Strikeforce: 10 Things I Learned Last Night

By E. Spencer Kyte (

1. This Picture Might Be Accurate

Anyone else would have been finished.

Broken nose on the very first punch, from a jab no less, before taking some serious ground and pound from a guy known explicitly for his big hands? We’ve seen talented fighters succumb to less.

But Fedor? The increasingly mythical entity that is “The Last Emperor” stood tall and remained calm, weathered the storm, landed some shots of his own and put an exclamation point on the evening with a precision knockout of Brett Rogers less than two minutes into Round 2.

More and more, Fedor is looking like an unbeatable fighting machine.

2. Brett Rogers is a Top 5 Heavyweight

After defeating Andrei Arlovski back in the June, Rogers’ trainer Mike Reilly proclaimed his fighter to be a Top 5 Heavyweight, prompting a certain someone (read: we’re talking about me here) to counter on Watch Kalib Run. Now, five months and a fight with Fedor later, let me assure you that Brett Rogers is a Top 5 heavyweight.

Results aside, Rogers busted up Fedor and showed the hands to put just about anyone into some serious trouble. What impresses me most about “The Grim” is where he can go from here.

Right now, he’s still a brawler, but there is potential there to harness those hands and build a serious striker. Add in some semblance of a ground game – because there isn’t one yet – and Brett Rogers could be deadly, and that’s saying something, because he’s already pretty damn dangerous.

3. 30 More Seconds and Mayhem is Champ

For all the talk about Jake Shields’ phenomenal submission game, he was the one in the most danger last night.

While the Cesar Gracie student earned a Unanimous Decision and the Strikeforce Middleweight title, Jason “Mayhem” Miller came closest to finishing the fight with a very deep Rear Naked Choke at the close of the third round.

Had there been any more time in the round, we’re talking about an upset and Mayhem is rolling with some new gold around his waist. Instead, we’re talking about something we already knew: Jake Shields has zero – REPEAT ZERO – stand-up, no matter what he tries to tell everyone.

4. The Fans Booed a Grappling Match? Didn’t Someone Say That Would Happen?

I remember, it was me, yesterday, when I was talking about The Jorge Gurgel Theory.

As if on cue, the action in the Shields – Mayhem match went to the ground and the chorus of complaints started ringing through the Sears Center. Admittedly, there were points in the action where it certainly was boring, but there were also some terrific scrambles and reversals and still the boos came crashing down.

If this is the way casual fans are going to react when a fight goes to the floor (and it is), pushing Jake Shields is going to be a tough task, 13-fight winning streak and shiny, gold belt or not.

5. Sokoudjou Added to the Dictionary

Sokoudjou (verb): the act where a person routinely looks good in their chosen profession before pulling a complete 180 and getting their ass handed to them.

Example: Mark Sanchez was on a roll in New York before he sokoudjoued against the Bills.

What makes it even harder to stomach is that Soko won the first round and looked good doing it; great balance, a couple nice throws, kept Mousasi from doing much damage, but then it was done.

My new question is whether it is a cardio issue or a “Sokoudjou simply quits” issue?

6. Mousasi is the Next Fedor

You can see it in his demeanor; both just look so calm and almost disinterested before the fight begins and once it’s underway, nothing seems to phase them.

There are going to be those who jump all over this idea, citing Mousasi’s lack of Top 10 opponents and that’s fine. Renato Sobral is better than a lot of people give him credit for and the kid can only beat up whoever they put in front of him.

As stated earlier in the week: Gegard Mousasi will be considered the best MMA fighter on the planet inside the next three years.

7. Nothing Like Talking About the UFC

Here’s an idea for the next Strikeforce card: have the announcers try even harder to advertise for the competition, and by “the announcers” I mean “the two guys who aren’t Mauro Ranallo.”

When you add up the GSP reference and talking about Sokoudjou losing to Machida with Johnson calling him something like “the emerging UFC superstar,” the only thing missing was Brock Lesnar and some reference to Fedor avoiding the UFC like the plague.

Strikeforce presents: the prime-time UFC info-mercial with your host, Gus Johnson.

8. While We’re on the Topic of Announcers…

Frank Shamrock has got to go.

Repeatedly saying he couldn’t score rounds whenever Ranallo gave him the lead in was bad enough, but not quite as bad as calling Sokoudjou “Sujoku” all night.

Frank, he’s a fighter, not a tricky little numbers game in the Sunday morning paper. That’s called Sudoku. You’ll have time to attempt one next time Strikeforce is on CBS because you shouldn’t be at the announce table.

9. Fights Good, Production Bad

You can’t control the outcome of fights (sorry DMX…), but you can control the timing of the event and Strikeforce failed in my books last night.

Everything felt really slowed down and while I understand that being on network TV and needing to mix in commercial breaks and such plays a part, things just looked amateurish.

On a night where Strikeforce could have entrenched themselves as a legitimate opponent to the UFC, the fighters came through in spades, but the production crew seriously dropped the ball.

Did I mention an entire fight was just scrapped for no real reason? To quote Ron Burgundy, “that’s just Bush. It’s Bush League! Audrey!”

10. EA Sports MMA Looks Gooooooooood!

Two words: Me Likey

What Do You Think of This Fight/Event?