Live MMA turns to Showtime tonight for the latest offering from the Strikeforce Challengers series with action highlighted by a pair of unbeaten lightweights, Lyle Beerbohm and Ryan Couture! The 15-0 Beerbohm is set to face Pat Healy, a well-travelled veteran with wins over the likes of Dan Hardy and Carlos Condit, in the main event while Couture will seek the second win of his young career when he takes on Lee Higgins.
Five Ounces of Pain will be on the ground in Cedar Park, Texas to report back live from the show starting around 8:30 PM EST including a round-by-round breakdown of all the fights. Fans can also tune in to watch Strikeforce Challengers 14 unfold on Showtime starting at 11:00 PM EST.
EVENT NOTE (7:57 PM) – Demonstration of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu going on in the ring. Pretty cool and a good insight for fans.
EVENT NOTE (8:00 PM) – Just met Tim Kennedy. Awesome dude who is extremely excited about FINALLY getting back in the ring on March 5. Spent some time talking to an Army Ranger in the crowd. 100% class.
EVENT NOTE (8:14 PM) – Music selection for in-arena tunes thus far has involved Justin Bieber and Katy Perry. Clearly there is a firm grasp on the audience here.
Drew Pendleton vs. Dennis Dombrow
ROUND ONE: Dombrow and Pendleton exchange a few shots before Pendleton jumps in for a takedown. Works some GNP from guard and half-guard but Dombrow is defending well and looks for Mission Control. He almost slides into an Armbar but Pendleton defends. The two end up back in the standing position after a scramble to the crowd’s approval. Dombrow is on the attack and Pendleton looks gassed. Gets wobbled but keeps throwing shots. Starts backing up and gets dropped. Dombrow grabs his back but loses the position and ends up in half-guard. Holds Dombrow down for the remaining minute of the round, perhaps hoping to get his wind back. Close round scored by 5 OZ. for Pendleton based on the takedown and top control.
ROUND TWO: Similar start to first with both testing each others’ stand-up. Dombrow is the aggressor but taking a few solid shots in the process. Still, he maintains his composure and lands a few stiff jabs. Dombrow throws a few fastballs and whiffs but the crowd approves of the effort. He shoots in for a takedown and scores but gets locked in a Guillotine Choke and taps a little less than three minutes into the round. Excellent start to the night!
Winner – Drew Pendleton via Submission Round 2 (Guillotine Choke)
EVENT NOTE (8:33 PM): All of Strikeforce’s ring-card girls are blond (though I presume not originally). I disapprove. Variety is the spice of life, people!
EVENT NOTE (8:39 PM): Another demonstration from the Relson Gracie camp though now the audience is learning about striking techniques.
EVENT NOTE (9:00 PM): …and we’re still waiting for the second fight to start.
Thomas Diagne vs. Aaron Lan Franco
EVENT NOTE (9:08): Diange walks down to “Hit Me With Your Best Shot”. The crowd approves and so do I!
ROUND ONE: Diange lands a few hard shots to start the round out but ends up on his back after a takedown. Lan Franco works from the top and avoids a an armbar attempt from the bottom. Diange does a nice job holding on and keeps Lan Franco from advancing position. Lan Franco frees his arms and drops a few punches though nothing significant lands. Huge Lan Franco crowd here starts up a chant of “Aa-ron!” as he keeps attacking. Diange locks on to a leg but can’t do anything with the hold. Lan Franco spins out of the guard and gets side control. Quickly into mount, rains down a couple shots, and it’s over.
Winner – Aaron Lan Franco via TKO Round 1
EVENT NOTE (9:23 PM): Randy Couture is in the building and takes time to sign or take pictures with at least 50 fans. Couture was smiling throughout. Like Kennedy, total class.
David Douglas vs. Nick Gonzalez
ROUND ONE: Feeling out process with Douglas throwing the more powerful of the shots. Gonazalez keeps moving but catches a shot and gets dropped. Douglas jumps on and tries to add to the damage. Strikes force Gonzalez to roll over and Douglas locks in a Rear Naked Choke. Gonazles goes to sleep less than a minute it.
Winner – David Douglas via Submission Round 1 (Rear-Naked Choke)
EVENT NOTE (10:17 PM): Josh Thomson is cageside. Maybe an in-ring appearance for him in the future this evening if Beerbohm wins later?
Erik Apple vs. Ryan Larson
ROUND ONE: After a minute of dancing the two lock up. Larson goes for a takedown but Apple fights it off. A few punches later he goes for it again and scores. Works into side control and traps Larson’s arm in Crucifix position. Starts tapping him with some punches but not doing much damage though Apple is immobilized. Larson attacks his arm with an attempted submission but can’t secure the hold. The two end up back in the prior position with Larson again going after the arm shortly thereafter. Still can’t finish it so he throws some punches. A scramble ensues almost seeing Apple’s back taken. More scrambling, including some heel-hook attempts on the part of Apple before the end of the round. 5 OZ scores it 10-9 Larson.
