Strikeforce returned with Challengers 17: "Voelker vs. Bowling 3" tonight (July 23, 2011) from the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada. The five main card bouts aired live on the premium cable channel Showtime, beginning at 11 p.m. ET.
Two of Strikeforce's top welterweight prospects, "Relentless" Roger Bowling and "Vicious" Bobby Voelker were to headline the main event in a rubber match after splitting their first two meetings on previous Challengers shows with Voelker having entered with momentum after winning the last match.
Also on the card, top light heavyweight prospect Ovince St. Preux tried to move his Strikeforce record to 5-0 against the incredibly dangerous first round finisher and Duke Roufus product, Joe Cason, who sported a 9-1 record but faced by far the sternest test of his career.
The ladies were represented as well with a very important divisional match-up in the women's 135-pound division as former Strikeforce champion Sarah Kaufman battled recent title challenger Liz Carmouche in a contest with serious title implications.
STRIKEFORCE CHALLENGERS 17 QUICK RESULTS:
170 lbs.: Bobby Voelker def. Roger Bowling via TKO in round 2
265 lbs.: Devin Cole def. Shawn Jordan via unanimous decision
205 lbs.: Ovince St. Preux def. Joe Cason via submission (strikes) in round 1
135 lbs.: Sarah Kaufman def. Liz Carmouche via unanimous decision
185 lbs.: Adlan Amagov def. Ronald Stallings via split decision
205 lbs.: T.J. Cook def. Lionel Lanham via TKO in round 1
185 lbs.: Anthony Smith def. Ben Lagman via knockout in round 2
155 lbs.: Bill Cooper def. Maka Watson via submission (rear-naked choke) in round 2
185 lbs.: Sterling Ford def. Brian McLaughlin via unanimous decision
170 lbs.: Roger Bowling vs. Bobby Voelker
Round one: Bowling head hunting early while Voelker is having trouble finding his range. Nice body kick from Bowling as he bounces around the cage. Voelker looks to jab while Bowling lunges forward with some aggressive kicks and hooks. Nasty body kick from Bowling and Voelker stands in the pocket looking to exchange. Voelker lands a stiff left hook and Bowling backs off temporarily but then immediately dives back in with repeated kicks. Nice leg kick from Bowling and he shoots in and scores a takedown but Voelker pops back to his feet. Superman punch from Bowling lands and a body kick connects hard on Voelker. Voelker clips Bowling with an eye poke and he appears to be ok. They throw bombs in the pocket and Bowling staggers Voelker with a a flurry of hooks but Voelker immediately recovers and forces him to back off. Voelker lands a pair of straight rights and eats a knee at the horn. 10-9 Bowling
Round two: Voelker clinches early but Bowling shoves him off. They trade strikes and Bowling scores a takedown, throwing several knees to the thigh as Voelker gets to his feet. Bowling clinches and scores another inside trip takedown and Voelker stays down at least temporarily this time, eventually getting back to his feet as Bowling looks for another double leg takedown but Voelker defends. Voelker throws a huge knee on the exit that hurts Bowling badly! He rushes forward and pressures Bowling with ground and pound, forcing the referee to stop the fight. Another comeback finish from Voelker.
Final Result: Bobby Voelker defeats Roger Bowling via TKO at 2:14 of round two
265 lbs.: Devin Cole vs. Shawn Jordan
Round one: Jordan opens with a nice right hand and eats one in return. Jordan throws a nice right leg kick but eats another punch from Cole. Cole's strikes are shorter but they are landing well. Jordan bullrushes Cole and presses him into the fence, throwing a pair of knees. Jordan throws Cole over his hip and immediately takes Cole's back with his hooks in. Cole rolls over and sits up, turning into Jordan and throwing some hammer fists from above in return. Jordan escapes and Cole takes inside position against the fence. The reposition to the center and Cole trips Jordan, taking top position from the side as Jordan turtles. Jordan uses the rules to his advantage putting a hand on the ground to avoid a knee to the face and escapes to his feet. Jordan lands a nice uppercut that staggers Cole and presses him against the fence. Cole recovers and Jordan lands a huge right hand at the end of the round that drops Cole on his butt. 10-9 Jordan
Round two: Cole throws a nice knee but it seems to energize Jordan. He's wisely staying on the outside and avoiding a brawl with the less technical Jordan. Nice knee from Cole and he connects with a jab/uppercut combo. Jordan explodes forward with a flurry that connects but he immediately slows down again. Cole ducks down and takes Jordan down but Jordan re-establishes his guard. Cole locks Jordan up and drives some heavy knees into Jordan's body. Jordan turtles and Cole almost looks like he's going for a piledriver but instead is content to control Jordan from the side along the fence. Cole clinches Jordan with a body lock standing from behind and throws knees to the body and face. He finishes with a pair of uppercuts between the legs that nail Jordan in the face while he's bent over. 10-9 Cole
Round three: Bro hug to start the third and Cole goes to work with his reach. Nice knee up the middle from Cole. Jordan is not very active in the first couple minutes. He's definitely slowing down a bit. Cole continues to throw knees and uppercuts while mixing in his jab. Jordan throws a flurry as he wades forward but Cole clinches and presses him against the fence. Cole drops down for a single leg takedown and Jordan attempts an ill-advised guillotine choke which results with him on his back with Cole on top raining down punches. Cole throws hammer fists to the body , mixing in short elbows Cole finishes the round inside Jordan's guard content to ride out what is most likely a decision victory. 10-9 Cole
Final Result: Devin Cole defeats Shawn Jordan via unanimous decision
205 lbs.: Joe Cason vs. Ovince St. Preux
Round one: Cason opens aggressively, throwing a nice right hook but eats a counter from St. Preux. St. Preux throws a big left leg kick and the knee clipped Cason badly either in the body or head and he's hurt. St. Preux dives onto Cason and starts unloading some huge right hands and Cason taps the canvas as the ref stops the fight. Damn that was fast!
