There are four heavyweight fights tonight on the second quarterfinals show in the Grand Prix. KJ Noons also faces Jorge Masvidal. The intrigue to this show is based on the main event. Alistair Overeem is the Strikeforce heavyweight champion, but we haven’t seen him fight much. He faces Fabricio Werdum who took all the steam way from Fedor when he goaded him to the ground and tapped him out in San Jose.
First fight is a heavyweight match-up.
1. Chad Griggs Vs. Valentijn Overeem
Hmmm. Griggs had Overeem up against the cage and Overeem pushed forward. Griggs drop stepped and threw him down, sort of like a hip toss. Griggs started punching on the ground, Overeem turtled, and he tapped.
Winner: Chad Griggs by way of 1st submission (via punches)
2. Jeff Monson vs. Daniel Cormier
Cormier’s boxing looked really solid in the first round. He was pretty comfortable in there and was beating Monson to the punch every time. Monson is ducking his head and turning it, which opens up the back of his head a bit to Cormier’s right hand. All boxing and most of it was Cormier.
Second round was more of the same, though both guys look to be getting a bit tired. Cormier is also using kicks to keep Monson at bay. They clinched against the cage a couple of times, which might’ve been more because of being tired than anything else.
Cormier’s shots were getting in much easier and Monson was taking some heavy ones. He tried to goad Cormier to the ground, but it wasn’t happening. Monson is a tough guy. He took some heavy shots and stayed upright. Cormier tossed him to the ground late in the fight, just because he could. Should be a unanimous decision for Cormier. Monson didn’t really come close to winning a round.
Winner: Daniel Cormier by way of unanimous decision
3. Jorge Masvidal vs. KJ Noons
What a first round. Masvidal was winning the stand-up, beating Noons to the punches. He was using his reach and standing tall, while Noons was trying to change levels and move in and out. Noons was also throwing shots off the wrong foot to try and change it up. They went to the ground and Noons tried to grab onto his shoulder. Noons ducked into a kick and I thought he was out. Masvidal followed him to the ground and it was nearly over. But Noons hung on and lasted the round.
Masvidal is very confident now and allowing Noons to try and get off a bit. Noons couldn’t capitalize, but he was making it competitive. Masvidal got a takedown. Noons was charging in and Masvidal was just covering up, leaving himself open for a knee or an uppercut. Masvidal ended the round by blasting Noons with a brutal knee to the face. Noons looked to be wobbled and tried to get his senses back.
This is the second time I’ve seen KJ outboxed. Masvidal’s stand-up is more composed, more patient, more straight-forward, while Noons looks a bit more ragged and jumpy. The fight went to the ground late, which wasn’t good for KJ. Masvidal wins 30-26.
Winner: Jorge Masvidal by way of unanimous decision
He won 30-27 on all cards.
4. Josh Barnett vs. Brett Rogers
Round was nearly all on the ground. Barnett took Rogers down hard, mounted him early, and Rogers tried to buck him. The round stayed like that for the entirety.
Barnett threw a wide left hook that seemed to land. Rogers covered up and tried to toss Barnett, but Barnett reversed it and took Rogers down again. He was in the mount quickly. He got him in an arm triangle/side choke from the mount and Rogers tapped.
Winner: Josh Barnett by way of 2nd round submission
Josh took the mic from Gus Johnson. Gus absolutely didn’t want to give up the mic. He cut a very wrestling-oriented promo. It wasn’t quite as good as his hard times promo, but it was ok.
5. Fabricio Werdum vs. Alistair Overeem
Werdum is trying some bad takedown attempts and Overeem is strong-manning him to the ground. He’s telegraphing it, but Overeem is also telegraphing his stand-up. Every time Werdum goes to the ground, he tries to pull Overeem in and the crowd is booing. Werdum is using kicks to try and land and when Overeem comes inside, he’s thinking of the takedown and Werdum is getting a few shots in. Overeem is letting Werdum come inside and throw a few shots so that he can counter with his own. Werdum is trying to goad him like he did Fedor, but to no avail. Werdum finally pulled guard and was able to keep Overeem down, but the round ended.
Even though stylistically this fight isn’t flowing well, you still have this eery feeling that it can either end in a big Overeem shot, or Werdum pulling him down and slipping something on. It’s hard to tell if Overeem is landing flushly because Werdum is going down to the ground all the time. A lot of it is purposely. Werdum is getting up slowly, as if he is hoping that Overeem tries to rush him when he’s getting up to get him back on the ground.
Pretty bland third round. Werdum is playing the same game, trying to get Overeem to go to the ground. On the feet, he’s having good success, out-landing Overeem, but doesn’t want to stay there and is constantly going to his back. Werdum grabbed Overeem’s leg at the end of the round and probably won the third. I have Overeem winning 29-28.
Winner: Alistair Overeem by way of unanimous decision
The scores were 29-28, 30-27, and 30-27.
Alistair tried to hit his catchphrase of “40 pounds of whoop-ass”, but he was nearly too exhausted to get it out.