Strikeforce Barnett vs. Cormier Results: Grades for All Main Card Fighters

Matthew RothFeatured ColumnistMay 20, 2012

Via Esther Lin/Forza LLC via Getty Images
Via Esther Lin/Forza LLC via Getty Images

The Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix has finally come to a close. From a field of eight, only one man remains to take home the belt: Daniel Cormier. The main event lived up to the expectations as Daniel Cormier put on a career-defining performance against perennial top 10 heavyweight, Josh Barnett.

In the co-main event of the night, Gilbert Melendez took a split decision over Josh Thomson. After 15 rounds of fighting, Melendez is able to walk away with not only the lightweight gold but also two wins over his nemesis. 

The rest of the card will have divisional consequences within Strikeforce so let's break down and grade the performances of all the main card fighters. 



Daniel Cormier: Welcome to the elite of the heavyweight division, Daniel. That was a masterful performance and the best of your short MMA career. I could talk about how awesome that high-crotch single was or how crisp your boxing looked. But I won't.

Instead, I just want to say that if Zuffa was smart they wouldn't bother wasting your time with that final Strikeforce fight. It's stupid and I want to see you in the UFC now.



Rafael Cavalcante: Things Rafael Cavalcante did today: avenged a loss and got a fast submission from Mike Kyle. There's nothing else to say because that's all that happened, but damn. Have fun in that title fight against someone at a future date. 



Chris Spang: His brother Andreas lost last night at Bellator in the main event against Maiquel Falcao. Chris didn't fight like his brother and instead put Nah-Shon Burrell out with punches and knees.

It almost seemed like the fight could have been stopped a bit sooner, but I'm not one for complaining when a fighter is demonstrating fantastic technique.

I'm actually excited to see this kid fight again in the near future. Judging by how long Jason High has been on the shelf, it could be a year. 



Gilbert Melendez: Gilbert was totally correct when he said that he had everything to lose and nothing to gain in his fight with Josh Thomson. The eyes of the MMA world were upon him and he needed to deliver in order to stay in the lightweight conversation.

He fought a good fight but his fading in the third is a concern. Congrats on the win. Hopefully this was just a rare poor showing. 

Josh Thomson: I didn't think Josh Thomson had anything for GIlbert Melendez following the KJ Noons fight. He proved me wrong and looked great in the championship rounds against Melendez. He walks away with a split-decision loss but he definitely raised his stock in the division with this performance.



Josh Barnett: I'm kind of disappointed in Barnett's performance tonight. He showed a lot of heart and a great chin but that was such a one-sided fight.

I've never seen anyone body Barnett like that before and his face showed the wounds of a battle. Hopefully he joins the UFC roster, he deserves a shot after tonight. 



Nah-Shon Burrell: Man you know you were out. Why complain to the ref? He looked good early on, but once Spang started landing with accuracy, the fight was over. It was only time until Burrell faded and fell to the mat in defeat. 



Mike Kyle: What was all that talk about deserving a title shot?