In arranging 20 cards (or more) per year, the UFC has adopted a schedule that doesn’t make many allowances for “event” programming: it has become a sports league with no off-season. To satisfy that glut of airtime, more than a few events wind up having only one or two fights that really adrenalize audiences.
Strikeforce is a company without the roster depth to manage that kind of volume, and there are times when fans may feel better off for it. Saturday’s Showtime broadcast from Miami, Fla., features four genuinely compelling fights squeezed together, one after the other, and a solid argument that any one of them could be worth the entire ticket price. It creates a sense of elevation that’s been largely absent in MMA over the past several months. A good fight show should mimic the anticipatory pleasure of a good movie or book: it should make you want to pee a little.
That kind of substance is dying out, unfortunately. Strikeforce has made noise about wanting to run a schedule similar to the UFC’s, and cards like this one can’t possibly survive in that environment.
I think that might be pre-emptive nostalgia, which makes no sense. Then again, neither does Mauro Ranallo.
What: Strikeforce: Miami, a 12-bout card from the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Florida.
When: Saturday, Jan. 30 at 10 p.m. ET on Showtime.
Why You Should Care: Because North American newcomer Marius Zaromskis fights like someone is controlling him with a game pad; because opponent Nick Diaz probably won’t be too impressed with that; because women’s 145-pound champion Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos makes her first title defense since sending Gina Carano packing to Hollywood in August; because Melvin Manhoef and Robbie Lawler have strategies that only extend as far as getting to the arena; and because Herschel Walker seems like too nice a guy to root against.
Fight of the Night: Manhoef/Lawler, unless Robbie has been drilling double-legs. (And he should be.)
Hype Quote of the Show: "My stand-up is OK, my wrestling is OK and my ground game is OK." -- Marloes Coenen, clearly underestimating the need to be just more than “OK” against Santos, who may soon begin sprouting horns from her forehead.