With Strikeforce having held their latest major show this past Saturday what better time is there to look into their recent archives, and this time we’re going back just a few weeks as Jorge Gurgel faced Joe Duarte in the main event of the latest Challengers show.
The show began in the light heavyweight division as Roy Jones (no, not that one) went up against Derrick Mehman.
This was a really enjoyable three rounder. The first round saw Jones coming forward and unloading with the bug guns, connecting with a flying knee that rocked Mehman.
But after Jones delivered an inadvertent low blow the rest seemed to invigorate Mehman as he scored with the take down, and although he wasn’t exactly dominate he did enough to keep his man on the ground.
The beginning of the second round saw Mehman counter a spinning back kick attempt with a take down. However, Jones’ heel caught him about the left eye and opened up a nasty gash above his left eye. The doctor allowed him to continue, and Mehman scored with another take down and once again set about controlling Jones on the ground again.
The doctor checked Mehman again between rounds and allowed him to continue, and once again he sought to control Jones on the ground. It was enough to keep Jones down, although he was on the receiving end of a nasty jab to the left eye when the referee stood the fighters up.
So with the fight going the distance it was on to the judges who gave the decision to Mehman.
Then it was on to women’s action with a fight made at 145 between Ronda Rousey and Sarah D’Alelio.
Now this was a confusing and controversial one. After both fighters jockeyed for position Rousey went for an arm bar, and as Rousey went to lock in the hold the referee stepped in and stopped the fight
And then confusion ensued as D’Alelio claimed that she didn’t tap, and replays from various angles show that she didn’t. Neither fighter looked particularly happy when the decision was announced, with Rousey claiming that D’Alelio said she was tapping and D’Alelio claiming she was crying out in pain during the post fight interview. This was nothing more than very poor officiating.
Lightweight action followed as Grizzly Redwood look-a-like Pay Healy took on Eric Wisely.
After the disappointment of the last fight this was just what the doctor ordered. For the first two rounds Wisely put in a good performance on the ground, and even though Healy was on top for the majority of that time Wisely was on the offensive, going for arm bars and various leg locks as well as countering Healy’s attempts to change position.
Healy seemed to have finally figured his man out in the third round, taking more control in the fight with his ground and pound, and although Wisely still put up a good fight.
So once again the judges came into the equation, with Healy getting the unanimous decision, another example of how judges take into account what the fighter on top is doing more than the fighter on the ground.
It was up to middleweight for the next fight as Danillo Villefort took on Nate James.
This interesting three rounder proved to be a great back and forth affair. Both fighters put on good performances both on the ground and in the striking game.
Villefort looked particularly impressive early on, especially with his take downs, but as the fight progressed he seemed to tire while James looked fresh throughout. It got to the point where James was able to take control late on with some take downs of his own and some nice ground and pound work.
Yet again the judges came into play as James took the unanimous decision.
The main event saw Jorge Gurgel taking on Joe Duarte in the lightweight division.
This was another of those intriguing three round affairs. We saw some great striking from both fighters, in particular from Gurgel, although Duarte wasn’t far behind him in that respect.
The ground work proved to be just as good, especially in the third. Gurgel went for a take down but found himself with Duarte in the mount. Later on Duarte scored with an impressive take down himself but by then he didn’t have much time to do any work.
More work for the judges at the end of this one as Duarte took the unanimous decision.
In conclusion - once again the up and comers of the Strikeforce roster delivered a quality show, and although there were no flashy finishes and no big knockouts it was still fun to watch.
Apart from the women’s fight, that is. The women’s division in Strikeforce is always one of the highlights for me, but this time extremely poor officiating meant that the fought between Rousey and D’Alelio was ruined. There’s an old chant in football (soccer) about referee’s needing glasses when he misses a foul, but maybe a certain Mr. Mazzgatti needs a hearing aid so he can learn the difference between someone grunting in pain and saying “tap tap”.
But apart from that misdemeanour this was a quality show, and it gets the thumbs up from this particular writer.