Saturday, 3 April 2010

Strikeforce Challengers: Johnson v Mahe on Bravo - TV Review

Last weekend saw the return of Strikeforce to British television screens with their latest Challengers show on Bravo, with Mauro Ranallo, Stephen Quadros and Pat Miletich handling commentary duties.


The show began with a catchweight fight, made at 160, between Justin Wilcox and Shamar Bailey. This was a rather one-sided encounter, with Wilcox putting on a great display of kickboxing, opening up a cut above Bailey’s right eye that bothered him for the rest of the fight. It was a great display by Wilcox, and it was only in the third round that Bailey did anything of note, until Wilcox took him down and stayed there for the remainder of the fighting, almost getting the arm bar submission as the fight came to an end. There were no surprises with the judges decision as all three gave it to Wilcox, and deservedly so.

Then it was on to action from the women’s welterweight division as Zoila Frausto faced Miesha Tate. This was a hell of a fight. Tate showed tremendous ground work here, dominating Frausto, escaping from a guillotine attempt in the second round to apply an arm bar. Frausto tried to fight the hold for what seemed like an eternity until she finally tapped in the final minute of the round. A great fight, and this may be the best women’s fight I’ve ever seen.

Men’s welterweight action was next as Luke Stewart took on Andre Galvao. After two one-sided affairs it was great to see an evenly fought contest. The transitions and reversals on the ground were a joy to behold, with Stewart in particular looking great on the ground, and as the fight progressed Stewart seemed to be getting ahead a little, although the judges saw it differently as they gave Galvao the split decision, a decision that left many in the arena a little mystified, and wondering if they’d been watching the same fight that everybody else had.

Light heavyweight action followed as Abongo Humphrey took on George Bush III. No feeling out process in this one as these two came out swinging, with Humphrey the most aggressive, getting the submission win with an in-arm guillotine within the first two minutes. Nice, quick explosive action here.

The final fight of the evening saw Lavar Johnson face Lolohea Mahe in the heavyweight division. A very good fight to end the show with. Mahe looked good in the first with his ground work and take downs, although Johnson had his moments with a standing guillotine. However, just one minute into the second round and Mahe looked exhausted, and try as he might he just couldn’t withstand Johnson’s onslaught, with the referee stepping in as Johnson was teeing off on Mahe, who had one knee on the ground. A good comeback performance from Johnson as he earned the TKO win, although the referee really should have stepped in a few moments earlier to save Mahe from some damage.

In conclusion - five good fights, and Strikeforce’s lesser lights did well here, with the Stewart/Galvao, minus the decision that is, as the fight of the night. Once again Strikeforce have shown that they are a viable alternative to the UFC. Nice work all round.