Strikeforce Challengers 15 took place earlier this evening at the Stockton Arena in Stockton, California.
Before I get to the recap, Strikeforce made an announcement regarding Gegard Mousasi’s opponent for next weekend’s Strikeforce “Diaz vs. Daley” show. No one expected Strikeforce to find a big name opponent for Mousasi on nine days notice, but it turns out Strikeforce was able to pull a rabbit out of their hat after all. UFC veteran Keith Jardine will step in for Mike Kyle who broke his hand earlier this week. Jardine had a difficult five-fight skid in 2009-2010, but was able to get back on a winning streak in his last two fights. Nevertheless, Mousasi will be a much tougher challenge for Jardine than his last two opponents were. It’s great opportunity, but it will undoubtedly be an uphill battle when he steps in the Strikeforce cage next weekend.
Results & recap after the jump.
Damion Douglas was awarded a controversial split decision in the opening fight of the evening. Douglas started and finished strong against Wayne Phillips but struggled late in the first and through the second with a severely depleted gas tank. Phillips failed to take advantage of Douglas’ fatigue though and let him hang around until he caught his second wind in the third and started scoring on the feet. Despite Douglas’ strong finish, Phillips nearly choked Douglas unconscious as the first round came to a close and outworked him in the second for what seemed to be a 29-28 victory. The judges of course were all over the place and Douglas sneaked out with the split decision. Reacting to the chorus of boos, Douglas told the crowd after the fight that they were watching professionals fight, but it didn’t seem that way as Douglas started to gas late in the first round.
James Terry put on a striking clinic against late replacement Josh Thornburg. With speed and footwork reminiscent of UFC lightweight champ Frankie Edgar, Terry moved in and out and side to side popping Thornburg with punches and leg kicks in the opening minutes of the fight. As the final seconds of the first round approached, it looked like Thornburg was finally figuring out Terry’s movement, then BOOM, Terry cracked him with a looping right for the clean knockout victory.
Stepping in for once-heralded Japanese prospect Satoshi Ishii, Lorenz Larkin took full advantage of the opportunity and put on a showcase of high-flying kicks and thunderous punches against kickboxer Scott Lighty. With the type of aggression you would expect from Melvin Manhoef, Larkin went after Lighty from the opening bell with everything but the kitchen sink. Lighty hung in till the second, taking a beating in the process, but Larkin was finally able to finish him off right after the midpoint.
Caros Fodor completely shut David Douglas down in the co-main event. Fodor dominated Douglas in the clinch and on the ground until he had sapped every single ounce of energy and will out of Douglas’ body. Halfway through the third round the ref had seen enough. He stopped the fight as Fodor pounded Douglas with knees and uppercuts along the fence. Normally, you’d question a ref that stopped the fight while they were still standing, but this wasn’t Kimbo Slice vs. James Thompson. Douglas was done and there was no arguing that.
Justin Wilcox lived up to his “Silverback” moniker tonight. Like a raging gorilla, Wilcox chased Rodrigo Damm around the ring until he landed the big shot that dropped him. Things only got worse for Damm from there. Wilcox with his significant size advantage jumped on top of Damm and pounded him with punches and elbows. One of the strikes opened a nasty cut over Damm’s left eye, covering his face and the mat in the blood. Damm somehow survived the round, but he didn’t pass the doctor’s inspection. The ringside physician determined the cut to be too severe to allow Damm to continue, awarding Wilcox the TKO victory. Clearly excited about the victory, Wilcox motioned elbow strikes into his hand to show his excitement over Zuffa-owned Strikeforce lifting the ban on elbows on the ground.
- Justin Wilcox defeats Rodrgio Damm via TKO (Doctor’s Stoppage – Cut) at 5:00 in Round 1
- Caros Fodor defeats David Douglas via TKO (Strikes) at 2:12 in Round 3
- Lorenz Larkin defeats Scott Lighty via TKO (Strikes) at 3:15 in Round 2
- James Terry defeats Josh Thornburg via Knockout at 4:38 in Round 1
- Damian Douglas defeats Wayne Phillips via Split Decision (28-29, 30-27, 29-28)
- Anthony Avila defeats Rafael Rios via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Robert Escalante defeats Raul Sandoval via Submission (Armbar) at 4:10 in Round 1
- Tristen Arenal defeats Tom Peterson via Submission (Armbar) at 1:58 in Round 1
- Ronald Carillo defeats Adam Antolin via Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) at 1:48 in Round 1