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Strikeforce: Let's Hear It for the Losers

All the big stories coming out of Saturday night's big night of fights are about the winners: Fedor Emelianenko showed once again that he's the best in the world, Jake Shields won the Strikeforce middleweight belt, Gegard Mousasi took another step toward elite status and Fabricio Werdum made his case that he should get Fedor next.

But I'd like to take a moment to praise the losers of the four fights.

If fans had any complaint heading into Saturday night's Strikeforce/M-1 Global CBS card, it was that the four televised fights were mismatches: Fedor, Shields and Mousasi were enormous betting favorites, and Werdum was a pretty solid favorite, too. But even though there were no upsets, I was impressed with the way the four losers handled themselves.

Antonio Silva: I loved the way Silva came out in the first round and took the fight to Werdum. He was obviously extremely concerned about Werdum's submission skills -- to the point that he probably missed a couple of opportunities to capitalize when he hurt Werdum with his powerful strikes -- but I'm glad to see Silva back fighting in the United States. I'd love to see Silva vs. Brett Rogers next year.

Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou: Sokoudjou really isn't in Mousasi's league as a fighter, but he came into this fight with exactly the right game plan, using his judo throws and fighting Mousasi very competitively in the first round. Mousasi is far and away the best light heavyweight fighting in Strikeforce, but Sokoudjou might be the second best, and I'll be excited about seeing whatever he does next.

Jason Mayhem Miller: Heading into this fight, Shields had finished eight straight opponents, usually needing just a few minutes to win, and the longest anyone had lasted with Shields in the last three years was Paul Daley, who got submitted in the second round. So for Miller to make it 25 minutes for Shields was an accomplishment in itself. But Miller didn't just survive, he actually won two rounds on my card and had Shields in a rear-naked choke before Shields was saved by the bell at the end of the third. Miller can fight.

Brett Rogers: Rogers lasted 6 minutes, 48 seconds with Fedor, the longest anyone has gone against him since Mark Hunt in 2006. Rogers bloodied Fedor with a hard jab to the nose in the fight's opening seconds, and briefly had him in trouble on the ground. Rogers fought Fedor far more competitively than most observers thought he could, and was probably Fedor's toughest challenge since Mirko Cro Cop in 2005. Rogers put up a good fight on a night when none of the losers should hang their heads.

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