Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Masvidal left a bad taste in my mouth. I'm not heading into writing this with the intention of being negative, but I fear that's the direction it'll go.
Normally I kick these post-event articles off by talking about the main event, but I'll get to that in a few minutes. First up is the sham of a "championship fight" between Cristiane Santos and Hiroko Yaminaka.
Cyborg is a fantastic talent and deserves the attention and credit she gets as the top female mixed martial artist in the world. That being said, when a fight between the #1 and #2 fighters in a weight class have odds favoring the champion by -1400 it says a lot about how ready for prime time WMMA is. I know it sounds harsh, but it's not a competitive division, and it's probably best for it to become one before being pushed on television. Cyborg sat on the sidelines for over a year and the best they could dig up for her was an opponent who was lucky to make it sixteen seconds (but was still ranked #9 pound-for-pound in WMMA).
The entirety of "interesting WMMA fights" seems to depend on if Ronda Rousey feels up to dropping an extra ten pounds or not. Whichever division she doesn't end up in seems to lack an interesting challenge for the champion.
More thoughts after the jump...
- For all my complaining, Cyborg is a great fighter and just put another beating on another challenger.
- In the main event, Gilbert Melendez thoroughly dominated Jorge Masvidal. It was five rounds of basically exactly the same thing. Masvidal would circle around and work either leg kicks or jabs only to have Melendez counter with combinations. For Melendez, it was just an easy night of working jab-straight, jab-jab, jab-jab-straight or double left hooks without ever truly being in any danger.
- The issue isn't "is Melendez good." He's very good. He got up to the top three in the world by not having skills. It's that he lacks top level challengers and he needs to do something a little more impressive as a top level talent against a guy who is lucky if he's considered top 25 in his weight class. Twitter was buzzing with talk during the fight of all the guys Gil couldn't beat or all the guys people would rather see, and that's not the tone you're hoping to accomplish during a title fight.
- Ovince Saint Preux looked terrified to get hit in the early part of his fight with Gegard Mousasi. He basically refused to engage in the first round until Mousasi put him on the ground and beat him up. It wasn't until the third round that OSP looked like he could really compete with some takedowns and work from the top.
- The referee in the Mousasi/OSP fight should never be allowed to call another fight. He stood up the fight when Mousasi was on top landing punches in high volume, stood the fight up with OSP in side control and threatened to stand it up again when OSP was in side control. OSP was forced to abandon working for a crucifix and try an ill-advised pass to mount to avoid the stand-up which led to Mousasi getting to his feet and effectively ended any comeback hopes.
- It seems like we'll get Mousasi against the Muhammad Lawal/Lorenz Larkin fight for the Strikeforce 205 title.
- K.J. Noons has lost the trust in his punches that made him dangerous. He spent so much time feinting instead of punching against Billy Evangelista that he almost lost a fight he should have ran away with. I guess the long term plan here has to be to get Noons into a title shot with Melendez, but K.J. needs to look better to truly "earn it."