UFC vs. Strikeforce: Broadcast Analysis

Darren WongSenior Analyst IAugust 16, 2009

LAS VEGAS - JULY 11:  Brock Lesnar reacts after knocking out Frank Mir during their heavyweight title bout during UFC 100 on July 11, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)

Last night, while many people made a choice between watching Strikeforce: Carano vs. Cyborg, or the re-run of UFC 100, I refused to compromise.

Instead, I watched both shows simultaneously.

Having already watched all of the UFC fights, I spent most of my energy absorbing the Strikeforce broadcast while trying to pick up new details of the UFC card, while also observing the way in which the UFC has chosen to present its re-run.

I'll start with my thoughts on the Strikeforce card.



The Strikeforce card as a whole must be considered a pretty big success.  Generally, the pacing of the broadcast was good, and professional.

However, perhaps one downfall of Strikeforce, is that their broadcast team isn't as good as Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan.

There simply isn't anyone on the Strikeforce team as cool as Joe Rogan.  Joe Rogan manages to be funny and informative at the same time.

And as much as Mike Goldberg is criticized, he often does a good job of keeping up the pace of the commentary, while his victory celebrations are far less hysterical than the team of Gus Johnson, Mauro Ranallo, and Frank Shamrock.

The Strikeforce broadcast seemed to be oriented towards an audience not educated in MMA, with parts designed to educate the audience on the basics of submission grappling like armbars and chokes.

Also, Frank Shamrock's analysis of the keys to the Carano vs. Cyborg fight made very little sense.

It took a certain amount of mental processing to undertand why Gina and Cyborg would need to take different approaches because of the 25-minute scheduled fight length.

Furthermore, I've never heard of front kicks being considered a key to any fight in MMA.  But since Gina lost, and didn't use any front kicks, maybe Shamrock was right.

Strikeforce also needs help in organization and presentation of statistics.

The UFC knows how to show one or two statistics at a time to present a particular view of a fighter.  For example, GSP is successful on 79 percent of takedowns.  Therefore, we know that GSP is good at takedowns.

Strikeforce, on the other hand, showed a big page of post-fight statistics that resulted in it having little meaning to the viewer.  For example, no statistics were really needed for the fight between Fabricio Werdum and Mike Kyle.

It was pretty clear beforehand that the fight would be over if Fabricio managed to take the fight to the ground.

It was good to see Werdum slim down for this fight.  He weighed in at 228, which is a much better number than the out-of-shape 256 he walked in at for his loss to Junior Dos Santos.

However, despite his win, I am not really looking forward to a match between Werdum and Fedor.

Fedor is a terrible stylistic matchup for Werdum, as Werdum is still very uncomfortable on the feet, and should have a lot of trouble getting Fedor down, where Fedor still possesses a high degree of skill.

Speaking of Fedor, Strikeforce started the broadcast by announcing his signing.  One thing that is working against Strikeforce on that front is that they don't have legal rights to very much footage of Fedor's actual fights.

The UFC likely has a near-monopoly over Fedor's fight footage, which will be a serious hindrance to Strikeforce's attempts to market Fedor, especially if he doesn't have marketable opponent.

Future promotion for Strikeforce remains unclear for a number of reasons.

Strikeforce did announce upcoming fights for many of its stars, but it did so without mentioning matchups.

A lot of selling a fight isn't just about selling the fighter, but also about selling compelling fights, including grudge matches, and other fights of significance. 

Stikeforce failed to generate a lot of hype for upcoming matches for Jake Shields, Nick Diaz, and Fedor Emelianenko.

The lone exception might be for the potential fight between Gilbert Melendez and Josh Thompson, which will now possibly be more interesting after Melendez's dominant win.

Also, new champion Gegard Mousasi will likely be out of action for a while, due to his commitments with DREAM in its Superhulk Tournament.

Mousasi looked good against Renato Babalu Sobral, but the fight failed to really answer many questions.

Babalu isn't really a fantastic striker, so it was no surprise that he was beaten on the feet.  And when the fight reached the ground, Babalu didn't really do a great job of defending himself.

Mousasi is a good fighter, but he's going to need more fights against tougher competition before we'll know exactly how good he really is.

Likewise, it remains to be seen where Strikeforce will be taking its women's division after it's most marketable fighter was defeated with relative ease.



The UFC made a smart move to show Jon Jones, as he has a lot of potential as a prospect, so much so that some people are already (ridiculously) touting him as the guy to take down Lyoto Machida.

While Jones has a lot of raw physical ability, it is simply way too soon to be predicting the future of Jones.

His striking is pretty raw right now, and after seeing him having difficulty controlling range with Jake O'Brien, it is clear that he'll have a lot of work to do before being able to step into the ring against the top of the light heavyweight division.

I was interested in seeing the replay of Akiyama vs. Belcher, simply to see the way in which it was presented.

The UFC actually hyped up Akiyama more in the replay than in the buildup to the actual fight before July 11. 

The fight was a pretty good battle, so I was glad to see it on the broadcast, as it showed how MMA fights can really be wars, and not simply showcases of one fighter's talent.

Watching a UFC card with commercials and pre-known outcomes isn't half as fun.

When the decision was read, the UFC cut off the commentary from the original broadcast that questioned the decision.  Good call, in my opinion.  It was a close fight, lets leave it at that.

Stephan Bonnar vs. Mark Coleman was another war, if not the most fast-paced one.

Coleman is like a bulldozer: really slow, but it's still not a good idea to stand in his way.

Coleman isn't the greatest at avoiding arm submissions.  In my opinion, he is able to survive Bonnar's submissions simply because Bonnar lacks top-level jiu jitsu.

Coleman can't beat a good jiu jitsu fighter with any sort of gas tank.

After watching this fight again, I feel that Bonnar doesn't really have the skills to compete at the top level.  However, because he was involved in the most-important fight in UFC history, he'll hang around.

Lesson to Matt Grice: If someone is putting you into a guillotine choke, defend it.  Don't ignore it and assume that he'll just abandon it just because you've survived it for a little while.

The UFC is doing a good job of building Dan Henderson back up for a rematch against Anderson Silva.  Does Dan have a chance? Yes.

Unfortunately, I think Dan Henderson is a little bit too much in love with his right hand to follow the kind of gameplan he'll need to stand a chance against Anderson.

The UFC cut off Brock Lesnar's post-fight antics.  Another nice call.

Well. that's pretty much it.

A good night of fights, and the start of the war between the UFC and Strikeforce.

The one thing that was missing from both broadcasts, was competitive matches at the highest level.

Not that there weren't world-class fighters, but most of the fights were pretty one-sided, or were not between true contenders.

For newcomers to MMA, I don't know if watching one-sided beatdowns is the best way to be introduced to the sport.

For this reason, the UFC should have shown the fight between Georges St. Pierre and Thiago Alves.  The fight wasn't close according to the scorecards, but it showed how impressive and technical a fight can be when it is contested by two masters.


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