The fourth edition of the Strikeforce Challengers series took place Friday night, Nov. 6, in Fresno, Calif. The local MMA scene was represented well with a handful of fighters from the Fresno area on both the under card and main card. Fresno legend and staph infection survivor Cole Escovedo was first up.
Escovedo’s near death experience from a misdiagnosed illness is well documented. Cole came out with fire in his eyes and look possessed from the opening bell. His first offensive attempt came in the form of a flying submission attempt.
Although unsuccessful, he followed that up with an enormous high kick that found the mark. Escovedo followed his stunned opponent to the mat instantly. The referee was right on top of the action but hesitated in stopping the fight, allowing “The Apache Kid” to land several unanswered and unnecessary shots.
Next up was SLO fighter Casey Olson. To say the crowd was supportive of Olson is an understatement. Olson proceeded to give the crowd exactly what they wanted with an emphatic slam followed by ruthless ground n’ pound that found its mark. In under two minutes into the first round the fight was over.
The final local representative on the under card came in the form of Ben “The Teacher” Holscher. The Holscher fight was more methodical and Ben found a pattern that worked for him. Holscher went out and consistently scored takedowns, worked from the top position, and scored points.
He avoided a near scare late in the fight as his opponent Johnny Goh landed a near crippling up-kick in the third round. To his credit, Holscher was able to defend while regaining his posture, reversed the position, and secured the unanimous decision.
Other Fresno locals Zoila Frausto and Billy Evangelista also competed on the televised portion of the card. Frausto took a unanimous decision in the opening fight of the televised portion and Evangelista defeated UFC lightweight veteran Jorge Gurgel by unanimous decision in the main event.
By: “Fast” Eddie Constantine