ProMMA.info is on the scene in Fresno, Calif. for tonight’s Strikeforce – Challengers Series 4 event at the Save Mart Arena. We will be providing live commentary and play-by-play updates of all the action. In the main event on tonight’s card UFC veteran Jorge Gurgel takes on Billy Evangelista in what is sure to be an exciting lightweight showdown.
Also fighting on the card is The Ultimate Fighter season 7 contestant Jesse “JT Money” Taylor, taking on American Kickboxing Academy rising middleweight prospect Luke Rockhold. Also, local favorite Casey “The Underdog” Olson faces Chris Culley in a featherweight match-up. Prelims start at approximately 6 p.m. PT.
Strikeforce – Challengers Series 4 quick results:
- Billy Evangelista def. Jorge Gurgel by unanimous decision
- Shane del Rosario def. Brandon Cash by submission (omoplata) Rd 1 (2:57)*
- Luke Rockhold def. Jesse Taylor by submission (rear naked choke) Rd 1 (3:42)
- Merritt Warren def. Thomas Diagne by submission (heel hook) Rd 1 (3:49)
- Zoila Frausto def. Elisha Helsper by unanimous decision
- Ben Holscher def. Johnny Goh by unanimous decision
- Casey Olson def. Chris Culley by TKO (strikes) Rd 1
- Cole Escovedo def. Maurice Eazel by TKO (strikes) Rd 1 (1:47)
- Rico Altamirano def. Alex Trevino by unanimous decision
Strikeforce – Challengers Series 4 play-by-play
Alex Trevino (170.5) vs. Rico Altamirano (171)
Round 1 -Rico gets the early takedown after they exchange hands standing. Altamarino postures and strikes down from the open guard of Trevino. Rico fires some more aggresive strikes form the gguard and then backs out allowing Trevino to stand. Trevino gets taken down again. Rico stands with Trevino’s back against the cage and kicks at his feet. Trevino regains his stance and they exchange jabs. Trevino is off balance in striking and falls. He fires an up kick form his back and gets back to his feet. Alex shoots but the takedown is reversed swiftly and Rico gets the round 10-9.
Round 2 – Trevino is much more competitive in this round with his striking. His mixes his attacks but gets penalized with an upkick to his opponent as he was on his knees standing over him. The short notice seems to be taking its toll on Trevino and Altamirano consistenly applies pressure. The rounds ends with Alex on top again within Trevino’s guard. 10 -9 Altamarino.
Round 3 – Rd 3 was much slower with the action as both fighters slowed and Rico wins this fight hands down. A great perfomance from Trevino on 2 days notice. The official scores are 30-27 for Rico Altamirano.
Cole Escovedo (135.5) vs. Maurice Eazel (133)
Round 1 – Cole attempts a big head kick followed by a flying submission attempt. They continue to fell each other out on the feet and finally Cole lands a HUGE left high kick and follows his opponent to the mat. The ref is slow to break the fight as Escovedo rains down strikes from the top against the cage. Escovedo wins by TKO at 1:47 of the first round
Casey Olson (145.5) vs. Chris Culley (148.5)
Round 1 – courtesy of Danny Acosta – R1: Olson looks for takedowns and hasn’t found any. When he does, its a double leg and ala Matt Hughes, Olson walks him across the cage to his corner and slams him, immediately finding full mount. He pounds away in a fever to a stoppage. Even Jay Glazer in his corner couldn’t help Culley.
Ben Holscher (155.5) vs. Johnny Goh (154)
Round 1 – The crowd goes wild for the hometown favorite Holscher. Stiff right hand by the fresno native gets the crowd excited and he scores a takedown. Goh keeps him in the body triangle while Holscher peppers him to the body. Various attempts at a scramble but the fighters basicallly maintain the position with Holscher on top. 10 -9 Holscher
Round 2 – Another big takedown for Holscher against the cage. the move again with no advancement of position by either fighter. Surprinsgly, the Fresno crowd does not BOO instantly and lets the fighters work. They make it back to thier feet for a brief exchange before Holscher takes him back to the ground. Holscher has him trapped momentarily in the crucifix position, but Goh uses the cage to free his arm. Holscher maintains side mount. Goh regains the guard position asthe round ends. 10 – 9 Holscher
Round 3 – Another takedown for Holscher and the pattern seems to continue. Goh looked to arm drag his opponent and take his back but Holscher defends properly. The pattern continues ad ben maintains top position and peppers Goh with strikes effectively. He seems content to ride this out for a decision. Suddenly an upkick by Goh sits Holscher down and he springs in to follow up. Holscher seems stunned and buries his head under Goh’s crotch as Goh attempts to finish. Holscher toughed it out and reversed the position regaining side mount.
