Join us tonight at 11pm ET, as we watch and LiveBlog for Strikeforce's Challengers 16: Terry vs. Fodor. Hang out and comment as you watch the fights. If you don't have Showtime, or just are unable to watch the fights, stay posted to the LiveBlog for updates and results.
Here is the fight lineup for the event:
- Lightweight bout: Caros Fodor vs. James Terry
- Lightweight bout: Ryan Couture vs. Matt Ricehouse
- Light Heavyweight bout: Lorenz Larkin vs. Gian Villante
- Welterweight bout: Jason High vs. Quinn Mulhern
- Women's middleweight (145 lbs) bout: Germaine de Randamie vs. Julia Budd
Live-Blog after the jump...
Right off the bat, it's good to see Stephen Quadros on the broadcast. Better still to NOT see Shamrock or Gus Johnson.
Sweet. Miletich is on the call too. This will certainly be infinitely more enjoyable than last weekend.
Show starts off with a cheesy speech from ring announcer about "what it means to be a challenger". Less talk, more rock.
Ladies are making their way to the cage.
Ref looks like his uniform got lost and he had to borrow a black Under Armour spandex tee. Not a good start.
Germaine de Randamie vs. Julia Budd
Round 1 - Budd with an early takedown and now in half-guard. De Randamie controlling head from bottom and elbowing quads. Budd posturing with shoulders to wear down opponent from top position. Full mount now for Budd. De Randamie doesn't appear to have any guard whatsoever. Budd postures up and throwing punches. De Randamie lands a few from bottom. Budd goes for armbar, misses, and is reversed. De Randamie on top now, lets Budd up. Budd controlling against cage looking for double leg TD. She gets it and is in full guard. Not much activity in last seconds. Round over. Should be a 10-9 round for Budd.
At some point, de Randamie must have landed a good shot from the bottom. Budd has a noticeable mouse under her left eye. Pretty swollen.
Round 2 - De Randamie comes out swinging. Budd clinches and pushes her towards cage, looking for double leg again. Can't get it. Circling. Going for single leg now but again unsuccessful. 2 min down and same position with Budd pinning opponent against fence. Budd finally gets single TD. Budd now in side control. De Randamie trying to push off fence to get back up, and now she's up. De Randamie lands nice knee to head. Budd wisely breaks out of clinch. De Randamie defending TD attempts well but finally succumbs. Budd on top in half guard, working for side control. De Randamie controlling Budd's head/neck. 30 secs left. Budd landing elbows to quads and ribs, but nothing that looks damaging. Much closer round, but still I have to give Budd the 10-9 nod.
Round 3 - De Randamie lands nice shot right off the bat and Budd falls backwards. de Randamie standing over Budd and G&P'ing. Budd is stacking but taking a lot of punishment. Budd gets neck stuck in a guillotine attempt, but works out of it. De Randamie on top now, in half guard. De Randamie still landing a lot of punches from standing top position. Budd looks to stand up and takes some knees on the way up. Fight goes back to cage, Budd gets double leg takedown and is in half guard. Budd controlling opponent against the cage. In full guard now, trying to posture up. Ref calls for action. Budd still on top with 1 minute left. De Randamie showing no sign of being able to get out from under her. Ref finally stands them back up. De Randamie pulls clinch and lands a jumping knee. Very nice, but Budd gets takedown out of ti and is back on top. 15 secs left. Budd finishes the round on top. I'd give the round to De Randamie 10-9. Decision on the way.
Decision = 29-28 for Budd
Crowd is booing. Apparently they either didn't watch the fight, or misunderstood the announcement.
@TomasRios tweeted that he doesn't think this was the fight that will change the minds of the bosses at Zuffa regarding women's MMA. I agree. This wasn't a fun fight to watch.
Jason High vs. Quinn Mulhern
Round 1: Height and reach advantage for Mulhern blatant. Fighters exchange on the feet. Even so far. High lands nice inside leg kick, then gets takedown. High lets him back up. High with another takedown, looking to ground and pound. Backs away and lets him up again. High clearly looks uncomfortable in Mulhern's guard. High lands two nice kicks. Mulhern down and grabs High leg, looking for heel hook. High defending and he's out. 2 min left. Mulhern throws punch/kick combo and lands a few. High with another takedown and is in the guard again. Mulhern goes for another heel hook. High is out again, back to standing for both. High with another TD and lands a few hammer fists from top. Full guard. Less than a minute left. High gets another takedown and back in the guard. High didn't do much with his TD's, but Mulhern did even less. I give High the round 10-9.
