Strikeforce Overeem vs. Werdum Results: The Real Winners and Losers of the Event

Matt Saccaro@@mattsaccaroContributor IIIJune 19, 2011

Strikeforce Overeem vs. Werdum Results: The Real Winners and Losers of the Event

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    Strikeforce: Overeem vs. Werdum is now in the history books. The first round of the world's greatest heavyweight grand prix has ended and not without its share of upsets and action.

    Alistair Overeem proved not to be as "uber" as one of his oft used nicknames suggests, not being able to finish Fabricio Werdum, but earning a decision victory nonetheless. And in the other bracket of the tournament, Josh Barnett effortlessly submitted Brett Rogers in the second round of their fight.

    There were many other fights and, as with any mixed martial arts event, there were winners and there were losers.

    However, just because somebody lost a fight on paper doesn't make them a loser. In the aftermath of card "real" winners and losers emerge from the settled dust.

    Who were the real winners and losers emerging from Dallas' Strikeforce: Overeem vs. Werdum?

    Read and find out!

Winner: Nah-Shon Burrell

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    Nah-Shon Burrell put on an excellent showing for a fighter who was only 5-1 at the time of his fight. His striking was extremely crisp and accurate and his submission defense was exceptional.

    Burrell will have a bright future in the organization (and may even make it to the UFC one day) should he keep up with what he's been doing.

    With such an impressive display of fighting ability, there is no doubt that Nah-Shon Burrell is a true winner of Strikeforce: Overeem vs. Werdum.

Winner: Joe Ray

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    Even though Joe Ray came up short against Nah-Shon Burrell, he demonstrated quite an arsenal of submissions and decent striking.

    If Joe Ray can tighten up his striking and working on his conditioning a bit, he can be quite a competitor.

    Because he demonstrates such toughness and fighting aptitude, he is a winner.

Winner: Conor Heun

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    Conor Heun demonstrated extraordinary resilience in his fight against Magno Almeida, escaping numerous arm bars and leg locks.

    Heun managed to push the pace in the third due to his superior conditioning en route to a split decision victory.

Winner: Magno Almeida

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    Magno Almeida showed that he is a wizard on the ground.

    If he improves his striking and his conditioning, he will be a fearsome opponent for anyone.

    There have been a lot of winners on the undercard but even those who lose fights but put on a good showing are winners because Strikeforce—with the legendary Zuffa marketing behind it—will be viewed by more people.

    These people will likely see the fighters on the undercard. Thus, the typically "no-name" fighters on the undercard will get far more media attention and fame than they normally would have. They are therefore all winners in some way.

Winner: Chad Griggs

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    Chad "Gravedigger" Griggs has gone from zero to hero in Strikeforce due to his plucky defeat of Bobby Lashley and domination of Long Island prospect Gian Villante.

    With his win over Valentijn Overeem, Griggs has only further increased his stock in the Strikeforce heavyweight division and is a true winner from the event, the fact that V.Overeem is barely a .500 fighter notwithstanding.

Winner: Daniel Cormier

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    Daniel Cormier showed an immensely improved stand-up game against the likes of Jeff Monson. Cormier's new striking abilities perfectly supplement his already world class wrestling skills.

    The sky is the limit for Cormier and he certainly showed it. With crisp, accurate combinations and dominant wrestling, will there be anyone in Strikeforce who can stop him?

Winner: Jorge Masvidal

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    Jorge Masvidal was a true winner tonight because not only did he completely outclass Strikeforce lightweight staple K.J. Noons, he may well have earned himself a title shot against Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez as well.

    Masvidal has long been touted as a "diamond in the rough" by pundits and fanboys alike but he has finally had a chance to prove it on a larger stage in Strikeforce.

    However, while his overall game did look solid, he will need a little bit more if he is to take the belt from "El Niño," but that is neither here nor there.

    Still, Masvidal looked sharp and he walked away from this event a winner in both a literal and figurative sense (as did most of the winners tonight—but not all...)

Winner: Josh Barnett

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    While Josh Barnett did smother and eventually submit Brett "The Grim" Rogers en route to the next bracket of the Strikeforce heavyweight tournament, did anyone with at least a little MMA knowledge really expect otherwise?

