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SF Challengers 13 Aftermath: Cormier, OSP, Woodley Dominate (The Scorecards)

(OK, Julia watch for the le-. Never mind. VidProps: ProMMANow.)

What’s this? A fairly solid Strikeforce Challengers card that (for once) accomplishes its stated mission of showcasing a bevy of the promotion’s up-and-coming fighters? Believe it, people. Strikeforce managed to prolong some of the momentum it established late in 2010 and took advantage of the Showtime channel’s free preview weekend on Friday night with a decent card that saw a number of its more favored prospects pull off victories. Granted, things dragged a little bit down the stretch with Daniel Cormier, Ovince St. Preux and Tyron Woodley grappling their way to consecutive unanimous decisions, but on the whole this show has to be considered something of a success, at least as far as the often maligned Challengers series goes.

For the more punch-hungry fans out there, Amanda Nunes’ lightning quick 14-second knockout of Julia Budd certainly broke the monotony of the wrestling clinic, too. Video of that at top. After the jump, further musings on what it all means …

Obviously, Strikeforce still has miles to go before it can be considered in the same universe as the UFC and to suggest differently is ridiculous. But with its almost impossibly ambitious heavyweight tournament on the horizon and guys like Cormier, OSP, Woodley and even newcomer Rhadi Ferguson adding just a hint of depth to the skin-deep roster, this Saturday morning has things looking cautiously hopeful for Scott Coker and Co.

Cormier is no doubt the bluechipper of this bunch. At just 5-foot-10, 250-ish, he doesn’t possess the gargantuan size of the modern heavyweight or the action figure body of a Brock Lesnar or Shane Carwin, but his Olympic-caliber wrestling helps make for all that. Cormier is also at least trying to become a better-rounded fighter, as he displayed in tagging opponent Devin Cole with some nice shots on the feet last night. Cole, who’d gone 6-2-1 since getting himself in some legal trouble of the, uh, rape-y kind back in 2008, was game but outmatched in nearly every facet. In the end, Cormier’s far superior wrestling won the day.

Same with Woodley, who made a point of sticking like glue to talented striker Tarec Saffiedine en route to his own UD. It was Woodley’s sixth straight win in Strikeforce and his fifth on the Challengers series. If, at long last, company brass sees fit to promote him to the main card of one of its A-list broadcasts it will mark the first time in Strikeforce history that the Challengers series essentially worked as it is supposed to, elevating young, lesser-known talents onto the big stage. At this point, Woodley certainly deserves  it.

St. Preux meanwhile could probably use a few more Challengers appearances. The former University of Tennessee linebacker nabbed his third win in seven weeks against Ron “Abongo” Humprhey on Friday, but continued to appear by turns stellar and frustratingly green while doing it. There are times when you look at OSP and think, “This dude could be very, very good” and then 20 seconds later end up thinking “This kid has no idea what he’s doing in there.” St. Preux gassed out a bit in the latter stages, too, which looks to be something of a troubling trend for him.

In the evening’s opening bout, Dr. Ferguson — seriously, you guys, his Wikipedia page purports the former Olympic judoka is a doctor of education. That counts, we guess. – weathered some early bluster from stripped down heavyweight John Richard before locking on a second-round knee bar submission. Ferguson is now 3-0 in MMA, with three stoppages. Fun fact: Ferguson is also reported to be cousins with Kimbo Slice. If only those two guys could get together and combine their skills, we’d have something special on our hands.

Nunes’ KO of Budd was already mentioned, but bears repeating: Fourteen seconds. Damn. This after Budd looked fairly beastly in defeating Shana Olsen on Showtime last October. Good for the 145-pound women’s division, which sorely needs challengers for Cris “Cyborg” Santos.

Cagepotato Comments

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ghostboner- January 9, 2011 at 2:18 am
Top 10? There's more than 10 women at 145?
Chromium- January 8, 2011 at 9:01 pm
Amanda Nunes was already a Top 10 ranked fighter at Women's 145 when she KTFO Julia Budd, whereas Jan Finney has never been to a Top 10 fighter in any weight class as far as I know, and she had been fighting at 135 prior to that. The evolving and very dangerous Nunes would be a far, far more credible opponent to Cyborg than her last one, which was a glorified snuff match.

