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Strike Force: Overeem vs. Werdum review
by Scott Newman (MMA)
Posted on July 29, 2011, 1:15 PM

Strike Force: Overeem vs. Werdum

06/18/11
Dallas, Texas


-Your hosts are Gus Johnson, Mauro Renallo and Frank Shamrock. You know, I cannot wait until Zuffa get full control of this company and are allowed to can that make-up wearing dickhead. I fully expect Frankie to get canned too given his little Twitter spat with Dana White. Mauro I can stand as long as heís the play-by-play guy, not Mr. Clichť. Anyway, they discuss the Heavyweight Grand Prix, and donít really add anything of note.

Heavyweight Fight: Chad Griggs vs Valentijn Overeem

This was an alternate bout, pitting two men who had won their fights at the previous GP show against one another. Griggs had upset prospect Gian Villante, while the elder Overeem brother had taken out kickboxer Ray Sefo.

Fight begins and they circle before Overeem lands a leg kick. Griggs closes the distance and shoves him into the cage, and basically nothing happens until Griggs gets a shoulder throw and lands on top in half-guard. It looks like he might be going for an arm triangle, but gives up on it as Overeem tries to tie up an arm. Griggs breaks free and starts to land punches, and Overeem turns his back and covers up, then decides to tap out. Cue ABSOLUTE DISGUST from the announcers as they claim Overeem has no heart. Hey, Iíd like to see Mauro or Gus get in there and take shots from a guy like Chad Griggs, however sloppy he is. Frank Shamrock can at least get away with criticising I guess.

Bit of a pointless fight really and Iím still not fully convinced by Griggs, but I guess he keeps winning so what can you say?

-Heidi Androl interviews Fabricio Werdum who admits Overeem is a totally different fighter from the guy he faced in 2006, but then again heís changed a lot too.

Heavyweight Fight: Daniel Cormier vs Jeff Monson

Rising star Cormier had been scheduled against fellow prospect Shane Del Rosario here, but Shane got into a car wreck and had to pull out and so veteran Monson stepped in on late notice. On paper this seemed to be a bad match for the Snowman too, as Cormierís a former Olympic wrestler whose stand-up is ever improving, and Monsonís never been the best striker. He does seem to have a size advantage though as while he isnít a big heavyweight, Cormier is a chubby 205lber in reality who apparently canít cut weight due to some issue with his kidneys.

First round begins and they exchange some strikes from the outside with Cormier landing a solid leg kick. Monson clinches and they muscle for position, but Cormier breaks off. They exchange some punches and Cormier lands a couple of solid combos, forcing Monson to clinch again. Cormier muscles him into the cage and it looks like Monson has a cut on the top of his head. They break off and Cormier lands a nice combination to counter Monson. Nice left hook from Cormier puts Monson firmly on the retreat. Good body kick follows. Cormier continues to land punches on Monson who seemingly has no answer. They clinch again with a minute to go but break off quickly. Monsonís face is beginning to look marked up. Another combo lands for Cormier. He hasnít truly hurt Monson yet though. Round ends on the feet. 10-9 Cormier.

2nd round and Cormier opens with a nice head kick off a combination. Monson goes down off a couple of wild swings, but Cormier waves him right back up. Decent right hand lands for Monson but Cormier shrugs off a clinch and lands another few punches. Clinch from Monson but Cormier quickly reverses and pushes him into the fence. Uppercuts land for Cormier in the clinch. Cormier breaks and they exchange punches with Monson landing a couple of his own this time. Into the clinch again with two minutes to go and Cormier lands a couple of knees. This is a dull fight. They break off and Cormier lands a solid body kick. Right hand into the clinch for the Olympian and he drags Monson down for a split-second before letting him back up. Round ends there. 10-9 Cormier.

3rd round and Cormier opens with a pair of head kicks that donít land cleanly. Good right from Monson but Cormier fires back with an uppercut. Front kick glances for Cormier. Good three-punch combo backs Monson up. A left hook follows to stagger the Snowman and Cormier adds the body kick for good measure. Another combo rocks Monson and heís forced to back up, but as he shoots Cormier shrugs him off. Blood pouring from Monsonís mouth now. Hard left hand lands for Cormier and they clinch. Fast combo breaks for Cormier. Monson drops to his knees after eating another combo but he still canít get Cormier off his feet. This is the best round for Cormier thus far. Clinch from Cormier and he shoves Monson into the fence. Donít know why heíd clinch if he isnít planning to take Monson down. Good knee to the body from Cormier. He follows by just throwing Monson to the ground. Monson gets back up, but he looks out of gas now. Good leg kick from Cormier. Body kick follows. Monson pushes forward with seconds on the clock, but he canít do anything and thatís it.

