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Lindland KO’s Casey, Woodley edges out Coy at Strikeforce Challengers

PORTLAND, ORE. (May 21, 2010) – Newly turned 40-year-old Matt “The Law” Lindland sent the raucous Portland MMA fans home with smiles on their faces as he battered “King” Kevin Casey with a barrage of punches in a fight stopped at 3:41 in the third round, earning Lindland his first Strikeforce Challengers win on Friday night on SHOWTIME.

Lindland (22-7) of Eagle Creek, Ore., was able to escape a rear naked choke attempt in the first round by a skillful Casey (3-2), a 28-year-old from Hawthorne, Calif., and from there completely dominated the rest of the middleweight fight in an impressive victory.

“Thank you, Portland, for coming out and showing me this support,” Lindland told the crowd. “That guy’s got a head like piece of rock. I hit that guy with some shots.”

Afterward, Lindland told the media: “He didn’t really do anything to me to cause any damage. I feel good about the fight. It’s hard to evaluate how you did because there’s a lot going on in your head. But I’ll watch it.”

The former Olympic Greco Roman wrestling silver medalist added, “I had a smile on my face the entire day. These are my friends and family. I just love the state of Oregon.”

In a matchup between two former college wrestling standouts, rising MMA star Tyron Woodley (7-0) of St. Louis, Mo., stayed unbeaten with his fourth Strikeforce victory, taking a close split decision against Portland’s Nate Coy, 29-28, 27-30, 29-28.

“Going into the third round I thought I was ahead but I wasn’t just trying to hang onto it,” Woodley said. “At the end of the third round I realized I’m in Portland. I don’t want to leave it in the judge’s hands.”

But that’s exactly what he did, and then walked out of the cage to a chorus of boos from the displeased Portland fans who thought Coy did enough to get the win.

“Of course I’m upset with the decision because I hate to lose,” Coy said. “The game plan was to stick and move and eventually wear him out. But he’s a tough kid. That’s a high-level wrestler/MMA guy right there.”

Roger Bowling of Cincinnati, Ohio, remained unbeaten at 8-0 after being awarded a unanimous technical decision over Bobby Voelker (21-8) of Kansas City, Kan., with all three judges scoring the welterweight bout 29-28.

At 3:33 of round three the tip of Voelker’s glove grazed the eye of Bowling. It was declared an accidental foul therefore giving Bowling the technical decision after going to the scorecards. Cory Schafer, President of the International Sport Karate Association, said afterward: “The state of Oregon, in the event of an accidental foul if it occurs in the third round of a three-round fight and the injured fighter can’t continue, the partial round is scored and we go to the scorecard for the technical decision.”

During the telecast, SHOWTIME play-by-play announcer Mauro Ranallo declared, “Roger Bowling was born to fight. Roger Bowling was born to maybe even be a future champion.”

It took just one devastating right-hand punch from Tarec Saffiedine (9-2) to send Nate Moore (6-2) to the floor as the Temecula, Calif., fighter Saffiedine recorded his first career knock out win midway through the second round in an otherwise entertaining welterweight matchup.

“What a blistering knockout,” said SHOWTIME announcer and MMA legend Pat Miletich. “That was amazing. Beautiful technique. Pay attention to that if you’re learning how to fight.”

In a lightweight fight that opened the evening’s SHOWTIME telecast, Portland’s Pat “Bam Bam” Healy (23-15) looked impressive handing Bryan Travers (13-2) of Bakersfield, Calif., just his second career loss in a unanimous decision, 29-28, 29-28, 30-27. It was Healy’s 38th professional fight.

“I’m a huge Blazer fan so anytime I can perform in the Rose Garden is a thrill for me,” Healy told the crowd afterward. “I saw (Blazers center) Joel Przybilla in the crowd so it’s nice for you guys to be watching me out here for once.”

Asked how long he thought it would to be before he possibly got a Strikeforce title shot against lightweight champion Gil Melendez, Healy said: “There are two guys in the 155-pound as far as I’m concerned and that’s Josh Thomson and Gil Melendez. I’ll fight anyone.” Thomson, who was in attendance, took note and said he was impressed with Healy’s performance.

Friday’s fights will re-air on Tuesday, May 25, at 10 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME 2. The telecast will also be available On Demand beginning Wednesday, May 26, and running through June 8.

MMA action returns to SHOWTIME during a special edition of Strikeforce on Wednesday, June 16, as Robbie Lawler faces off against Babalu Sobral at a catchweight of 195 pounds. Taking place at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles, the event will be live on SHOWTIME at 11 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast). Other bouts include heavyweights Bobby Lashley vs. Ron Sparks and Marius Zaromskis against Cyborg Santos in a welterweight matchup.

On June 26, Strikeforce and M-1 Global team up in co-promotion as the world’s No. 1 heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko returns to the cage to face Fabricio Werdum in the main event at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif., live on SHOWTIME (10 p.m. ET/PT). Strikeforce Women’s Middleweight champion Cris Cyborg will try to retain her title against challenger Jan Finney in the co-feature while K.J. Noons battles “Krazy Horse” Bennett in a lightweight division matchup.

Complete STRIKEFORCE Challengers Results:

Main Card:
Matt Lindland def. Kevin Casey via TKO (punches) – Round 3, 3:41
Tyron Woodley def. Nathan Coy via split decision via split decision (29-28, 27-30, 29-28)
Roger Bowling def. Bobby Voelker via technical unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Tarec Saffiedine def. Nate Moore via knockout (punch) – Round 2, 1:21
Pat Healy def. Bryan Travers via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)

Preliminary Card:
Pro Escobedo def. Jason Sharp by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Blaine Macintosh def. Ben Morgan by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)
David Lloyd def. Jay Schafer by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Patrick Whittington def. Jason Lambert by triangle choke (1:39 of the first round)
Hamza Salim def. Lee Flores by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

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