Tonight’s PPV Strikeforce event in San Jose was a solid show. There was good undercard action that saw a nice mix of KO’s and submissions and the main event exceeded expectations. The only bad thing about the show was announcer Bill Goldberg. Numerous times Goldberg appeared flustered and at a loss for words. I can only imagine what the Fightlinker guys will have to say about this!
FRANK SHAMROCK CHOKES OUT PHIL BARONI AT STRIKEFORCE!
Man, what an exciting fight! Two and half rounds that pushed both men to the brink of complete exhaustion. After starting quickly Phil suddenly found himself on the receiving end of a horrifying beating. Practically everything Frank threw landed on Phil’s face and soon the New York Badass began to resemble pulp.
Early in the opening round Phil tagged Frank and seemed to get off faster. But the first time the fight hit the ground, Phil found himself in Frank’s active guard and realized it was not a place he wanted to be so he returned to his feet. At that point Frank fully committed himself to the stand up and began to lay a serious beatdown on Phil. As Baroni ate more and more punches and began to get wobbly, Frank mimicked a slumbering child and pointed toward Phil insinuating that he’d be going to sleep soon. Boy was he ever right.
About halfway through the round Shamrock exploded with a vicious right-left-right combo that sent Baroni down. Phil was badly hurt and there would have been very little complaint if the fight was stopped then and there but referee Steve Mazzagatti gave Phil the benefit of the doubt.
Shamrock pounced on him and tried for a Guillotine but somehow Phil got out of it. With Baroni beneath him, Frank threw two hard, deliberate punches to the back of his weary opponent’s head. Mazzagatti immediately stopped the action, sent Baroni to the side of the Octagon, and deducted a point from Frank. It was a good call considering how blatant the foul was and how hurt Baroni was, however in the UFC this rule is one of the most rarely enforced. A one point deduction is huge in MMA fights and leads to a whole other conversation about why the 10 point must system is bad for the sport. (Check out Fight Opinion’s most recent podcast here for more on this)
The break gave Baroni valuable time to recover but when the fight finally resumed Frank went right back to punching Phil in the face repeatedly with hard shots. Amazingly Phil finished the round but he was totally exhausted. Little did I know that Frank was totally wiped out too. He was just hiding it better.
The second round started with both guys throwing more bombs. Phil was finally having some success and began connecting with powerful left hooks. Frank was landing good knees to the stomach and low leg kicks in retaliation. Phil came back with some more right hands to the head and just when it seemed that he’d brought himself back in the fight, Frank exploded with another brutal combination. This time a straight right followed by a right-left rocked Phil and as he collapsed he instinctively went for a takedown. Frank sprawled, and soon took Baroni’s back. From there he worked in a rear naked choke and ended the fight by putting Phil into a deep sleep. Baroni went out on his shield with his eyes open, and Frank kicked his lifeless body off of him as he got up to celebrate.
Shortly after the fight Shamrock remained on his stool for a long time. Complete exhaustion hit him hard, and he could barely breath during the post-fight interview. When he finally left the cage he had to be helped out by Mo.
Despite having a mildly disfigured face Baroni fared better. Once he was revived by ringside physicians he got up and congratulated Frank before leaving the cage on his own will.
All in all it was a tremendous fight in which both guys showed incredible heart, and left absolutely everything they had in the cage for the fans. More importantly this fight, which ended in a win for the marketable Frank Shamrock, is exactly what Elite had hoped for. If they have any shot at competing with the UFC they have to do it by building up a star, and Frank Shamrock can definitely be that guy.
Cung Lee vs Tony “The Freak” Fryklund
Lee clowned Fryklund. The entire fight took place standing and Lee totally dominated. He landed everything including spinning back fists, kicks that looked like jabs, amazing left-right kick combos, and a beautiful short right hook that dropped Tony. In the first round a hard kick to the midsection nearly finished Fryklund. He doubled over in pain but to his credit he survived until early in the third before finally succumbing to another kick to the body. Lee landed another short right hook that sent Fryklund down but what really finished him was the body blow.
Winner: Cung Lee by TKO (punch) at :25 of rd 3
Joey Villasenor vs Murilo ‘Ninja’ Rua
Villasenor stung Rua early with a left hook but he did not take advantage of the situation. Instead he ended up on the ground with the Brazilian grappling specialists and although he had success early, Ninja came back to dominate the round.
In the second both guys traded in earnest until Rua’s connected with a straight right that dropped Villasenor. Rua followed up with a few more shots but since Villasenor rolled over in the fetus position referee Mario Yamasaki had to stop it.
Winner: Murilo ‘Ninja’ Rua by TKO (punches) at 1:10 of rd 2
Nick Gonzales vs Josh ‘The Punk’ Thomson
The Punk schooled Gonzales in this one. He scored a quick takedown and took Gonzales’ back. The rear naked was not immediately there so he rode his opponent’s back and harassed him with punches until it appeared. Gonzales tapped before passing out.
Winner: Josh ‘The Punk’ Thomson by tapout (rear naked choke) at 1:42 of rd 1
Paul Buentello vs Carter Williams
Despite being a K1 striker, Carter Williams was not interested in trading with Paul Buentello. Throughout the fight he tried for takedowns and aside from scoring one briefly in the opening round, the best he managed was to keep Paul in a standing clinch. Buentello was content to stay clinched with Carter since he was scoring will with punches and knees.
Early in the second, Buentello landed a right uppercut that appeared to damage Carter’s eye. Williams immediately clutched both hands over his eye and hit the canvas in the fetus position. Buentello hammer-fisted Williams once on the gloves before referee Steve Mazzagatti stopped the bout.
Winner: Paul Buentello by TKO (punch to eye) at :10 of rd 2
Edson Berto vs Victor Valenzuela (aka Joe Boxer)
Berto made quick work of Boxer. After the fight hit the ground, Berto dropped back and sunk in a very deep ankle lock. Boxer futilely tried to roll out of it before tapping.
Winner: Edson Berto by ankle lock at :47 of rd 1
Paul Daley vs Duane Ludwig
Daley wanted this one on the ground while Ludwig preferred to stand. Neither guy got their wish so most of the fight took place in a standing clinch against the fence.
Early in the second Daley struck Ludwig with a straight right that sent him down and when he followed with a few grazing shots the referee stopped it.
Winner: Paul Daley by TKO (strikes) at :42 of rd 2
Sherdog has the complete results that you can check out here.