Judges have it 30-27 all around for Daniel Cormier. This was a good win for him and he looked like a solid prospect, but Cain Velasquez he is not, unfortunately. Not that anyone could be, really, though. Cormierís stand-up looked solid and he had Monson totally overmatched, but I still think heís going to struggle with the bigger guys at heavyweight and ought to get himself to 205lbs as quickly as he can.

-Heidi Androl talks to Alistair Overeem who says he sees the Grand Prix as the chance to prove himself as the top heavyweight in the world. He also says heís lost some weight for this fight to make sure his cardio is where it should be. Interesting.

Lightweight Fight: Jorge Masvidal vs KJ Noons

Well, everyone who reads my stuff knows I canít stand KJ Noons, so obviously I was pulling for Masvidal here. Donít ask me why I donít like Noons Ė I just find him annoying for some reason and overrated by some people too. Winner here was talked about as the next challenger for Gilbert Melendez. No offense to either man but can you spell underwhelming?

Fight begins and Noons pushes forward, backing Masvidal up early on. Good leg kick lands for Masvidal and he lands with a jumping knee too. Noons is constantly changing levels which is different. Jab to the body from Masvidal. Another jumping knee lands for Masvidal and he follows with a nice takedown. Noons looks like he might be going for a kimura, but Masvidal has his legs wrapped around KJís calves to control him in a sub-mount almost. Masvidal gets his arm free and tries to keep Noons down, but Noons uses the cage to get back to his feet. Nice leg kick lands for Masvidal. They exchange some punches and it looks like Noons is cut badly, with blood running all down his forehead. Big one-two from Masvidal. A stiff jab follows. Masvidal is owning the stand-up here. BIG HEAD KICK lands and drops Noons like a ton of bricks, and he pounces in an attempt to finish, but Noons gives his back and keeps scrambling, and manages to survive the round. Wow, that was close. Iíd probably go 10-8 Masvidal in fact as he came so close to finishing things despite the knockdown coming with seconds left.

Round Two and Noons stalks forward, but takes a leg kick in the opening seconds. Knee misses for Noons and Masvidal grins at him. Good leg kick and jab from Masvidal and he gets out of the way of a flurry. Good left uppercut lands for Noons and Masvidal is holding his hands a little low here, but heís still largely controlling this fight. Takedown from Masvidal but Noons pops up right away. Good shots to the body from both men. Takedown from Masvidal and he gets on top in guard. Couple of shots land for Masvidal but Noons manages to scoot back to the cage and escapes to his feet. Good right hand from Masvidal and Noons fires back with a couple of knees. Body shot from Masvidal and he looks for the takedown, but this time Noons works to stuff it. Masvidal manages to drag him down and lands some solid punches before Noons escapes to his feet. Masvidal ends up kneeling and then goes to his back and Noons lands some shots from the top, but Masvidal works back up to his feet and lands a big knee that stuns KJ. Noons gets on his bike and thatís the round. 10-9 Masvidal.

Round Three and Noons tries to walk him down, but Masvidalís movement seems to be too good and he stays out of the way of some wild shots. Couple of jabs land for Masvidal. Noons is putting together some more combinations now, but Masvidal fires back with a jumping knee. Takedown attempt is blocked by Noons. Spinning back kick connects to the midsection of Noons. Few more jabs from Masvidal and then he gets a takedown. Noons immediately tries to get back to his feet and does so, but Masvidal stays on him and keeps him pressed into the cage. Single leg puts Noons back down and he eats a left to the face on the way. Masvidal takes side mount and controls Noons, but KJ manages to slip free and works back to his feet. Masvidal keeps hold of a single leg though and looks to drag him back down. He gets Noons to the ground once more, easily avoiding a half-attempt at a kneebar, and then he defends a kimura attempt to end the fight. Iíve got this 30-26 for Jorge Masvidal.

