Strikeforce “Nashville” took place earlier this evening at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee.
In the night’s main event, Dan Henderson, making his Strikeforce debut, challenged Jake Shields for the Strikeforce middleweight title.
Gegard Mousasi put his Strikeforce light heavyweight title on the line against King Mo.
Japanese submission wizard & DREAM lightweight champion Shinya Aoki made his US debut against Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez.
Results and thoughts after the jump.
- Jake Shields defeats Dan Henderson via Unanimous Decision (49-46, 49-45, 48-45)
- Gilbert Melendez defeats Shinya Aoki via Unanimous Decision (50-45, 50-45, 50-45)
- Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal defeats Gegard Mousasi via Unanimous Decision (49-45, 49-45, 49-45)
- Jason “Mayhem” Miller defeats Tim Stout via TKO (Strikes) in Round One
- Zach Underwood defeats Hunter Worsham via Unanimous Decision
- Cale Yarbrough defeats Josh Shockman via TKO (Strikes) in Round Two
- Dustin Ortiz defeats Justin Pennington via Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) in Round One
- Andrew Uhrich defeats Dustin West via Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) in Round One
- Ovince St. Preux defeats Chris Hawk via TKO (Strikes) in Round One
- Cody Floyd defeats Thomas Campbell via TKO (Strikes) in Round Three
Gegard Mousasi vs. Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal: Gegard Mousasi and King Mo kicked off the night with a war for the light heavyweight title. It was clear early on that King Mo’s strategy was to throw a few punches and shoot for the takedown. And it worked. Mo put Mousasi on his back at will, but that doesn’t mean Mousasi didn’t make a fight out of it, at least through the first few rounds. Mousasi stayed very active from the bottom and even won the second round punishing Mo’s with hammerfists and upkicks from his back, but it wasn’t enough. Mo’s wrestling was just too much for Mousasi. He wasn’t able to settle in on his feet, and Mo was just too active from the top for Mousasi to catch him in a triangle or any other submission. If Mousasi had a weakness, King Mo just found it. Huge win for King Mo that basically legitimizes his hype. The Strikeforce light heavyweight division is thin though. Very good chance we’ll see a rematch at some point.
Gilbert Melendez vs. Shinya Aoki: Shinya Aoki could have used another dimension in his game tonight. His striking was basically nonexistent, but we expected that. His goal was to take Melendez down and work his submission game. Problem for Aoki was he couldn’t. The best he could do was pull guard or flop to his back (something he did more and more as the fight wore on). Melendez played it smart early on but as his confidence increased he became more and more aggressive. He essentially outworked Aoki with his striking, impeccable takedown defense and ground and pound easily taking all five rounds on the judges scorecards. I’m not gonna lie, it was a pretty boring fight, but Melendez had the right gameplan and executed it perfectly.
Note: I missed it when I was busy writing, but seeing a lot of people tweeting that they announced Strikeforce will return to CBS this fall.
Jake Shields vs. Dan Henderson: Jake Shields not only made it a fight, he figured out a way to win the damn thing. Wow. No one gave Shields much of a chance. His only way to beat Hendo was to put him on his back and grind out a victory or score a submission. Against an Olympic wrestler like Dan Henderson though, that was much easier said than done. But he did it, and he did it for four straight rounds.
It didn’t started out well for Jake. Hendo dropped him twice in the first round with his right hand of doom, but Shields somehow managed to hang on. Then Shields turned the tide in the second round. He started going for takedowns and while it took him a while to get in Hendo’s guard, once he got there he dominated. Hendo just didn’t have an answer from his back for Shields’ grappling ability. Three more rounds of that and Jake Shields gets another tedious decision.
The big story coming out of this event won’t be King Mo’s upset victory, Melendez’s dominant performance against Aoki or Shields’ big upset over Hendo, it’s going to be the brawl that broke after wards. That’s right, as Gus Johnson interviewed Jake Shields, Mayhem Miller stuck his head in, said something about a rematch, Shields pushed him back and the Cesar Gracie camp pounced. Full on brawl, Mayhem Miller, Jake Shields, Nick Diaz, Gilbert Melendez, Nate Diaz, and 30 other people in the ring either going at it or trying to break it up all while Gus Johnson is pleading with them, “Gentleman, please! We are on national television!” It was basically the same thing that happened between KJ Noons and Nick Diaz in Hawaii two years ago, except this time it was on CBS. I’m not one to cry “bad for the sport” every time something goes down, but man, that damn sure can’t be good for it. Strikeforce, and MMA for that matter, will be lucky to get back on CBS after tonight, especially if the ratings blow. Thanks Mayhem.
In case you were wondering…