ROUND TWO: Larson gets an early take down against the cage and starts working from Apple’s guard. Apple attempts a failed submission and ends up mounted. He rolls over with Larson taking his back. Can’t secure a RNC so the two roll over. Larson fires more punches from the top, then locks in a slick choke and ends things.
Winner – Ryan Larson def. Erik Apple via Submission Round 2 (Triangle Choke)
Ryan Couture vs. Lee Higgins
ROUND ONE: Lots of feeling out over the first minute of the fight. No real strikes landed or takedown attempts through the first three minutes at this point. Crowd antsy. Couture lands a few nice leg kicks. Couture throws a body kick. Higgins catches it but receives a shot to the jaw for his troubles. He drops, Couture springs on top for a choke, but can’t sink it in and keeps working from the top. He gets a D’Arce secured with ten seconds left but Higgins avoids potentially tapping out due to the bell. Easy round to score for Couture.
ROUND TWO: Higgins pushes Couture up against the cage but is reversed. The two throws knees from the clinch. Couture fires a few shots and then backs away to re-center the action. Things stall again as neither fully engages the other. Couture clinches again, then backs up and fires in a straight right that rocks Higgins. The two go to the ground with “Natural Light” assuming side control. The position quickly turns into a mount. Higgins gives up his back and Couture starts to go to work. He secures a Body Triangle, then rolls things over and starts working towards a choke. Couture fires away at Higgins’ head as the round expires. Another frame in his favor.
ROUND THREE: The men end up against the cage again to start things off. Couture eventually separates goes back to working his stand-up. Seems to have gained some confidence since the first and is definitely more aggressive. Higgins doesn’t seem to have an answer. The two lock up again with Higgins briefly getting behind Couture but eventually getting taken down. Couture slides onto his back and goes for a Rear Naked Choke. He sinks it in with Higgins’ face turning as red as Couture’s shirt. Higgins survives for a bit longer until he can’t stand it any longer. The tap comes and it’s game over.
Winner – Ryan Couture via Submission Round 3 (Rear-Naked Choke)
Bryan Travers vs. Carlo Prater
ROUND ONE: The two clinch in the center of the ring to start the fight out. Prater trips Travers, then locks his neck up almost immediately and sinks in a Anaconda Choke. It looks like Travers’ attempts to tap but is unable to move his hand and ends up going to sleep for his trouble. Fight is over in less than a 45 seconds.
Winner – Carlo Prater def. Bryan Travers via Submission Round 1 (Anaconda Choke)
Lyle Beerbohm vs. Pat Healy
ROUND ONE: Beerbohm starts out with a head kick and follows it up with a takedown attempt. Healy backs up to the cage and uses it to fend off the attack. The two end up clinched against the fence. They separate for a short time then essentially repeat the sequence. Beerbohm fires a nice uppercut into the mix before scooping Healy up and slamming hm down. Healy makes it back to his feet after the scramble and they go back to clinching against the cage. Dirty boxing ensues for a bit before they split back up. Beerbohm shoots back in and, deja vu, they’re back against the fence again. Beerbohm slips underneath Healy and jumps onto his back. Healy shakes him off but Beerbohm starts working for a Kimura. Nothing comes of it. Healy moves behind him and pulls him down for a second. The two tangle for the last ten seconds and the round ends. Tough to score though seems Beerbohm should get the nod.
ROUND TWO: Similar beginning to the first round minus the lack of a head kick. Audible “Fancy Pants” chants coming from the crowd. Beerbohm working hard against the cage for a takedown but no luck. Ends up nearly falling into a Triangle Choke but avoids the submission. The two stand back up, clinch, and…you guessed it…go back against the fence. Healy getting the better of things and ends up on top, nearly locking in an Inverted Triangle Choke. Beerbohm is in trouble but survives the round. Frame goes to “Bam Bam” making it 1-1 on the 5 OZ scorecards.
ROUND THREE: Stand-up at the start with Healy eventually pushing Beerbohm against the cage for a brief moment. They separate temporarily with Healy remaining the aggressor. Beerbohm gets back to his feat but Healy has a hold of his neck and drags him back down. Just when it looks like Beerbohm could be done he reverses the position and takes Healy’s back. He rolls to the front and gets side control after a brief stint in half-guard. Healy scrambles and switches things up, then the dance continues and Beerbohm assumes a dominant position. They stand for the last thirty seconds. Beerbohm looks like he is running on fumes. Attempts a lazy takedown at the end as things end. Fight could go either way. The 5 OZ coin-flip says Beerbohm remains undefeated.
Winner – Pat Healy def. Lyle Beerbohm via Unanimous Decision
PHOTO CREDIT – ESTHER LIN / STRIKEFORCE