People with common sense knew that Keith Jardine stood little chance against Luke Rockhold in their Strikeforce main event tonight. Jardine's only two wins since the start of 2009 were against Francisco France and Aron Lofton, going 2-5-1 in that span. To make matters worse, this was also his first ever fight at middleweight.
So why did he get the shot? That's a simple question to answer. Depth.
Once Tim Kennedy was hurt and unable to fight Jardine there just weren't any other options. And that makes Rockhold's post-fight interview all the more telling. In the cage, after stopping Jardine with a brutal assault of punches in the first round, Rockhold pointed out that all the top ten talent is in the UFC and that those are the guys he wants to face. And rightfully so. Rockhold is a talented, young fighter with tons of upside.
So we have Gilbert Melendez wanting to prove he's the top lightweight in the world with no one who can really challenge him on the Strikeforce roster, no heavyweight division anymore, no light heavyweight champion, a middleweight champion talking about wanting to fight UFC fighters, and no welterweight champion (more on that shortly). Then Cyborg tests positive and the women's 145 division is basically disolved. It's hard to see the long-term viability of Strikeforce in it's current form.
- To go back to the fight itself, Jardine's strategy was fine. He was looking to pick his spots and get in with straight shots and avoid return fire, but it still felt like countdown to when the shot that finished him off would land.
- Again, Luke Rockhold is a phenomenal fighter with a tremendously bright future.
- In the co-main event, Robbie Lawler proved that he still has his best asset, tremendous one-punch power. Amagov looked fine early but Lawler reacted with fierceness to an illegal knee by Amagov and blitzed him with a flying knee and series of punches.
- "King Mo" Muhammed Lawal against Lorenz Larkin was another common sense outcome. Larkin is a guy who is still developing and, again, lack of depth meant that he was forced into a fight he simply wasn't ready for. Lawal took him down and brutalized him. There's not much more to say about this at all.
Much more after the jump...
- Tyron Woodley is actually flaming out as a prospect despite still not having lost a fight. His bout with Jordan Mein was almost unbearable to watch. He stuck to getting takedowns and then doing nothing but look to hold position. He did so little with top position, in fact, that one judge actually scored the fight for Mein on the strength of his elbows off his back.
- The Woodley/Mein fight is the exact reason that people need to stop saying "a win is a win" or "winning is all that matters." Those simply aren't true in a sport like mixed martial arts. There is no set-up to the sport like a league where winning means that you have to be given shots at the title. Woodley's style is not going to make a promotion any money, hardly anyone is going to demand to see him fight, so Zuffa has no reason to push him at all. He's absolutely unmarketable and tonight's fight was horrible. This isn't a guy that you want on top of the welterweight division, you can't put him in a main event and you need to be able to main event your champions.
- Tarec Saffiedine made the correct adjustment against Tyler Stinson when Stinson beat him in the stand-up in the first round. Going forward Saffiedine focused on working takedowns. And before someone says "why aren't you criticizing him the same way you did Woodley?" Saffiedine used strikes on the ground and cut up Stinson. He also outlanded him on the ground by a significant margine whereas Woodley was outlanded despite having top position.
- Nah-Shon Burrell was gifted a decision on the undercard, having been seemingly clearly beaten by James Terry. Burrell has some work to do on his wrestling and ground game, he also fell into the trap of looking to single shot and abandoned combination striking far too often.
- Gian Villante beat Trevor Smith and...I don't know what to say about it.
- Ricky Legere took down Chris Spang a lot and won a decision. So, that happened.
- Estevan Payan looked like he had some real upside on the opening bout. He was far too wild in the early part of round one, but once he settled down and used technique he just busted up Alonzo Martinez. I'm very interested in seeing him in Strikeforce again.