The twelfth installment of the Strikeforce Challengers series on Showtime has come to a close from the Jackson Convention Complex in Jackson, Mississippi.
The night's main event fight featured world-renowned Brazilian jiu-jitsu player Vitor "Shaolin" Ribeiro, making just his fourth start since 2007 against talented American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) up-and-comer Justin "The Silverback" Wilcox in a battle of lightweights looking to make their case for a future fight on a more high profile Strikeforce show.
Consider Wilcox's case made.
"The Silverback" notched his fourth straight win for Strikeforce, dominating his Brazilian opponent en route to a one-sided unanimous decision victory. The impressive part was that he didn't have to shoot for one takedown during the entire 15 minutes, displaying an improved boxing game, constantly moving forward, picking Ribeiro apart with punches from the outside.
Ribeiro desperately tried for takedowns throughout the fight, but Wilcox's wrestling held up there as he easily stuffed every shot and scored with punches on the end of each sprawl. It was an impressive overall performance from Wilcox, and afterward he looked into the camera and basically called out Lyle Beerbohm, another one of Strikeforce's talented lightweight prospects who just recently out-pointed "Shaolin."
Don't be surprised to hear that fight announcement very soon. It makes way too much sense.
Heavy-hitting light heavyweights Antwain "The Juggernaut" Britt and Ovince St. Preux met up in a co-main event fight that seemed destined for an early ending.
But destiny would lose out in this one.
St. Preux -- a former University of Tennessee linebacker -- looked to have the fight in the bag early in the first round when he took Britt's back and unloaded several unanswered punches. But "The Juggernaut" hung tough, the referee allowed to fight to go on, and he was eventually saved by the bell after St. Preux had transitioned to a footlock.
St. Preux looked gassed to start round two and Britt made him pay with a heavy dose of ground and pound for the majority of the second five mintues. St. Preux must have used the time on his back in that round to get his wind back, though, because he came out for round three looking rejuvenated.
He stuffed an early takedown attempt from Britt and then scored with one of his own that ended up being the difference in the fight. He grinded out most of the final frame from there to take home the unanimous decision.
St. Preux is a relative newcomer to mixed martial arts, making the transition from football, but he's been very active since making his professional debut in late 2008. This was his fifth fight this year and his fifth straight victory. He'll need to improve his cardio, but he looks to have a ton of upside going forward in the Challengers series.
DREAM 2009 welterweight grand prix champion Marius Zaromskis has had a rough time since coming over to the states after his impressive run through the Japanese based tournament last year, dropping both of his fights for Strikeforce in devastating fashion to current division champ Nick Diaz and knockout artist Evangelista "Cyborg" Santos.
The third time wasn't a charm for "The Whitemare" tonight, either, but not because he lost.
The Lithuanian striker came out of the gates with a flying knee and accidentally poked his opponent, Waachiim Spiritwolf, to the eye on the exchange, leaving him unable to continue, bringing the fight to the unfulfilling ending otherwise known as a "no contest."
Spiritwolf was visibly upset about not being able to continue, but his vision was clearly impaired as he had a small cut right near his eyelid. I don't know about anyone else, but that's the fight I was looking forward to the most on this card, and I was bummed out to see it end that way.
Hopefully, Strikeforce gives us another chance to see it.
Former female middleweight number one contender Jan "Cuddles" Finney climbed back into the cage as a welterweight tonight for the first time since falling short in her quest to dethrone Cristine "Cyborg" Santos back in June.
She came up short again tonight.
Undefeated striker Liz Carmouche came out guns blazing from the jump, and she didn't let up her attack until she had Finney mounted and beaten up. "Cuddles" survived the first two rounds, but she couldn't make it to the final bell, as the referee called an end to the beatdown at 1:30 of round three.
"Girl-illa" is now undefeated (5-0) with two wins coming on Challengers cards.
United States military veteran Caros Fodor made quick work of newcomer Derek Getzel in the night's opening bout, locking in a slick D'arce choke as he was passing his opponent's guard. The win makes two in a row for "The Future" in the Challengers series.
It's safe to say that we haven't seen the last of the 26-year old prospect on Showtime.
Next up for the San Jose-based promotion is a trip to the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Mo., for "Henderson vs. Babalu" on Saturday, Dec. 4.
The event will air live on Showtime and feature a light heavyweight number one contender eliminator bout between Dan "Hollywood" Henderson and Renato "Babalu" Sobral. Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva, "Ruthless" Robbie Lawler, Paul "Semtex" Daley, Scott "Hands of Steel" Smith, Matt "The Law" Lindland, NFL great Herschel Walker and others are also slated for the card.
Stay tuned to MMAmania.com as we'll be all over the coverage of that event and any other Strikeforce related news and notes.