THE TWO SHEDS REVIEW by Julian Radbourne
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A little bit later than planned due to health problems (I’ve got an infection in the left side of my jaw! Send get well messages to the usual address), we’re now going to take a look back at the recent Strikeforce/M-1 Global Fedor v Rogers show, shown on Bravo here in Britain on a one day delay. Is the Russian heavyweight really the best MMA fighter in the world?
The show began with heavyweight action, two Brazilians going up against each other with Fabricio Werdum taking on Antonio Silva. This was a great way to start the show. Silva tried to keep the fight upright in the first round, scoring with some good shots as he tried to stay away from Werdum’s ground game. This plan worked well in the first round, but as the fight went on Werdum began to stamp his authority on the fight, taking it to the mat and showing some good ground work. Naturally, the fighters began to tire in the third round, but this didn’t seem to stop their progress, and with the fight going the three round distance, Werdum took the unanimous decision. Nice stuff here, and a very enjoyable fight.
Then it was down to the light heavyweight division, with Gegard Mousasi facing Thierry Sokoudjou. The great fight action continued with this one. Both men looked good in a first round that was fought at a rather frantic pace, and Sokoudjou in particular looked quote impressive. Sadly, the man from Cameroon couldn’t keep his momentum going into the second round, with Mousasi soon getting the win after some good ground and pound work. A nice TKO win for the Dutchman here, but Sokoudjou can also be proud of his efforts in this one.
The third fight saw Jake Shields and Jason Miller fighting it out over the vacant Strikeforce Middleweight title. This was the title that Cung Le recently vacated when he retired, an retirement that hasn’t actually lasted that long, as he’s making a comeback next month. Anyway, back to the matter at hand. We got a tremendous display of ground fighting in this one, as Shields put on a great performance, although his excellent work wasn’t to the liking of the crowd at times, as they rained down a chorus of boos as he went to work. Miller look good as well, but as the fight went on it was obvious that Shields was the better fighter, although he just couldn’t get that final submission move. It really came as no surprise that Shields got the unanimous title winning decision, and although his fighting style wasn’t to everyone’s liking, this was a fine example of how you can get an exciting fight without a big knockout punch of quick submission victory.
The main event saw Russian sensation Fedor Emelianenko facing Brett Rogers. It seemed that everyone thought that Fedor would get a quick and decisive victory in this one, but I guess that Rogers didn’t read the script, especially in the first round when a left hook from the big American bloodied the Russian’s nose. Later on in the round Rogers’ ground and pound almost got him the win, but Fedor eventually escaped, almost getting the win himself with an arm triangle. The decisive moment came in the second, when Fedor’s big right hand sent Rogers crashing down to the ground. A brief moment of ground and pound followed, before the referee quickly stepped in and called a halt to the proceedings, giving Fedor the much anticipated victory, and capping off another fine performance from the Russian.
In conclusion – This is by far the best Strikeforce show I’ve seen, and the best MMA show outside of the UFC I’ve seen this year. Four outstanding fights, and a show that finished on a high note as Fedor got the expected win. But that big question is still waiting to be answered – is Fedor still the best heavyweight fighter of all time? Well, I’m afraid that, for me, this fight didn’t really answer that question. Strikeforce may be giving him a bigger platform, but that question won’t really be answered until he steps in to the UFC cage.