Strikeforce will kick off 2011 tonight (Jan. 7) from the Nashville Municipal Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee, with the thirteenth edition of its Challenger Series, "Woodley vs Saffiedine." The five fight main card will air live on the premium cable network beginning at 11 p.m. ET.
Reminder: The Showtime network is currently offering a FREE PREVIEW all weekend long (Jan. 7-10), so there's no excuse not to catch all of tonight's action.
Tyron "T-Wood" Woodley and Tarec "Sponge" Saffiedine are set to headline the card in a battle of top welterweight prospects. Former United States Olympians Daniel Cormier and Rhadi Ferguson will also be in action in separate matches.
In addition, fast rising star and former University of Tennessee linebacker Ovince St. Preux will look to push his winning streak to seven as he makes his third start in less than two months under the Strikeforce banner, taking on "Abongo" Humphrey.
MMAmania.com will provide LIVE blow-by-blow, round-by-round coverage of the event, beginning with the Showtime telecast at 11 p.m. ET.
Many of our readers check-in before, during and after the Showtime telecast to share their thoughts on the action. Therefore, feel free to leave a comment (or 10) before you leave and chat with all the other Maniacs during the show -- it always turns out to be a great discussion.
Keep in mind that we will also be the spot for the latest news, recaps and post-fight analysis after the show.
STRIKEFORCE CHALLENGERS 13 QUICK RESULTS:
Tyron Woodley defeats Tarec Saffiedine via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Daniel Cormier defeats Devin Cole via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Ovince St. Preux defeats Ray Humphrey via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Amanda Nunes defeats Julia Budd via technical knockout (strikes) at 0:14 of round one
Rhadi Ferguson defeats John Richard via submission (heel hook) at 2:00 of round two
Thomas Campbell defeats Jeremy Wallace via submission (rear naked choke) at 1:26 of round one
John Salter defeats Casey Huffman via technical knockout (strikes) at 2:59 of round one
Dustin Ortiz defeats Matt Horning via technical knockout (strikes) at 2:10 of round three
Dustin West defeats Daniel Schmitt via knockout (strikes) at 0:09 of round one
Charles McTorry defeats Krishaun Gilmore via submission (rear naked choke) at 3:46 of round two
Chris Barnhize defeats Karl Willis via submission (armbar) at 2:35 of round one
Jason Blackford defeats Jeremy Boczulak via submission (heel hook) at 1:54 of round two
Luke Sanders defeats Josh Jarvis via technical knockout (strikes) at 3:15 of round one
Stoney Hale defeats Gerric Hayes via split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)
STRIKEFORCE CHALLENGERS 13 PLAY-BY-PLAY LIVE MAIN CARD COMMENTARY:
Round one: Here we go with the main event! A bit of a feeling out process here. Woodley opens up with a combination. Into the clinch now and both fighters connect with knees. Woodley pins Saffiedine against the fence now. More knees from T-Wood. Saffiedine staying busy as well with knees and dirty boxing. Woodley explodes and scores with a takedown. Saffiedine with full guard. He's using the cage to get back to his feet and he's there. Nicely done. Woodley still all over him in the clinch. Knees from both fighters. Woodley trying hard for another takedown, but Saffiedine showing excellent defense. Nice control from Woodley here. Saffiedine almost escapes the clinch, but Woodley stays on him. More knees from both fighters. Saffiedine staying busy with dirty boxing. The referee wants a break now and Woodley is saying he was poked in the eye. The referee says he didn't see it and he must fight. Saffiedine stalking. Woodley with a push kick. Woodley explodes with a right hand. High kick from Saffiedine misses. Back into the clinch now. Woodley puts his back into the fence again and the round ends there. 10-9 Woodley based on control.
Round two: Tarec moving forward right away. He kicks high and gets it blocked. Leg kick from Woodley and a nice counter right hand as well. Saffiedine connects with a right of his own and they end up back in the clinch. Knees from Saffiedine. He's doing the controlling now. Woodley trying to reverse, but Saffiedine stays strong. More knees from Tarec. Woodley powers his way to another takedown. He moves to half guard. Nice punches from the top. Saffiedine has full guard back. Woodley with solid top control as Saffiedine stays busy trying to get back to his feet. Punches from Saffiedine and now he's looking for a triangle. He moves to an armbar. Woodley powers out and he's in half guard. Saffiedine trying to sweep, but Woodley stays on top. Saffiedine working towards the fence. He setting up a kimura but he doesn't have it. Woodley just hanging on here. Saffiedine gives up his back. Knee to the body from Woodley. He has one hook now. Saffiedine controlling his arm. Woodley working hard to get into position for a choke. The round ends there. Another 10-9 for Woodley.
