Styles Make Fights: Strikeforce – Carano vs. Santos (Muay Thai vs. Chute Box)

In the end, a�?Beautya�? was no match for a�?the Beasta�?.

The history-making fight between Gina Carano and Cristiane a�?Cyborga�? Santos more than lived up to its billing, with both fighters delivering a non-stop slugfest which ended with Santos scoring a TKO victory over Carano at the very end of the first round. Santos becomes the inaugural Strikeforce Womena��s Featherweight Champion and puts an emphatic end to Caranoa��s undefeated record.

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Cyborg starts the fight throwing bombs. Carano clinches and tries to fall into mount, but Cyborg reverses and tries to ground-and-pound. Carano stands back up, but Cyborg rolls into a heel hook. Carano squirms and eventually gets out of it. The fighters both stand and start trading punches and kicks, with a Cyborg clinch getting turned into a Carano takedown. Carano gets mount, but curiously gives it up, preferring to make Cyborg stand back up. Once up, Cyborg throws huge punches, backing up Carano. Cyborg gets a trip takedown and tries for a kimura but fails. With time running out, Cyborg stands up in Carano’s guard and smashes Carano with fists. The assault continues until Carano can take no more, and the referee stops the fight at 4:59 in round one, a split second before the horn went off.

It was not the victory that the Strikeforce marketing machine was probably hoping for, but Cyborga��s pure aggression let her dictate the pace and run Carano over. Carano could not match Cyborgs power and seemed rattled by Cyborga��s early push forward. Nobody knows who the next legitimate challenger for the new Womana��s title will be, as no other female fighter besides Carano and Santos has gotten much TV airtime, but the first womana��s MMA main event on national TV was a success, as Santos and Carano delivered a fight as exciting as any other MMA main event wea��ve seen this year. Whether or not a Woman’s MMA division can sustain itself in the long term, however, is an entirely different question, as tonight’s fight wasn’t exactly a demonstration of high-level technique.

Styles Make Fights: Strikeforce – Mousasi vs. Sobral (Muay Thai vs. BJJ)

In a match for the Strikeforce Light Heavyweight title, Gegard Mousasi introduced himself to American fans in brutal fashion, smashing Renato Sobral in the first round and claiming the title.

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The first round starts with Mousasi getting the takedown out of a clinch on the BJJ expert Sobral. Mousasi presses into Sobral from side control, but as Sobral tries to push off and pop out, Mousasi moves Sobral against the cage wall and brutalizes Sobral with vicious fists. Sobrala��s eyes roll as a�?Biga�? John McCarthy jumps in to save Sobral after only about one minute of action.

Mousasi, the former DREAM Middleweight champ, gave American fans a taste of what Japanese MMA fans had known all along, that he is going to be a force in MMA for the next decade and beyond. Well-rounded in every aspect of his game, Mousasi made quick work of Sobral, who was simply overwhelmed by an opponent who was on a different level than anyone Sobral had faced recently.

Styles Make Fights: Strikeforce – Melendez vs. Ishida (Submission Wrestling vs. Wrestling)

In a lightweight fight for the Strikeforce interim Lightweight title, Gilbert Melendez avenged his first career defeat, winning the rematch against Mitsuhiro Ishida and successfully defending his interim title.

The first round opens with Melendez pawing his jab and stinging punches to keep the wrestler Ishida at bay. Ishida shoots for takedowns, and after a few failed attempts, finally gets it. Ishida tries to spin to back control, but Melendez bucks him over and gets a takedown of his own. He holds Ishida down as the first round ends.

Melendez continues to work the jab, with Ishida still trying to takedown. Melendez uses his reach advantage to stumble and pop Ishida, who is cut on the ear. Melendez pins Ishida against the cage and unleashes punches and knees and bodyshots. Ishida finally breaks free of the clinch, but the damage has been done as the round ends.

Knowing hea��s in trouble, Ishida tries to box more to start round three. A Melendez shot is this time stopped by Ishida. Melendez goes back to his long jab, and after stuffing another Ishida shot, Melendez cracks Ishida and floors him. Ishida grabs Melendez on the neck to save himself from more punishment. Ishida gives up his back, however, and Melendez, after trying a rear naked choke but not locking it, pounds on Ishida from back control until the referee stops the contest.

It was a nice dose of vengeance for Melendez, a former world-ranked top five lightweight who hit a rough patch in 2008 and slipped down the ladder. Melendez went back to doing what he does best, which was using his manic wrestling to set up his ground-and-pound. For Ishida, his one-dimensional game was too predictable, and without the strength advantage he would usually enjoy against Japanese opposition, Ishida was simply overwhelmed.

