Strikeforce Port-Mortem: What’s Next

By Jake Rossen Jun 7, 2009
My tactful, indisputably articulate summary of Strikeforce’s second Showtime event: 16 years after UFC 1, and Gracie Jiu-jitsu is still running sh-t.

Kind of. Cesar Gracie students Nick Diaz and Jake Shields didn’t enter the cage Saturday night relying on sleeve chokes, but they used their grappling as the garnish for two impressive performances against two dangerous men.

Diaz -- who fought Scott Smith -- had his jaw tested against a younger, fresher middleweight than previous opponent Frank Shamrock, and he came out largely unscathed for the effort. He also became quite possibly the first non-video game character to land 200 punches in a three-round mixed martial arts fight. (I’ll consult with my statistician. Once someone hires me one.)

Shields looked tentative and nervous early, backing away from Robbie Lawler’s much-publicized power. But Lawler had no defense for a jump-in guillotine. Whether that’s indicative of Shields having a place at 185 is open to discussion, but at least he got by Lawler without suffering a blackout. Always a plus.

What’s next for the two winners? Obviously not each other. Good thing there are plenty of other people to punch.

Next for Diaz: The surly Stocktonite may balk at facing a fresh loser, but a rematch with Lawler -- whom he defeated by knockout in 2002 -- would be post-Fourth fireworks. If not, Benji Radach would give him a workout. Unfortunately, Diaz may have outgrown a rematch with KJ Noons.

Next for Shields: Whomever Diaz doesn’t want to fight. Have you noticed Strikeforce’s middleweight division has about four guys in it? It’s kind of a problem.

Next for Brett Rogers: Probably some swell endorsement deals. His knockout of Andrei Arlovski was unexpected, impressionable and sets up a title bout with Strikeforce champion Alistair Overeem. If he succeeds there, then maybe a bout with Josh Barnett or another top-shelf heavyweight -- but please, no talk of Fedor Emelianenko for a long, long time.

Next for Phil Baroni: A body-fat percentage above four percent. Maybe then he could stop draining energy from major internal organs.
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