Strikeforce: Fedor Vs Werdum – Post-Fight Thoughts

–  How good must it feel to be Fabricio Werdum today?  Before the fight Werdum stated that defeating Fedor Emelianenko would be the equivalent of winning 10 belts and he was right.  Stopping Fedor’s long unbeaten run was THE biggest prize in the sport and assures his place in the history books.  The rest of the heavyweight division, Alistair Overeem in particular, will now be looking on enviously at Werdum’s accomplishment.

–  The ironic thing about the fight is that even although he was defeated in just 69 second, Fedor at one stage looked like he was cruising to another early victory when he knocked Werdum to the canvas with practically his first punch.  He then got careless and paid the price, but if there is to be rematch then I’d still favor Fedor to avenge his loss.

–  Speaking of which, both Scott Coker and M-1 Global seemed in agreement after the fight that an immediate rematch is in order.  Even Werdum seemed happy to entertain the idea.

This is where Strikeforce’s matchmaking becomes slightly farcical though. The winner of this bout had previously been touted as Alistair Overeem’s next title challenger, but now because things didn’t go as they’d expected it looks like Overeem will be forced to fight a completely new opponent who won’t have earned the right to fight for the belt.

–  What happened to the San Jose crowd?  It’s usually a stronghold for the promotion but ticket sales were down compared to previous events in the area despite Fedor and Cung Le being involved, and the atmosphere, particularly in the early fights suffered as a result.

I believe the match-making is at least partly to blame.  The Fedor Vs Werdum fight in particular was just not a fight that people were amped about seeing.  It’ll be interesting to see how good the Showtime numbers are.  Coker seemed convinced that Fedor Vs Werdum 2 could be a pay-per-view, but while people will be more interested the second time roundt, it doesn’t strike me as a PPV success story in the same way the Fedor Vs Overeem could have if thing had panned out differently.

–  Apparently Fedor was consoling his entourage in the dressing room after the fight.  No doubt the M-1 Global execs were beside themselves with grief considering that without Fedor they have no power or credibility in the sport.

–  I Expect to see Fedor back in the cage quicker than we normally would anticipate.  He doesn’t have any real injuries resulting from the fight and all the parties concerned will no doubt wish to get him back to winning ways ASAP.

–  Moving on from the headline fight, I was impressed by Cung Le’s performance.  Scott Smith came out of the blocks fast and pushed the pace, nullifying Le’s kicks in the opening round, but he showed good composure and skill to outbox him  and steer clear of his power, before reverting back to his usual style in round two with some eye-catching kicks.

–  I’m not convincing Le is overly enthusiastic about the prospect of fighting in the upcoming eight-man tournament.  It was only less than a year ago that he vacated the middleweight belt because he wanted to pursue his acting ambitions, and apparently he now has more film commitments on the back burner.

I think he’d be a good addition to the tournament so I hope he does get involved, but I think he’s got his work cut out for him with the likes of Nick Diaz, Jacare Souza and Dan Henderson also involved.

–  Cris Cyborg Santos delivered another brutal beatdown, but all credit goes to Jan Finney who stuck grimly to her task despite being rocked several times with everything from knees to punches during the two rounds she lasted.

Her willingness to continue to get into a toe-to-toe brawl with the Brazilian despite coming off second best on numerous occasions was remarkable – and to her credit she did catch Santos cleanly a few times.  Her lack of head movement and footwork cost her dearly though and in the end she was probably just too tough for her own good.

–  Hopefully Finney will get another chance in the promotion as she certainly earned it, while Cyborg should now go on to face Erin Toughill who’s boxing ability will test her more in the stand-up exchanges.

–  Pat Healy lived up to his reputation as a tough, gritty veteran as he almost pulled off an upset against Josh Thomson.  I liked Thomson’s will to win though and his active submission threat, particularly considering it later emerged that he had broken two ribs in the opening round.

–  The other talking point of the night was Frank Shamrock’s announcement that he was retiring.  Personally I always find these moments a little cringe-worthy so this part of the show dragged on a bit.  Shamrock certainly has earned his place in the history of the sport with his past achievements but his retirement is hardly a shock considering he’s only fought seven times in the last 10 years and lost his last two fights convincingly.


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