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The Aftermath: “Strikeforce: Carano vs. Cyborg”

Mousasi pounding out Sobral

Mousasi pounding out Sobral

If anything, Gina Carano’s loss to Cyborg last night will do nothing but help further the development of female MMA. I mean seriously you guys, last night’s main event was nothing short of awesome in terms of the excitement it delivered. It seemed to put that special raw something in this sport we have grown accustomed to. I can honestly say that the five minutes of battle waged between Carano and Cyborg on Saturday night was five of the most exhilarating and satisfying minutes I have ever spent watching MMA. Made me feel like a teenager again, tuning in to the UFC for the very first time.

Who doesn’t want to see Gina work her way back up to the top for her chance at revenge. The storyline will guarantee a much bigger fight in the rematch than in the original. Mark my words. Just watch how much attention the rematch gets. If Gina had won it would have dampened the interest on a sport that would seem completely dominated by one person. While it may seem as if that is the case right now, this writer doesn’t believe so. I think Carano fought a bad fight and was overwhelmed by the she-beast that is Cyborg. I’d expect for her to be much more prepared in the next go around.

Women’s MMA can thank Cyborg for finishing the fight in the first round. Let’s be real folks, if the fight made it to the second round it was setting up to get really ugly. A blind man could see that both women were winded at the end of the first round, in what was scheduled to be a five round contest. Now, granted these two were going at it at a pace that was far above average, but both were going to be suffering in the cardio department if it had gone any further. Carano was tired from being beaten, and Cyborg was exhausted from keeping up a pace as vigorous as she did.

No more headlocks Gina. Can we please fix those bad habits. I don’t know how many times Carano resorted to the old school headlock out of desperation of being assaulted. A natural human reaction to being attacked, but it shouldn’t be a fighters reaction. Let’s focus on the clinch, takedowns and positioning, positioning, positioning in the future. No more head locks, and no more giving your opponent your back while standing. You’re better than that.

Female MMA is about five years behind male MMA at this point, but don’t worry, it’s evolving. Five years from now a wild-woman like Cyborg will likely be exposed. Much like Wanderlei Silva did after ruling his division in the sport with the same level of intimidation and aggression. I feel like the sport will catch up with Santos in due time, but not before she establishes her legacy as the first dominant champion in the history of female mixed martial arts.

Gegard Mousasi just proved what I have been saying all along: “The Dreamcatcher” is the future. It was some nine months ago that the 5 Oz’s fighter of the year poll came up and I had my back against the wall as I pleaded my case for Mousasi to be honored with the title. Out of eight other staff writers I was the only guy to put my name on the line for the Dutch-Armenian phenom by the name of Gegard. Of course the sexy choice at the time was either Rashad Evans or Miguel Torres, but I remained adamant. I just couldn’t rationalize giving the title to a man who won two or three big fights over the space of a year, over a man that had come out victorious against six dangerous fighters, and additionally competed in his first professional kickboxing match where he obliterated an insanely more experienced veteran of the game.

I had heard the argument before, ‘He hasn’t beaten anyone that’s top level yet’, ‘Everyone he has face has been one-dimensional’. I swear, some people can convince themselves of anything if they wanted to. I believe in reading between the lines, and instead of “studying” fighters on fight data-bases, I actually prefer watching tape. Anyone that has had the opportunity to view four or five of Mousasi’s fights would agree in saying that he didn’t have as much left to prove as many had claimed. The twenty four year old prodigy is the complete package; slick submissions, top level striking, and a mind-set that just can not be taught.

I firmly believe, and have believed that Mousasi is among the best fighters in the world. Not a question in my mind. I also feel strongly that, at just 24, Mousasi could very well be the man to carry the torch for Fedor Emelianenko when “The Last Emperor” ultimately decides he has fought his last fight.

