Strikeforce returned last night (September 23, 2011) with Challengers 19: "Larkin vs. Rossborough" from the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada. The card featured a night of close fights nearly all decided by the judges including the night's headlining bout.
Nick Rossborough, a late replacement for the injured Virgil Zwicker, gave the hotshot prospect Lorenz Larkin all he could handle for two rounds before fading in the third.
Larkin was as elusive as ever, displaying his diverse attack of strikes including jumping roundhouse kicks, slicing knee attacks and even heel strikes to the calf, but Rossborough was able to pin him against the fence on multiple occasions which finally opened up a means of offense for him.
After a close two rounds, the deciding factor of the fight occurred early in the third as Rossborough again had Larkin pinned against the fence but this time "The Monsoon" bit back with a ferocious knee to the body that dropped the larger man. The Riverside native pounced and rode the remainder of the fight on top of Rossborough, eventually being awarded the unanimous decision victory.
Earlier in the evening, two heavyweights collided as former LSU fullback Shawn Jordan showcased his improving skill-set at the hands a recent training camp relocation to Greg Jackson's gym in Albuquerque against the always dangerous Lavar Johnson.
Johnson blasted Jordan on multiple occasions, even rocking him with a slick hook combination, but Jordan, also a former top wrestler, was able to take Johnson down and eventually finish him with a keylock after putting him in a compromising position on the ground.
Legendary offspring Ryan Couture got back on the winning track in a match against Maka Watson in a back and forth ground battle.
Couture consistently got the better of Watson with positional dominance on the ground, repeatedly taking Watson's back and working for the choke but at the end of both the first and second rounds, he lost his position and ate repeated blows from Watson's ground and pound, opening up a decently-sized gash on his forehead at the end of the first.
Just as Watson appeared to be taking control of the fight with a takedown, Couture utilized a beautiful sweep and rode out the third round in dominant fashion, dropping repeated blows from mount to eventually earn a majority decision.
Tough wrestler Jason High put on a wrestling clinic against Todd Moore in their welterweight attraction. Moore could never get anything going as High repeatedly put him on his back and ground him out with half-hearted submission attempts and some mild ground and pound. Moore had no answer for High's wrestling and would lose a lopsided unanimous decision to High AKA "The Kansas City Bandit."
In the opening bout of the main card, welterweights Brian Melancon and Felipe Portela put on a terrific show for the fans. It was a battle of Melancon's power and wrestling versus Portela's technique and counter strikes.
Melancon controlled much of the bout with his huge lead hooks as well as some solid body shots via his powerful left hand while Portela tried to counter with his range and occasional kicks.
Melancon was simply a bit too strong for Portela, outmuscleing him on the ground and pinning him down on multiple occasions while working his ground and pound. In the end, it was Melancon who was awarded the decision, handing Portela the first loss of his young career.
That's it for us, Maniacs. Now it's your turn to sound off with your thoughts on Strikeforce Challengers 19 in the comments section below.