Round 2 - High slips a few punches and gets another TD right away. Full guard, but back to feet, hovering, landing some punches with Mulhern still on mat. Mulhern contiues to look to draw High into guard and attempt to sub him. High doing a good job of never getting too deep and avoiding bad positions. High back up. Mulhern comes forward and gets slammed down again with a double leg TD. High landing hammer fists from standing position. Back to feet. Mulhern throws kick. High catches it and takes him down again. Full guard. Mulhern has body triangle from bottom, looks to transition to armbar or leg triangle choke. High doing a good job of avoiding but not doing much damage. Mulhern appears to be cut over right eye now. Back up, but only for a second as High gets another double leg right away. Half guard. Mulhern lands a few upkicks to body. 10 secs left. Round ends with High on top in full guard. Should be another 10-9 for High.
Round 3 - Like a broken record, Mulhern throws a hook and gets taken down again. High is just too quick and too powerful with his takedowns. High in full guard, Mulhern attempts rubber guard but High pushes away. High controlling and posturing up. Mulhern back up, but again, High lands a punch and then takes him right back down. Mulhern lands a couple good elbows from the bottom. Ref calls for action then stands them back up. High takes Mulhern back down immediately. Crowd boos. High going for d'arce. Looks tight. Mulhern rolls and gets loose. Good defense. High has him pinned against the fence. 2 min left. Mulhern back up and going for single leg TD. High uses very creative spin move to get out of it and is back on top of Mulhern, in full guard again. Mulhern active from the guard but never getting close to a submission or doing any damage whatsoever. 1 min to go. Mulhern getting back up. High slams him back down and tries to get his back. Mulhern rolls and is back in full guard with High on top. Now half guard. 10 secs left. High landing some elbows. Gotta be another 10-9 round for High. Should be a unanimous 30-27 decision. I'm looking forward to going back, re-watching this fight, and counting the takedowns. I haven't seen anything like this in a long time. Good on High. Bad on Mulhern. He'll need to learn to defend that.
Official decision: 30-27 for Jason High
PA Announcer accidentally announces Villante as Larkin. Awesome. He should announce Larkin as Villante now. He doesn't Larkin gets announced twice. Villante gets announced not at all.
Lorenz Larkin vs. Gian Villante
R1 - Fighters exchange. Villante gets takedown. Larkin gets a hold of his neck. Villante in side control and pops his head out. Larkin gets control of one of Villante's legs, half guard now. Villante working to get leg out. Larkin looks for backdoor sweep but can't get out. Villante controlling. Villante starting to throw and land some punches from top now. Villante is really landing. Larkin tries to sweep, fails, and pulls guard. Larkin tries rubber guard and does a good job of tying Villante up. 30 secs left. Villante landing less frequently but still hitting Larkin with the occasional hammer fist. 10-9 round for Villante.
R2 - Larkin good high kick. Villante answers with leg kick. Larkin excellent push kick to body. Larkin throws kick, then one-two punch combo. Nothing substantial made it through. Villante catches kick and nearly slams him down but Larkin regains balance. Dirty boxing now with Larkin pinned against the cage. Larkin throwing some visibly painful punches to the thighs of Villante. 3 minutes left. Larkin keeps throwing haymakers that don't quite land, but if one of them does, Villante will be asleep. Larkin lands powerful leg kick. Villante holding hands low. Larkin with another loud leg kick to lead leg. Larkin lands nice jab. Larkin stalking and on the offense. Larkin is killing Villante's lead leg with kicks. Larkin lands accidental low kick. Time taken. Round ends with a beautiful kcik combo from Larkin where he transitions from a leg kick to a head kick. The head kick barely misses. 10-9 round for Larkin.
R3 - Accidental eyepoke by Larkin. Brief pause. Back to action. Larkin really appears to be getting loose. Villante goes for head kick but it's blocked by Larkin. Larkin lands another nice leg kick. Larkin working the jab and lands a couple. Villante is backing up big time. Odd that he still hasn't tried any takedowns since round 1. Larkin lands a looping punch to the head but not totally clean. Villante goes for TD but Larkin avoids it. Villante goes for another TD and eats a punch in the process. Larkin is dominating. Another great leg kick. Larkin gets a takedown right at the horn and ends on top. Should be another 10-9 round for Larkin and a 29-28 win.
Official decision: 29-28 unanimous decision for Lorenz Larkin
I'm rubbing my eyes. I guess it means I'm getting old, but c'mon Strikeforce/Showtime. 11pm Start time? How are you gonna do me like that? I'd drink some caffeine but I'm afraid I'd get the shakes and be up all night.