The decision is 30-27 on all the cards for Ben Holscher.
First off, I think Al Bernstein forgot Stephen Quadros’ name. He said, “I’m here with my good friend… uh “The Fight Professor” uh… Stephen Quadros. It’s all good though… I think.
Elisha Helsper (134.5) vs. Zoila Frausto (132.5)
Round 1 – Zoila is a Fresno resident. Zoila with a Superwoman punch but misses. Zoila looks vicious. Helsper has a wrestling background. Head kick by Frausto. Nice leg kick by Zoila. Both women look very solid and have good technique. Leg kick by Helsper. Frausto is hot. Leg kick by Helsper. So is Helsper actually but more so out of the ring. Nice right hand by Helsper followed by a leg kick. Side kick by Zoila. Nice left jab by Frausto. Leg kick by Zoila. Push kick by Zoila. Leg kick by Helsper. Superwoman punch lands for Zoila but she eats a nice left from Helsper. These girls are fun.
Round 2 – Helsper is coming of a three year layoff. Leg kick by Zoila. Helsper bum rushes and they clinch. They square up again in the center. Strikes thrown by nothing significant landing. Leg kick by Helsper. Zoila reminds me of a female Urijah Faber. Knee to the body by Zoila. Big head kick stuns Helsper and she is on her back. Zoila stands over her and throws punches while Helsper upkicks and lands one. Big cut under Helsper’s eye bleeding. Helsper comes in with punches but gets caught in the plum and eats some knees to the body. Thirty seconds left in the second round. Zoila is throwing punches with big power. Nice couple of punches to the face by Helsper as the bell sounds.
Round 3 – Bpdu locl tjem a flurry of body punches by Helsper. Now clinched against the cage with Zoila’s back to the cage. Helsper gets the takedown and has Zoila in half guard. Ref just stood them up way too quick. Pat Miletich complains about the stand up from the ref. Left hook from Zoila. Helsper pushes forward and Frausto clinches and throws a knee to the body. Helsper looking for a takedown from the clinch. Knees to the thighs by both ladies. Ref restarts them in the center. Left, right, left to the face by Frausto. A couple of rights to the face by Helsper. Frausto gets the trip takedown and Helsper is on her back. Frausto is standing throwing bombs from the hover position. That’s it. I love these five minute rounds for the ladies. I give all three rounds to Zoila Frausto. Helsper’s left eye is swollen shut.
OFFICIAL RESULT: Zoila Frausto defeats Elisha Helsper by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27 )
Thomas Diagne (155.5) vs. Merritt Warren (154)
Round 1 – Thomas with a leg kick. Warren is from Kentucky but trains at VIPMMA. Leg kick by Warren. Side kick powerfully connects from Thomas. Thomas trains with Cung Le and is using nice side kicks. He just picked Warren up very high and slammed him. Warren is in half guard. I saw Mr. Matt De La Rosa sitting ring side shooting photos. Hello Mr. Matt :) Warren has Thomas in his full guard. Warren goes for a leg lock as they scramble. Warren transitions to a reverse heel hook and Thomas taps out. Warren said if he lost this fight he could have retired. Good for him, he won.
OFFICIAL RESULT: Merritt Warren defeats Thomas Diagne by submission (heel hook) Round 1 (3:49).
Luke Rockhold (185.5) vs. Jesse Taylor (186)
Round 1 – Wow. Luke Rockhold was a skateboarder. Did not know that. Rockhold has won all his fights via submission and trains with AKA. In fact ProMMA.info along with Projekt Label is hosting Luke’s after party tonight in Fresno at Club Bliss. So check it out if you’re in the area. – Here we go. JT Money maker. Luke using side kicks for a jab. Luke sprawls. Taylor looking for the takedown. Luke defending very well. Taylor gets him down but bounces right up. Taylor finally gets a real takedown and is in Luke’s guard. Luke goes for an armbar, Taylor transitions and takes Luke’s back, Luke stands up, Taylor drags him down and takes Luke’s back again and Luke goes out the back door. Luke takes Taylor’s back now and is looking for the rear naked choke. Luke has hooks in and Taylor is in trouble. Luke has figure four lock around Taylor’s waist. Luke has the the arm under the chin. One minute and twenty seconds left and Taylor taps out. Fourth time in a row Luke wins by rear-naked choke. Wow! Wow! Wow! Don’t even know what to say, this dude is for REAL! Luke is now 6-0.
