Brett Rogers suffered his second loss Saturday at Strikeforce “Heavy Artillery” when Alistair Overeem stopped him in the first round of their heavyweight title bout.
The 29-year-old Rogers apparently wants back in the cage quickly.
“He didn’t take any damage in this fight tonight except for to the heart,” Rogers’ coach, Mike Reilly, said shortly after the bout on the Sherdog Radio Network’s Beatdown After the Bell. “When that heals, it’s always healed a lot harder. He’ll just be that much more fierce.”
Rogers now holds a 10-2 record with a win over Andrei Arlovski and a competitive loss to the world’s No. 1-ranked heavyweight, Fedor Emelianenko. However, the defeat to Overeem marked his second consecutive defeat.
“You don’t get rid of this feeling until you go out there and put it on somebody,” Reilly said. ”We want to fight in Strikeforce soon, but there are some other possibilities too.”
Reilly referenced Strikeforce’s practice of co-promoting bouts with the Japanese organization Dream. Dream’s Shinya Aoki challenged Gilbert Melendez in Strikeforce in April, and Strikeforce’s Nick Diaz will fight Hayato Sakurai in Dream on May 29. A bout in Japan appears to be an option for Rogers.
“There are some opportunities out of the country and in some different areas, and we’re going to explore those,” Reilly said. “Again, we’re going to work very closely with (Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker) and with Strikeforce and work with that organization as far as where we go next, but like I said, we want to get back on the horse right away.”
Rogers never got on track in his loss to Overeem. He didn’t commit to his strikes on the feet, and on the ground he failed to slow down Overeem’s punching attack.
“We were really supposed to get hands on him,” Reilly said of Rogers’ game plan. “(Overeem) does really well when things go for him, and they went for him tonight. I think when things go against him, he’s not a fighter with a lot of -- he’s still got a big question mark as far as his chin goes, and we just didn’t get to it.”
In particular, Rogers seemed to abandon his natural skill for combination punching while the fight was on the feet. Reilly said he called for combos from the corner to no avail.
“He just didn’t see the openings,” Reilly explained. “It was just a matter of being hesitant and he just didn’t see the openings.”
On the ground, Overeem was able to tee off. Reilly cited his fighter’s inability to get off his back as the reason he lost.
“He kind of slipped and tripped over Overeem’s leg, got caught on the ground and just wasn’t able to get back up,” Reilly said. “He really wasn’t hurt. He didn’t absorb any damage or anything. It was just kind of like, he couldn’t get back up to his feet. … He wasn’t able to control the ground like we would have liked. Like I said, you make one mistake in this game, and that’s what’s going to happen.”
Despite the loss, Reilly remains optimistic about Rogers’ career. He pointed out that it was just Rogers’ 12th bout, and he has already headlined fights on CBS and Showtime. The trainer expects his charge to have a long tenure in the sport, amassing 40 to 50 fights, similar to the man he lost to Saturday.
“I think the expectations for (Rogers) are super high, and they’re correct to be that way,” Reilly said. “He came in here to compete for a world title. He came up short, but he was up against somebody who has 50 fights. When (Rogers) has 50 fights under him, it will go the other way.”