Before this weekend’s Strikeforce Evolution and WEC 45 events we posed a series of questions that would be answered during the course of the evening.
With both events now over, let’s take a look at the answers.
1. How rusty will Cung Le be after almost two years out starring in movies?
As we had predicted before the fight, there’s no doubt that Le started to tire in the final round. That’s always a worry when your facing someone like Scott Smith who remains a threat until the bitter end.
In the end though I feel it was Le’s strategy in the final round that let him down more than anything else. Instead of keeping Smith at range with his kicks, he began to indulge in some close range toe-to-toe exchanges where he was always at risk of coming off second best.
Up until that point though I felt that Le had put in a good performance. Though he certainly has a number of weaknesses, there’s no doubt that he’s an entertaining fighter.
2. Has Gilbert Melendez improved enough in the past year to reverse the outcome of his first first bout with Josh Thomson?
Based on his recent performances I believed he had, which was why I chose him in my pre-fight predictions on this site. It was still impressive to see the contrast between his performance in the previous fight and this one though, particularly with regards to his striking.
Though his skills have improved, I believe a change in strategy – being patient and waiting for Thomson to come after him, rather than pressing forward and falling victim to the counter-strike – had a significant part to play in his victory.
3. Does a 39 year old Matt Lindland still have what it takes to compete at the highest level?
I certainly don’t expect to see him in a title fight any time soon, but that doesn’t mean his career is necessarily over. If you look at the competition he’s faced recently – his last three losses have come to Fedor, Vitor Belfort and Jacare.
I think his days of getting matched-up with top of the food chain fighters like those are likely to be over, but there’s room for him in the Strikeforce 185lb roster going into 2010. He desperately needs a solid win in his next fight though.
4. How much of an impact will the 40lbs weight difference between King Mo and Mike Whitehead have on the fight?
None whatsoever. Perhaps if the fight had dragged on into the later rounds we might have seen Whitehead fatigue, but it never went that far.
218lbs is very light for a heavyweight though, and though he has proved that he can be a threat in either weight class, I hope that he retreats back down to light heavyweight, for the time being at least.
1. How long will Donald Cerrone stand with Ed Ratcliff before he takes this fight to the floor?
He certainly took a while to do so, choosing to remain standing even after having had two points deducted, and being at risk of losing a judges decision. Taking risks is part of his make-up though, and it’s one of the reasons he often takes home a ‘Fight Of The Night’ bonus.
Though he left it late into the third round, he did of course get the fight to the floor eventually, and as expected managed to win by submission. The result leaves him in a good position to challenge for the lightweight title in 2010.
2. Can Chris Horodecki start on another winning run like the one that made him a star in the IFL?
His winning streak in the IFL seemed like a distant memory in this fight. He struggled to overcome the reach disadvantage in the early exchanges, and then fell victim to a highlight reel head-kick as he inexplicably turned his back on his opponent.
The 22 year old learned a basic lesson the hard way, and now will have to raise his game if he wants to make an impact in the WEC.
3. Can Rani Yahya get this fight to the ground and claim his 4th submission of the night award in a row?
Well he certainly got the fight to the ground. The unfortunate thing was it started due to him getting rocked, and ended with him being beaten on from inside his guard. The fight was over before he had a chance to regain his senses.
4. Can Takeya Mizugaki claim a convincing win that would earn him a title shot?
After losing by decision, leaving his WEC record at 1-2, it may be a while before Mizugaki will now be able to make a convincing claim for a title shot.
It’s not all bad news though. He still fought well a times, and showed great heart to keep in the fight after a tough first round, and come on strong in the third. For putting on another exciting fight he and Scott Jorgensen were awarded an extra ‘Fight Of The Night’ bonus.