Round three: Saffiedine aggressive right away. Big exchange and then right into the clinch. Woodley pins him back into the cage. Saffiedine reverses and knees. He wants a takedown now as he reaches for a single. Woodley shakes it off and they separate. Woodley shoots for a single now. Saffiedine sprawls. Woodley still hanging onto the leg. Saffiedine makes him pay and takes the top position. He has side control. Knees to the body from Tarec. Woodley powers back to his feet. They stay clinched. Knees from both. Saffiedine with good control. Woodley explodes with a right hand and then scores with a quick takedown. Saffiedine wants his arm. Woodley is trying to defend and they're tied up in an awkward position here. Woodley's out. Saffiedine pops back to his feet, but Woodley is all over him in the clinch. The referee wants a separation. Nice knee from Saffiedine. Good exchange with Saffiedine scoring with his hands. Back into the clinch. Saffiedine has Woodley pinned to the cage here. They separate but Woodley closes the distance again right away. They break again and Saffiedine tries a head kick just before the bell. That was Saffiedine's round, but Woodley wins this fight on my card.
Final Result: Tyron Woodley defeats Tarec Saffiedine via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
265 lbs.: Daniel Cormier vs. Devin Cole
Round one: Cole has the center. He jabs and punches to the body. Cormier closes the distance with jabs now. Cole circles away. Nice kick from Cormier. Cormier gets inside with punches again and this time he ties Cole up against the cage. Knees from Cormier here. Cole trying to get separation and he does. Nice uppercut from Cormier. Cormier with a push kick. Back to the clinch and Cormier scores with a big slam. He lands in side control and starts in with punches. Cole works and gets half guard. Cole scrambles back to his feet, but Cormier has his back. Nice dirty boxing from both fighters. Cormier tries to explode for another takedown, but Cole does well to defend it. Still in the clinch here with Cormier leaning on Cole. They separate and both fighters land on the exchange. Cole eats a big right hand from Cormier. Now a head kick. Cole ducks another big right hand and then eats another. Cormier is teeing off and now he scores with a trip takedown. Cole has full guard. 10-9 round for Cormier ends there.
Round two: Hard leg kick from Cormier opens up the action in round two. Now he leans in with two nice left hands. Cole stuffs a shot and then tries one of his own. Cormier takes advantage and uses his weight to take the top position on the ground. Nice ground and pound from Cormier. Cole has full guard up against the fence. Cormier moves to full mount but Cole uses the fence to escape and get to all fours. Cormier wrestles him back on his back and has side control. Cole gets half guard back. Cormier with some stiff punches from the top. Back to side control. Big punch right to Cole's gut. Into a north south position. Cole gives up his back. Cormier trying to get his hooks in. He's got them and now he's working for the choke. Cole is in trouble here with about a minute remaining in the round. Cole turns his body into Cormier and gets guard back. He's looking for a kimura. Cormier staying calm. The round ends there. 10-9 Cormier.
Round three: Cole stalking and jabbing. Leg kick from Cormier. Push kick. Cole comes forward and they exchange. Both fighters land, but no damage done. Cole slings a wild right hand and they end up in the clinch. Nice striking from the clinch from Cole. Cormier pins him against the cage now. Cole continues to fire punches from there. The referee calls for a break now. Cole eats an uppercut. Cormier shoots and misses. Cole lands on all fours and Cormier immediately takes his back. Cole scrambles back to his feet and he puts Cormier's back into the fence now. Cormier reverses and fires a combination of punches. The referee wants another separation. Cormier just misses with a counter right uppercut. Back into the clinch and Cormier powers Cole to the floor with another nice takedown. Cole trying to use the cage to get back to his feet. Cormier is all over him, though. Thirty seconds remaining. Cormier trying to turn it on at the end here. Cole trying to thwart the attack from his back. The fight ends there. Another 10-9 round for Cormier. He's going to win this decision.