OFFICIAL RESULT: Luke Rockhold defeats Jesse Taylor by submission (rear naked choke) Round 1 (3:42).
Brandon Cash (256) vs. Shane del Rosario (240)
Round 1 – Cash drops del Rosario to the ground with a huge punch. Cash is trying to finish him with constant pressure. Del Rosario stands up momentarily but Cash puts him back down, continues with punches and gets full mount. Cash is still putting on the pressure. Del Rosario gets up again and Cash slams him. Del Rosario locks on a triangle choke but Cash escapes. Cash is in Del Rosario’s guard. He attempts and armbar on Cash, Cash stands up and out. Rosario locks in an omoplata, twists it tight and quick, and Brandon Cash taps out. Beautiful heavyweight fight. Holy crap! Cash is even excited about the fight. He knows he gave it his all and so did del Rosario.
OFFICIAL RESULT: Shane del Rosario defeats Brandon Cash by submission (omoplata) Round 1 (2:57).
*Note: This fight gets my vote for Fight of the Night (thus far anyway) and submission of the night and year (that I can remember right now)! I can’t think of a better submission victory this year.
Special Announcement: They just announced that Cung Le will make his return to Strikeforce on Dec. 19, 2009. No opponent was named but he will be fighting. Also on this card will be the Strikeforce debut of King Mo and Jacare vs. Matt Lindland.
Jorge Gurgel (159) vs. Billy Evangelista (159)
Round 1 – Jorge is all devious smiles and looks ready to go. Evangelista looks serious and solemn. Leg kick by JG. Right hand by Billy. Leg kick big time on JG’s leg. Big leg kick by JG. And returned by Billy. Left hook by JG and Billy returns the shot. Leg kick big one by Billy. Gurgel lands a left hook. Head kick blocked by Gurgel. Both fighters are being cautious a bit. Push kick by Billy. Leg kick by JG. Billy lands a nice right hand and Gurgel returns the favor. Big leg kick by JG. Leg kick by JG and returned by Billy and again. Nice exchange by both and JG lands a leg kick and Billy returns it. 20 seconds left in the round. Close fight so far. Billy eats a right hand and he takes Gurgel down as the bell sounds. Close round. Because of the takedown I think I would give the round to Billy… barely. But wouldn’t argue if you gave it to JG for aggression.
Round 2 – Billy is undefeated 9-0 and is the hometown hero from Fresno. Billy lands a big leg kick. They clinch and JG throws him off. Leg kick by JG. JG picking up the pace a bit. Leg kick by Billy. Gurgel throws a nice combination and Billy lands knee. Leg kick by JG and returned by Billy. Leg kick by JG. Spinning backfist followed by a kick and punc and Billy takes him down. JG has butterfly guard and Billy is landing some big punches. OH big shot by Billy. Full guard by JG. Billy is lighting JG up with ground and pound punches. JG looking for a kimura. Billy has JG pressed against the fence and is working him over, JG’s nose is bleeding – not badly. Billy is dominating the fight at this point and the ref stands them up. Bad stand up. Head kick by JG rocks Billy. Billy is rocked and JG locks on a tight guillotine. Close submission but Billy slips his head out and the bell sounds. JG stole that round at the end by hurting Billy with the head kick and nearly finished the fight with the guillotine choke.
Round 3 – Big leg kick by Billy and JG hits him back. Big right hand by JG. JG is the aggressor. Leg kick by JG. Right hand by JG and Billy lands one in return. JG comes in swinging. Leg kick by JG. Elbow and a right hand by Billy. Both guys landing some good shots but JG is the aggressor and lands a big overhand right. Right and left jabs by Billy, then a leg kick. Billy lands a big right. JG knows he needs this round. Right hand by Billy. JG goes for the trip takedown, but Billy doesn’t go. Left hand by JG. Right hand by Billy. One minute left. JG still stalking. Leg kick by JG, and again. Takedown by Billy but ate a kick going in and is bleeding badly. Ten seconds. JG throwing every limb from his back. I would give that round to Jorge Gurgel and the fight to Gurgel 29-28. Billy Evangelista’s face tells the whole story of who won. His face is busted up and Jorge looks fine.
OFFICIAL RESULT: Billy Evangelista defeats Jorge Gurgel by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28).
Note: I don’t agree with the decision but it is his hometown and it’s not the worst decision I’ve ever seen. However, I am ECSTATIC to see that Jorge Gurgel is using jiu jitsu in his game now. LOVE IT! He almost finished it. Good night folks! See ya in Chicago.