Strikeforce: ‘Miami’ Preview

Bienvenidos a Miami, fight fans. This weekend Scott Coker offers his latest event, Strikeforce: “Miami” with a balance of pure mixed martial arts and showmanship, featuring a compelling night of fights that has the MMA community buzzing.

This event boasts veteran fighters like Nick Diaz, Christiane Santos, and Robbie Lawler. It also has some alluring matches for the casual fan with the Strikeforce debut of Bobby Lashley, and the mixed martial arts debut of former professional football player Herschel Walker. Strikeforce is gambling on star power here, but they picked two bright stars to gamble with.

Assuming the expectations are met with results, this could prove very beneficial to Strikeforce as they continue to make their mark in a sport dominated by the UFC. Let’s take a look at the main card set for Strikeforce: “Miami”, which is set to air live on Showtime this Sat. (Jan. 30).

Bobby Lashley vs. Wes Sims

Pro wrestling crossover Bobby Lashley has been competing in smaller promotions, developing his record (4-0). He was an often mentioned free agent, leaving many to wonder where his career would lead. Strikeforce snatched him up and is pitting him against MMA veteran, and fellow heavyweight, Wes Sims (22-12). Sims is not the biggest name out there, but has competed on the “Ultimate Fighter” and in the UFC.

Lashley is a decorated wrestler with some decent, yet undeveloped striking. However, he has managed to finish all of his opponents in the very first round, except for Jason Guida who took him to the judges’ scorecards at Square Ring Promotion’s “March Badness”.

Sims, who has over 30 professional fights, was last seen on “The Ultimate Fighter”, where he was choked out via anaconda choke in the very first round in an extremely demoralizing effort. The heavyweight has always been an interesting character and certainly has the experience to make him a good pick up for the promotion, especially on short notice.

The tenure and experience of Sims should prove a worthy test for the aspiring Lashley, but if the former professional wrestler manages to land a takedown Sims will be in over his head. Lashley has some devastating ground and pound, and if he gets Sims to the ground he should have his way with him.

Herschel Walker vs. Greg Nagy

NFL veteran Herschel Walker (0-0) looks to make his MMA debut in Miami. Walker has been matched up with Greg Nagy (1-1). Nagy, fighting out of Arizona, is not a well versed veteran by any stretch of the imagination, but he’s got slightly more cage time than Walker. He has a great opportunity to capitalize on the hype surrounding Walker’s debut. If he can shine here, the world will see it.

Walker is training at the world class American Kickboxing Academy. Making his debut in mixed martial arts at the ripe age of 47, some have their doubts about his ability to compete at this level. If his people at AKA say he is prepared to compete, rest assured he is. America Kickboxing Academy is world class and surely they have prepared him well.

For two guys with less than three pro fights between them they should learn a lot about themselves and each other in this heavyweight bout. And the mixed martial arts community may be introduced a 47 year old force in Herschel Walker, unless Nagy decides to spoil the evening for the promising new addition.

Robbie Lawler vs. Melvin Manhoef

In a middleweight match, Robbie Lawler (18-5) squares off with kickboxing and MMA veteran Melvin Manhoef (24-6-1). Both have paid many dues building up their careers and are extremely dangerous in their own respect. The two veterans should put on quite an explosive fight for the fans, especially considering their combined 38 wins via knockout.

Manhoef is an extremely dangerous stand up fighter, clearly preferring the win via vicious knockout. Lawler will likely look to counteract the outstanding striker by utilizing his wrestling. If Lawler fails to get the fight to the canvas and issue some ground and pound, this one could end with a bang, and quickly.

Yet wherever the fight ends up, rest assured the crowd and fans watching on Showtime are in for a treat as a stoppage victory should be in the cards. The judges can probably go grab a hot dog for this one.

Christiane Santos vs. Marloes Coenen

On Sat. night, Christiane “Cyborg” Santos (8-1) will defend her Strikeforce championship against Marloes Coenen (17-3). This could prove fight of the night considering Santos’ incredibly brutal and fast-paced stand up. There are those in the know about women’s MMA who will tell you, these ladies always put on a great show of heart and skill.

“Cyborg” as Santos is known, has been on the radar of the hardcore fan for some time. It was her absolute domination of women’s MMA poster girl Gina Carano that really gave her visibility a boost, though. Santos dismantled the seemingly unstoppable Carano and and set a new tone for what it takes to compete in her division. “Cyborg” will certainly have similar plans for Coenen.

All that hype aside, Coenen looks to prove Santos isn’t the only lady who is tough as nails with a granite heart in the Strikeforce women’s stable. She has something of her own to prove and will get her chance against the very game, very aggressive champion. Coenen will need to land a takedown, as her striking, while solid, will not compete with the stellar striker out of the Chute Boxe camp. If Coenen manages a takedown and can utilize her stellar submission game, she could steal away the belt from the most dominant woman in mixed martial arts.

Nick Diaz vs. Marius Zaromskis

In the main event of the evening, Coker and Co. bring you the always entertaining Nick Diaz(20-7). Diaz squares off with the first ever Dream welterweight champ, Marius Zaromskis (13-3) in a bout to determine who will wear the vacant Strikeforce welterweight belt to the after party this Saturday night.

Diaz talks the talk and he walks the walk. His dynamic fighting style and his supreme technique always make him a dangerous threat. He has an incredible jiu-jitsu game, along with an incredibly interesting style of boxing that he displayed against Scott Smith. However, Diaz has always had some issue in terms of movement in his stand up, which could prove fatal come this weekend.

Diaz is getting in the cage with a guy who has knocked out 68 percent of the men who came before him when he faces Zaromskis. Diaz has his own share of knockout credentials, but he has nothing on Zaromskis. “The Whitemare” has a knack for finishing his opponents through his devastating kicks (his last three fights have ended with vicious head kicks), and that should have Diaz a little wary when it comes to the stand up.

Bottom line is, these two gentlemen know how to put a hurting on someone, and they each have a common goal coming into this fight, to leave a champion. This has the word “war” written all over it.

———————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–

At the end of the day, quite honestly this card poses some, as it features less-than-seasoned fighters on their main card based solely on name recognition. But putting faith in the abilities of aspiring fighters like Lashley and Walker, guys that have so much drive and proven athletic potential, may pay dividends in the end.

If Walker shows he has what it takes to compete in mixed martial arts, his star power sheds a little more light on the sport and the promotion. As he succeeds, the world watches a little closer, and it learns to appreciate MMA a little more.

If Lashley can continue to improve upon his strong base and make himself a legitimate threat in the heavyweight division, a potential match up between the former collegiate wrestler and the mixed martial arts legend Fedor Emelianenko could prove priceless for Strikeforce. A comparison between Emelianenko and Lashley at this point is premature, but tell Brock Lesnar a legend can’t be beat with little to no experience.

Regardless of the two youngsters just getting their MMA wings, this card has plenty of proven mixed martial artists that can more than entertain. Their reputations alone tell fans they are in for a treat. Strikeforce has balanced this well, and the rewards should outweigh any type of risks assumed. It looks like a great start to a potentially strong year where Scott Coker’s promotion really may start to turn some heads.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,