THE TWO SHEDS REVIEW by Julian Radbourne – now in it’s 10th year!
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So what do you get when you put a wrestling superstar, the top female fighter in the world, and an ageing former NFL star together in the same building? You get Strikeforce’s latest show in Miami, Florida, shown on a one day delay on Bravo here in Britain, with Mauro Ranallo, Frank Shamrock and Stephen Quadros handling commentary duties.
The broadcast began with current TNA star Bobby Lashley facing Wes Sims in a heavyweight clash. As a wrestling fan I was eager to see this one. It certainly was an impressive performance from Lashley. Sims tried to psyche him out at the beginning but Lashley was having none of it, taking Sims down and going for the ground and pound. Seconds later Lashley took Sims’ back, and he went flat as Lashley continued with the onslaught. That was enough for the referee as he stepped in to stop the fight, giving Lashley the TKO win and keeping his undefeated streak going with a very good performance.
Then it was down to the middleweight division, with Robbie Lawler facing hard hitting Dutchman Melvin Manhoef. We had a rather unexpected ending in this one. After a somewhat slow start, Manhoef went to work, unloading with some good combinations and some devastating kicks. Every kick to Lawler’s lead leg sent it high into the air. The Dutchman’s attacks were so good it looked like Lawler was about to lose. Then it happened. Lawler connected with a big right, and Manhoef wobbled before falling to the canvas, and that was that. The tables were turned in a truly remarkable fight.
The big boys were up next as NFL legend Herschel Walker made his MMA debut against Greg Nagy. For a 47 year old with limited training, and in his first fight, Walker did pretty well, showing some good takedown defence, and controlling the fight when it went to the ground. It looked like Nagy didn’t really know what to do, and in the third round, with Nagy lying flat on his front and Walker delivering countless blows, the referee called time, giving Walker the TKO win. Well, he may have looked a little rough around the edges, but Walker put in a good performance here, and I wouldn’t mind seeing him again in the future.
The first title fight of the evening followed, with Cris Cyborg defending her Women’s Lightweight title against Marloes Coenen. I’d heard a lot about Cyborg over the past few months, and she impressed the hell out of me, controlling every aspect of the fight. Coenen tried her best, but it was simply not enough against someone with the skill of Cyborg. The end came in the third round when Cyborg’s relentless ground and pound was too much for the Dutch fighter, with the referee stopping the fight, giving Cyborg the TKO win. This is one lady who is certainly going to make waves for some time to come.
The main event saw Nick Diaz take on Marius Zaromskis for the vacant Strikeforce Welterweight title. This was one of those hard hitting back and forth affairs you couldn’t take your eyes off. Both fighters began by swinging for the trees before a clinch against the cage where Diaz worked over Zaromskis’ right leg. The brawling began soon afterwards, and after Zaromskis had Diaz on the mat, Diaz came back well and rocked Zaromskis with some good combinations, with a right hook sending him down. And that was it, as Diaz became the first Welterweight champion with a great performance.
In conclusion – five good fights made Strikeforce’s latest show a very enjoyable one. Every fight delivered, especially the Diaz/Zaromskis slugfest and the Cyborg/Coenen battle. Bravo have done well in getting more Strikeforce action for it’s British viewers, and with the channel also showing the second season of the M-1 Challenge and BAMMA they could soon rival ESPN’s coverage over here.