Strikeforce’s heavyweight division just got a little more interesting with the impressive return of Fabricio Werdum. Slow down before you point pout the fact that Mike Kyle is not considered to be a top rated heavyweight, I understand this, what made me a believer out of the new Werdum was the amazing physical shape he came into the fight in. I have never seen a Werdum as lean and fit as the one that made short work of Kyle last evening, and a motivated Fabricio is a scary thing. It was a far cry from the flabby shell of a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt that showed up to get knocked senseless at the hands of Junior dos Santos in his last bout with the UFC. Welcome back Fabricio!

Just one bout left to avenge for Gilbert Melendez. The rematch between Strikeforce lightweight champion Josh Thomson and interim champ Gibert Melendez for all of the marbles was further promoted by a brilliant performance on the side of Melendez last evening. Just like Gilbert explained in his post-fight interview, Ishida is an extremely strategic fighter and you can’t just go in there trying to clobber the guy. Melendez displayed the type of resolve and focus in the bout with Mitsuhiro that he had never shown before. The rematch between Thomson and Melendez definitely became a little more intriguing in the wake of last night.

35 COMMENTS
  • fanoftna33 says:

    I was wrong on almost all predictions except for werdum, who looked great in beating a very game Kyle. That was a great fight for as long as it lasted.
    I really thought Babalus wrestling would win out here .
    Gine hit Cyborg with everything but the kitchen sink and Cyborg never blinked. That was a great fight that did seem to last way more than 5 minutes.. The only thing I would have liked was to see Heiron vs Taylor, but overall a great strikeforce event.

  • BigDave says:

    I do agree with alot of what you said but I don’t see a rematch for Gina going any other way unless she stops with the large amount of mental mistakes she made. Standing up when you have your opponent in full mount, giving up your back standing, trying to stand and trade with someone clearly stronger in there punches and not using your kicks. Gina has a long way to go before She is on cyborgs level in my opinion. Lets just give it time and see in the next few fights if Gina corrects any of this before the rematch talk.

    I’m also glad that it ended early because neither of these girls would have had the cardio to go much farther. Now i’m not saying this to belittle female fighters in any way but if they are going to make there championship fights 5 rounds then they should be three minute rounds. Even some of the best male fighters have alot of trouble with five five minute rounds.

    I’ll admit I didn’t know a thing about Mousasi till a couple years ago but watching his last 6-8 fights that i have I’m without a doubt in agreement with you that this guy is just simply one of the best fighters out there in any wheight-class.

    Melendez was good but I wouldn’t say it was a great performance, I do think he has matured as a fighter and should face thompson but I’m having trouble seeing him able to win that fight.

    Now Werdum has set a bar for himself. as you said he was I tremendous shape and from now on as a fan I want to see him have that tyype of dedication to fitness in all of his fights. If he can keep it up the shy’s the limit.

    Ok I think of had my say. Great article.

  • MMASwami says:

    “I can honestly say that the five minutes of battle waged between Carano and Cyborg on Saturday night was five of the most exhilarating and satisfying minutes I have ever spent watching MMA.”

    I can honestly say that I feel sorry for you if that sloppy display of amateur mixed martial arts was the most “exhilarating and satisfying minutes I have ever spent watching MMA.” I actually felt a little embarrassed to be a fan of the sport with such a match occupying the top spot of the ppv. Been a long time since I spent $44.95 for MMA and felt like calling the cable company for a refund.

  • Jak says:

    I think people jump at reactions too quickly…

    was it a solid night of fights? for sure… but there were specific flaws as well… the commentary, the keys to victory, the fact it was only about 2:15 minutes long and even with 45 minutes to kill we didn’t get any prelims…

    i suppose i’m in the minority that likes technical evenly matched fights and not predictable 1 sided fights. Personally i thought Carano showed so much inexperience in a lot of what she did that it was frustrating. Santos, definitely solid… but best fight ever?

  • fanoftna33 says:

    I can honestly say I feel sorry for poeple who can not enjoy a very solid night of free MMA, maybe if they do not like it that much they should not watch it.

