The final Strikeforce’s Three Stars

Maggie Hendricks

It's now all over for Strikeforce, the regional promotion that grew in size and strength to be a player for a few years in MMA. In their final show, the fighters rose to the occasion to give a memorable final impression. Which ones really stood out?

No. 1 star -- Tarec Saffiedine: Heading into the Strikeforce welterweight championship bout with Nate Marquardt, most of the discussion was about Marquardt's return to the UFC. It was just assumed he would keep the belt, but Saffiedine had other plans. Using a smart game plan filled with punishing leg kicks, Saffiedine picked apart Marquardt on the way to a five-round decision. It will be fun to see what he can do against UFC welterweights.

No. 2 star -- Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza: Ed Herman threw an illegal upkick at Jacare. The referee inexplicably stood them up to restart after the kick. Even with all that, Jacare still managed the smoothest submission of the new year of MMA. With such a great grappling game, Souza should have plenty of interesting match-ups in the UFC.

No. 3 star (tie) -- K.J Noons and Ryan Couture: During the preliminary card, Noons and Couture fought out a bloody battle that was the best of the night. Though it appeared Noons had the upper hand, the judges called the fight in Couture's favor. But the good news for both fighters is that they won their bout in a way to all but ensure their spots in the UFC.

Who were your stars? Speak up in the comments, on Facebook or on Twitter.