Overall I believed that Strikeforce: Houston was a good show. There were some good fights on the undercard as well as some high quality bouts on the Showtime portion of the card. The one resounding problem with the show, for those in attendance as well as those at home, was the sub-par standard of refereeing.
There were multiple gaffs in the refereeing last night particularly on the main card. One that continues to stand out was when a gassed Bobby Lashley had mount on Chad Griggs and the fight was stood up. Or at least it seemed to have been stood up, Lashley had his eye checked by the ringside physician and instead of the fighters restarting with Lashley in mount the bout was restarted from standing. It could be argued that Lashley would have won the round and made it into the third if the referee was on top of his game.
Aside from the refereeing mistakes the fights were great, the crowd was really behind the Texan fighters initially, but as with all MMA events the crowd quickly jumped on the oppositions bandwagon as soon as it got rolling.
Bobby Lashley it turns out was “severely dehydrated” after his loss to Chad Griggs. I do expect to see him back in Strikeforce action. Hopefully next time he comes more prepared though, surely he should have known that Houston is one hot city and fluids should be overly consumed. I do believe that yesterday was one of the hottest days of the year also but that should be no excuse for an athlete in an air-conditioned building. All credit to Chad Griggs though; he withstood the early wrestling onslaught and came out of there with a TKO victory.
The KJ Noons, Jorge Grugel fight in my opinion was one of the best of the night. There were some moments during the fight that were a bit iffy. I’m talking about the after the bell shot and the knee to the head right at the end. Despite those two mishaps though Noons really did impress me. Here’s hoping he sticks with MMA this time instead of running away to do some other sport.
I may have been one of the few in the Toyota Center who was actually rooting for Souza to win against American fighter Tim Kennedy. As becomes the norm with these types of fights though we did have the standard “U-S-A” chant echoing throughout the arena. In my honest opinion I thought that Souza did win the fight. I figured he had the first round in the bag and took rounds 2 and 3 barely. Rounds 4 and 5 I knew would probably (I say probably because this is MMA judging) have gone to Kennedy so I was not disappointed in the result.
Ah the main event, King Mo with his WWE style entrance wearing a crown, walking to the cage with rose petals scattered at his feet. Give me a break this is MMA not pro-wrestling, get in there and fight. I don’t know how this fight came across on TV but to me Mo did seem really cocky, he looked like he was keeping his arms down way too much especially considering he is not one of the fastest light heavyweights. Aside from the suplex the first two rounds of that fight were boring to watch and people even got up to leave. I’m glad I wasn’t one of those who left though because Feijao turned up the heat and knocked King Mo down with a solid knee followed by a flurry of punches. I did feel that Big John let the fight go on way too long though, those elbows from Feijao were unnecessary and the fight should have been stopped before then.
I hope that Strikeforce does return to Houston sometime in the near future but based upon the commissions lack of drug testing and the complete mess of officiating that probably wont happen for some time. Come on Texas, get your mess sorted out!