  • ozz_the_powerful says:

    I’ll agree that is was a good card. Not GREAT though, by any means. I have to agree with the Swami on this one.

    Fan, I’m a little surprised by your statement. I don’t think anyone was necessarily “bashing” the card, but to call it

    “five of the most exhilarating and satisfying minutes I have ever spent watching MMA.”

    is a damn stretch, to say the least. I didn’t get any of those feelings in my stomach I usually get when I’m about to watch a great night of fights. I’m not saying it wasn’t good, but I’m saying it was good for FREE.

  • Jak says:

    Fan… i’m from Canada and it’s not free up here, it’s $40…

  • metalmulisha says:

    I can honestly say that MMA Swami is a hater.

    So much so he has to bash Cory just for giving his opinion on the fight.

    I mean come on dude, if you think that fight was so amateurish just don’t watch again it’s pretty simple.

    The only complaints I have was that they didn’t show the Hieron/Taylor fight because it’s not like they didn’t have the time, and they have to decide on one commentary team because they use a different three man booth for the challengers series as opposed to regular cards.
    Stick with one set of announcers, but I did think that Frank Shamrock was a little better than he has been in the past.

    Lastly I hope to god that they don’t match up Werdum and Fedor because it’ll be a waste and over in about a minute.

  • ozz_the_powerful says:

    Even I wouldn’t go to the point it was amaturish, but I can understand what someone might mean by that if the only thing they have watched ever was UFC. It’s just different and not what some people are used to.

    “Lastly I hope to god that they don’t match up Werdum and Fedor because it’ll be a waste and over in about a minute.”

    Completely agreed. I think the only logical match for him that everyone would like to see, whether you’re a Zuffa Juicer or not, is against Rogers.

    Well, that too could very well be one-sided……. :(

  • BigDave says:

    Not to bash Fedor but it seems like you cant read anything on this site without reading about Fedor. I mean we get it he is good but he will get caught eventually he may even get schooled by someone its enevitable. I honestly think it will come in the next fight or two. Now can we have one time where we dont talk about Fedor.

  • TURKISH says:

    Well BigDave to be fair this topic is about last nights Strikeforce event and since he was brought up at the beginning of the broadcast last night and advertised right after the event, It’s not shocking his name comes up in the discussion.

  • BigDave says:

    Ya I know I’m just Fedored out!

  • Jak says:

    We’re al Fedor’d out…

    HE’S GOING TO FIGHT BARNETT….!

    nope…

    HE’S GOING TO FIGHT LESNAR…!

    nope…

    HE’S GOING TO FIGHT OVEREEM…!

    nope..

    he’s probably going to fight somebody like Werdum… :(

  • nope says:

    Cyborg/Carano = longest round in MMA history.

    Said it on the other post…I think R. Franklin would be a perfect test to assess Mousasi’s current skill level. Dude looked good last night tho.

  • MMASwami says:

    “I can honestly say that MMA Swami is a hater.”

    Hell yeah I’m hating on this card. I don’t live in America where I could watch this for “free”, whatever that means. I didn’t realize Showtime was a channel everyone got for free. I had to pay $44 for the ppv. $44 for 4 fights…. No prelims. 20 minutes of fights in a 3 hour time slot. No prelims.A ppv headlined by a fighter whose best technique was a headlock. No prelims, 4 fights total in a 3 hour time slot……..

    Fool me once Scott Coker, shame on me. Fool me twice though? I don’t think so.

  • TURKISH says:

    Well since R.Franklin and Mousasi aren’t even in the same organizations and have zero chance of fighting in the not too distant future you might want to think of some match ups that can actually happen, and besides Mousasi’s had 29 fights he’s had his share of tests.

    Mousasi and Sokoudjou is going to be a pretty good fight until Sokoudjou gasses.

  • TURKISH says:

    Swami I was upset they didn’t show the Hieron fight and I’d really be pissed if I paid $44 as you did and didn’t see another fight considering there was time, but I would guess that’s Showtime’s call not Scott Coker’s.

