Local MMA fighters do us proud at Strikeforce in Columbus, Ohio

At their Friday weigh-in, Dan Henderson (left) and Rafael Cavalcante (right) pose for a photo.

Defying Father Time, the 40 year-old Dan Henderson (27-8) of Team Quest, Temecula, CA. came through again after delivering one of his patented H-bombs on the 29 year-old former light heavyweight champ, Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante (10-3) of Black House Team Nogueira. Until Henderson landed his devastating overhand right, the match was dead even. After being hit, Cavalcante fell backwards with Henderson in tow. Henderson then jumped on his back, and continued to wail away at Cavalcante with looping right hands to the head. Fearing the worst, the referee quickly dove in to stop the carnage.

Liz Carmouche of the San Diego Combat Academy (left) and Marloes Coenen of Amsterdam, Netherlands pose for a photo at their weigh-in for Saturday's championship bout in Columbus, Ohio.


In the co-main event, Liz “Girl-rilla” Carmouche, a petite, 27 year-old, former Marine, now local MMA instructor at the San Diego Combat Academy, appeared well on her way to defeating Marloes Coenen, the 29 year-old Strikeforce world champion from


Amsterdam, Netherlands, until getting caught in a triangle choke which forced her to tap out at 1:29 in the fourth round.

Until that surprising move, Carmouche, now 6-1-0, 4 KOs, who took the fight on less than two weeks’ notice, was well ahead on the score cards. After an even first round, Coenen (19-4-3, with 14 submissions) spent the bulk of the second and third rounds looking almost helpless on the ground while getting pummeled.

What was really surprising was how Coenen could take such punishment. Then in the fourth round she got her legs up to find their way around the neck and arm of Carmouche. She managed the winning maneuver after Carmouche drove forward for a takedown. When they hit the mat Carmouche’s arm became trapped between Coenen’s legs, letting the champion encircle the challenger’s neck to cinch the triangle choke.

Despite the lack of time to prepare, Carmouche outfought Coenen by taking her down three times, mounting her twice and having dominant position four times. She did most of her damage while mounted on top of the champion and out-striking her 91-9 in the second round and 88-14 in the third.

Born in Okinawa, Japan, Carmouche is of Lebanese descent. She spent five years in the Marine Corps with the three tours in Iraq. She now trains at the San Diego Combat Academy where she has gotten expert help from coaches Manolo Hernandez and Baret Yoshida for MMA and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Priest “Tiger” Smalls for boxing.


Melvin Manhoef (left) and Tim Kennedy (right) pose for a photo at their weigh-in on Friday, March 4, 2011.

Representing a second branch of the service, Tim Kennedy (13-3 with 7 wins by submission), a 30 year-old, ex-Green Beret, disposed of the still lightning quick 34 year-old Melvin Manhoef (24-9-1, 23 KOs). After Kennedy got Manhoef on the ground, he proved to be the better wrestler, grappler.



At their weigh-in on Friday, Jorge Masvidal (left) and Billy Evangelista (right) pose for a photo.

In the opening bout of the telecast Jorge Masvidal (21-6) of Miami, Florida faced lightweight Billy Evangelista (6-1) of Fresno, CA. Evangelista was no match for the taller, more experienced striker who landed 60 percent of his punches and was successful on 4 of his 5 takedowns. He seemed to be one step ahead all the way.

The show, Strikeforce’s first in the state of Ohio, took place in conjunction with the Arnold Sports Festival, the nation’s largest health and fitness exposition founded by Arnold Schwarzenegger. The event also featured six preliminary bouts showcasing local Mixed Martial Artists.



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