Depending on how you look at it, this week was either the perfect complement or an immediate counterpoint to Dana White’s recent claims that there could never be too much MMA on TV. What with UFC 120, Countdown, Primetime, TUF, Bellator and Challengers all leading up to the only show that really matters tonight, this week pretty much planned itself for fans who were so inclined. In light of that crush of programming, it’s perfectly understandable if you totally spaced on the fact that Strikeforce put on an event last night headlined by a rematch between a guy named Bobby Voelker and a guy called Roger Bowling. It’s cool. You probably had other stuff going on.
If you’re not a huge Challengers fan you also likely have no reason to remember that their first meeting back in May ended in a controversial win for Bowling. Something about an eye poke and a technical decision. From the sound of the talk between Mauro, Pat and Quadros here, the previously undefeated Bowling came into Friday’s bout considered a bit of a prospect who was looking to “graduate” from Challengers to the big show. Not to give away the ending, but shit doesn’t quite work out that way. Decent fight, though.
Also on this card, Lavar Johnson – who Strikeforce has taken to promoting as “The Miracle Man” after his comeback from a horrific shooting at a Fourth of July barbecue last summer – picked up another gimme win against Virgil Zwicker. Johnson is clearly one of MMA’s best stories, but now with seven wins in a row dating back to 2008 the company is going to have to start serving him a higher level of competition to keep him relevant. Seriously, it would be nice to see Johnson fight somebody who at least appears to pose some sort of physical threat to him.
Billy Evangelista returned from an 11 month layoff and despite losing the battle of sweet names to Waachiim Spirit Wolf, won a unanimous decision in what was also a fairly watchable fight, if you care to look it up.
In women’s action, Julia Budd upset Shana Olson in her pro MMA debut by sheer gigantism. For real, Budd looked enormous at 145-pounds and just sat down on top of Olson during a couple of takedown attempts. She was pretty impressive actually, en route to a TKO stoppage in the second round. Impressive enough to be a danger to Cyborg? No, not even close. But still, hats off.
At heavyweight, John Devine submitted Brandon Cash in the first round.
All in all in was an OK show the just about nobody probably watched. I suppose, this could lead to further discussion about Strikeforce’s promotional efforts, what exactly it’s trying to do with the Challengers series and whether or not it just punted this one away given its proximity to Lesnar vs. Velasquez, but I don’t see the point right now. Frankly, I’m astonished you even read this far down.