    I mean it is a Showtime broadcast and after the Carano fight somebody from the network must have made the call to wrap it up.
    I mean Coker was there in the front row it’s not like he was in charge of the Showtime broadcast that’s Ken Hershman.

    And I don’t know who’s was getting the fights for free because Showtime is a premium channel and costs me $13.95 a month to subscribe.

  • edub says:

    “I just couldn’t rationalize giving the title to a man who won two or three big fights over the space of a year, over a man that had come out victorious against six dangerous fighters, and additionally competed in his first professional kickboxing match where he obliterated an insanely more experienced veteran of the game.”

    I think the argument to make against that is although he did win against 6 dangerous opponents, none of them were in the top ten.(unless Kang was at the time?).

    “but not before she establishes her legacy as the first dominant champion in the history of female mixed martial arts.”

    I think Toughill would blast Cyborg off the map. Shes bigger and she punches with more power. Cyborg fights with her chin out and uses very little head movement. I think Toughill would capitalize.

  • MadCityChad says:

    Did Scott Coker Write this article?

    “I can honestly say that the five minutes of battle waged between Carano and Cyborg on Saturday night was five of the most exhilarating and satisfying minutes I have ever spent watching MMA”

    Wow! This blows my mind. EVER? What about Machida vs Evans? What about Fedor vs Big Nog? What about… pretty much every UFC, WEC, DREAM, and Affliction card in the past 3 years? What I saw Saturday was something I would see on a local level. Every fight was a mismatch. The title fight was embarrassing. Women’s MMA has a looooong way to go. Everytime Gina got touched, she’d turn her back and turtle up. Afraid of contact. And apparently she doesn’t like the mount. Very sloppy technique. Very sloppy fight.

    “If Gina had won it would have dampened the interest on a sport that would seem completely dominated by one person.”

    This could be the most insane comment I’ve ever read. period. I don’t even know where to begin so I won’t.

    point number three… Mike Pyle sucks. Werdum’s win doesn’t mean a thing. He was a boring fighter before, he’s a boring fighter now. Did I mention Mike Pyle sucks?

  • edub says:

    Mike Pyle and Mike Kyle are different people, although I agree that some of the statements provided in the article are pretty opinionated based on little fact.

  • islandguy says:

    “I can honestly say that the five minutes of battle waged between Carano and Cyborg on Saturday night was five of the most exhilarating and satisfying minutes I have ever spent watching MMA”

    Holy crap? I don’t know what to say. We clearly are living on two different planets.

    It was a very lopsided fight, with Gina just barely hanging on for her life the whole time. Even when a fluky scramble put Gina in full mount Cyborg flipped her off like it was nothing.

    Rematch???? What the hell for? A rematch is for a close fight. This was a one sided shit-kicking. Did you catch that part of the fight? I can’t see how anyone could watch that not see that the result would be the same if they rematched 10 times, barring some kind of injury of course.

    Cyborg has clearly set the standard for womans MMA now and we have to see who there is coming up that can attain that level.. her striking power and technique, her strengh, and her level of aggression.. Gina is not close in any of these areas.. “Who’s next?” is the pertinent question.

  • BigDave says:

    @ edub-“Mike Pyle and Mike Kyle are different people, although I agree that some of the statements provided in the article are pretty opinionated based on little fact.”

    Yes the article was cory’s opinion, are you just getting it that not everyone has the same opinion as you do. I dont agree that this was in anyway a great event but I didnt see it threw his eyes and if thats the way he saw it and was highly entertained by it then good for him.

  • TURKISH says:

    islandguy

    “Rematch???? What the hell for? A rematch is for a close fight. This was a one sided shit-kicking”

    Since when are rematches excluded for only close fights?

    Remember Wanderlei/Sakuraba I, II, and III.

    Or how can you forget Anderson Silva/Rich Franklin I and II.

