Strikeforce: Miami—10 Things We Learned

E. Spencer Kyte@@spencerkyteSenior Analyst IJanuary 31, 2010

1. That One Round Was a Great Fight

A round of applause for Nick Diaz and Marius Zaromskis.

In under five minutes, the two combatants for the vacant Strikeforce welterweight title put on quite a show, with Diaz emerging victorious after coming out solid, getting dropped, and coming back even better.

Points to Zaromskis for standing in there; he got caught early, kind of shook it off and managed to floor Diaz at one point, but in the end, the Stockton, Calif., native had too much length and too precise boxing for his Lithuanian opponent to handle.


2. Nick Diaz: Best Non-UFC Welterweight

Jay Hieron might have a thing or two to say about this, but for right now, before they meet, Diaz has staked his claim to the title of "Best Non-UFC Welterweight" with his title-winning effort in Miami.

While some will argue being the best outside of the top organization in the sport is akin to being the smartest kid in the remedial class, Diaz is a legit Top 10 welterweight, regardless of where he fights.

Look at it this way: Does Nick Diaz beat Carlos Condit? Martin Kampmann? Paulo Thiago, Paul Daley, and Mike Swick? What about Dan Hardy?

I'm taking Diaz in each of those fictional fights, even after picking Zaromskis last night.

Consider me converted.

He's got the boxing to stand with each of those Top 10 UFC welterweights (and probably Josh Koscheck, too) and the skills on the ground to dominate all of them if need be.

Outside of the powerful Thiago Alves and Jon Fitch's suffocating wrestling, their isn't a contender in the UFC Diaz is any worse than a coin flip against.


3. A Cyborg Indeed

Cristiane Santos is like the Energizer bunny: she just keeps going and going and going. Many people thought taking her into the later rounds would be advantageous for Marloes Coenen.

Wrong. Santos simply kept coming forward and improved as the rounds went on; she found her distance, didn't get sucked into going to the floor with her Dutch opponent and showed no signs of fatigue at all.

She is, without question, a female fighting machine, and one who may not have any challengers.

Yes, there are tough women out there that "Cyborg" has yet to face (Erin Toughill immediately comes to mind), but she's dominated the last two "tough tests" she's faced in impressive fashion. Until someone beats her, there are no "yeah, buts" that apply to Cristiane Santos.

She's a machine, period.


4. Herschel Walker Wins

First off,  congratulations to Walker for earning his first career win and continuing to accomplish more than I would be willing to try in my lifetime.

With that out of the way, you've got to be kidding me. There are so many things wrong with this bout that I'm not sure where to start.

First, the announce team heaping praise for his "skills" and the "promise he shows" is ridiculous. He beat up a human punching bag, and looked amateur in doing so...because he's an amateur.

Second, Strikeforce needs to take a good long look in the mirror for putting this fight in the middle of a major MMA show. Yes, Walker is a name that brings in fans (especially football fans in Miami preparing for Super Bowl week), but he and Greg Nagy had absolutely no business being on the main card of this event.

Third, let's be honest with each other, okay: Herschel Walker gets smoked by anyone with a morsel of experience and/or talent, save for maybe Wes Sims.

Strikeforce has a tough decision to make if Walker decides to keep fighting: do they give him more cans like Greg Nagy or do they risk a loss with a real opponent?

For the integrity of the sport and the hard work countless athletes have put in long before Herschel Walker wanted to test himself in MMA, I hope they choose the latter.


5. One Punch, One Win

Whenever someone asks me why I love MMA so much, my automatic response will now be to direct them to the 3:33 Robbie Lawler spent in the cage with Melvin Manhoef.

For about three minutes, Lawler was getting owned six ways from Sunday; Manhoef had his leg all jacked up, was throwing bombs, and looked on the verge of earning a first-round victory.

Then Lawler ended the fight with one punch. Done. Over. Good night. He's going to be walking funny all day today, but he'll be doing so as the victor, and a very early candidate for Knockout of the Year.


