Coverage by James Cahilellis
MENS LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
(Champion) Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante vs. Dan Henderson
Henderson via TKO (Punches) Round 3: 0:50
Henderson back on top after landing “H-Bomb”
In classic fashion, Henderson cocked his right hand and let it fly. Strikeforce’s main event didn’t disappoint as both fighters engaged for 3 rounds. “Feijao” seemed to get the upper hand in the first round, rocking Henderson and having him stumble to the ground. Henderson showed his great wrestling skills, as he was able to compose himself and get in a dominant position towards the end of round 1.
This fight should have had the caption “don’t blink” because it seemed like at any given second the fight could have been over. In the third round, Henderson was able to connect his classic right that spun “Feijao” around and sent him straight to the mat. After a couple more shots it was apparent that “Feijao” was out and Henderson had won his first championship since reaching 40 years old.
WOMENS WELTERWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
(Champion) Marloes Coenen vs. (Challenger) Liz Carmouche
Coenen via Submission (Triangle Choke) Round 4: 1:29
Women put on a show as Coenen retains title
Watching this fight brought back the memory of Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen. Carmouche was a heavy underdog in going into this fight and despite losing the first round, “Girl-rilla” came back with strong wrestling to dominate the 2 and 3 rounds. It looked as though the upset would be in place before the Coenen, showing why she is Champion (and arguably ranked number 2 in women’s p4p rankings), brought her legs up and locked in the triangle choke early in the fourth round.
***A special note for this fight***
This was the first Women’s fight I had the opportunity to see live, and I want to say that I was thoroughly impressed. The speed, power, and technical skills of the women are without a doubt on par with the men. As I watched the fight, it seemed clearer to me that I was no longer watching a “women’s fight”, but just a fight.
So this quick message goes out to the drunk and ignorant fans that were watching the fight. The ones who called out for a “motorboat” when Carmouche was in the guard and cheered when she transitioned to north/south position simply because of the appearance. Grow up! Be mature and realize the hard work that these women put in, day in and day out. I ask you, for just 15 minutes (or sometimes 25), keep it in your pants and give respect to these athletes. The women posses the same skills to create an equal division, but it’s your derogatory comments and adolescent mentality that prevents them from getting the recognition they deserve. You should be ashamed of yourself and you’re the reason why women’s MMA is slow to grow.
Tim Kennedy vs. Melvin Manhoef
Kennedy via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) Round 1: 3:41
Kennedy starts his climb back to Souza
Kennedy showed an excellent gameplan as he was able to take stay out of the reach of Manhoef and quickly finish the fight on the ground. Manoef was able to stuff 3 takedowns and connect 3 powerful leg strikes before being put on the ground. Kennedy seemed leaps and bounds ahead of Melvin on the ground, connecting on 80% of his ground strikes (Melvin never threw a strike on the ground) and transitioning to dominate positions twice before he was able to lock the rear naked choke.
Jorge Masvidal vs. Billy Evangelista
Masvidal via Unanimous Decision
Evangelista’s undefeated record broken as Mavidal’s masterful gameplan pays off
Scoring round by round, this fight could have been a close one to call, but looking at the entire fight, Masival dominated every aspect of the game. Masvidal was able to connect on 59% of his shots, most of them jabs which controlled the fight. Masvidal was also 4/5 on takedowns, a key stat in which allowed him to win every round on the judges scorecard.
Roger Bowling vs. Josh Thornburg
Bowling via Unanimous Decision
Fighting back in his home state of Ohio, (9-1) Roger Bowling showed that he has the tools to become a real breakout star in Strikeforce. The 28 year old fought Stockton California’s Josh Thornburg for 15 minutes to pick up the first unanimous decision victory in his career.
The fight had great stand-up action, with both fighters showing fast hands and granite chins, but Roger Bowling showed he was the superior fighter by picking his shots standing and completely dominating the ground game with sweeps and dominate positions.
I had the chance to meet up with Roger backstage after his win.
James Cahilellis: I’m with Roger Bowling, great decision win.
Roger Bowling: Thank you
James Cahilellis: How did it feel fighting in front of your home crowd? Did it help you?
Roger Bowling: Man it felt great having them all behind me, I really felt that I couldn’t be beat tonight. With my training camp, my coaches, all my friends and family here.
James Cahilellis: Now during that fight, there were a lot of times in which he was taking some shots. Were you surprised by the chin that he had?