Styles Make Fights: WEC 42 – Torres vs. Bowles (Freestyle vs. Freestyle)

The day after one pound-for-pound king reaffirmed his claim to the throne, another P4P contender was sent crashing down to earth.

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Brian Bowles conquers Miguel Torres and stands atop the WEC Bantamweight class

Brian Bowles conquers Miguel Torres and stands atop the WEC Bantamweight class

In the main event of WEC 42, undefeated challenger Brian Bowles chose to strike with champion Miguel Torres and was handsomely rewarded; Bowles floored Torres and finished him with strikes on the ground, ending the 17-fight win streak of Torres and becoming the new WEC Bantamweight Champion.

The fighters measure each other in the first minute of the fight, but Bowles draws the first hit by landing a right punch on Torres. They clinch against the cage and Bowles trips Torres and takes him down, then uses elbows to hit Torres. Torres pushes off and sends a trio of upkicks flying at the face of Bowles. Bowles elects to stand back up. Torres rattles Bowles with a punch combo and charges in for the kill, but Bowles smashes Torres with a right hook which floors Torres. Torres tries to posture up, but Bowles cracks him in the face with more rights. Torres tries to pull guard, but one last straight right from Bowles knocks Torres out cold for the shock knockout.

It was certainly a shock to see one of the world’s top 10 P4P fighters get finished in the first round. Bowles pushed the fight from the get go, initiating the action while Torres reacted to it. Torres has a tendency to pounce when he scores a hit, and Bowles used that to his advantage by landing the huge counter-hook which put Torres down. Whether it was just a bad night for Torres or not remains to be seen, but as of today the king of the WEC 135 pound division is now the undefeated champion Bowles.

Styles Make Fights: WEC 42 – Benavidez vs. Cruz (Submission Wrestling vs. Wrestling)

In the fight to determine who is next in line for a WEC Bantamweight title shot, Dominick Cruz won a fantastic scrap of a battle against Joseph Benavidezi??taking a UD victory and handing Benavidez his first career loss.

Cruz, who towers over Benavidez in terms of size, engages Benavidez in some run-and-gun striking to start the fight, then throws Benavidez to the ground. Benavidez pops back up and immediately goes back to strike with Cruz. The clinch, then Cruz switches and gets a double-leg takedown. Benavidez gets up and throws a shin kick towards Cruz’s face for good measure. Benavidez is swinging for the fences, but falls into a takedown. Both men engage in a furious scramble where Benavidez is caught in back mount but does a Gilbert Melendez-like spin to get out of trouble. Both men stand as the round ends.

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Dominick Cruz announces his arrival into the bantamweight title picture with an impressive display

Dominick Cruz announces his arrival into the bantamweight title picture with an impressive display

The pace doesn’t slow in round two, with Benavidez doing his best Takeya Mizugaki impression and rushing forward, looking for a brawl. Cruz waits to counter, and when Benavidez slips trying to high kick, Cruz tees off with strikes, chases down Benavidez, and drags him to the ground. Again, Benavidez refuses to stay down and gets back up. Cruz continues to be evasive, ducking and weaving while loading up high kicks which keep Benavidez at bay. A lightning-quick takedown by Cruz finally gets Benavidez down in guard as the round ends.

Benavidez goes for a jumping roundhouse to start round three, but whiffs. Cruz slips on a kick but gets back up before Benavidez can land anything. Benavidez continues to plow forward, throwing toward the body, but Cruz lands a big leg kick. Cruz leg trips Benavidez and lands in side control, but Benavidez gets up again. Both men throw hard, and Benavidez spins out of a Cruz throw. Both men kick but Cruz gets the takedown and scrambles all over Benavidez as the battle ends. The fans voice their approval as Cruz takes the hard-fought UD victory.

Cruz, who is undefeated at bantamweight, utilized his size and reach well to defend against Benavidez and his go-for-broke striking style, but the real difference in this fight was the speed of Cruz. Cruz got the takedown at will, and while he wasn’t able to hold Benavidez down much, he was more than able to match Benavidez in the striking department. Cruz, with his combination of size and speed, presents an interesting challenge to whomever comes out of WEC 42 with the WEC Bantamweight belt. Benavidez didn’t hurt his own stock much with the loss, and a fight with someone like Mizugaki or Manny Tapia would vault Benavidez right back into the title picture.

Styles Make Fights: WEC 42 – Mizugaki vs. Curran (Brawling vs. BJJ)

In a bout to determine which fighter would stay relevant in the WEC Bantamweight title picture, former featherweight contender Jeff Curran’s losing streak was extended to four fights as Takeya Mizugaki won his first WEC victory with a split decision win.

