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Strikeforce Challengers 14 recap: Healy edges Beerbohm in back-and-forth affair

Photo by Esther Lin for Strikeforce

AUSTIN, Texas —  Pat Healy was the first to put an “L” on the record of Lyle Beerbohm, but it was far from easy.

The two fighters put on a grappling clinic over three rounds of nonstop action. Neither fighter ever managed to establish any type of dominance as the fight turned into a series of momentum changes, ever-changing positional battles, and epic transitions.

There was no shortage of submission attempts either.

While Beerbohm controlled the pace and established cage control throughout most of the fight, it was Healy that came closest to actually finishing the fight. He managed to subdue the scrappy “Fancy Pants” late in the second round, if only for a few moments, with a dominant crucifix position that turned into an inverted triangle. Healy upped the ante, locking the arm of Beerbohm behind his back, and it appeared that the end may be near for “Fancy Pants.”

Somehow, Beerbohm managed to survive to see the third round, and after two rounds in the books, it was anybody’s guess who was on top on the judge’s scorecards.

The final stanza was a near carbon copy of the first two. Healy did manage to establish his jab more effectively, but once the fight hit the mat, it was back to nonstop transitions and scrambles.

In the end, Healy (26-17 MMA, 2-1 SF, 0-1 UFC) was awarded a close unanimous decision victory with scores of 29-28 on all three cards. Beerbohm falls to 15-1 after his first professional loss.

“I think I outworked him, outhustled him and won the exchanges on the feet,” Healy said. “That’s where I took it.”

Carlo Prater makes quick work of Travers

Carlo Prater came into this bout with back-to-back losses, but needed less than a minute — 38 seconds to be exact — to put another “W” in his win column with a first round finish of Bryan Travers.

After a brief exchange, Prater used a slick inside leg trip to take the fight to the ground. Travers tried to grab a leg, but Prater sprawled and secured the neck of Travers and locked up a tight anaconda choke. After a quick re-position of his legs and body, Prater secured the leg of Travers and finished the fight with the choke.

Prater (26-10-1 MMA, 1-0 SF), was very emotional after the victory.

“We’re up. We’re down. We lose our job. We’ve got to get up and look for another one. It’s been a hard couple of years. I don’t know what tomorrow brings for me.”

Ryan Couture remains perfect with dominating victory over Lee Higgins

Ryan Couture relied on his patience early in the fight to soften up Lee Higgins, picking and choosing both his stances and his striking attacks in the first round. Couture switched stances often, and unleashed his arsenal of kicks before taking Higgins to the ground late in the first stanza.

Couture immediately looked for a finish, first with a guillotine attempt from the top position, and then a d’arce choke as time ran out on the first round.

Couture’s domination continued into the second round, where he landed a short right hook that dropped Higgins where he stood. Higgins recovered quickly, but Couture put him on his back almost immediately, and nearly finished the fight with a tight arm triangle.

Higgins would survive, but once again found himself on the wrong end of yet another submission attempt as Couture locked up a tight body triangle and rear naked choke. Higgins would survive to see the start of the 3rd and final stanza.

Higgins had no answer for the pressure of Couture, and after once again being put on his back, he found himself fighting for his life.

Couture went right back to a dominate position, taking the back of Higgins and locking up another tight body triangle. Higgins fought off the initial attack on his neck by prying off the hands, but Couture was relentless, re-adjusting his grip and finishing the fight after soliciting a tap from the very tough Higgins.

Couture moves to 2-0 in his young MMA career, and will likely see a sizable bump up in competition in the near future with the impressive victory.

Ryan Larson impressive in Strikeforce debut

Ryan Larson has said that he is all about bringing the pressure and breaking his opponents. Erik Apple got a taste of that philosophy Friday night.

Larson was accurate with pinpoint knee strikes from the clinch early, while Apple threw wild, winging uppercuts up the middle that simply did not find their mark. The difference in the fight came when Larson took the fight to the mat and dominated the action on the ground.

Larson showed off impressive transitions, moving from side control to a dominating crucifix position, peppering Apple with punches from the top before isolating an arm and looking for a kimura.

Apple deftly defended the submission attempt, and after a scramble near the end of the round, managed to secure the ankle of Larson and nearly turned the tables with a knee bar. Larson defended the submission attempt until  the bell sounded on round 1.

Larson capitalized on a quick take down early in the second, then quickly moved to mount looking to finish. Apple managed to scramble back to half guard, but Larson transitioned to the back of Apple, then commenced dropping big left hands to the face of Apple.

Once Apple rolled to survive the onslaught, Larson moved to a high full mount and after isolating an arm, locked up a triangle from the mount position, then rolled to his back looking to finish the fight. The tap came quickly, capping a very impressive debut for Ryan Larson.

The victory improves Larson’s overall MMA record to 6-2 (1-0 Strikeforce).

David Douglas destroys Nick Gonzalez

David Douglas is a big, strong fighter at 155 pounds. It was no surprise then, that in a catchweight bout at 150 pounds, that he would be much bigger than Nick Gonzalez, who is a natural featherweight.

Douglas came flying out of the gate with a barrage of wild punches, forcing the smaller Gonzalez to quickly implement his game plan of being the more elusive fighter.

Douglas continued to pursue Gonzalez, and after landing a lead right hand, he followed up with a powerful, short left hand that dropped Gonzalez. Gonzalez struggled for position to survive, but ate an unhealthy dose of right hands before rolling and giving up his back.

Douglas switched from power puncher, to submission grappler seamlessly, securing a tight rear naked choke that quickly ended the night of Gonzalez.

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