6. This Isn't Professional Wrestling: Enough with the Squash Matches, Bobby Lashley

No one should have expected much from Wes Sims.

When you take a fight on a week's notice, just being at the event on time is a small victory.

Lamenting that he was out of shape and ill-prepared is like complaining that the snot-nosed kid jockeying the cash at the gas station didn't give you optimum service.

What, you were expected something different?

Regardless of the plans Bobby Lashley has crafted in his head and laid out to Stephen Quadros after the fight (something about eight fights before competing for a title), fight No. 6 needs to be a big step up the competition ladder.

No more MMA-equivalents of Barry Horowitz or The Brooklyn Brawler; give him someone like Shane Del Rosario, where we can actually see if he's got the skills to be something in this sport, rather than just the guy who is clearly the better man and a solid marketing tool.


7. Jay Hieron Continues to Win, Remains Cursed

As he said he would do when we spoke a couple weeks back, Jay Hieron went out and handled his business against Joe Riggs, earning a Unanimous Decision for his seventh straight win. He also remained unavailable for viewing, as EASports MMA had an epic failure with their live stream of the fight.

What could make things all the more maddening for Hieron is that Scott Coker is apparently interested in lining up Hayato "Mach" Sakurai with the newly-crowned welterweight champion, Nick Diaz.

Apparently, the promises of an immediate title shot for Hieron disappeared the minute he signed his contract.


8. Dear Announcers: Please Stop

I know that it is the job of announcers everywhere to make the events they are covering more exciting and more interesting, but the over-extension by the Strikeforce announce team had me thinking about jamming freshly-sharpened pencils into my ears.

Melvin Manhoef is not the Dutch Mike Tyson.

The comparison ends at explosive punching power. Manhoef hasn't been the champion of anything and was never considered the most dominant fighter of his era.

Additionally, he has no facial tattoos, did not sing "In the Air Tonight" in The Hangover , isn't the star of the best Nintendo game not named Tecmo Bowl, and was never married to Head of the Class star Robin Givens.

Dear Frank Shamrock, if Nick Diaz's punches don't hurt and only confuse you, why did you fold up like a cheap tent when those non-hurtful punches kept connecting with various parts of your body?

Turning around six minutes later to sing the praises of Diaz, his boxing prowess and how he hurt Zaromskis is just plain redonkulous. As are your braces. I'm all for good teeth, but c'mon.


9. Team Cesar Gracie Has Three Champions

Jake Shields, Gilbert Melendez, and now Nick Diaz all have championship gold around their waist.

For all the accolades we bestow upon teams like Greg Jackson's crew, ATT, and even Black House, this is the most titles under one roof in quite some time, and makes me think back to the days of Miletich Fighting Systems stomping the hell out of everyone in the UFC.

For all those people who want to say, "Yeah, but it's three Strikeforce titles," name a single squad in the UFC with three titles in their possession. You can't.

Give "The Scrap Pack" credit; they deserve it.


10. Strikeforce is Improving, But Still Has a Long Way to Go

Outside of the Hieron-Riggs fight, does anyone care what happened on the undercard?

Isn't there someone in the production booth who can figure out when to accurately cut to the fighter being introduced, instead of going a minute early every time and letting us see them standing there awkwardly waiting to hear their name?

Herschel Walker was just the biggest draw on your first event of 2010.

Jimmy Lennon Jr. made no mention of "Cyborg" being the Women's 145-pound champ when she walked to the ring looking like a dude...and a douchey dude who wears sunglasses indoors at that.

Maybe I just missed it because I was tweeting like a madman (@ESpencerKyte), but I didn't see the customary "wrap the belt around the waist of the new champion" moment when Diaz was announced as the winner. Showing the new champ with his belt is kind of important.

Although, Strikeforce seems to be okay with Alistair Overeem keeping the heavyweight title far from sight in Japan or Holland or wherever, so maybe they just don't care if you see the belt or not.


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