Mizugaki can smile more now with his WEC win in his pocket.

Mizugaki can smile more now with his first WEC win in his pocket.

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Curran starts off by catching a low kick, but Mizugaki sprawls and fights off the single-leg attempt while Curran refuses to let it go. Curran has the single-leg for over two minutes, but Mizugaki will not go down, and eventually switches Currans back against the cage before tripping Curran down. Mizugaki throws big punches and elbows, but Curran explodes off an armbar attempt and sweeps Mizugaki. Curran has the back briefly, but Mizugaki turns into Currans guard and throws strikes as the round ends.

Curran stings Mizugaki with a punch to start round two, and Mizugaki responds by throwing hard leg kicks. Curran throws high kicks, but Mizugaki plows forward and clinches. Mizugaki muscles Curran to the ground. Mizugaki postures up to strike while Curran tries to push off Mizugaki’s thighs, but ends up back in guard. Curran cranks Mizugaki in a one-arm guillotine when Mizugaki was pushing them toward the cage. The round ends with Mizugaki waiting out the choke.

Both men throw to start the final round before Mizugaki once again gets the takedown. Curran fishes for guillotines and triangles, but Mizugaki slips them all. Currans constant activity doesn’t give Mizugaki time to tee off with ground-and-pound. In the final 30 seconds, Curran finally hits the sweep and gets his legs up, locking in a tight triangle. Mizugaki desperately pulls, but Curran rolls on top, working both the arm and the triangle. Mizugaki rolls again, and despite the triangle being locked in, somehow is able to survive until the bell. The last flurry by Curran is unable to seal the deal however, as Mizugaki’s dominance in the first two rounds gives him the split decision victory. The crowd unexpectedly voices their approval of the decision.

The bout was another firm example of the scoring standards of the UFC and the WEC. Before the final minute of round three, Mizugaki was clearly winning the fight, but Currans final moves came the closest to producing a finish to the fight. Much like the Uno-Fisher fight at UFC 99, the final-minute explosion by one fighter wasn’t enough to overcome the relative monotony of the first two rounds. While this finish wasn’t nearly as controversial as Uno-Fisher, the importance of takedowns in the eyes of American judges has just been reinforced.

Styles Make Fights: UFC 101 – Penn vs. Florian (Freestyle vs. Freestyle)

In the main event LW title fight at UFC 101, BJ Penn weathered the challenge of Kenny Florian and cialis 5mg retained his title via submission in round four.

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Penn starts the fight by catching a Florian kick, and the two fighters engage in some dirty boxing. Florian actively circles the cage, but Penn clinches him up against the fence. Florian breaks free and slugs with Penn, but as round one ends, BJ lands a hook and comes with a flying knee (UFC 84 deja vu) which grazes Florian as the round ends.

The Prodigy retains after four rounds.

"The Prodigy" retains after four rounds.

Florian works leg kicks to start round two, while Penn throws punches over the top to counter. Florian clinches and looks for a single-leg takedown, then breaks to try and elbow. Florian tries for a superman punch, but Penn just throws Florian aside. Florian clinches again, but Penn counters with punches which force Florian to backtrack away. Florian loads up more leg kicks as round two ends.

Florian continues to be the aggressor in round three, again pushing Penn against the fence. The fighters continue to dirty box, with Florian trying to land an elbow while Penn looks to counter-hook. A failed single by Florian opens him up to eat a knee and punch from Penn, but Florian dances away and clinches again. Florian tries to load up superman punches at the end of the round, but Penn counters with strikes which get the better of Florian.

Entering the championship rounds, Florian again presses against the fence, drawing boos from the crowd. Penn switches Florian, then pulls a double leg takedown to the delight of the crowd. Penn lands short strikes onto Florian and then hops first into half guard, then mount, then back control. Penn uses his heel to kick Florian’s hip from back control, then locks in a lightning-quick choke. Florian fights it, but has no choice but to tap.

Penn once again proves himself to be head and shoulders above any other lightweight in the UFC, with only Diego Sanchez left as a legit contender to the LW belt. Penn’s natural gifts are almost unmatched, but with lightweight challenges dwindling, the UFC either needs to bring in a big name from outside their org or watch Penn move back to welterweight. For Florian, he gave it his best effort, but was clearly outclassed by Penn this time around.

Styles Make Fights: UFC 101 – Silva vs. Griffin (Muay Thai vs. Freestyle)

The highly-anticipated LHW superfight at UFC 101 turned out to be no contest at all.

UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva squared off against former LHW Champ Forrest Griffin at 205 pounds, and in a beautiful display of technique, Silva picked apart Griffin like it was nothing and eased to a first round KO.

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Anderson Silva made it look too easy against Forrest Griffin

Anderson Silva made it look too easy against Forrest Griffin

As is customary with Anderson Silva fights, the first round started tentatively, with Griffin doing most of the paw-jabbing, mixed with kicks which Silva occasionally caught. Silva then caught Griffin with a counter-hook which dropped Griffin. Anderson continued to let Griffin up, dancing around his prey and using counter-punches with perfect accuracy to floor Griffin over and over again. Griffin was floored thrice, with the finish coming when Silva hit a lunging Griffin with a quick jab while backing up, a jab which left Griffin broken and down for good.

It was another stunning victory for Silva, who has basically cleaned out the middleweight division and is looking towards bigger and better challenges both in and outside the UFC. Silva’s mix of beautiful form and brutal precision has mesmerized every one of his UFC victims, and his head movement and footwork this time around left Griffin swingingA� at thin air. Whoever challenges him for next for the MW strap will face extremely long and depressing odds against one of the world’s top pound-for-pound MMA fighters.

For Griffin, it was more affirmation that for all of his heart and fight instincts, the skill divide is sometimes too far to bridge. The ease with which Silva picked apart Griffin was truly shocking, while the finish of this fight was so bad for Griffin that it was almost painful to watch someone of Griffins’ stature get destroyed in such humiliatingA� fashion.

Styles Make Fights: UFC 101 – Sandollah vs. Hendricks (Muay Thai vs. Wrestling)

In a 32-second shocker, Johny Hendricks ruined the long-awaited debut of TUF 7 winner Amir Sandollah with a controversial TKO victory.

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Sandollah falls short in his brief post-TUF debut

Sandollah falls short in his brief post-TUF debut

Sandollah came out and lit up Hendricks with quick leg kicks, but when Sandollah tried to close the distance, Hendricks counter-hooks Sandollah and drops him with a few uppercuts. Hendricks tries to land bombs without hitting Sandollah in the back of the head, but the referee jumps in and stop the fight as Sandollah tries to stand up.

A closer look at the replay shows that Sandollah was definitely not out, but after getting knocked down, Sandollah tried to stand up without covering his own head or defending himself. This let Hendricks throw undefended punches at Sandollahs head from above, which presumably let to the referee stopping the fight.

It was an anti-climatic finish, but Sandollah’s inexperience forced the ref to make the quick stoppage. He might have been actually fine, but when you don’t defend yourself when someones throwing punches at your head, you’re forcing the ref’s hand. Expect a rematch between these two fighters sooner or later.

Styles Make Fights: UFC 101 – Grove vs. Almeida (Muay Thai vs. BJJ)

TUF 3 Middleweight winner Kendall Grove once again fell short in his quest to rise up the UFC middleweight ranks, as Ricardo Almeida made his takedowns count, grounding Grove and getting the UD victory.

Almeida immediately pushes Grove against the cage from the get-go, but Grove avoids the takedown attempt and frees himself from the clinch. The small MW Almeida throws punches and then catches a knee from Grove, but Grova again shows good balance in not going down. However, Almeida finally gets a leg trip and shifts into side control. Almeida lands knees to the body. Grove stands up, but Almeida picks him up and slams him down, ending round one on top.

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Almeida layed all over Grove and took the UD victory

Almeida layed all over Grove and took the UD victory

Almeida gets another takedown to start round two, but Grove grabs the fence, spins and traps Almeida in a tight armbar. BJJ black belt Almeida, however, rolls perfectly and twists out of the submission. Grove fails in a kneebar attempt, giving Almeida side control and letting Almeida land elbows and punches to the head. Grove stands up and lands a big uppercut and a knee of his own before Almeida grabs another takedown to end round two.

Presumably down two rounds, Grove tries to punch with Almeida, but is taken down once more. Grove stands back up and when Almeida fails in an attempt to pull guard, Grove lets him stand back up and clinches Almeida up on the fence. Despite being visibly fatigued, Almeida gets yet another takedown and seems content to ride out the last minutes, drawing some boos from the crowd. Grove gets up one last time and swings wildly, but Almeida pushes him on the fence as the fight ends. Almeida grinds out a UD victory.

It was another unimpressive showing by the inconsistent Grove, who despite having a huge reach advantage over most middleweights, could not establish his jab or keep the fight standing against the undersized Almeida. Grove really needs to improve his wrestling to have a chance of advancing up the ladder. Almeida gets a nice feather in his cap before his expected move to welterweight.

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