One of the biggest nights of 2011 has arrived for MMA fans in the form of Fedor Emelianenko’s return to the Strikeforce ring after definitively losing for the first time in his career last June, as well as a card featuring quarterfinal action relating to organization’s highly anticipated Heavyweight World Grand Prix. Emelianenko is set to take on 15-2 Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva in the main event of this evening’s Showtime broadcast with former UFC champ Andre Arlovski mixing it up with PRIDE veteran Sergei Kharitonov. Also set for the event are a handful of reserve bouts involving a number of notable big-boys like Shane Del Rosario, Chad Griggs, and Valentijn Overeem.
I’m on the ground representing Five Ounces of Pain in East Rutherford, New Jersey and will be taking a break from the “gym, tanning, laundry”-lifestyle of the region in order to deliver readers a live breakdown of events from the arena including round-by-round recaps as the event unfolds starting at approximately 7:30 PM EST.
Main card action from “Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Silva” can be seen live on Showtime starting at 10:00 PM EST. Preliminary bouts will be shown on HDNet beginning at 8:00 EST for cable/satellite subscribers still lucky enough to receive the MMA-friendly channel.
Live Note: There is a MMAtron above the entrance way for the first time ever at a Strikeforce event. As one would expect, Bas Rutten is a big hit with the fans.
Jason McLean vs. Kevin Roddy
Round One: Both guys trading leg kicks early with McLean landing the better of them. Roddy busier with his hands but not landing anything. Three minutes into the round and it’s really up for grabs as neither man has done anything significant. Roddy is the aggressor though, which looks good in the eyes of the judges. Nice exchange won by Roddy and he finished with a head kick. McLean got a takedown with about 15 seconds left but couldn’t do anything with it. Kind of a dull first round and rather close but Roddy took it with his aggressiveness. 5OZ scores the round 10-9 for Roddy.
Round Two: Roddy really opening up with his hands this round, landing a good one-two. Mclean landed a very good left hook, which was probably the most damaging blow of the round. McLean landed a good one-two combo on Roddy before taking a kick to the groin, which caused a break. McLean was able to fight on though. Roddy really looking for the head kick this round but it’s no there. Big flurry by McLean and he dropped Roddy with a left hook. He tried finishing him but couldn’t and Roddy was able to get back up. McLean really finding a home for the left hook in this round. McLean tried another late round takedown but Roddy stuffed it and then kicked him in the groin again just as the round ended. Good round for McLean. 5OZ scores the round 10-9 for McLean.
Round Three: Roddy still looking for that head kick but McLean blocking well. McLean tried to explode with another flurry but Roddy moved away well. McLean got a takedown but Roddy was right back up. Roddy then got a takedown of his own and get to half guard. McLean managed to regain guard but Roddy stayed busy on top with punches. Roddy passed to mount and landed some really good punches before McLean gave up his back. Roddy worked for the rear naked choke but couldn’t get it. He then tried finishing with an armbar but McLean blocked that as well. Roddy continued to soften McLean up with punches but McLean turned into his guard. Roddy went for an armbar but couldn’t finish as time expired. Dominating round for Roddy on the ground. 5OZ scores the round 10-9 for Roddy and the fight 29-28 for Roddy.
Result: Jason McLean def. Kevin Roddy via Split Decision
Anthony Leone vs. Josh LaBerge
Round One: Tentative start to the round and a small crowd begins to boo. Leone clinches but that goes nowhere. More booing, which leads to another clinch. Both men dirty boxing before they break. Leone landing some good leg kicks. Leone went for a takedown but LaBerge stuffed it and made Leone pay with some really big punches and knees. Leone is bleeding but he hold on to the single, spun, and got the back of LaBerge. Leone finally managed to get LaBerge down. Leone bleeding pretty badly, looks to be a busted nose. Leone controlling from the top but not doing much damage. Leone finishes the round in side control landing some short shots. Close round. LaBerge did more damage but Leone controlled things on the ground. Slight edge to LaBerge based on damaged. 5OZ scores the round 10-9 for LaBerge.
The doctor was in to check Leone between rounds and decided that it was bad enough that he couldn’t continue.
