Duarte Gets Big Win at Strikeforce Challengers

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Lightweight Main Event
Joe Duarte (10-2) UD 3 Jorge Gurgel (14-8)

Though a recognized name in the world of MMA, Jorge Gurgel has seen his stock drop following some high profile losses in the last couple of years.  Probably sensing that his time in the spotlight is limited what we saw Friday night was an intense and focused Gurgel.  Lost was his trademark reckless aggression and perhaps that can be attributed to Duarte’s success in the fight.  While Gurgel was tentative, Duarte was consistent in his pressure and showed great poise in taking the fight to the savvy veteran.  Solid, solid win for Duarte and for Gurgel, maybe it’s time to go back to the drawing board again. 

Middleweight Fight
Nate James (14-7-1) UD 3 Danillo Villefort 13-4

I have to say, I was incredibly impressed with Nate James in this bout.  Villefort did some things to impress, I though his jiu-jitsu was excellent, James just did more.  Maybe it’s the training he gets at American Kickboxing Academy, but James’ standup was superior to that of Villefort who often resorted to dynamic elbow strikes and other unorthodox measures to keep James at bay.  But James, a colligate All-American wrestler, used his bread and butter to simply grind out the victory.

Lightweight Fight
Pat Healy (27-17) UD 3 Eric Wisely (17-6)

A nice competitive fight between two fighters eager to show what they had.  While Healy looked like a giant against the diminutive Wisely, Wisely was unafraid to mix it up with the grizzled veteran.  What I really liked about Wisely was his constant motion and unorthodox fighting technique.  Sure, Healy was able to grind out the win with his wrestling and ground and pound, but you have to think that Wisely is a name to look for.  Though, I have to agree with the Showtime commentators, Wisely would probably be better suited for the bantamweight division. 

Women’s 145 lbs Division Fight
Ronda Rousey (3-0) SUB RD 1 (Arm bar) Sarah D’Alelio (4-2)

Olympic Judo bronze medalist Ronda Rousey’s nationally televised Strikeforce debut will forever be marred by the poor referring of one Steve Mazzagatti.  The controversy begins when Rousey caught D’Alelio in a wicked arm bar.  With D’Alelio’s arm trapped, Rousey started telling Mazzagatti that she had the submission and to stop the fight.  Apparently, Mazzagatti listened to this stopping the fight and claiming D’Alelio tapped out.  Replays showed that there was never a tap and that Mazzagatti simply jumped the gun.  While I typically hope that the referees in the cage lean toward being overly cautious this was a bad call and D’Alelio deserved to win or lose on her own accord. 

Light Heavyweight Fight
Derrick Mehmen (12-3) UD 3 Roy Jones (6-2)

Ok, I don’t know exactly where the hype materialized behind the unheralded Roy Jones.  Granted, in the opening round Jones looked damn impressive as he unleashed some pretty impressive strikes and flying knees to batter Mehmen around the cage.  That was the opening round.  The following 10 minutes consisted of a bloody Mehmen channeling his inner Mark Coleman as he grounded and pounded Jones for two rounds straight.  I liked the flashes of brilliance I saw in Jones, but his takedown defense is porous at best.