    Nevertheless, Barnett did likely gain more exposure and name recognition from the event and his hand was raised at the end of the day so he does walk a way a "winner."

Losers: Gesias Cavalcante, Justin Wilcox and the Fans

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    An intriguing match between Gesias "JZ" Cavalcante and Justin Wilcox ended via an incidental eyepoke; the ruling was "no decision."

    Both of these fighters "lost" because they didn't get a chance to display their skills to the world and the fans lost because they didn't get to see the fight reach a true conclusion.

Losers: Todd Moore and Mike Bronzoulis

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    Both Todd Moore and Mike Bronzoulis were forced to fight after the main event; when everyone is leaving the arena and has turned off their television.

    Even though Moore won the unanimous decision, he doesn't benefit anywhere near as much as the other fighters because he got almost no exposure. Did you even know he was fighting after the main event?

Loser: Valentijn Overeem

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    Valentijn Overeem is barely a .500 fighter and the only reason anyone pays him heed is because of his last name.

    He looked like his record: dreary and sub-par.

    Will he ever be back in Strikeforce? He may fight again but he will never be a force in the division; he demonstrated that he really doesn't have the skill to keep up with even the journeymen of today's MMA world.

Loser: Jeff Monson

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    While Jeff Monson is one of the most decorated competitors at heavyweight in MMA, he looked his age against Daniel Cormier.

    Monson is 40 years old and, even though he was coming off of an eight-fight winning streak before fighting Cormier, it looks as though the sport has passed him by.

    Monson needed a win against the up-and-comer to show that he could still throw down with the best of them. Instead he lost decisively and proved that he should take a step down in competition or retire.

Loser: K.J. Noons

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    K.J. Noons simply got outworked and outhustled by Jorge Masvidal in their contest at Strikeforce: Overeem vs. Werdum.

    He was battered, bloodied and was almost finished at the end of the first round.

    Even worse, he was shown to be extremely one-dimensional and not even that great in that one-dimension he was good at (boxing) since he got outboxed for the entire 15 minutes.

    Strikeforce has often trumpeted Noons to be some kind of elite fighter but Masvidal finally outed him as a mid-tier competitor at best.

Loser: Brett Rogers

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    Brett Rogers showed one thing and one thing only: he can't compete with elite competition and is a journeyman level fighter.

    While this is sad because the Brett Rogers story is an inspiring one and many want to see a real life "Cinderella story," it is the cold, sad truth.

    Rogers had nothing for his opponent Josh Barnett and he likely wouldn't have had anything for anyone else in the tournament besides Andrei Arlovski, whom he beat due solely to the Belorussian's glass jaw.

    Brett Rogers was exposed, there is no way to sugarcoat it.

Losers: Alistair Overeem and Fabricio Werdum

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    Alistair Overeem is often called "Ubereem" but he looked far from "uber" against his opponent Fabricio Werdum.

    While Overeem did fight a smart game plan, many fans were expecting a finish and by not delivering on that Overeem dimmed his luster in the eyes of perhaps the most fickle fans in sports.

    When a fighter that was hyped as much as Overeem does anything but earn a decisive victory many fans call their abilities into question and reach (rightly or wrongly) the conclusion that the particular fighter under discussion is overrated and always has been.

    This conundrum will no doubt happen with Overeem since it was widely thought that he would simply knock out Werdum in the very first round. This didn't happen and Werdum even managed to land quite a few good combinations on the K-1 champion Overeem.

    "The Reem" also was breathing very heavily by the end of the fight; gassing seldom wins fans.

    However, pulling guard immediately upon getting hit doesn't elicit support from the fans either and that's exactly what Brazilian jiu-jitsu ace Fabricio Werdum did throughout practically the whole fight.

    Werdum didn't have the striking to punish or outpoint Overeem nor the wrestling to bring him to the mat. His only way to bring the fight to the ground was to pull guard and do it often—too often to the Dallas fans who booed at many points throughout the fight.

    Both men walked away "losers" in some way since the reputations of both men took a significant hit.