Monday, 25 July 2011

Strikeforce Overeem vs Werdum - Retro Review

It’s a busy time for Strikeforce at the moment, so what better time to take another look at one of their most recent events as the Heavyweight Grand Prix tournament continued with Overeem vs. Werdum.

The show began in the heavyweight division with the other Overeem, Valentijn, taking on Chad Griggs.

Overeem tested the waters a little at the beginning with a couple of kicks, but after a clinch against the cage Griggs took the fight to the ground.

Moments later he worked his way out of Overeem’s half guard and went to work with the ground and pound. Overeem turned his back on Griggs, tapping out seconds later as Griggs unloaded with the heavy stuff.

Well, I guess when I saw the name Overeem I was expecting a little more.

More heavyweight action followed as Daniel Cormier faced Jeff Monson.

This was an entertaining three rounder. It was obvious what Cormier’s tactics were as soon as the fight began, and he executed these tactics perfectly, keeping Monson off the mat and engaging in a riveting striking battle.

While Monson seemed content to throw out single jabs Cormier responded more often than not with a series of combinations, rocking his more experienced opponent a number of times. It was a great performance, and as the fight went on Monson began to look more and more like a man who had had over 50 fights.

No surprise with the judges decision as all three gave each and every round to Cormier.

It was down to lightweight for the next fight as K.J. Noons went up against Jorge Masvidal.

This was another intriguing three round affair. Masvidal took control early on with his superior striking, and it wasn’t long before he’d opened up a cut on Noons’ forehead.

The best moment in the first was when Masvidal connected with a big left kick to Noons’ neck, knocking him down to the ground, following him down for some ground and pound, his assault only halted by the end of the round.

As the fight went on the cut on Noons’ head was soon joined by a massive swelling as Masvidal kept up his great work. Noons had a few good moments towards the end of the second round, but like his opponent in the previous round time was against him.

Once again there was no surprise with the decision with every judge giving everything to Masvidal.

Then it was on to the Heavyweight Grand Prix quarter finals, beginning with Josh Barnett taking on Brett Rogers.

After a night of great striking it was time to see some great ground work. Barnett took the action to the ground early on, and it wasn’t long before he took the mount and controlled Rogers for the rest of the round.

It was the same story in the second, with Barnett getting the early take down. But with Rogers visibly tiring Barnett soon applied an arm triangle choke, with Rogers tapping seconds later.

The last quarter final saw Heavyweight Champion Alistair Overeem facing Fabricio Werdum.

I suppose it had to happen. After four very entertaining fights we had to get a duffer.

From the outset it was obvious how this one was going to play out. Werdum wanted to take the fight to the ground, but Overeem was having none of it, sprawling when Werdum went for the take down, and refusing to follow him down when he was invited.

Later on Werdum’s tactics saw him pulling guard whenever Overeem connected. At first Overeem would simply stand up, but it wasn’t long until he finally decided to join Werdum on the ground.

The only problem was that when they went to the ground nothing much happened, with the only thing of note coming towards the end of the fight when Werdum went for a knee bar, but by then it was too late.

So with the fight going the distance it went down to the judges once again, with all three scoring in favour of Overeem, setting up a semi final with Antonio Silva, a fight he would later pull out of.

In conclusion - when I logged onto Facebook the day after this show quite a few of my friends posted updates saying how disappointed they were with this show, although a few of them used more colourful language, and while I disagree with them with regards to all the show, I must admit that they were spot on with regards to the Overeem/Werdum fight.

But despite that disappointment, this show gets the thumbs up for the four fights that did deliver, and not for the one that probably won’t make Strikeforce’s highlight reel for 2011.