With Cindy Dandois recently losing, Marloes Coenen moving down to 135, and Gina Carano basically retired, Amanda Nunes is the most credible possible opponent for Cyborg outside of Japan (Rin Nakai and Yuko "Hiroko" Yamanaka both being excellent fighters at 145).

Anyway, they need to either bring in more people for that division or simply give Nunes the next title shot. She'd be the underdog for sure, but it's not unthinkable that she could actually knock Cyborg out.
DangadaDang- January 8, 2011 at 5:18 pm
I'm going to repeat this comment because its gold. I can't believe that after the Nunes/Budd fight that Ranallo didn't say something like "Nunes just smoked herself a fat bowl of Budd!"
myklhoey- January 8, 2011 at 2:05 pm
i hear ya, im cool wit fighta's needin a chance, it happined wit most resent wit lesner and edgar,
my beef is that the reff wasnt in the right postion wen she got popped, and it took him to long to getin to the right one, and wen he did he took to long, afta 3 punches not bein deffended, its time to step in
cecils_pupils- January 8, 2011 at 1:41 pm
Nunes may have the advantage on the feet against Budd, but I bet Budd is more savvy off her back, ifyaknowwhatimean. ;)

Plus, I heard she makes a helluva sammich.
Joe-Say Aldo- January 8, 2011 at 11:25 am
Nunes fights like a female version of Wanderlei. Square stance, feet side by side, throwing rapid fire punches. Gameplans be damned.
torxxx- January 8, 2011 at 11:18 am
LOL, nice quick fight.... Now lets see these bitches step up and fight in a UFC fight, against Uriah.. lol
ghostboner- January 8, 2011 at 11:02 am
Wasn't someone on here a few days ago bitchin about how awesome Julia Budd is?
Clyde- January 8, 2011 at 10:44 am
Praise? For Strikeforce? Am I on the wrong site?
uzithrasha- January 8, 2011 at 10:40 am
that bitch has never one anything ever. you can tell by the way she was celebrating. If you didnt know anything about mma, someone might of thought that she just won a title or something. Worst celebration ever
SnallTrippin- January 8, 2011 at 10:35 am
@myklhoey: I totally disagree, you have to give a fighter a chance to come back from that, people have come back from shit like that and will in the future- now if she was OUT it would be a dif story, but she wasn't out.
Yuri4980- January 8, 2011 at 10:31 am
That cornerman was tossing a mean motorboat running around the ring with Nunes.
Smitty- January 8, 2011 at 10:21 am
The announcer for SF, Mauro...........yeah, he needs to die as soon as possible.
Goog- January 8, 2011 at 10:02 am
That's what my wife gets if I gotta ask twice where my breakfast is.
Lysol- January 8, 2011 at 9:48 am
Strikeforce Challengers cards worth watching. I'm not going to get used to it just yet, but still good for the sport.
myklhoey- January 8, 2011 at 9:41 am
you no if theres one thing that pisses me off in mma, its retarded fukin refs,
this freakin bone head pranced to the otha side wen budd got droped and then looked on as 7 undefened hamma fista broke her face,
i fukin hate that shit, everyone is on big john mcarthys nuts wen it comes to callin a mma match,
r u all connected to the same single brain cell, all u need to do is watch the matches he called, and see that he allowed more punishment to a fighta than not,
skeletor- January 8, 2011 at 9:16 am
Congratulations Amanda Nunes you have earned the right to be the next woman no one has ever heard of to be killed by Cyborg! Womans MMA is such a deep pool of talent I don't know why men even fight. Hopefully for her sake Kim Winslow is not reffing that night
SnallTrippin- January 8, 2011 at 9:03 am
There's a free preview weekend?!!? Finally some USEFUL news here! ...I kid, I kid...

Good vid.