    Or Chuck Liddell/Tito I and II, and i could go on but i think you get the point.

    If people are interested and will watch that’s reason enough to have a rematch in the future.
    It happens all the time that rematches are made when the first fight was a one-sided win.

  • fanoftna33 says:

    Strikeforce has some very good female talent right now, but if both of these ladies win thier next few fights a rematch will still be a big fight.

  • Angry Mike says:

    Let me say this about that:

    The Carano/Cyborg fight was exciting, but only in the context of women’s mma. If it had been a men’s fight, both fighters would be criticized, and legititmately so, for their performances–sloppy, etc.

    Mousasi will walk through every fighter in Strikeforce in the light heavy or middle weight classes. Once he’s done that, the next logical place for him to go is UFC, where he will walk through either weight class with the exception of Machida or Anderson Silva. I think he’s that good. Mousasi was the big story of the night, not Carano/Cyborg. I wouldn’t be surprised if he becomes the big star of the org rather than Fedor, whose competition in the heavy weight division is a little lackluster.

  • “The Carano/Cyborg fight was exciting, but only in the context of women’s mma. If it had been a men’s fight, both fighters would be criticized, and legititmately so, for their performances–sloppy, etc.”

    ^This.

    There was a freakshow element to Carano/Cyborg about 15 seconds in when it was painfully obvious Carano had no business being in the same cage as Cyborg.

    Mousasi/Babalu was great. I thought the jump up to 205 against such a game opponent would give Mousasi problems but damn. Damn, damn, damn.

    I only ended up picking wrong with Melendez/Ishida but I’m glad I did. I’ve always liked Melendez more. Now I just hope he gets some strength training in to put some more snap behind those punches.

  • fanoftna33 says:

    I think Bobby Southworth will give Mousasi a much better fight, remember he was taking it to Babalu but lost because of a cut. That will be a good test for him.

  • Cory Brady says:

    I think a lot of people would rather find one thing in an article they can disagree with and make it something it’s not in their heads.

    When I stated, ‘I can honestly say that the five minutes of battle waged between Carano and Cyborg on Saturday night was five of the most exhilarating and satisfying minutes I have ever spent watching MMA’, it was absolutely my opinion. The entire piece is what we like to call an “editorial”, which means it’s going to be opinion filled.

    Was it THE BEST fight I have ever seen? No. Was it the MOST EXCITING fight I have ever seen? No. What I said was, ‘I can honestly say that the five minutes of battle waged between Carano and Cyborg on Saturday night was five of the most exhilarating and satisfying minutes I have ever spent watching MMA.’ It could have been one of the fifty most, or 100 most exhilirating rounds I have watched live, but it seems like many want to assume that it was the best fight I have ever witnessed. Not the case.

    I don’t even feel like I should have to explain why the fight appealed to me but for the sake of clarity I’ll try to explain to those that couldn’t stand watching it. The hype going into this fight has been nearly unprecendented. This fight has been talked about and brewing for at least a year now. All of the emotions that were in that cage affected me. From Carano wanting to prove herself against the scary challenger, and Cyborg just wanting to destroy something that was beautiful and shove all of the negative criticism she has received in regards to her appearance down the poster-girl’s throat. I could feel the rage in every puch Santos threw, and I could feel the fear and embarresment from Gina as she was trying to stay afloat. It was a real fight. A real fight. Sure, Carano and Cyborg are athletes like any others in this sport but the added elements to the storyline made it one of the funnest fights for me to watch in some time. I was shadow boxing, yelling at the top of my lungs and my butt never touched a chair the entire time they were throwing down.

    If others didn’t get the same feeling of satisfaction from watching the fight on Saturday evening, that’s cool, but I did.

  • Jstew3785 says:

    Enough said on that one…..

  • edub says:

    “Yes the article was cory’s opinion, are you just getting it that not everyone has the same opinion as you do. I dont agree that this was in anyway a great event but I didnt see it threw his eyes and if thats the way he saw it and was highly entertained by it then good for him.”

