THE TWO SHEDS REVIEW by Julian Radbourne
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It’s another of those strange occurrences….well….sort of. This time we’re taking a look at Strikeforce’s first ever DVD release, a two disc set that carries the inspired title of….Strikeforce. It features three shows, one of which we Brits didn’t get to see on television, and it begins with…..
Show 1: Heavy Artillery
The show began with light heavyweight action featuring Antwain Britt and Rafael Feijao.
Lots of feeling out at the beginning, including a lengthy clinch against the cage before the fight suddenly sprang into life when an overhand right from Feijao staggered Britt. Swift combinations followed before Britt slumped to the mat, with the referee stepping in to stop the punishment, Feijao earning the TKO win.
The light heavyweight action continued as Roger Gracie went up against Kevin Randleman.
Randleman went into this one looking to resurrect his career, and although he put in a good effort it just wasn’t enough.
After a somewhat even looking first round Gracie took control in the second after a knee from the clinch. Randleman tried to defend but it wasn’t long before Gracie took his back, with Randleman tapping to a rear naked choke. An impressive showing from Gracie in only his third fight.
It was down to the middleweight division for the next fight as Jacare Souza faced Joe Villasenor.
This was a very intriguing battle, a great example of the grappler versus the striker.
Souza was the grappler, putting on a great display of takedowns and ground fighting, while Villasenor played the part of the striker with some crisp shots, as well as some great defensive work at times. It was a highly entertaining three round affair, with all three judges scoring in favour of Souza.
Then it was on to the heavyweights as Andrei Arlovski took on Antonio Silva.
Arlovski was another fighter looking for a big win, but he found a formidable opponent in Bigfoot.
Silva, to the surprise of many, was the quicker striker of the two and clearly won the stand up battle, although Arlovski’s supposedly glass jaw took a few good shots.
Add several clinches against the cage and Silva scoring with a take down late on and you’ll get the idea how this one played out.
No surprise with the decision, with all three judges giving the fight to Silva and handing Arlovski his third loss in a row.
The main event saw Brett Rogers challenging Alistair Overeem for the Heavyweight title. This was Overeem’s first defence in three years, and Rogers earned his title shot by losing his last fight to Fedor Emelianenko.
The Dutchman put in a dominating performance. Rogers didn’t stand a chance as Overeem controlled the striking game before throwing his man down and unleashing with the ground and pound, and as the round neared it’s conclusion the referee stepped in to give Overeem the title retaining TKO win.
Show 2: The Los Angeles Event
This show began with the first of two catchweight bouts as K.J. Noons squared off against Conor Heun in a fight made at 160 pounds.
This was a great way to start the show, one of those balls to the wall encounters that you just couldn’t take your eyes off.
Both men went all out for victory. Their brief foray to the ground in the first saw Heun controlling the action until Noons managed to escape.
The rest of the fight was an outstanding back and forth striking battle, with some great blows and combinations from both fighters.
The judges came into play at the end of this one, with Noons getting the split decision.
Middleweight action followed as Tim Kennedy faced Trevor Prangley.
Some nice ground work by Kennedy here, who gained control of the action after a big take down. Prangley tried to escape by standing up with Kennedy still on his back, but a slight change of position and Kennedy synched in a rear naked choke, with the South African soon tapping out.
Then it was down to the welterweight division as Marius Zaromskis took on Evangelista Cyborg.
No ground work here, just plenty of great striking. Each man hurt the other with some nicely placed punches and kicks, but it was the heavily tattooed Brazilian who got the better of things, dropping Zaromskis with a right hand as he went for a flying knee. Nice work from the Cyborg here.
The main event was the second catchweight fight, made at 195 pounds, between Robbie Lawler and Renato “Babalu” Sobral.
Both fighters came into this one looking to get back into the title pictures of their respective weight divisions, and they put on a pretty good fight in doing so.
It was an enjoyable back and forth battle, a mainly striking affair that featured a brief trip to the ground. Each man had their moments, but as the fight progressed Sorel’s punches and kicks just seemed to be that much crisper.
With the fight going the distance the judges were called into action again, with all three giving the fight to Sobral.
Show 3: Fedor vs. Werdum
This was the show that we Brits never got to see on television, and it began with lightweight action as Josh Thomson faced Pat Healy.
Given the wrestling pedigree of these two it came as no surprise that they fought a mainly ground-based battle, with plenty of transitions, reversals, submission attempts, and even a suplex.
Then, just as it looked like it was going to go the distance Thomson took Healy’s back and synched in a rear naked choke. Healy held on for as long as he could, but with just over thirty seconds left he couldn’t hold out anymore and tapped, giving Thomson the submission win and ending a tremendous battle.
Then it was on to title action as Jan Finney challenged Cris Cyborg for the Women’s Middleweight title.
This was one of the most one-sided fights I’ve ever seen. Cyborg overwhelmed Finney from the start and literally beat the hell out of her. Finney managed to get in a couple of blows, but Cyborg’s assault was overwhelming, although it wasn’t without controversy as she was deducted a point for repeated blows to the back of Finney’s head.
This fight really should have ended towards the end of the first when Finney had no answer to Cyborg’s onslaught. The end finally came in the second when Finney was rocked by a muay thai knee. The referee finally stepped in, giving Cyborg the tremendous TKO win, although it should never have gone past the first round.
Middleweight action followed in the form of Scott Smith against Cung Le.
This was another of those intriguing battles. Both men got off some good shots, but things looked somewhat messy at times.
It was only in the second round that Le broke out his world famous kicks, and it was a second spinning back kick that doubled Smith up in pain. A few seconds of ground and pound followed before the referee called a halt to the proceedings, giving Le the TKO win.
The main event saw Fedor Emelianenko facing Fabricio Werdum in the heavyweight division.
The upset of the year. Fedor dropped Werdum within seconds and followed him down for the ground and pound.
But Werdum wasn’t out of it, and the Brazilian fought back. Seconds later he locked in an arm bar and leg triangle. Fedor tried to fight it, but soon tapped out, proving that he is human after all, and giving Werdum the win after just 69 seconds. Awesome stuff.
All three shows come with bonus features, including fights, weigh-ins, and the usual kind of stuff.
In conclusion – it took a while for them to finally release a DVD, but what they have release is an extremely good buy.
The three shows here proved that Strikeforce really is a viable alternative to the mighty UFC. There were no disappointing matches here, and quite a few good performances, especially Werdum’s upset over Fedor.
But that thing I really appreciated about this release was that each show was unedited from it’s original television broadcast. While the UFC heavily edit their releases, taking out things like entrances, Bruce Buffer’s introductions and pre and post-fight interviews Strikeforce have left all of that in, which is particularly handy if you’re unfamiliar with any of the fighters.
So in all Strikeforce’s first DVD release gets the big thumbs up.
With thanks to the powers that be for supplying a copy of this release. Visit www.strikeforce.com for more information on how to buy this release.