Final Result: Ovince St. Preux defeats Joe Cason via submission (strikes) at 1:12 of round one
135 lbs.: Liz Carmouche vs. Sarah Kaufman
Round one: Carmouche opens strongly with strikes and Kaufman backs her into the fence. They trade knees and Carmouche reverses Kaufman, taking inside position and mixing in some foot stomps. Carmouche attempts a hip toss but Kaufman lands on top of her and attempts to take Carmouche's back but Carmouche stands, ducks down and is looking for a double-leg takedown. Kaufman defends well and they finally separate, looking to throw strikes with a minute left. Kaufman throws straight punches and Carmouche is looking to counter but can't find an opening. Kaufman finishes strong with a flurry that puts her over the top on my card. 10-9 Kaufman
Round two: Carmouche opens with a takedown attempt but Kaufman defends it well. Kaufman shows off her precision striking, landing 1-2 combinations and occasionally mixing in leg and body kicks. Carmouche's hooks are a little too wide and slow as Kaufman is connecting straight up the pipe. Carmouche's nose is bloodied now. Kaufman has started doubling up on her left jab and it's working. The left hand is landing at will now. Carmouche catches a body kick but Kaufman turns the tables and presses her into the fence. Carmouche reverses and both ladies circle each other against the fence, jockeying for position. Carmouche drops down low but again can't finish a takedown. Kaufman throws some beautiful combinations and sprawls excellently on a Carmouche takedown attempt. Kaufman gets to her feet and Carmouche drops to her back to close the round. Carmouche promised blood but it's all hers right now. 10-9 Kaufman
Round three: Kaufman opens strongly with the striking and defends a Carmouche takedown attempt, pushing Carmouche into the fence and throwing a few foot stomps. Kaufman reverses a takedown attempt and lands on top but quickly pops back to her feet, allowing Carmouche to stand again. Kaufman sprawls and easily defends a takedown attempt and then again as Carmouche drives forward. Kaufman throws some hammer fists and pops back to her feet again. Carmouche pushes off the cage and throws a superman punch that misses and Kaufman goes back to work, landing a big right hand. Kaufman is eating Carmouche alive with her precision striking. Kaufman opens up with a big flurry and Carmouche is in need of a miracle. Kaufman finishes the round strong with repeated straight punches that blast Carmouche. 10-9 Kaufman
Final Result: Sarah Kaufman defeats Liz Carmouche via unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
185 lbs.: Ronald Stallings vs. Adlan Amagov
Round one: Stalling taking his time and slowly stalking Amagov early. Lazy head kick from Stallings is easily blocked. Amagov finally lets loose with a right hand and a side kick that connect. Stallings dives forward and eats a swift left counter hook on the way in. Right head kick is blocked by Stalling and he responds with a right body kick. Spinning back kick lands flush to the body for Amagov and he follows it up with a pair of leg kicks. Stallings isn't even checking them. Huge nasty spinning heel kick whiffs for Amagov but damn that looked scary. Stallings continues to stalk forward but he's walking into a buzz saw. They clinch with less than a minute left and Amagov scores a trip takedown into side control. Amagov throws some ground and pound and Stallings gets swept after going for a takedown of his own to finish the round. 10-9 Amagov
Round two: Stallings opens with some repeated low kicks aggressively and Amagov responds with a clinic of leg kicks and a hook kick. Why isn't Stallings trying to take this fight down? He's asking to get KO'd in highlight reel fashion. Stallings clinches and throws a knee against the fence. Failed foot sweep from Stallings but he throws a nice short right uppercut. Some more dirty boxing from Stallings and he attempts a takedown but loses top position allowing Amagov to escape to his feet. Stallings pushes forward and presses Amagov against the cage again, throwing some nice right uppercuts. Amagov tosses Stallings over his hip twice and Stallings turtles, escaping to his feet. Stallings takes inside position along the fence again and throws some knees. They throw a wild flurry of strikes to finish the round and Amagov falls to his back, not sure if he got clipped or not. Much closer round, I'm leaning Stallings 10-9 but it wouldn't complain with scoring it for Amagov.
Round three: Amagov opens with a flurry of haymakers and Stallings puts him in the Thai plum, throwing repeated knees to the head. Stallings scores a big takedown and lands in half guard, quickly passing to side control. Stallings looks like he's going for a Kimura or straight arm lock but Amagov appears unconcerned. Stallings turns up the pressure and passes to full mount and now Amagov might be in trouble. Amagov bucks his hips and Stallings goes for an arm bar but Amagov explodes back to his feet. That might have cost Stallings the fight depending how the second round was scored. The ref separates them from the clinch and Stallings turns up the pressure with 90 seconds left. Amagov continues to throw wildly and Stallings leaps in with a jumping knee. Stallings goes for a guillotine choke and Amagov throws a spinning back fist. Stallings goes for a takedown against the fence and Amagov grabs the fence for the fifth time this fight. They throw bombs until the final horn. Amagov should have lost a point that last time. 10-9 Stallings
Final Result: Adlan Amagov defeats Ronald Stallings via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)