    Ohhh big dave:

    You dont need to jump in after my posts. I think Ive proved that I can state my case for opinions I have on things without talking shit about a fighter or certain person. You on the other hand should probably learn how to do that considering you get torn up on this site on a daily basis for having some pretty stupid things to say.

    “I think a lot of people wuld rather find one thing in an article they can disagree with and make it something it’s not in their heads.”

    Let me clarify what I meant in my other post.

    Most of your other articles support your topics with more information rather than some of the opinions you expressed in this article. A few points did open my eyes like the part about it actually being a good thing Gina lost(this completely changed my mind on the subject actually). Both other points i have against your opinion have already been posted in this thread or one of the Mousasi threads.

    I mean we can still disagree with the editorials on this site right. Didnt mean to writer bash if it came out that way.

  • islandguy says:

    Well, the thing down there says “Speak your mind… tell us what you’re thinking…” ???

    Turkish, I get your point but I don’t think this falls into that category. Franklin was a dominating champ and everyone wanted to see if he just got unlucky or what.. Gina had a good record but she’d never fought anyone of that caliber before…

    Chuck Tito 2 was not a great fight.. it had to be done because Tito again was a previously dominant champ.. but the actual fight was a one sided beat down. Not that great a fight. A very promotable fight. Yes I bought it.. but not a classic MMA fight by any means.

    Wanderlei/Sakuraba I, II, and III… Yeah ok. I see what you mean.

    I’d be surprised if Gina even wants a rematch. Does anyone think a rematch would yield a different result?

  • edub says:

    Island guy I actually thought Gina had the fight going the way she wanted. Sure she was getting hit and thrown around a little bit, but I thought she came into this fight expecting that.

    IMO Gina needs to dig deep down and find that heart it looked like she had in her previous fights. It seemed like she just shut it down in the later stages of the round and gave up to me by just turtling up when she was getting punded by Cyborg.

  • islandguy says:

    I dunno edub. Maybe I’m just venting cause seeing Gina get beat up like that felt so shitty! But I really don’t think she was in that fight at all… Good luck to her. I hope she comes back.. get the rematch and kicks Cyborg’s butt… But I’m not going to be betting on that one…

  • sigmund says:

    The hype of the fight played a major role in keeping me watching. just because you never really counted out Gina no matter how badly she was getting beat or how outclassed she looked. I’ll give her huge props, the girls got the heart of a fighter, but if this were a preliminary fight and it was not advertisied to such huge levels I think there would be much different feedback. Same sorta thing happened with silva/griffin last weekend. That’s what i was thinking anyways

  • mu_shin says:

    I’m with Cory. I found the match exciting and compelling.

    A big part of MMA is entertainment, and this match was entertaining. I would not argue that Carano/Cyborg was the greatest women’s match of all time, but it was an outstanding example of how well women can compete in this sport, and it was probably on the biggest stage women’s MMA has ever had.

    For those fans who do not find women’s MMA interesting, take the advice we all give to people who do not appreciate the sport we as fans enjoy so much: DON’T WATCH IT.

    Lyoto Machida has had a major evolution in his style in the past several years, and the conifdence he has gained through experience has informed the fights he’s had most recently. Similarly, given the opportunity, I think Gina Carano has the heart and athletic ability to affect a learning curve that can take her to a stronger, more effective place in her fighting career. Whether or not she could ever overcome a powerful adversary like Cristiane Santos remains to be seen, but in my mind, Gina’s performance in this recent match earns her the right to try, should she desire to continue to compete in MMA.

    Santos showed me tremendous heart and a focused intensity I haven’t seen before from any woman fighter, and I’ve watched lots of women’s kickboxing, boxing, muy thai, and MMA. There may be a woman out there who can stand with her, but I haven’t seen her. What I’d like to see is more women who will train as hard as Cyborg has, and more talented female fighters coming in to the sport to challenge the first women’s 145 pound champion.

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