“Strikeforce Challengers 9” recap: Del Rosario blasts thru Mahe, Kaufman KO’s Modafferi by power slam

EVERETT, Wash. — Shane Del Rosario (10-0 MMA, 5-0 SF) wasted little time in showing why he is an undefeated Heavyweight prospect, dominating Lolohea Mahe with a barrage of powerful kicks, straight punches, and knees from the clinch.

With Mahe pressed against the cage midway through the first round, Del Rosario landed a crunching knee to the face Mahe, but it was a brutal knee to the body that took Mahe down, forcing the referee to step in and stop the action.

Del Rosario is unlikely to fight on another Challengers card again with his fifth straight win in Strikeforce, and with amassing a perfect 10-0 record overall.

Following the fight, Bobby Lashley was briefly mentioned as a possible next opponent for Del Rosario, but the post-fight talk quickly turned to Andrei Arlovski.

“He’s a great fighter, and I’ve always been a fan of him, that would be an ultimate test for me,” said Del Rosario. “I’m down for it.”

Sarah Kaufman defends title by power slam over Modafferi

The question coming in to this 135 lb. title fight was, would Roxanne Modafferi be able to get this fight to the ground? Modafferi did that and more, taking Kaufman deep into the third round, executing a very solid gameplan of tying up the dangerous striker and working the stronger champion to the ground on multiple occasions.

In the second stanza, Kaufman started to get her timing down, landing solid straight punches to the face of Modafferi, but once again, Modafferi was able to get the fight to the ground, keeping the champion from putting together any kinds of flurries or sustained combos on her feet.

In the end, Modafferi had Kaufman right where she wanted her, looking to lock up an arm bar when it happened.

Kaufman, “Rampage” style, elevated the body of Modafferi while fighting off the submission attempt, and brutally power slammed her to the mat, knocking her unconscious, effectively making her statement to the Strikeforce brass without saying a single word.

After the fight, Kaufman (12-0 MMA, 4-0 SF) once again voiced her displeasure of being on a Challengers card.

“Get me on main cards on Showtime guys,” said Kaufman. “I think I deserve it, put me on there.”

With a highlight reel finish like that, it will be hard to argue with the defending 135 lb. women’s champion.

Bobby Voelker defeats Cory Devela by split decision

In a very close bout, it was Bobby Voelker that came out on top of the judges cards by split decision over Cory Devela, eliciting a chorus of boos from the hometown audience.

Devela dominated the first round, taking Voelker to the ground and dropping big shots from a high full mount position. Voelker survived and eventually made his way back to his feet as the bell sounded on the first stanza.

The second round saw Voelker turn the tables on Devela, as he reversed position and remained on top for much of the rest of the second round.

The final round was a back and forth battle, with both guys trading on their feet and fighting a chess game on the ground, but it may have been the late take downs that Voelker secured that made the difference on the judges cards.

Mike Kyle submits Abongo Humphrey

Abongo Humphrey had said that he would stay in the face of Mike Kyle coming into this bout, and he stayed true to his word. Humphrey stalked Kyle relentlessly early on trying to keep pressure on the dangerous Kyle. The first round of the fight was a back-and-forth affair as Kyle landed the better of the standing strikes, while Humphrey did more damage on the ground.

Humphrey visibly slowed in the second round, and after a questionable and very quick stand up by the referee with Humphrey on top and in the full guard of Kyle, it was Kyle that took the fight to the mat and started to take control of the fight.

Once on the ground, Kyle quickly worked to full mount, forcing Humphrey to roll and give up his back. Kyle rained down big shots to the head of Humphrey from his back, before transitioning to a quick fight ending rear naked choke, forcing the tap.

The win for Kyle catapults him into title contention, and he is likely to face the winner of the “King Mo” Lawal vs. Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante title fight.

Fodor impressive in Strikeforce debut

Caros “The Future” Fodor showed that his time is now, at least for tonight, with a dominating victory over Thomas Diagne. The former Marine used a smothering style to nullify the flashy striking skills of Diagne throughout the bout, en route to a 30-27, 30-27, 30-27 unanimous decision victory.

Fodor started quickly, dropping Diagne in the first round on two occasions with short left hooks. Diagne was able to recover and get back to his feet, but once there, Fodor used his patented clinch game to continue scoring with left hands and knees to the legs of Diagne.

Once the defenses of Diagne were softened, Fodor took the fight to the mat and worked his submission game effectively, and although he was unable to put away his opponent with a late kimura attempt, the fight continued to be a one-sided affair until the bell sounded on the final stanza. The win moves Fodor to 6-2 overall and 1-0 in Strikeforce.

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