Fedor Emelianenko vs Fabricio Werdum: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
Everyone take a deep breath and relax: Fedor losing does not mean the Mayans are right about 2012. Instead of watching Roland Emmerich movies in search of answers, get yourself a raving crackpot opinion on what Strikeforce should do after the Fedor-ocalypse.
Fabricio Werdum vs. Fedor Emelianenko II
Let’s be honest here: Emelianenko’s management team makes Scott Boras look like a pushover.
With that in mind, Strikeforce’s best bet is to give Emelianenko a rematch with Werdum rather than jump through hoops for a few months trying to make a bout with Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem a reality. The other issue is that pitting either Emelianenko or Werdum against Overeem lacks the cache at this moment to generate the hype and revenue Strikeforce needs it to.
Besides, after more than seven years as the sport’s pre-eminent heavyweight, Emelianenko at least deserves the opportunity to avenge his first loss in nearly a decade.
The Winner vs. Alistair Overeem
Werdum didn’t just tip over the apple cart. He went at it with an adamantium axe and shot the pieces through a particle accelerator.
This leaves Overeem in a difficult position: A fight with Werdum won’t pack seats like a bout with Emelianenko would, but a bout with Emelianenko makes no sense right now. Painful as it may sound, the best move for Strikeforce is to get two high-profile heavyweight bouts out of this disaster instead of just one.
Cung Le throttled Scott Smith: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
Cung Le vs. Anyone in the Middleweight Tournament
Now that Le can happily scarf down pizza and chocolate chip cookies again, the question becomes whether or not he’ll ever make his way back to the cage. Cashing checks for bit parts in Kung-Fu flicks is much easier than making it through a MMA training camp, and Le can eat all the trans fats he wants as long as his fights remain choreographed.
This is a huge if, but if Le wants to keep on fighting, he needs to go all in now and make it clear he wants in on the inevitable middleweight title tournament. This would run counter to everything Le has said about the tournament thus far, which is probably the best explanation for why he should be regarded as an afterthought rather than a serious contender.
Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos vs. Erin Toughill
It’s no secret that the relationship between Toughill and Strikeforce makes the Manson family look like the Brady Bunch.
It’s also no secret that a match between Toughill and Santos is the most compelling and competitive bout Strikeforce could put together on the female side of the ledger. Dominant as Santos has been, her striking defense remains a glaring weakness and no one is better equipped than Toughill to take advantage of that flaw.
Getting through contentious negotiations is always a challenging process, but if Strikeforce could handle M-1 Global, it can certainly make this fight happen.
Josh Thomson vs. Lyle Beerbohm
This might be the best action fight Strikeforce can put on right now. It needs to happen before Beerbohm gets even more fed up with Strikeforce’s mismanagement of his career.
One of the only homegrown names in the organization, Beerbohm has gained a considerable following despite being inexplicably kept off live broadcasts. His scrambling, madcap style lends itself to entertaining fights, and Thomson is glad to keep a speed-freak pace.
With Gilbert Melendez awaiting a challenger to his lightweight crown, Strikeforce would do well putting this fight on a big card and hyping up a title shot for the winner. If they’re not careful, Strikeforce just might end up with a compelling storyline.