This past weekend Strikeforce started off their Heavyweight Tournament with two eye opening quarterfinal fights. Two of the famous Russian's in MMA came away with a loss, and the thought of many that retirement is in their immediate future.
The most important thing that happened on Saturday was that Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva and Sergei Kharitonov both picked up victories over their opponents and moved onto the next round of the tournament. Both looked very good in terms of punches and are that much closer in gaining that future title shot. The other two fighters that fell to defeat have a tough decision in front of them.
Fedor Emelianenko and Andrei Arlovski, two of the biggest heavyweight names in the MMA history, face a fork in the road in terms of their career. Both have been in the sport for many years and with Andrei's 4 straight losses (with 3 coming by TKO or KO). It's a tough thing to do and retire from the sport that you have done for such a long time and going back to a "normal" life. It would be tough for any person to say that you're done from the sport all together and won't set foot inside that cage ever again. It could be time for Arlovski to hang up the gloves and become a coach or trainer. Concussions seem to be a big problem for Arlovski and with him being knocked out cold on Saturday it could be a huge risk to take another fight.
With Fedor it is very different. With this loss, it made his record come to 31-3 in his career and that is still very impressive. Fedor did want to continue after round 2 even though with his right eye swollen shut and the judges had him winning round 1. Whatever the case the fight was stopped by the doctors and it left Fedor thinking on what he could have done differently.
Below is what Fedor said after his fight to Gus Johnson:
"Maybe it's the last time. Maybe it's high time. I thank God for everything. I've spent a great, beautiful, long sport life."
The hint of retirement is there but with Fedor still being a big name to M-1 Sports and Strikeforce I could see him coming back in the summer to fight again. It would hurt the companies' big time with no other names like Fedor to lean on to bring in the money to make a substantial profit. Fedor is a name known across the MMA world and any fans would want to watch an event just to see him fight. If he does indeed return to the cage, and loses that could be the last "hint" that his time has come. Fedor has done a lot for the sport of MMA and whatever he chooses to do won't ruin his legacy.
The first round of the tournament for Strikeforce came off without any incidents and there were some great fights throughout the night. The big announcement that Strikeforce was teasing is the return of Gina Carano. Carano had a big impact of woman in MMA and after a layoff of almost 2 years, hopefully she makes her return to the cage later this year. The rest of the event's results are below.
Chad Griggs defeated Gian Villante (arm bar)
Valentijn Overeem defeated Ray Sefo (neck crank)
John Cholish defeated Marc Stevens (kneebar)
Igor Gracie defeated John Salgado (arm triangle)
Sam Oropeza defeated Don Carlo-Clauss (strikes)
Josh Laberge defeated Anthony Leone (doctor stoppage)
Jason McLean defeated Kevin Roddy (split decision)
Filed under: Strikeforce