Strikeforce returned last night (Aug. 12, 2011) with Challengers 18: "Gurgel vs. Duarte" from the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada. The card featured a night of close fights decided by the dreaded judges scorecards. Chief among them was the main event of the evening.
This fight was razor close throughout with both men staying on the feet trading strikes for the majority of the bout with Gurgel landing more often.
However, the deciding factor was Duarte scoring with takedowns in the second and third rounds. Those takedowns lead to Duarte winning a closely contested unanimous decision.
Gurgel should not hold his head down, though, because the ringside announcers along with myself had him winning the fight. But as they always say you should never let the fight go to the judges.
Duarte's takedowns proved to score enough points to get him the victory despite Gurgel being the more active fighter. I, for one, wouldn't mind seeing these two men lock up again in a rematch to find a clear victor, but tonight belonged to Joe Duarte.
The 1st round saw Villefort control the stand up and eventually the ground game which saw him finish the round with both hooks in almost getting a rear-naked choke finish.
James, however, did not waiver and came back into the second round to control the stand up and get a take down to finish the round on top.
In the final frame James did more of the same, winning the standup battle and getting two take downs finishing the fight on top which gave him the unanimous decision win. James should be pleased beating a talented Villefort and it looks like a step up in competition is deserved.
"Bam Bam" came into the fight knowing he wanted to take it to the floor and he got his wish ... and a lot more than he bargained for.
Wisely was effective fighting off his back for the majority of this fight, almost getting two submissions during the opening round.
But as the fight wore on Healy's size, wrestling, and ground and pound became a factor as he was able to control Wisely on the ground for the last two rounds to pick up the unanimous decision.
Wisely did prove he is a game fighter and might be better served moving down to the 145-pound division where he can make some noise, while Healy will take another step toward and possible title shot at 155-pounds under the Strikeforce banner.
This fight had a peculiar result to say the least.
Right from the bell, Rousey engaged and easily locked in a deep armbar. This led to a stoppage by the referee but oddly enough, D'Alelio never actually tapped out.
According to Rousey, D'Alelio verbally tapped and that's why she called for the referee to stop it. The referee in question, Steve Mazzagati, was not interviewed after the contest but apparently he did hear the verbal submission. Regardless it was an impressive showing from Rousey.
It was all Jones in the first round, who landed a flying knee that hurt Mehmen and continued to land a series of knees to the body and head. Mehmen, however, was game and got a takedown to survive the first round.
In the second frame Mehmen got a take down right off the bat, but paid for it dearly by eating a knee and having a vicious gash open up above his left eye. Even though he was bleeding like a stuck pig, Mehmen lucked out and had a doctor ringside that let the action go on despite the terrible cut.
Mehmen took advantage of his second chance and went on to stay on top for the entirety of the last two rounds and took home the unanimous decision with ease. While Mehmen surely has a lot to improve on, one thing he proved tonight is he is as tough as they come.
That's it for us, Maniacs. Now it's your turn to sound off with your thoughts on Strikeforce Challengers 18 in the comments section below.