Judges have it 30-27, 30-27, 30-27, unanimous decision for Masvidal. Well, duh. Noons basically got owned from start to finish there as his vaunted stand-up just wasnít enough to beat Masvidalís more rounded attack and he even got outstruck, showing that maybe he isnít as good as his fans make him out to be. Good win for Masvidal in an entertaining fight, but I donít think heís got anything for Gilbert Melendez, no disrespect intended.

Strike Force Heavyweight Grand Prix: Quarter-Finals: Josh Barnett vs Brett Rogers

This was on paper the weak link of the Grand Prix, as while Barnett was a great fighter a few years ago, after the steroid debacle and a lack of fights against decent competition Iíd call him a total question mark in 2011, while Rogers has been painfully exposed as not being a top class fighter at this stage. Based on that I was picking Barnett via easy submission.

We begin and Rogers lands a leg kick, but Barnett closes the distance and looks for a takedown. Big slam follows and he immediately moves into side mount. It looks like heís going for an Americana, but Rogers scrambles and manages to get back into half-guard. Barnett easily moves into full mount and heís making Rogers look like a novice here. Not much action from here though as Barnett lands a couple of short punches but doesnít really look for the finish. Rogers almost explodes out, but Barnett gets right back into side mount and then steps to full mount again. Action slows down again though and the crowd begin to boo as the round ends. Well, 10-9 Barnett but why he didnít try to put Rogers away Iím not sure.

Into the 2nd and Rogers throws some strikes but Barnett comes back with a left hook. Rogers tries to clinch, but Barnett quickly hits a lateral throw and lands right in full mount. Crowd boo again but Barnett looks for an arm triangle choke, and Rogers taps out before it even looks locked in fully.

Relatively easy win for Josh Barnett in exactly the way I imagined even if it took a round longer than I expected. Barnett vs. Kharitonov as a semi-final is a bit bleh if Iím honest (hey, it isnít 2005 any more!) but that happens when you do a tournament with no seeding. Rogers has since been busted for domestic violence and kicked out of Strike Force, so Iím guessing this is the last weíll see of him. Post-fight Barnett takes the mic off Gus Johnson and cuts a pro-wrestling style promo, which would be fun except its Josh Barnett so that makes it annoying.

-Heidi Androl interviews Bigfoot Silva at cageside and he picks Werdum to beat Overeem and says heíd like to face him in the semis to avenge that 2009 loss.

Strike Force Heavyweight Grand Prix: Quarter-Finals: Alistair Overeem vs Fabricio Werdum

This was of course a rematch from the 2006 PRIDE clash that saw Werdum win via kimura, but obviously Overeem wasnít UBEREEM back then and so pretty much everyone saw this as a bad fight for the Brazilian, as he seemed painfully overmatched standing and it seemed like a difficult task for him to get Alistair to the ground. With that said, you canít count a guy as good as Werdum out, but for me this seemed like the perfect coming-out party for Overeem as a genuine top heavyweight, as up to this point heís been ranked more on his potential as opposed to a lot of strong wins. Side note but itís nice to see Strike Force be able to use the footage of their earlier PRIDE bout in the video package due to the Zuffa buyout. Crowd are firmly behind Overeem, seemingly embracing him as the big heavyweight star that his legions of online fans would like him to be.

Round One and Werdum throws a high kick and tries to clinch, but Overeem shrugs him off. Glancing knee lands for Werdum off a combo. Werdum shoots and tries to pull guard, but Alistairís having none of that and calls him back up. Kick from Werdum is caught and Overeem shoves him down and then waves him up. Leg kick from Overeem and Werdum tries to pull guard again, but Overeem stands back up. Another flop from Werdum follows and he comes forward in the crab position but Overeem backs off. Another takedown is easily shrugged off by the Reem. And another. Ref calls Werdum back up and Overeem lands a short knee from the clinch. Werdum swings wildly but Overeem avoids it. Right hand from Overeem misses and Werdum pulls guard, but Overeem backs out. Flurry from Werdum backs him up a little and then the Brazilian pulls guard again, but again Overeem stands up. Right hand from Werdum and they clinch, and Overeem sweeps the leg but refuses to go into the guard. Same thing again happens with Werdum shooting and then flopping. Crowd are openly booing now. Left hook from Overeem drops the Brazilian but it looked like he went down on purpose. Overeem waves him up again. Good right from Werdum but Overeem tosses him to the ground and then stands out of the way as Werdum beckons him into the guard. Less than a minute to go and Overeem lands a couple of counterpunches. Werdum pulls guard again but Overeem stands. This sucks. Same thing happens again except Overeem lands in half-guard this time and stays there to end the round. Ugh. 10-9 Overeem for at least landing a couple of shots and NOT flopping to his back over and over.