Final result: Daniel Cormier defeats Devin Cole via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
205 lbs.: Ovince St. Preux vs. Ray Humphrey
Round one: Humphrey circling. St. Preux lands a left hand. Abongo looks stunned momentarily. St. Preux scores with a takedown and Abongo has full guard. St. Preux to half guard now. The crowd is really behind him here. The chants of "OSP" can be heard pretty loudly in the background. Nice ground and pound from the Tennessee Volunteer. Abongo still has half guard. St. Preux passes to side mount. St. Preux trying to get to mount. Abongo makes him pay and transitions to take the top position. St. Preux working for the triangle. He can't get it. St. Preux gets back to the top position. He stands and lands a couple of punches. Abongo is latched onto his leg, looking for a knee bar. St. Preux powers his way out of the hold and takes full mount. He postures up and lands some hard left hands. Abongo gives up his back. St. Preux has an arm triangle now and it's deep! Abongo is in trouble. St. Preux is cranking it with thirty seconds remaining. Abongo trying to hold on, and somehow he escapes. St. Preux has full mount at the bell. 10-9 St. Preux.
Round two: Abongo has the center. He's circling left and right now. High kick from St. Preux gets blocked. Abongo moves forward and eats two or three punches before getting a clinch. St. Preux manages to get the fight back to the ground and take the top position. Abongo with full guard here. Punches to the body from St. Preux. The referee wants a stand up. Abongo fires with a big right. Wild exchange now and Abongo lands a big uppercut and a knee. St. Preux standing in there and he's firing back now. Great action here! Back into the clinch and St. Preux is on top on the ground again now. Abongo has full guard. Body punches from St. Preux. Solid ground and pound from St. Preux as he works more punches to the head now. The referee wants another stand up. Abongo swinging wildly with that right hand. St. Preux lands some big knees. Abongo standing in there and he's landing with big punches near the fence. St. Preux eats a few big ones and then shoots for the takedown. Abongo looking for a guillotine, but the bell sounds. 10-9 St. Preux.
Round three: Abongo has the center. Nice knee from St. Preux as Abongo closes the distance for a clinch. St. Preux wrestles his way to the top position on the ground again. Abongo with full guard. St. Preux trying to stay busy with punches. The referee is threatening another standup and now he calls for it. St. Preux looks tired. Abongo kicks upstairs. St. Preux blocks it and they clinch. Abongo pulls guard and tries for another guillotine. St. Preux doing a nice job staying calm and he gets to half guard. Abongo squeezing hard here, but St. Preux gets to side control and he's out. Abongo gets full guard back. St. Preux with ground strikes. The referee calls for another stand up. Abongo fires with a right hand. St. Preux looks gassed. Leg kick from Abongo. Abongo goes for a high kick and he slips onto his back. St. Preux falls onto him and lands in half guard. Thirty seconds to go here and St. Preux looks to have this one in the bag. Big left hands from St. Preux just before the bell. Good fight. St. Preux should take this decision.
Final result: Ovince St. Preux defeats Ray Humphrey via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Round one: Budd takes the center. She eats a punch and leg kick. Nunes turns on the aggression and drops Budd with a huge left hand! She pounces and lands several unanswered blows before the referee is forced to stop the fight. Wow! Very impressive win for Nunes. I'm stunned.
Final result: Amanda Nunes defeats Julia Budd via technical knockout (strikes) at 0:14 of round one
205 lbs.: Rhadi Ferguson vs. John Richard
Round one: Gloves touch and we're underway with the first fight of the Showtime telecast. Richard fires with a big left hand and then muscles Ferguson to the mat. He's working from half guard. Ferguson transitions to a leg lock. Richard powers out and takes his back. Big punches from Richard. He's still on Ferguson's back. He has both hooks in now and he's rolled over with his back to the mat working for the rear naked. Ferguson does a nice job to turn and take the top position in Richard's guard. Punches to the body from Ferguson. Big left hands to the head from Ferguson. Richard has lost his mouthpiece twice now, and the referee just warned him about it. Ferguson unloading with punches now and Richard gives up his back. Ferguson still firing away with punches to a turtled up Richard. Richard loses his mouthpiece again as Ferguson continues with tired punches. Both guys look tired now and there isn't much happening. Ferguson still has Richard's back. The round ends there. 10-9 Ferguson.
Round two: Ferguson takes the center. Richard lunges forward with a left hand but causes no damage. Ferguson still has the center and he's slowly stalking. Leg kicks from Richard backs Ferguson up. Richard bull charges forward and tackles Ferguson to the mat. He takes the top position and starts in with some ground and pound. Ferguson transitions to a knee bar. Richard trying to scramble out, but Ferguson is latched on. He cranks it and Richard finally taps out. Good opening fight.
Final result: Rhadi Ferguson defeats John Richard via submission (heel hook) at 2:00 of round two