Alistair “The Demolition Man’’ Overeem lived up to his nickname and his billing as one of the most dangerous heavyweights in the world on Saturday as he easily retained his STRIKEFORCE World Heavyweight Championship with a 3:40, first-round knockout over Brett Rogers in the main event of an action-packed mixed martial arts card before 8,136 enthusiastic fans who turned out for “STRIKEFORCE St. Louis: Heavy Artillery” at Scottrade Center on SHOWTIME®.
In other televised results: Brazil’s Antonio “Big Foot” Silva (14-2), of Coconut Creek, Fla., registered the biggest victory of his career with a unanimous decision over Andrei “The Pitbull” Arlovski (15-8) of Chicago in a matchup of former world champions; world-ranked Brazilian middleweight “Jacare” Souza (12-2), of Rio de Janiero, Brazil, scored an impressive three-round decision over hard-trying Joey Villasenor (27-7), of Albuquerque, N.M., unbeaten Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu sensation Roger Gracie (3-0) of London, England, won his STRIKEFORCE and United States MMA debut with a 4:10, second-round submission (rear-naked choke) over ex- UFC heavyweight champion Kevin Randleman (17-15), of Las Vegas; and Rafael “Feijao’’ Cavalcante (9-2) of Rio De Janiero, produced a 3:45, first-round knockout (strikes) over Antwain “The Juggernaut” Britt (11-4) of Virginia, Beach, Va.
For Overeem (33-11), of The Netherlands, it was a brilliant performance and it marked the eighth time in nine fights that he has won in the first round since becoming the first STRIKEFORCE heavyweight champion in history with a second-round knockout over Paul Buentello on Nov. 16, 2007.
In a dominant performance, Overeem overwhelmed the outclassed Rogers (10-2) on the feet and on the ground from the outset. “It’s been a while, but now I’m back and I’m still STRIKEFORCE champion,’’ Overeem said. “Rogers has my respect.’’
The loss was the second in a row for Rogers, of St. Paul, Minn. In his last outing on Nov. 7, 2009, he came perilously close to becoming the first fighter to legitimately defeat the famed Fedor Emelianenko before falling, but styles make fights and he never had a chance against the talented Overeem. Rogers, known for his two-fisted power, hardly got an opportunity to let his fists go.
Silva performed in an intelligent, controlled manner throughout as he outpointed Arlovski by the scores of 29-28 three times. Silva dictated the pace and had an answer for whatever Arlovski attempted to throw at him. Arlovski fought with a bloody cut around his nose from early in the match.
The defeat was the third in a row for Arlovski, who was knocked out by Rogers and Fedor in his two previous starts.
Souza was also an impressive winner on an evening full of stalwart performances. A submission wizard, Jacare couldn’t get close to making the always-tough Villasenor to tap, but he was in control throughout and won by the scores of 30-27 and 29-28 twice.
The 6-feet-4 Gracie towered over Randleman, who stood his ground for one round, but was no match for the Brazilian when he turned it up a notch in the second. Gracie has now won all three of his MMA outings by submission.
A devastating striking with a fierce killer instinct, Feijao turned what had been an even, competitive fight around with a huge right hand that staggered Britt. He followed with a left hook and another right hand and the referee stopped it shortly thereafter.
By winning, Feijao, who has won all eight of his wins inside the distance, moved a step closer to challenging recently crowned STRIKEFORCE 205-pound champion “King Mo’’ Lawal. The victory was the second in the row for Feijao.
STRIKEFORCE: St. Louis will be available On Demand beginning Wednesday, May 19.
Versatile play-by-play broadcast veteran Gus Johnson called the action on SHOWTIME with MMA expert Mauro Ranallo and MMA superstar Frank Shamrock serving as expert analysts.
Saturday’s non-televised results: Jesse Finney (6-0), St. Louis, submitted (guillotine choke) Justin DeMoney (14-3-1), Ottumwa, Idaho, at 3:32 of the first round (170 pounds); Lyle Beerbohm (14-0), Spokane, Wash., split decision (30-27, 30-27, 28-29) over Vitor “Shaolin” Ribeiro (20-4), Rio De Janiero, Brazil (155 pounds); Darryl Cobb (4-1), East St. Louis, split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29) over Booker DeRousse (2-3), St. Genevieve, Mo. (185 pounds); Michael Chandler (3-0), St. Louis, submitted (rear-naked choke) Sal Woods (4-8), Granite City, Ill., at 0:59 of the first round (170 pounds); Tom Aaron (7-2), St. Louis, submitted (guillotine choke) Erik Steenberg (3-1), St. Louis, at 0:56 of first round (155 pounds); Francisco “Kiko” France (5-1), Rio De Janiero, submitted (rear-naked choke) Lee Brousseau (4-2), Wood River, Ill., at 1:27 of the first round (205 pounds), and Matt Ricehouse (2-0), St. Louis, submitted (rear-naked choke) Greg Wilson (0-1), Cobden, Ill., at 0:45 of third round (155 pounds).
MMA/SHOWTIME Schedule: “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler (17-5) will collide with former STRIKEFORCE light heavyweight champion Renato “Babalu” Sobral (35-8) at a catch weight of 195 pounds when STRIKEFORCE hits Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE on Wednesday, June 16 (11 p.m. ET/PT). In other announced fights on STRIKEFORCE: Los Angeles, former WWE superstar Bobby Lashley (5-0) will face fellow unbeaten Ron “The Monster” Sparks (5-0) in a heavyweight bout and DREAM welterweight champion Marius “The Whitemare” Zaromskis (13-4) will meet Evangelista Cyborg (17-13) in a welterweight contest.
On Saturday, June 26, at 10 p.m. ET/PT, the world’s No. 1 heavyweight and pound-for-pound MMA fighter, Fedor “The Last Emperor” Emelianenko (31-1), will make his eagerly awaited return to the cage to face two-time Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu world champion and top-ranked superstar Fabricio “Vai Cavalo” Werdum (13-4) in a STRIKEFORCE and M-1 GLOBAL co-promoted event at HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif. The No. 1 female fighter in the world, STRIKEFORCE World Middleweight (145 pounds) Champion Cris Cyborg (9-1) will fight an opponent to be determined.