Round Two and Werdum lands a combo before they exchange knees from the clinch. Right lands for Werdum but he follows by dropping to his back again. Werdum catches a kick and finally gets a takedown, but Overeem scrambles back up right away. Flurry from Werdum puts him on his back foot and he eats a knee, and then some punches, but Overeem comes back with a knee from the clinch. Werdum drops to guard again and this time Overeem goes down with him for a second before pulling free. Werdum struggles to get up this time. Good punches from Overeem to the body and head. Nice uppercut from the Reem and Werdum pulls guard again. Overeem stands free and leaves him laying on his back. This is a shameful performance. Big right hand lands for Alistair and Werdum goes down, and Overeem stays in the guard this time. Looks like both men are tired actually. Nothing really happens from there and Overeem decides to stand. One-two from Werdum but he goes down off a knee. He ends up on his knees in front of Alistair for a second and then drops to his back. Ref stands him up as the crowd boo. Knee from Overeem puts him down again and this time he goes into the guard. One minute to go and the crowd are really pissed off now. They were expecting a massacre from Overeem I guess. Nothing happens from inside the guard and the round peters out. 10-9 Overeem.

Round Three and Werdum opens with a series of decent strikes, landing some uppercuts and knees into the clinch, where he drops for the takedown. Overeem defends it though and breaks off, only to take a right hand. Werdum drops for the takedown and tries to pull guard, but this time Overeem gets on top with Werdum in the turtle position. He tries to roll, but Overeem stands instead. Right hand lands for Overeem and Werdum pulls guard. They stay there for a while with little action before Overeem stands back up and leaves Werdum in the butt-scoot position. Werdum stands and lands a clean combination right on the jaw, but he canít get Overeem off his feet and decides to pull guard again. This time he tries to go for a leglock, but Overeem pulls free and winds up on top in guard. Crowd are just showering the cage with boos, and then begin to chant ďSTAND THEM UPĒ as nothing happens. Seconds to go and Overeem stands, forcing Werdum to join him. They exchange and Werdum actually gets the better of it, but he follows by dropping for a kneebar. Overeem looks fine though and the fight ends there. You could perhaps argue for that round going to Werdum but I think itís Alistairís fight overall.

Judges have it 29-28, 30-27, 30-27 for Alistair Overeem. Fight was awful though as Werdum came out with a horrible gameplan and really I donít know if you can truly blame Overeem that much as itís hard to fight a guy who keeps flopping to his back. The annoying thing was that Werdum actually did very well standing with the Dutchman and never got truly rocked, so why not try to switch the gameplan up a little? This was reminiscent of Werdumís awful loss in PRIDE to Sergei Kharitonov actually. The big issue for Overeem in my opinion was that he gassed out, which is pretty worrying. Before this I had him as a lock to win the Grand Prix but after watching this I wonder if he wouldíve gotten past Bigfoot Ė but of course heís pulled out under odd circumstances now and been replaced by Daniel Cormier. Bigfoot is now my pick to win the tournament and I just hope Overeem stays under the Zuffa umbrella or it could be curtains for his MMA career at the top level against genuine opposition.

-Announcers wrap up the show and we see the brackets for the semi-finals Ė Barnett vs. Kharitonov and Silva vs. Overeem Cormier. And that is that!

Final Thoughts....

A really disappointing show in the end, as I expected fireworks from Overeem-Werdum and got a damp squib, and the rest of the show was pretty bad too, with two squashes (Barnett-Rogers and Griggs-Overeem) and a pretty dull fight between Cormier-Monson. Masvidal-Noons was pretty good, but it doesnít make up for a shoddy card overall. Thumbs down for this one.

Best Fight: Masvidal-Noons
Worst Fight: Overeem-Werdum

Overall Rating: **

Coming Soon....

UFC: 128-132, Fight Night 24, Versus 4
Strike Force: Fedor vs. Henderson
King of the Cage: Various shows

Until next time,

Scott Newman:
NewmanMMA@gmail.com





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