Strikeforce Thoughts

Saffiedine taking Marquardt down. Photo Credit: Esther Lin.

Saffiedine taking Marquardt down. Photo Credit: Esther Lin.

–I first saw Saffiedine on Shark Fights, and I’m glad I’ve followed his career from the Challengers series to the UFC. He made Marquardt look slow and old, although maybe he already is slow and old. Even when Okami beat Marquardt, it was a much closer bout. This wasn’t that, Saffiedine disfigured Marquardt’s leg and made it into an online meme. He made Marquardt look clueless with his slick striking and sharp leg kicks. That was a slick jab he used to counter Marquardt in the first frame that caused a knockdown. His pace made Marquardt gas out by the third frame. Also, that final takedown at the end of the fifth frame must have been such a huge blow to Marquardt’s psyche at that point. I can’t wait to see Saffiedine fight a UFC welterweight. There are so many great ones out there from Mike Pierce to Thiago Alves. I’m excited to see the new stage of Saffiedine’s career. Marquardt still has a good enough name that I can see him fighting good, well known welterweights in the UFC.

–Cormier made quick work out of Dion Staring. I’m looking forward to finally seeing Cormier in the UFC and seeing him fight Frank Mir in April. Seeing the way Cormier manhandled Barnett and obliterated Big Foot Silva, I see Cormier beat Mir in a rather decisive manner. But Mir still has a submission up his sleeve that can make things fun to watch even though it seems unlikely.

–What is Josh Barnett’s fate? I am sure he can beat most of the UFC heavyweight division with the exception of Velasquez, Dos Santos, Overeem, and Cormier. Werdum and Mir are toss up fights, although I think he beats Mir and has a competitive fight with Werdum. Barnett’s getting older but he’s aged quite well in my opinion. I would like to see him in the UFC, but I sadly don’t see it happening. It’s a shame.

–Hard to tell how good Mousasi is nowadays, he beat Mike Kyle rather easily. I would be fine with Mousasi fighting the winner of Vladimir Matyushenko vs Ryan Bader.

–Jacare is good. Very good. His boxing has improved, he was outpunching Herman. But when it came down to the finish, I loved how he took Herman down and easily got side control. The kimura just came to him. Jacare is a legitimate dangerous middleweight. I would love to see him fight the winner of Yushin Okami vs Hector Lombard. I don’t think it’ll happen, but at least give Jacare a top ten UFC fighter. Jacare has the charisma, the skills, and the “it” factor to become a good draw for the Brazilian market. Can you imagine how great a UFC on FX Brazil card with Chris Weidman vs Jacare Souza as the headliner would be?

–First thing I want to say is that I am happy both KJ Noons and Ryan Couture are going to the UFC. Neither guy will be a top fighter, but I would love to see either fighter fight against entertaining lightweight fighters like Joe Lauzon, Matt Wiman, Diego Sanchez, and Ross Pearson. I don’t think Noons and Couture would beat any of those fighters, but they would be fun affairs. Now on to the decision: it was terrible. Noons clearly won every round. He was landing great counter punches on on Couture in the first and third rounds. In the second round, he badly hurt Couture and damaged him. Noons had a huge gash on his head due to an unintentional illegal headbutt. Couture fought a gutsy fight, he was trying his best to overwhelm Noons by throwing kicks and punches, but Noons was countering him with better efficiency, better volume and much more power. Why didn’t Couture take the fight to the ground? He could has really solid submission grappling skills, he can chain together some slick sequences. He decided to fight in Noons’ world, got beat in that world, and the judges gave him the fight. No disrespect for Couture is intended since he has grown so much over the years but he lost this fight. “I think it was a great fight but I think KJ Noons won the fight,” said Pat Miletich.

–Tim Kennedy gets some slack from a lot of people for some of his videos and comedic aesthetics. I don’t know anything about that since I just concentrate on his fights. So judging from his fights, he’s a fighter I enjoy watching. This wasn’t a great fight, not even a good fight. But I enjoyed seeing Tim Kennedy sprawl, defended well, land solid elbows to Trevor Smith’s body. I liked seeing how Kennedy got the guillotine choke. If guys like Chris Leben and Derek Brunson are in the UFC, someone like Tim Kennedy more than belongs in the UFC. As obvious and lame as it is saying this, a Brian Stann vs Tim Kennedy fight would be awesome even though it will never, ever happen (team mates; military background).

–Maybe I’m alone in this but the Pat Healy vs Kurt Holobaugh. Healy has some serious striking defense issues, and Holobaugh took advantage of that whenever the fight was on its feet. Kurt hurt Healy badly in the first frame but Healy came back to badly outwork him on the ground. He had him in some awesome looking positions on the ground, and almost tapped Holobaugh at one point with a good-looking arm-triangle. Healy is so much fun to watch on the ground, he’s a grappling machine down there. Holobaugh tried his best to survive and land good strikes. I love how Healy was landing some great ground and pound as the fight was coming to an end. What a cool fight.

–Roger Gracie’s submission grappling is so clean. He’s going to have major issues if the fight stays on its feet, as he lost the first round to Anthony Smith due to his striking limitations. But he hit a nice double leg, and it was all over. Loved how easy it was for him to get the mount, the face-ripping elbow, and the arm-triangle submission win. I kinda want to see Roger Gracie vs Rousimar Palhares, since the idea of two such distinct fighters entertains my senses.

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