Strikeforce LA is in the books and some of the outcomes may surprise you. The event, from top to bottom, was an exciting affair with only two of the 6 fights going to the judges scorecards, but it didn't sound like anyone was complaining.
Preliminary Bouts: Hugo Sandoval vs Marcus Kowal was a back and forth fight from the beginning. Hugo has a point deducted for blasting Kowal's face with an illegal upkick. The deduction didn't matter, as Sandoval ended up winning the bout at the opening of Round 2 by landing a perfectly placed uppercut on the chin of Kowal, followed by hammerfists on the ground.
RJ Clifford vs Jeremy Umphries opened with Umphries taking down Clifford and controlling him for the majority of the round. Clifford eventually was able to reverse his position and land some shorts down on Umphries, but the bell sounded before he could inflict any significant damage.
Round 2 found Clifford on his back again, and then it was just a series of guard passes until Umphries was able to take the back of Clifford. Jeremy was able to sink in a tight rear naked choke, but RJ refused to tap. Clifford passed out, and Umphries got the victory.
Main Card (televised):
The KJ Noons and Conor Heun fight will most likely be argued by fans. Many expected Noons to run over the less experienced Heun, but Heun was able to not only hold his own, but, arguably, win the fight against Noons. The fight was a back and forth affair, with Heun doing surprisingly well on the feet against KJ.
It wasn't enough to surprise the judges, but it certainly was one of, if not the most, entertaining fight of the evening.
Tim Kennedy looked great against Prangley. Trevor was able to hip toss the US soldier a few times, but Kennedy always immediately rose to his feet or got in a better position. Kennedy ended the fight soon, and it would be a shame to see him on any more Challengers cards.
Kennedy also displayed a great personality in the post fight conference and Strikeforce needs to really market him. This also calls Prangley into question. The Division 1 wrestler was unable to capitalize on the dominant positions that he had against the less experienced Kennedy. He needs a solid win in his next fight to erase this quick and decisive loss.
Cyborg really shocked me. He knocked out Zaromskis in Fedor vs Arlovski fashion. He looked significantly bigger than Mariusz in the fight and it certainly paid off. Santos commented in the post fight that he would never cut weight in his previous fights and wants to continue fighting at welterweight.
He can certainly have a well hyped next fight on the back of this performance. Zaromskis drops his second fight and the Lithuanian kickboxer's stock has certainly dropped after losing to a fighter with such a mediocre record in Evangelista Santos.
The Babalu Lawler fight was a back and forth war. Lawler surprisingly checked the leg kicks Babalu set up for him and was able to stay out of any dangerous positions on the ground, but couldn't really establish an effective striking game.
For the first two rounds he seemed happy to just sit back and wait for the counter hook, a la his previous performance against Manhoef. It didn't work out so well for him. He began to establish a jab in round 3 and move around more, however, it was too little, too late. Babalu took the unanimous decision and even proved that his chin wasn't suspect by surviving a few scary shots from the hands of Ruthless.
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