Roger Bowling: He has a rock chin, but I knew (with him) training with the Diaz brothers that he had to throw down and take punches from them all the time, and the last guy I fought twice, (Bobby) Voelker, he had a rock chin too so I was kinda used to it man. It was nice pushing my cardio, and first decision win so after three rounds it felt good.
James Cahilellis: Were you frustrated that he just wouldn’t quit?
Roger Bowling: Yeah I was getting aggravated man, (I kept thinking) the next shot I land (I’m) gonna knock him out, then the next one. I had him staggered a couple times but I couldn’t finish him. I didn’t want to wear myself out on those hits and I took him to the ground and went there.
James Cahilellis: What do think’s next?
Roger Bowling: Whatever Strikeforce wants. I’m here to stay. I just want to continue winning.
James Cahilellis: Thank you Roger.
Roger Bowling: Thank you guys.
Jorge Gurgel vs. Billy Vaughan
Gurgel via Submission (Guillotine Choke) Round 1: 0:44
Some fights are over before they start, and it looked like that was the case between Jorge Gurgel vs Billy Vaughan. Vaughan, who only weighed in at 151 pounds, looked scared and out of his league against the seasoned veteran. It only took 44 seconds in the first round for Gurgel to finish the fight, slapping on a guillotine choke as Vaughan went in for a takedown.
I was able to speak briefly with Gurgel after his fight to talk about what’s next on the horizon.
James Cahilellis: I’m here with Jorge Gurgel after a great win, guillotine choke within the first minute. How do you feel about coming in with a quick one minute fight?
Jorge Grugel: As crazy as it sounds, I wanted to fight. I wanted somebody that was going to stand with me and fight back. He latched on to me, I had the guillotine, I let up a little bit to see if he would back out and we would each try to exchange some punches. I wanted to put a show on for my students and my fans. But he dropped even lower for a double leg and the guillotine sunk deep, and that’s my go-to move. I’ll take it. I’ve had a lot of tough couple fights. For actually the last 4 or 5 years so I will take a win with no damage, in the first minute. I’m happy with it.
James Cahilellis: Especially with taking no damage, are you looking to get right back in?
Jorge Grugel: I’m looking to go right back in. I will skip my honeymoon to go right back in. I just got married two weeks ago, and I’m sure she’ll understand.
James Cahilellis: Last question, did you feel more pressure fighting in front of your students, or less?
Jorge Grugel: I don’t feel pressure. I think this is the only time that I’m truly free. That I can really apply everything that I work and learn in the cage. My students support me win or lose. They love me unconditionally, I love them back. As much as I want to put a show for them, when I’m in there I fight for me as I way of expressing myself. There is no pressure, I do what I love.
James Cahilellis: Thank you.
Jorge Grugel: Thank you so much.
Jay Freeman vs. Jason Riley
Freeman via Submission (Punches) Round 1: 1:52
Outweighed by nearly 40 pounds, Freeman showed he has the heart of a lion as he came back from a devastating hit that should of ended his night early. Freeman stayed composed as he hit the ground and was able to cover up and take minimum damage before being able to stand back up. Showing a sense of urgency, Freeman was able to connect with a hard hook and followed Riley to the ground, where he was able to ground and pound his way to a victory.
Brian Rogers vs. Ian Rammel
Rogers via TKO (Punches) Round 1: 4:23
Brian Rogers was very impressive in his win over Ian Rammel. Rogers is a great counter puncher that reminds me of a young Melvin Guillard. Rogers lives up to his nickname “the predator” as all seven of his victories have come via stoppage and in the first round and His hands seem to have the power of a heavyweight and I’m interested to see where his career will go.
Marc Cofer vs. Mitch Whitesel
Whitesel via Submission (Guillotine Choke) Round 1: 3:55
Whitesel made the most of his Strikeforce debut by submitting Cofer in the first round. Both fighters have sub .500 records now, but was able to put on a good show in front of their home crowd.
John Felty vs. John Kuhner
Kuhner via Technical Submission (Triangle choke) Round 2: 4:31
Kuhner can leave tonight a happy man tonight, as he picked up the first victory of his career with a submission victory over Felty. Bad news: The referee failed to see the tap and the choke was held until Felty went unconscious. Good news: A very respectable Kuhner delayed his celebration as he sat next to Felty until he regained consciousness.