Career Advice: Strikeforce ‘Houston’ Edition

Aug 24, 2010
Chad Griggs vs. Bobby Lashley: Dave Mandel |

Strikeforce’s event Saturday in Houston saw breakout performances from “Jacare,” “Feijao” and even the spectacularly sideburned Chad Griggs, but it was a night that will be remembered for the jaw-dropping failure of the fighters Strikeforce was pinning hopes on.

All is not lost, however, for the promotion’s would-be stars. They’re just a few months’ worth of tinkering and therapy away from developing as hoped. In an attempt to speed the process along, here is what the night’s less than lucky participants need to work on or flat-out ditch altogether.

King for a Day, Jester for a Lifetime

There isn’t a sane man or woman alive who would argue against the notion that Muhammed Lawal has the talent to become a truly special mixed martial artist. However, talent alone doesn’t cut it in a sport full of supposedly talented athletes making the fistic equivalent of minimum wage.

It was obvious during Lawal’s doomed fight with Cavalcante that he didn’t believe there was any way he could lose. Between the reckless defensive stance, telegraphed body punches and conspicuous absence of any chain wrestling, “King Mo” seemed certain that talent alone would win the day. Instead, he got his first career loss.

The only way Lawal will ever fulfill the potential he squandered Saturday night is by dropping the schtick and getting serious about fighting. That means no more emulating professional boxers he has no chance of ever approximating and a lot more time spent drilling the fundamentals of fighting he left by the wayside.

Time for Lashley to Get Serious or Move On

To hear Bobby Lashley talk about his fighting career is to understand the sort of schizophrenia professional wrestling relies upon to sustain its narratives. One moment Lashley says he wants to work his way up the ladder the right way and the next moment he is demanding a title fight while ducking Shane del Rosario.

Clearly, this is a man who needs to embrace the fact that he’s a neophyte to MMA being handed the rare opportunity to develop at a normal pace. In other words, keep your head down and get some wins before the name Fedor Emelianenko enters your regular vernacular. Hopefully, a loss to the unheralded Chad Griggs has jammed some sense into his brain because he is clearly a tremendous athlete.

However, unless Lashley starts working on his cardio and making alterations to a physique ill-suited to MMA, all his athleticism will be for naught. This is after all a former 211-pound wrestler who put on a mountain of muscle purely for the WWE. Either he starts reconsidering his career options or takes the time necessary to become an actual mixed martial artist rather than an easy sideshow attraction.

Cheap Shots & Quick Thoughts

Tim Kennedy would do well learning how to avoid an overhand right and cut off angles. For nearly every minute of the full five rounds, Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza was winning based on his ability to move away from Kennedy’s strikes while repeatedly landing his right with serious power.

• Assuming hypnotherapy is out of the question, the least Jorge Gurgel could do for himself is cut to featherweight and never let referee Kerry Hatley get within 100 feet of any of his fights. I won’t belabor his strategic blunders because it’s becoming more and more obvious that his reconstructed knees make scoring takedowns borderline impossible.

• There was no bigger loser Saturday night than Jon Schorle who remains the undisputed worst referee in the game today. The only solution I see is forced exile, preferably to an island with an unusually high percentage of predatory creatures.

• Invisalign continues to lose based on their failure to make Frank Shamrock a pitchman. Is there a more obvious unfulfilled pairing in advertising today?

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