It was a quiet weekend in terms of huge MMA cards, which may have been a good thing, in some ways. Many of the sport’s fans have recently talked about growing tired of the constant barrage of (often underwhelming) cards from the UFC, and the last Strikeforce show has us pretty much set until the highly-anticipated return of Ronda Rousey next month.
Invicta FC 2 Puts Women on Center Stage
Speaking of women’s MMA, another reason why it was fortunate that there was no UFC event this past weekend is that it gave Invicta FC 2 a real chance to be at the center of attention with a really good show that was available for viewing online.
Invicta FC is not the first all-female MMA organization (there have been some in Japan, including the aptly-named Smackgirl), but it is the first to achieve such success around the world. It’s said that over 500,000 viewers have checked out Invicta FC between the first two shows, with the second show reportedly having greater viewership than the first, possibly based off of positive word of mouth.
It’s a really clever combination of grassroots marketing and good use of modern technology, and while we can all hope for Invicta FC to get a TV deal of some sort, it’s doing quite well as-is. At Invicta FC 2, a couple of really good fights took place, including the main event between the victorious Sara McMann and Shayna Baszler.
McMann and Baszler actually had one of the best fights of the year so far, bookended by spirited exchanges and featuring some good action on the mat in the second round, as well. McMann, a former Olympic silver medalist in freestyle wrestling, showed very competent striking throughout the bout, while Baszler refused to crumble and even appeared to wobble McMann near the end of the bout with a punch.
Another standout bout was the one between Sarah D’Alelio and Vanessa Porto, even if it only lasted for just over three minutes. The two swung for the fences to start the bout, with the favored Porto looking to get the better of the early action. She got a takedown and worked for an armbar, only to have Alelio defend and turn the tables with her own reverse triangle/armbar to finish the fight in shocking fashion.
Other great performances included those by Strikeforce vet Liz Carmouche and undefeated Japanese fighter Akaya Hamasaki. Carmouche struggled early with Kaitlin Young’s standup game before getting an important takedown in the second and tapping Young out with a rear naked choke. Meanwhile, Hamasaki won in impressive fashion to improve to 8-0 with a one-sided victory over Lacey Schuckman.
Who Will Anderson Silva Face Next?
It should be simple, right? The UFC names a top contender, and Anderson Silva, as the middleweight champ, fights him. For some reason, though, it’s not working out that way. We all know that Silva has acquired a status unlike that of any UFC champion before him, and he may also be a bit picky about who he faces as he knows that he’s only got perhaps a couple of great years left in him.
But come on, people. The stuff that Silva’s manager/interpreter/homey Ed Soares is saying is a little out there. Soares suggested that Silva could finally fight Georges St. Pierre next or (get this) even rematch Rich Franklin, who Silva has already beaten quite decisively two times. Silva’s other manager, Jorge Guimaraes, mocked the idea of someone like Chris Weidman facing Silva, saying that “you can’t promote an event with these amateur kids that are coming up now.”
No, a guy like Weidman, who’s a young and exciting fighter who has likely earned a shot already would be an awful matchup. Now, Rich Franklin, who barely beat Wanderlei Silva, has lost to Anderson twice and hasn’t even fought at middleweight in years? That’s the fight we need!
On second thought, that’s crazy. Weidman suggested that Silva do the simple thing and just face the number one contender, whoever the UFC deems that to be, instead of jumping divisions or fighting guys who aren’t even ranked at 185 pounds.
But wait, because muddling the waters even more is our old pal Nick Diaz, who hasn’t even been reinstated by the NSAC yet but wants to line up to fight Silva. That’s right, a guy who was pulled from one title fight because he wouldn’t come to press conferences and threw a hissy fit, “retired”, then got his license pulled after an interim title fight wants to be matched with the middleweight champ.
Actually, it’s not a bad fight, nor is the GSP one, but the problem is that neither of those fights could take place until 2013 at the earliest. In the meantime, why not face an actual middleweight contender in the fall? It doesn’t even have to be Weidman; but I would like to see the title defended at some point in the remainder of the year. If Silva chooses not to and instead fights GSP, Diaz, or whoever else in 2013, it could be a year or more before someone like Weidman, Boetsch, or any other middleweight contender gets a title shot.
–In Strikeforce, having Frank Mir come over to fight the soon-to-depart Daniel Cormier seems to have kicked off a widely-spreading case of UFC fever. Luke Rockhold has caught it, and has a very good idea of a compelling crossover bout, actually. His suggestion? Tim Boetsch. “He just beat the Bellator champion, let’s see if he can come beat the Strikeforce champion,” Rockhold says. It’s an intriguing idea. If Boetsch could somehow beat Rockhold, he could be a true contender for Silva and even claim to have “unified” two of the three major middleweight titles. If not, well, the UFC doesn’t know what the hell to do with him, anyway.
–There’s a great piece written by Mike Whitman over at Sherdog right now about amateur MMA fighter Ben Fodor, who moonlights as real-life “superhero” Phoenix Jones. Fodor is also the adopted brother of Strikeforce fighter Caros Fodor, and the story explores not only Ben’s crime-fighting alter-ego, but also the growing rift between the brothers. It’s a compelling read, and I encourage all of you to check it out.
Tags: Akaya Hamasaki, Anderson Silva, Ben Fodor, Caros Fodor, Chris Weidman, Georges St. Pierre, Invicta FC, Invicta FC 2, Liz Carmouche, Luke Rockhold, Nick Diaz, Rich Franklin, Sara McMann, Sarah D'Alelio, Shayna Baszler, Strikeforce, Tim Boetsch, UFC, Vanessa Porto