StrikeForce: Heavy Artillery
This past Saturday, Strikeforce put on a card in St. Louis, Missouri, entitled Heavy Artillery and the name fit the show appropriately. This show had big names in the audience and names in the cage that produced some very exciting fights.
Rafael Feijo took on the heavy favorite Antwain Britt in the first televised match on Showtime. I have to admit, I have a hard time being impartial in this fight as I actually had the opportunity to meet and interview Antwain Britt and my initial reaction to meeting him is that MMA needs more stars like him. He’s very humble; he LOVES talking to the fans and is just a very down to earth guy. And he won’t make excuses. Rafael took it to Antwain and Antwain was wailing on Feijo! After the locked up and wasn’t moving on the wall of the cage, the referee separated the two fighters and it was at that point that Feijo took advantage of this and took it hard to Antwain Britt. Within seconds Britt was out!
But that’s not the only impressive performances of the night. Jacare Souza again showed why he’s one of the best middleweights in the game when he defeated Joe Villasenor by decision. Joe Villasenor is a former King of the Cage champion and people would look over that fact. Although Villasenor was outmatched in the first round, halfway through the second round Villasenor “woke up” and was taking it to Jacare. The two warriors went at it the third round, but as mentioned before, Jacare won the decision. Given a few more fights, Joe Villasenor will be a force in Strikeforce’s Middleweight division along with Jacare.
Roger Gracie, yeah from the famed Gracie family, faced off against the 38 year old MMA Journeyman, Kevin Randleman. Randleman was, no doubt, looking to get back on the winning side since his last loss was in the UFC. He was hoping to capitalize on the inexperience of the BJJ Black Belt from the U.K. who has very limited striking skills. Gracie utilized something else though…his height and wing span advantage over Randleman. He got Randleman down on the ground a few times and the wily veteran got up to his feet real quick. In the second round, though, he was caught with a knee from Gracie and everything went downhill from there. Gracie showed his BJJ skills and caught Randleman with a Rear Naked Choke and may have ended the wonderful career of one Kevin Randleman while boosting his stock in Strikeforce and improving his record to 3-0.
In the co-main event was a heavyweight clash of the ages as Andrei Arlovski and Antonio “Big Foot” Silva clashed in the ring. Arlovski was hoping to get back on the winning track since the last time he was in St. Louis he was KO’d in the first round by Brett Rogers. Silva was wanting to gain another win and get into the title picture and hope to be the next challenger to the heavyweight championship or be next in line for Fedor Emelianenko who is facing off against Fabricio Werdum in June. In this fight, Andrei show much improvement with his striking, and I would guess that is because he was looking at becoming a boxer when his camp told him to do what pays the bills for him and that would be MMA. He also took some powerful shots from Silva. The crowd was stunned at the fact that he didn’t collapsed like he’s been known to do and is showing that he no longer have a glass jaw. But still Arlovski was outmatched by the former champion in Silva and lost the fight after 15 minutes of hard fighting by decision.
The main event was a matchup many people were asking how it got made as Brett Rogers got a title shot at heavyweight champion, Alistair Overeem, when Rogers was KO’d by Fedor earlier in the year. Before the fight Rogers said that he was going to provide a lot of problems to Overeem, who haven’t fought in Strikeforce or the USA since he won the Strikeforce Heavyweight Championship 2 and a half years ago. Rogers went as far as to say that the fight was going to be over in the first round. How clairvoyant of him. When the two men was in the cage staring at each other, it looked as though Brett Rogers was looking at Death on the other side of the cage. The bell rang and the two men engaged. There was a moment when Overeem showed his strength by tossing Rogers as though he was a rag doll! Overeem went on to demolish Rogers and Big John McCarthy ended the fight in the first round. Overeem defended his championship successfully.
Overall Strikeforce is showing that they are making another step in becoming a force in the MMA world contrary to what Dana White believes. This card showed that there are some future stars such as Roger Gracie and Joe Villasenor. It also has people asking whether Brett Rogers is as big a start as many people would have liked to believe him to be. It also may have been the last time we seen the wily veteran, Kevin Randleman, in the cage as well. Either way, this show just proved that Strikeforce is going to be on the coattails of the UFC real soon!
Written by Adrian Wilkins