Result: Josh LaBerge def. Anthony Leone via TKO Round 1 (Doctor Stoppage)
Don Carlo-Clauss vs. Sam Oropeza
Round One: Clauss tring to get inside with his punches but Oropeza is having none of it. They eventually clinched with Oropeza controlling and landing good knees to the body and high knees to the head before breaking. Oropeza keeps looking for the head kick but he’s swinging too high. Another high swing and miss but Oropeza but Clauss failed to take advatnage in the clinch. Oropeza lands some good punches. Another head kick missed by Oropeza as Clauss shoots but Oropeza stuffed it, got the back, flattened out Clauss and pounded on him until the ref eventually stopped it.
Result: Sam Oropeza def. Don Carlo-Clauss via Verbal Submission Round 1 (Strikes)
Igor Gracie vs. John Salgado
Round One: Gracie immediately went for a takedown, took a knee, but ended up landing a big slam. Gracie quickly got the back and locked up a rear naked choke. It looked tight but Salgado managed to escape. Salgado tried a back head butt and was warned. Gracie continued to dominate him on the ground and locked on a body triangle. Gracie kept trying for the choke but Salgado did a nice job fighting it off. Crowd began to boo even though Gracie had the back. Salgado ended up getting Gracie in a head lock and punching him in the face but Gracie escaped and landed some strikes as the round ended. Dominant round for Gracie on the ground. 5OZ scores the round 10-9 for Gracie.
Round Two: Salgado trying spinning back kicks and jumping knees but Gracie wasn’t fooled and got another early takedown. Gracie eventually got the mount and pounded on Salgado with body shots before again getting the back. Salgado gave up mount, where Gracie locked up an arm triangle. Salgado refused to tap but eventually went out cold and the ref pulled Gracie off.
Result: Igor Gracie def. John Salgado via Submission Round 2 (Arm Triangle Choke)
Live Note: Crowd is pretty good tonight but Strikeforce has the east and west ends completely blocked off. It looked like they interviewed Gracie after his win but the mic wasn’t on for the arena. Georges St. Pierre arrived to a big ovation. He looks huge and is wearing a smedium sweater.
Marc Stevens vs. John Cholish
Round One: Cholish caught Stevens with a head kick as Stevens ducked and then got a takedown. Cholish landed some good punches and almost caught Stevens in a guillotine on the way up, which the crowd reacted to. A long clinch with neither man establishing control until Cholish got the plum and landed some good knees before breaking. Stevens tried a takedown but Cholish stuffed it and put Stevens down and into side control. Cholish landed some short punches before Stevens was able to gain guard. Cholish got to his feet and stood over Stevens as the round ended. Really good round for Cholish both on the feet and the ground. 5OZ scores the round 10-9 for Cholish.
Round Two: Stevens again tried for a takedown and again ended up on his back. Stevens went for a triangle but Cholish blocked it and passed to half guard. Cholish very controlling on top but not doing too much damage. The ref eventually stood them up due to inactivity. Not much happening on the feet but Cholish is the aggressor. Stevens went for another takedown, got the back, but Cholish rolled for a knee bar, locked it up, and forced Stevens to tap out.
Result: John Cholish def. Marc Stevens via Submission Round 2 (Kneebar)
Live Note: They interviewed Cholish but again the mic wasn’t on for the arena. St. Pierre is getting a of crowd attention during the wait between fights.
Live Note: Vitor Belfort is here corning Sefo. Watching Frank Shamrock “dance” to rap music is a horrifying site. They introduced all the fighters in the heavyweight grand prix. It was a cool scene but Jimmy Lennon Jr. doing the intros and the generic rap music made it feel a very second rate compared to the days of PRIDE. Fedor got by far the biggest reaction. Cool pyro display to end the intros. Fabricio Werdum is sitting cageside and throwing shirts to the crowd.
Valentijn Overeem vs. Ray Sefo
Round One: All on the feet early. Overeem tried the the Steven Segal kick but it didn’t work as well. Overeem finally went for a takedown and got it. Overeem locked on a neck crank and Sefo quickly tapped out.
