Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Three Stars from UFC on Versus 3 and Strikeforce: Columbus

In the space of just over 48 hours, the UFC and Strikeforce gave MMA fans 21 fights, with 12 making television. Who really stood out?

No. 1 star -- Dan Henderson: The old man showed that he still has it in a knockout of Rafael "Feijao" Cavalcante. At 40, Henderson won his third major MMA title, with his other two coming in Pride. His next goal: to become the first fighter to successfully defend the Strikeforce light heavyweight belt.

No. 2 star -- Brian Bowles: A year after losing his title to Dominick Cruz, Bowles choked out Damacio Page in the exact same time as their first bout. Ring rust and injuries did not seem to matter as his guillotine put Page to sleep. Now, he needs to stay healthy and be able to fight more than once in a year, something he hasn't done since 2008.

No 3 star -- Chris Weidman: Two weeks ago, he was an up-and-comer in New York City MMA, hoping for a shot at the big time. After stepping in at the last minute and a dominating win over Alessio Sakara, Weidman is now an up-and-comer in the UFC. What a difference two weeks makes!

Honorable mention, up-and-comer to watch -- Brian Rogers: Of the Strikeforce local, undercard fighters, Rogers was the one who impressed. He beat Ian Rammel up for most of the first round before notching a TKO at the end of the round. Strikeforce sometimes give contracts to fighters who look good on their undercard -- that's how they found Tyron Woodley. Rogers would be a worthy pick to add to their middleweight division.

Honorable mention, team -- Oklahoma State wrestling: Mark Munoz and Shane Roller, both graduates of the storied OSU wrestling program, notched knockouts on Thursday night. Then, the Cowboys won the Big 12 wrestling title on Saturday. Can they keep the streak going? Johny Hendricks is stepping in for an injured Dennis Hallman at Ultimate Fight Night 24 and the NCAA championships are next week in Philadelphia. Hendricks will face a tough test in T.J. Waldburger while his alma mater will have heavy competition from Cornell, Penn St. and Iowa. 

Honorable mention, lost but still won -- Liz Carmouche: Taking her championship fight on just two weeks notice, Carmouche controlled Marloes Coenen for three rounds before walking into a triangle choke. She needs to improve her striking, as she had full mount twice but couldn't finish Coenen. Still, Carmouche showed that she is one to watch in women's MMA.

Who were your Three Stars? Tell us in the comments, on Facebook or on Twitter


Luciano Azevedo  Ba Te er  Ryan Bader  Siyar Bahadurzada

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