RingSide Report

World News, Social Issues, Politics, Entertainment and Sports

StrikeForce Heavy Artillery: After the Dust Settles

By Scott Heritage

StrikeForce Heavy Artillery was a big event for the heavyweight division in MMA, and featured four fighters who are either top ten or close to it. The card also had the unenviable task of undoing some of the damage that the Nashville post fight brawl did to the promotion in the eyes of their broadcast partners.

Alistair Overeem succeeded in lifting himself decisively into the top ten of the heavyweight rankings with a rapid pummeling of an unmatched Brett Rogers. The rampant talks of Overeem being an unknown quantity at heavyweight due to not having taken on a top ten opponent are now at an end. Rogers, while dominated thoroughly was still a top ten fighter. Losing to Emelianenko in his last outing didn’t really drop him in the rankings purely because lets face it, everyone so far has done the same, and he pushed the Russian a lot more than most have.

Immediately after the fight Overeem called out Fedor Emelianenko, who fights Fabricio Werdum in June. While this is the fight that both the fans and StrikeForce CEO Scott Coker want, there is the issue of Fedor’s management to get around first, who are less than keen on Overeem and his Golden Glory handlers. Fedor himself doesn’t seem to care who he fights, having taken on the very best and worst examples of opponents across several different promotions.

Most are expecting Fedor to beat Fabricio Werdum in his next fight without much difficulty because of the style clash that he represents for the grappling ace. Werdum has great submissions, but his wrestling is still shaky, not to mention Emelianenko is nigh on impossible to submit. Further, his standup is still rather rudimentary, especially against someone with the one punch knockout power of Fedor, and he will likely prove easy fodder for Fedor’s trademark overhand right.

Brett Rogers seemed to be more embarrassed than hurt after losing to Overeem, and simply had no idea how to get off his back when being pressed down by 250lbs of Dutch kickboxer. Being as big as he is, he probably doesn’t get thrown around a lot in training, and as a result looked lost against Overeem. Rogers’ manager said recently that he wants to get back into action as quickly as possible, which might mean a rematch between himself and Andrei Arlovski. If not a fight against Antonio Silva would make for an interesting match up as well.

Andrei Arlovski vs. Antonio Silva turned out differently than most were expecting, but still resulted in yet another loss for the Belorussian fan favorite. Losing to Fedor is understandable, even if it was due to a poorly timed flying knee. Similarly a combination of a bad chin and getting back into the cage too quickly against Brett Rogers resulted in a second loss. Against Silva, Arlovski lost again, but perhaps more importantly he got back some of his lost confidence and his chin held up.

Antonio Silva meanwhile raised his stock significantly by beating Arlovski, and could conceivably be one win away from a title shot. He beat Arlovski clearly over three rounds, and unlike the former UFC champion had a plan B when things weren’t going his way. It looked like Arlovski spent so much time training on his stand up and on not getting knocked out that he neglected his once effective Sambo base, which Silva was able to exploit.

Next for Arlovski will probably be either a rematch with Brett Rogers, or a couple of tune up fights to get him back into winning ways before he fights another top ten opponent. Silva is definitely behind the winner of Fedor vs. Werdum in the title stakes, but with another big win will be right up there. Avenging his loss to Werdum would be a good start so long as Werdum loses to Emelianenko next month.

Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza took the first step to becoming the next StrikeForce middleweight champion with a thorough domination of Joey Villasenor from bell to bell for a unanimous decision. While current champion Jake Shields hasn’t officially joined the UFC yet, having been photographed sitting next to Dana White recently, the deal appears as good as done. Jacare vs. Dan Henderson looks like the obvious match up for the soon to be vacant middleweight belt, perhaps after Henderson gets a win to get himself back on track.

Roger Gracie predictably submitted Kevin Randleman to end their bout, although less predictably he used his standup to control the early proceedings. It wasn’t exactly like watching a Bruce Lee movie, but his reach and Randleman’s slowing reflexes allowed him to land enough to keep the unpredictable Hammer House stalwart at bay until he was ready to work for the submission we all knew was coming.

For Randleman, this might be a good time to call it a day because as he will freely admit, the game has passed him by and he doesn’t look that likely to catch it back up now. Aside from the gruesome staph infections he always seems to attract, his explosiveness doesn’t seem to be there these days, leaving him as a wrestler without enough speed to shoot in against better fighters. Compounding this problem is the fact that his ground game is still in the relative MMA dark ages, so often even if he can get the fight to the ground, that alone doesn’t guarantee him a win.

For Gracie, his promise is only held back by his inactivity and commitment to the sport he is already a leading light in, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Where most fighters have to fight to eat and pay their bills, Gracie already makes a comfortable living from the seminar circuit, teaching and grappling tournaments meaning his commitment to MMA might not be where it needs to be. If he can become more active and continue to develop his game then eventually he might provide a very difficult fight for current light heavyweight champion Mo Lawal. Weapons grade wrestling might be an asset against most, but against a submission master like Roger it might become a hindrance. Not to mention his reach would perhaps give him an edge on the feet if his footwork improves.

On the under card (for some reason) Lyle “fancypants” Beerbohm continued his unbeaten run by taking a close split decision over the highly regarded Vitor “Shaolin” Ribeiro. The decision could have gone either way, but a win is a win, and Beerbohm is probably only a couple more from a crack at the lightweight title. He will have to continue pulling out the big wins and get past tougher competition on the way to the top, but this was an excellent start.

Advertise Now On RSR

Purchase Boxing Interviews Of A Lifetime

Leave a Reply