Ryan Couture vs. Matt Ricehouse
The ref with the Under Armour snug fit is back. Awesome.
R1 - Fight has been all standup for first 2 and a half minutes. Lots of punches of and kicks thrown by both fighters. Ricehouse looking to clinch but Couture keeps slipping and landing on his way out. Couture pushes Ricehouse to cage and looks to dirty box. Ricehouse reverses and lands a knee to the body. Couture reverses and lands a knee of his own. Back to center. Lots of strikes thrown but has all been fairly sloppy. Not much is connecting. Couture winds up on his back. Ricehouse looking to land shots from top but Couture keeps him at bay with upkicks. Couture is back up and has Ricehouse against cage. Tough round to call. No one really did any damage. Ricehouse may have been coming forward more. I'd call it a 10-10 round but I doubt strongly any of the judges did.
R2 - Round starts with both fighters looking to exchange again. Couture slips and looks to push the action to cage. Ricehouse escapes. Back to center. Every time one fighter lands a shot, the other answers. No major shots have been taken/delivered. Couture lands a good body kick. Couture misses with a wild left and almost gets taken down. Ricehouse has him up against the cage. Ricehouse lands a nice counter left hand to head of Couture. Ricehouse lands a superman punch followed by hard body kick. Ricehouse comes in again with a good jab-knee combo that lands. Round was very even up until last minute or so. Ricehouse should have won the round 10-9 with his striking at the end.
R3 - Ricehouse throws a 3 punch combo and scores with a few. Couture active but not landing much. Ricehouse is starting to sit in the pocket and pick Couture apart a little. Couture rushes in and gets the under hooks. Couture lands a few punches in the clinch. Couture hits Ricehouse with a nice knee to the body. Couture looks like he knows he may be behind. Ricehouse is answering most of Couture's strikes. Ricehouse throws lazy headkick and "sort've" lands. Ricehouse gets a takedown with less than 2 minutes to go and is in full guard. Fight back to the feet. 1 min left. Ricehouse lands another nice kick to the body. The round ends with Ricehouse and Couture tangled up, and Ricehouse hitting Couture with a few good knees. Should be a 10-9 round for Ricehouse. I say 30-28 Ricehouse.
The announcers tried to sell this as a 'great fight' the majority of the contest. It's hard to agree with that. It was pretty sloppy. John Wooden once said "Don't mistake activity for accomplishment." You can connect the dots.
Official decision: 30-27 Ricehouse
Main event up next...
Fodor vs. Terry
R1 - Terry rushes in and gets Fodor against cage right away. The punching exchanges have been at close range, and Terry has clipped Fodor a couple of times. Terry appears to want to cut off the distance and stay on the inside. Fodor lands a decent knee. Fodor coming forward now. Terry grabs and clinches. Fodor is finding the distance and landing some nice strikes. Terry trying to tie him up but every time Fodor gets loose, Terry gets hit. Near the end of the round, Terry does better job of controlling Fodor against the fence. Both guys appear to be a little spent. Fodor is getting the better of Terry in every exchange. 10-9 for Fodor.
R2 - Terry comes out very aggressive. His strategy to tie Fodor up doesn't seem to be working great, because Fodor is landing a decent amount of dirty boxing strikes every time they clinch. Terry gets the takedown and is in half guard. Terry now working for arm triangle. Fodor is out and back on the feet. Lots of clinching and Fodor continues to slip and land a knee or a jab. Terry is getting lit up. The takedown probably won't be enough. Should be another 10-9 round for Fodor.
R3 - Both fighters rush in and tie up. Fodor hits Terry with some good inside knees in the clinch. In the activity, Fodor hits Terry with an accidental low knee. Pause then back to it. Terry goes for double leg but Fodor has great balance. Nothing doing. Terry complains of another low kick, but ref either didn't see it or didn't agree, says fight on. fight has slowed tremendously. Little activity. Terry looking to dirty box against cage again. Fodor pulls guard and looks for guillotine. Terry slips out and gets side control with 15 seconds left. Terry ends the round and fight throwing shots from the top but only a few gets through. I think Terry may have eeked out the round, 10-9, but it wasn't enough to win the fight.
Official decision - 30-27, 30-27, 30-28, in favor of Caros Fodor.
The fight card wasn't the most exciting, but I think people have to remember what the purpose of the Challengers events is. These are guys with potential who are still learning, and are not there yet. It was fun to watch Lorenz Larkin, and I'm excited to continue watching him progress. Jason High also has a lot of potential, but has a ways to go with his striking if he wants to challenge the elite in his weight class.