFC Show. I'd like to see what they do for large or significant Strikeforce events, but what's great about the show is that it shows MMA to sports fans how sports fan should see MMA. The presentation, the bells and whistles, the timing and the presentation are familiar turf for sports fans who require hand holding to enjoy MMA on terms they're accustomed to. More please, but less of Franklin McNeil and Gareth Davies. They add nothing except baggage for incorporating poor or meaningless analyses.
4. Josh Koscheck and Paul Daley acted like two despicable characters tonight. Koscheck's outrageous acting is only topped by the illegal and pathetic post-fight attack (and that's exactly what it is) on Koscheck. According to what I'm reading now, Daley is being kicked out of the UFC (Strikeforce can only be happy about this). I don't know what the UFC or the athletic commission plans for disciplinary action for sure, but the more important issue is that Koscheck is now set to face GSP on TUF and in a title fight. Did anyone see anything from Kos' game that gave confidence he can do enough to defeat the current champ? I certainly didn't. Josh is king on forcing reliance on the single leg and then rips the support from underneath. He looked to be in better shape and has tightened up grappling (as opposed to wrestling) deficiencies, but is that enough to topple the champ? Early thought is no.
5. I thought Stout won the fight, but I won't cry for Argentina. I'm deeply impressed with Stephens' power, but not much else insofar as serious title contention is concerned. Still, he's a tough test for any contenders who seek to advance. He'll force an emphasis on defensive skills and recovery. The truth is Stephens has enough precision and speed on his monstrous punches to land even on the technically savvy.
6. Ring rust is a bitch. Cote looked to have, I dont know, admirable skills on display during the fight. He pushed through on three or four punch combinations, but lacked the overall game and urgency Belcher put on display. What Belcher has always lacked is integration. Either his accuracy is on with his kicks or it isn't. Either his offensive grappling is in place or it isn't. It seems, slowly but surely, that he's learning to integrate the pieces of his game together in a more seamless fashion. I think Anderson Silva is certainly a tall order, but the disarray that's plagued his game was more that mitigated in this fight.
7. I'm being told Dana White is considering getting rid of Kimbo Slice. I don't think one more fight will hurt. His ratings power has some half life, but there's only a handful of heavyweight fighters he can possibly face at this point. And provided he loses to them, that half life decomposition only increases. I suppose he could drop to 205lbs, but who on earth is he going to fight there that isn't the same character opposition he faces at heavyweight? The days are numbered for Slice and that's precisely how it should be.
8. Who isn't happy for Joe Doerksen?
Stay tuned tomorrow for MMA Nation where we'll further break down these issues and more.
-- photo via Associated Press