The Strikeforce Challengers series returns this Friday night (June 24, 2011) from the ShoWare Center in Kent, Washington with "Fodor vs. Terry." The sixteenth installment of the Challengers series will air live on Showtime at 11 p.m. ET.
Headlining the card, lightweights battle for their position in the Strikeforce 155-pound division as Caros Fodor takes on James Terry in a clash of styles. Also on the card, Ryan Couture, the son of MMA veteran Randy Couture, faces Matt Ricehouse in his third professional MMA bout.
In addition, light heavyweights Lorenz Larkin and Gian Villante square off in what should be an explosive match from beginning to end and a women's MMA bout between Germaine De Randamie and Julia Budd which should prove to be just as exciting.
Full preview and quick picks from the main card after the jump!
In the main event of the evening, lightweights Caros Fodor and James Terry are set to put on an intriguing battle of heart and technique. Both men are riding a three fight win streak inside the Strikeforce cage, as well as coming of T/KO victories, and are vying for the chance to face the more established lightweights in the promotion
Fodor's most recent victory came by way of third round TKO, dropping David Douglas with knees after a back and forth battle at Challengers 15. Don't let the TKO victory fool you though, as it's the only finish via strikes on his record, while he has 6 submissions. Patience and skill on the ground may be just what it takes to force Terry to fight Fodor's game, but Terry presents an interesting challenge in this clash of styles.
James Terry's time spent training with former Strikeforce middleweight champion Cung Le has made him a striker that can give fits to plenty of his peers in the lightweight division. With a total of four T/KO's and six decisions, on paper, one has to wonder if Terry can lay it on thick enough to finish the durable Fodor. Then again, will Terry even be presented the opportunity to open up with his strikes? Should Fodor be able to bring him to the mat, Terry will have scramble, and avoid leaving himself open to a submission.
The result of this fight is dependant on who forces the other to play to their strengths for the majority of the fight.
Should Terry be able to defend the take down, he should be able to pick apart Fodor, and even possibly get a finish. If Terry can't do that much, or can't neutralize and escape Fodor's ground game, I could easily see this going Fodor's way.
Although it might not come right I away, I feel it's a matter of time before Fodor can get this to the ground, and lock up a submission for the win.
Final Prediction: Caros Fodor by second round submission.
Son of MMA legend Randy Couture, Ryan Couture, will step into the cage for his third professional MMA bout against the equally green Matt Ricehouse (4-0). Couture's two wins have come by way of submission, and he's proven to be savvy on the ground, and solid in the clinch. Similarly, Ricehouse has also shown solid ground skills, but does have two TKO victories to his name.
Neither of these men have shown stand up skills that lead me to believe this fight will be fought and won in the vertical position. This could very well turn into a gritty tug of war between two fighters looking to secure dominant position on the ground. If Ricehouse finds himself in Couture's guard, he'll have to be wary of submission coming his way, as well as sweeps.
With these two fighters being so young in their careers, it's hard to predict who we'll see in the cage when it comes fight night, but I'm thinking at some point, Couture will see an opportunity to lock in a submission, and he'll take full advantage.
Final Prediction: Ryan Couture by second round submission.
Two light heavyweight up-and-comers will throw down when undefeated Lorenz Larkin faces off against Gian Villante, and this may prove to be the fight fans are talking about on Saturday morning. Larkin is 10-0 in his professional career, with eight of those coming by way of T/KO, and a majority of those being in the first round. Villante is looking to rebound from his most recent loss, where he found himself at the end of Chad Griggs' fists and lost by first round TKO.
Larkin was seen in action most recently against Scott Lighty at Challengers 15, where he won by TKO in the first round. Although Larkin is obviously formidable, and no man at 205 would willingly let him punch them in the jaw, he's yet to take a big step up in competition. Against Villante, Larkin is going to have to keep that jaw tucked, and take whatever openings that are given to him. Also, one must consider that with Villante losing that last fight of his to Griggs, he may be more timid than before, and not allow those openings to come so easily. Larkin is going to have to use controlled, focused aggression to break through Villante's defenses and keep him scared to engage.
Villante is heading back down to light heavyweight after facing Chad Griggs in a heavyweight bout, and it's certainly the weight class he belongs in. Villante has plenty offensive striking tools of his own, but the real key in my opinion, is where he's at mentally. In the Griggs fight, he found himself in wild exchanges, chasing down Griggs and looking to finish, but he ended up getting caught and finished off by the heavy handed Griggs. If he's rebounded well, he may come out of the Griggs fight much wiser than before, and be more careful picking his spots. If he's not prepared to face another powerful striker though, he may be on the defensive all night long, and allow Larkin to do all the chasing.
Although I feel Villante has the skills to hang with Larkin, I see Larkin coming out strong, and finishing quick as he chases down a gun shy Villante.
Final Prediction: Lorenz Larkin by first round KO
Germaine De Randamie is simply put, the best kick boxer to come into the world of women's MMA. She's got a strong clinch game, and heavy kicks, all you'd expect from an accomplished muay thai fighter. She's currently 2-1 in MMA, and is obviously a work in progress when it comes to becoming a well rounded fighter, but against Julia Budd, whom Randamie knocked out in the first round of their kick boxing match, I believe Randamie has all the tools necessary to get another solid win here.
Budd is 1-1 in MMA, both bouts taking place in the Strikeforce cage. She won her first bout against Shana Olsen by TKO in the second round, but was then KO'ed in just 14 seconds by Amanda Nunes. Budd will need to either land a well placed punch or kick to bring down Randamie, or look to test Randamie's improving ground game if she wants a decent chance of winning this match.
This is a straightforward pick, Randamie is bringing this one home in style.
Final Prediction: Germaine Randamie by first round KO.
Jason High returns to a Zuffa owned promotion, racking up four straight wins after his UFC loss to Charlie Brenneman, and is taking on King of the Cage veteran Quinn Mulhern. High is looking to secure his employment with Strikeforce with an impressive win against a very experienced fighter in Mulhern, but it doesn't appear to be an easy fight by any means.
Jason High (13-3) is quite the well rounded fighter, with three TKO's, and six submissions during his professional career. That said, he suffers from being good at many things, but master of none. This is surely an aspect of his skill set he's looking to fill, and has more than enough ability to prove himself in the Challengers series, and move on to major Strikeforce cards.
Out of the sixteen professional MMA bouts Mulhern has had in his career, thirteen of them were in the King of the Cage promotion. He's had a steady diet of competition, and a great deal of time to train, and improve as a fighter.
This is the first time he's made the leap into a major MMA promotion, and he's surely hungry, and ready to prove that he's prepared to make himself known. What may not work in his favor though, is that his strength is also on the ground, with a total of ten victories by submission. Will all that KOTC competition have him ready for a fighter who's traveled the world fighting in major promotions?
Although I don't know nearly as much about Mulhern as I'd like to, I think it's safe to say that High presents the toughest fight of his career at this point. High should be able to outclass Mulhern here, and just outwork him for fifteen minutes.
Final Prediction: Jason High by decision.
That's enough from us, Maniacs. Let's hear your main card picks for tomorrow night's Showtime event!