With Strikeforce’s busy week now over I’m going to step back in time a week or so by taking a look at the latest in their Challengers series, with Bobby Voelker facing Roger Bowling for the third time in the main event.
The show began in the middleweight division as Adlan Amagov went up against Ron Stallings.
These promotional newcomers put on an highly entertaining battle. At times it resembled a Van Dam film as Amagov went to work with his various kicks, controlling the majority of the first two rounds, adding some nice judo throws into the mix for good measure.
Stallings’ best work came in the third when he scored with the take down early on, looking for a couple of arm submissions before taking the mount. Amagov was able to escape however, and once again the Russian upped his game a little, escaping from a guillotine attempt with a spinning back fist.
So with the fight going the distance it was up to the judges as Amagov took the split decision, a slight confusing decision seeing as those in the know (and me) gave Amagov the fight two rounds to one.
Women’s action followed as Sarah Kaufman faced Liz Carmouche in a 135 pound encounter.
Having told everyone that they were going to shoot it out these two began the fight with a clinch against the cage which lasted for the first four minutes of the first round. It was only after this that they finally engaged in a striking battle.
When that battle began it was obvious that Kaufman was the better striker. Carmouche was able to get a few good shots in but Kaufman more than matched these, and whenever Carmouche went for the take down Kaufman easily defended.
So with the second fight in a row going the distance it was down to the judges again, with all three giving the fight to Kaufman.
Light heavyweight action followed as Ovince Saint Preux took on Joe Cason.
The first fight of the show that didn’t go the distance saw Cason come back with some strong strikes, but once OSP retaliated the tide turned immediately, and when he connected with a big knee and rocked Cason it was all over bar the shouting, with Cason tapping out when OSP unleashed with the ground and pound, ending a very impressive performance.
Then it was up to the big boys of the heavyweight division as Devin Cole faced Shawn Jordan.
This was a highly entertaining battle. They exchanged combinations early on, but when Cole punched Jordan in the face the big guy just smiled at his opponent. A short time later Jordan took the fight to the ground but failed with a rear naked choke attempt.
It was pretty much the same in the second round, back and forth action with some more great striking and ground work, while the third saw Cole really up his game as he took the fight down after escaping from Jordan’s guillotine attempt.
There was more work for the judges at the end of this one as Cole took the unanimous decision.
The main event featured welterweight action and the rubber match between Bobby Voelker and Roger Bowling.
As the old saying goes the third time’s a charm. Bowling began the contest extremely well, his kicks to Voelker’s legs and mid-section ringing out throughout the arena and doing a great deal of damage. He also managed a take down, but Voelker quickly wall walked his way out of that one. And to add to the mix, in a repeat of the first fight, Voelker inadvertently poked Bowling in the eye.
The ending came in the second round. Bowling began the round strongly, but when Voelker connected with a knee as Bowling backed out of a clinch against the cage he wobbled, and as Voelker went in for the kill he knocked Bowling to the ground, with the referee stepping in as Voelker went for the ground and pound, giving the vicious one the TKO win.
In conclusion - this was another strong outing from Strikeforce’s lesser lights. None of these fights disappointed, with Voelker’s victory over Bowling in the main event the highlight of the night for me.
So with that being said, the latest Challengers show gets the big thumbs up from this particular writer, another example of how you don’t need a show packed with big names to deliver. Although all of those big names will appear in my next Strikeforce review.