Result: Valentijn Overeem def. Ray Sefo via Submission Round 1 (Neck Crank)
Gian Villante vs. Chad Griggs
Round One: Wild exchange to start the fight. Villante landed some good kicks. Big right hands by Griggs. Left hook wobbled Villante but he clinched to survive. Griggs got free and landed some more big punches and then stuffed a takedown. Griggs back up and just teeing off. Villante landed a head kick that busted Griggs ears and then the ref stopped the fight to give Villante his mouthpiece. Uppercuts by both. Griggs dropped Villante with a right, Villante got up, got dropped with another right, and then Griggs pounded him with hammerfists until the ref jumped it.
Result: Chad Griggs def. Gian Villante via TKO Round 1 (Strikes)
Live Note: The crowd really doesn’t like Josh Barnett.
Shane del Rosario vs. Lavar Johnson
Round One: Johnson just misses with a right and takes a body kick. Rosario clinches and lands some knees in the clinch. Johnson gets a takedown into guard. Rosario up without taking much damage though. Another clinch and Johnson lands a good knee on the break. Big body kick followed by a left from Rosario. Rosario clinches and lands some good knees before the break. Big flurry by Rosario and then he gets a takedown. Rosario mounts, postures up, and lands some good punches. Johnson covering well and trying to throw back but he’s fighting a losing battle. Rosario keeps punching away before locking up an armbar, rolling to his back, and getting Johnson to tap out.
Result: Shane del Rosario def. Lavar Johnson via Submission Round 1 (Armbar)
Live Note: Gina Carano is walking around cageside. Amazingly there isn’t much response to her. Not sure if people know it’s her. Arlovski has his own rap song that he walked out to.
Andrei Arlovski vs. Sergei Kharitonov
Round One: Leg kicks early by Arlovski. Couple of good rights by Arlovski. Dirty boxing by Arlovski, who looks sharp early. Arlovski moving very well, avoiding the punches and countering. Couple of big rights by Kharitonov rock Arlovski. Kharitonov drops him with another right, lands a couple of punches on the ground, and Arlovski is out cold.
Result: Sergei Kharitonov def. Andrei Arlovski via KO Round 1 (Punches)
Live Note: Arlovski is on the stool but obviously dejected. Arlovski standing now, congratulates Kharitonov and talking things over with the doctors. Arlovski sitting back on the stool now talking with his corner and the doctors. Crowd didn’t react to the video they played of Gina Carano but popped during the interview.
Fedor Emelianenko vs. Antonio Silva
Round One: Fedor swinging heavy early. Silva trying to work the jab. Silva clinches and puts Fedor against the cage but the ref is quick to break them. Silva lands some good left hands, Fedor fires back though and then Silva fires back. Another clinch by Silva. Fedor grabs a gullotine. Silva tried to slam out but ended up on his back and Fedor jumps on top. Silva goes for a kneebar but Fedor pulls out. Fedor still on top and in half guard. He went for a kimura but Silva escaped and got up. Silva lands a good right before clinching again. Wild exchange against the cage and then Silva got a takedown in the final moments, where he ended the round on top. Very close and exciting round. Slight edge to Silva though as he landed some clean shots, controlled the clinch, and got the late round takedown. 5OZ scores the round 10-9 for Silva.
Round Two: Quick takedown by Silva right into half guard. Fedor controlling the posture well but Silva staying busy and passed to side control. Silva passes to mount, postures up, lands some punches. Fedor gave up his back and Silva tried to sink in the choke but Fedor survived. Silva trying to finish with punches from mount but Fedor surviving. Silva looking for the arm triangle. He had it locked but Fedor again survived and got out. Silva still on top though and raining down punches. Silva rolls for a knee bar but Fedor escaped and went for an ankle lock. Silva stayed calm and survived the round though. Absolutely dominating round for Silva. Maybe a 10-8 on some cards but those are rare so I’ll play my scoring safe. 5OZ scores the round 10-9 for Silva.
They checked Fedor’s eye between the round and it’s badly swollen. A lot of confusion on whether or not the fight has been stopped. We finally get word that the fight has been indeed stopped due to Fedor’s eye being swollen shut. A water bottle comes flying into the ring.
Result: Antonio Silva def. Fedor Emelianenko via TKO Round 2 (Doctor Stoppage)
Live Note: Fans are not happy about the stoppage. A lot of booing and people saying, “this is bullsh*t” as they leave. Crowd obviously doesn’t want Fedor to retire. Standing ovation for Fedor possibly retiring.
PHOTO CREDIT – ESTHER LIN / STRIKEFORCE