FAN COMMENTARY | Tarec Saffiedine beat Nate Marquardt via unanimous decision (48-47, 49-46, 49-46) to win the Strikeforce welterweight title on Saturday. Saffiedine's victory capped off an exciting final Strikeforce event.
Here are five thoughts on the main card:
Jacare Souza is a star
There have been plenty of complaints over the years concerning the depth of the UFC middleweight division. Fortunately, it appears that fighters such as Tim Kennedy, Luke Rockhold, and Jacare Souza will enter the UFC as contenders that could eventually face Anderson Silva.
Souza, in particular, appears to be one of the few people who could give Silva some problems. He's nowhere near as accurate as Silva with his striking, but he's an extremely powerful fighter who should be able to give the champion problems both standing and on the ground. I'm not saying that Souza will beat Silva, but he would definitely be a fresh challenger for the "Spider." If anything, his dominating victory over a quality opponent like Ed Herman should vault Souza into contender status once he crosses over to the UFC.
Gegard Mousasi takes out Mike Kyle
Gegard Mousasi may have been out for a year, but you couldn't tell by his performance against Mike Kyle. It took Mousasi all of about three minutes to get Kyle to the ground, and once he did, it was game over. His relentless top game was simply too much for Kyle, who was submitted via rear-naked choke at 4:09 of the first round.
Mousasi appears to be on his way to the UFC light heavyweight division, which makes sense. The 205-pound weight class was once the crown jewel of the UFC, but those days are long gone. Jon Jones has nearly cleaned out the division, and it's in need of new blood.
That said, I think Mousasi might be better off in the middleweight division. He's a well-rounded fighter, but he's also very lean for a light heavyweight. I'm not sure he'd be able to compete with fighters like Rashad Evans and Jon Jones at 205. After all, he's the same guy who got mauled by the heavier Muhammed Lawal nearly two years ago. I'm not sure that he has the body mass to defend against another wrestler with Lawal's size.
The UFC should sign Josh Barnett
Nandor Guelmino had no business being in the cage with Josh Barnett. Let's go ahead and acknowledge that now. Barnett is still one of the best heavyweights in the world, and there was never really a question of how their fight would end. Yet even with the easy victory, Barnett proved that he's still fun to watch. His best years are behind him, but he still has enough left in his tank to compete with many of the UFC's best heavyweights. Personally, I'd love to see Barnett face off with Frank Mir or Roy Nelson. Hopefully, Zuffa and Barnett find a way to get a contract done soon.
Daniel Cormier finishes strong
There isn't much to say about Daniel Cormier that hasn't already been said. Most people thought that he would maul Dion Staring on Saturday night. The only thing that surprised me was how long Staring lasted in the fight. I think that says more about Staring's toughness than anything that Cormier did wrong.
With the dominant victory, you have to think that the sky is the limit for Cormier in the UFC. The only question is whether or not he'll remain at heavyweight. Given his size and strength, Cormier would be a beast at 205.
Tarec Saffiedine upsets Nate Marquardt
This was the upset of the night. Tarec Saffiedine entered this fight as a relative unknown who worked his way up the Strikeforce ladder. Meanwhile, Marquardt was preparing to make his return to the UFC. Well, what a difference five rounds made for both fighters.
Saffiedine was the clear aggressor from the moment the opening bell rang. His brutal leg kicks and strong clinch game kept Marquardt off his game for all five rounds in what became a dominant victory.
I'm sure Marquardt will get another chance in the UFC, but his hopes of earning a title shot against Georges St. Pierre are gone. Meanwhile, the UFC welterweight division has a new fighter to keep an eye on. Saffiedine may not have been a household name yet, but there's little doubt that the MMA world knows who he is now.
Derek Ciapala has been following MMA for 20 years. He has been published on GatewayMMA.com, UltimateApocalypse.com and multiple other websites. You can check him out on Facebook or on Twitter @dciapala.Popular video on Yahoo! Sports: Other popular content on the Yahoo! network:
• Brian Kelly decides to forgo the NFL and stay at Notre Dame
• Slideshow: Ravens stun Broncos in 2OT thriller
• Giancarlo Stanton in, Mike Trout out for Team USA in World Baseball Classic
• Y! News: Official White House response to Death Star request
- Martial Arts
- Sports & Recreation
- Nate Marquardt
- Tarec Saffiedine
- Gegard Mousasi
- Anderson Silva
- Josh Barnett
- Jacare Souza