Strikeforce has been off to an amazing start in 2011, and their current run of quality events continued with last night’s “Feijao vs. Henderson”. Of four televised bouts, two of which were for Strikeforce championships, three ended with dramatic finishes. But which stars shined brightest, and what moments will fans be talking about in the following weeks? Here’s my take on the matter: my top 5 best moments of Strikeforce: “Feijao vs. Henderson”.
Once again Tim Kennedy put on an excellent display of heart and talent when he stepped into the cage against one of the most dangerous pure strikers in MMA: Melvin Manhoef. And for a while, Manhoef seemed to be controlling the fight. At one point, Manhoef nailed a leg kick so vicious that Kennedy’s leg gave out right underneath him. But like the warrior that he is, Kennedy survived Manhoef’s initial onslaught, took him down, and choked him out. At “Feijao vs. Henderson”, anyone who thinks Tim Kennedy isn’t one of Strikeforce’s best Middleweights got a firm reminder that they’re wrong.
4. Everything Liz Carmouche did up until she was submitted.
I was honestly shocked at Liz Carmouche’s performance against the very tough Marloes Coenen, but in a good way. Carmouche simply seemed to have all the answers. Coenen has a big reach advantage? Carmouche closed the distance and kept it a close-quarters brawl, which she was winning. Coenen has super-long legs? Carmouche simply powered out of anything and everything. It was a dominating performance, and it set Carmouche up as one of the can’t-miss females of Strikeforce’s growing female divisions.
Sometimes even a jaded internet journalist can have his jaw hit the floor. That’s pretty much how I reacted when “Feijao” landed a punch that sent “Hendo” crashing down to the canvas. It was one of those “OH!” moments, and as a matter of fact, that’s exactly what I shouted (and yes, I literally shouted) when it happened. It was a firm reminder that Cavalcante packs quite a punch, and the tense few seconds between the punch connecting and Henderson recuperating were some of the most thrilling seconds of the night.
2. Marloes Coenen submitting Liz Carmouche.
A true champion doesn’t just survive under pressure, he/she thrives. And that’s exactly what Marloes Coenen did against Liz Carmouche. Coenen was down but never out, she was beat up but never beaten. A true champion never gives up and always looks to finish no matter what position he/she is in, and that determination and sheer willpower allowed Coenen to trap Carmouche in a Triangle Choke and make her tap. Marloes Coenen is definitely one of the best female fighters in Strikeforce, and seeing her win was a big highlight of the night.
And my personal pick for the best moment of Strikeforce: “Feijao vs. Henderson” is…
1. Dan Henderson knocking out Rafael Cavalcante.
As a fan of the old-school through and through, it really didn’t get much better than seeing Dan Henderson earn yet another KO in his long line of KO victories. And he won another championship to boot. MMA may have found itself another ageless wonder in Dan Henderson, and I can’t wait to see how far Henderson goes as a Strikeforce champion. I believe in Henderson, and I think he could be the one to “break the curse” and become the first-ever champion to successfully defend the Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Championship more than once.
So there you have it, fans and friends: those are the moments I’ll be remembering from Strikeforce: “Feijao vs. Henderson”. But what about you? What do you think everyone will be talking about in the days/weeks to come?