Friday, 20 August 2010

Strikeforce Challengers: Riggs v Taylor on Bravo 2 - TV Review

Meisha Tate v Hitomi Akano
A catchweight bout, a four-woman tournament and the debut of the son of a legend were the talking points of Strikeforce’s latest Challengers show, shown this past Monday night on Bravo 2 here in Britain.

The show began with the semi-finals of the tournament to find the number one contender to the Women’s Welterweight title, beginning with Miesha Tate against Maiju Kujala.

Fought over two three minute rounds, this fight featured  a controversial moment towards the end of the first when the referee stood the fighters up when Kujala had a guillotine choke applied.

Apart from that we saw a pretty good performance from Tate as she took home the unanimous decision. I can’t help but wonder what would have happened if the referee hadn’t intervened in that first round.

The second semi-final saw Hitomi Akano taking on Carina Damm.

An excellent back and forth grappling battle saw both girls putting on great performances, especially in the first round, a round which was again marred by a questionable stand-up.

Akano took the win in the second after some more impressive ground work and a modified triangle.

Then it was on to action from the lightweight division as Mr. Couture’s baby boy Ryan squared off against Lucas Stark.

A quick fight saw Couture get the take down after a brief feeling out period. Stark soon got to his feet and got a take down of his own, only to quickly find himself in a Couture triangle choke with no means of escape. An impressive performance from debutant.

The women’s welterweight tournament final followed as Miesha Tate faced Hitomi Akano.

This was one of the best ground fights I’ve seen in ages. Fought over three three minute rounds this featured tremendous performances from both girls.

Tate certainly lived up to her nickname with some impressive take downs, with some great defensive work from Akano frustrating her all the way.

But despite Akano’s defensive work it was Tate’s attacks that earned her the unanimous decision, and a possible re-match with Welterweight Champion Sarah Kaufman.

The main even saw Joe Riggs taking on Louis Taylor in a catchweight bout made at 182 pounds.

A fight that didn’t exactly set the world alight to begin with saw two tentative performances in the first two rounds. It was almost as if both fighters were looking for counter moves, with neither man willing to make that first move.

But the fight suddenly came to life in the third when a big right from Riggs rocked Taylor, who tried to recover by going for a clinch against the cage.

This only resulted in a Riggs take down, with Taylor tapping out as Riggs went to work with the ground and pound.

In conclusion - despite the somewhat lacklustre main event, Strikeforce Challengers proved to be a very entertaining show.

The highlight for me was the women’s welterweight tournament, and the performances of Tate and Akano. It was a shame that their fight only lasted nine minutes. Just imagine what those two could have done with three five minute rounds.

So in all a good show, with another one just a few days away.

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