Strikeforce results Melendez vs Masvidal, Cyborg vs Yamanaka

Who's next? Many believe Cris Cyborg Santos (top) will be the female pound for pound Mixed Martial Artist World champion for a long, long time.

When Strikeforce announced they had so many exciting fighters on their December 17, 2011 fight card and that this event was going to be held at the Valley View Casino Center in Point Loma, the local MMA fans were ecstatic. Once again, the big boys were giving San Diego its props for having arguably the greatest MMA fighters and fans in the world.

But then, as luck would have it, Saturday’s show turned out to be a bit of a downer with so many quickie bouts. Three of the nine contests didn’t even go a minute, and one, the Cris Cyborg Santos versus Hiroko Yamanaka of Japan bout, only lasted 16 seconds.

Over the years, Japan had been a hot bed for mixed martial artists. The pioneers in Japanese mixed martial arts included the likes of Kazushi Sakuraba, Masakatsu Funaki, Minoru Suzuki and the rarely talked about founder of both Shooto and Japanese mixed martial arts Satoru Sayama. Even before the UFC there was Shooto, the sport of Japanese mixed martial arts which has been around since 1985.

Suggestion: if Hiroko Yamanaka is the best female Mixed Martial Artist that Japan has to offer, perhaps Strikeforce should think twice about seeking out fighters from that country. Come to think of it, Bruce Lee, Jet Li and Tommy Chan are not from Japan, they are all of Chinese ancestry.

Anyway, the best bout, the most exciting bout on Saturday’s fight card was the Herman Terrado versus Chris Brown bout, the first bout of the evening. Since this bout featured two welterweights making their Strikeforce debut, perhaps they went overboard to entertain the patrons. In this one, Herman “The Hitman” Terrado scored an exciting come-from behind armbar finish.

Terrado opened aggressively by throwing these wild looping, haymaker punches, the kind that put holes in the wall. After Brown, the taller of the two, dodged the punches, he managed to secure Terrado against the fence. They then broke free, but not before Brown landed several knees to Terrado’s midsection which did enough to slow Terrado’s takedown attempts. The first round was mostly a standup exchange, with Brown landing the better of the leg kicks and a couple of short combos toward the end of the round. In the final seconds of round one, Terrado shot and landed in a guillotine, but Brown was unable to finish before the clock sounded.

In the second round, Terrado twice scored takedowns, but after the second one, Brown was able to sneak out the back and wind up on top where he delivered vicious fists and elbows. Though Terrado escaped, he was again returned to the mat. Brown again stood over him and delivered more punishment. Late in the round an illegal up-kick by Terrado while Brown was in guard, drew a break in the action and a point deduction from referee Steven Davis.

In the final round, Terrado launched another one of his wild takedown attempts. The two locked against the cage, trading fists, before another Brown knee motivated Terrado to retreat. Standing in front of one another in the center of the cage, Terrado was visibly exhausted, eating kicks and jabs, at times with his arms down. After another lunging takedown attempt, he used momentum to drop Brown, who easily tied him up to try and neutralize Terrado. Eventually Terrado worked his way into a high mount on Brown’s chest. As Brown rolled to try and exit out the back again, he was nearly successful but left an arm behind, which Terrado cranked to draw the tap out at 4:05 of that final round.

The loss ended Brown’s perfect record, leaving him 5-1; while Terrado now boasts a 7-2 mark with all of his wins coming via stoppage.
Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Masvidal

In the show’s Main Event Gilbert Melendez showed no fear as he stood toe-to-toe with Jorge Masvidal to eventually wear him down. After Round #1, Melendez started using combinations that found their mark with increasing accuracy. Even though Melendez’ face showed more damage, the champion was definitely getting the better of Masvidal in terms of accuracy, diversity and sheer volume of punches.

Judges scored the bout 50-45, 50-45, 49-46 for Melendez, whose record goes to 20-2, while Masvidal’s drops to 22-7.

Cris “Cyborg” Santos vs. Hiroko Yamanaka

Santos, returning to the cage after an 18 month layoff, showed no rust. That’s a stupid thing to say. How could she? After just 16 seconds into the first round, she put her opponent away. She had knocked her opponent down twice.

Yamanaka, three inches taller, appeared unafraid to punch with the champion and came straight at her. The ill-advised strategy was met, unsurprisingly, with blows from Cyborg that immediately dropped the Japanese star. Cyborg followed up with punches and climbed on Yamanaka’s back, but then allowed her to get up. At that point, Cyborg followed her prey across the cage to land a series of left-and-right combinations that backed Yamanaka against the fence before dropping her again, this time for good.

Post-fight stats showed Yamanaka landed one of her three punches; Cyborg landed 15 of her 21, all thrown inside this abridged 16-second bout.

Gegard Mousasi vs. Ovince St. Preux

This fight was billed as a battle between the up and comer with his eight-fight win streak, St. Preux, going up against the seasoned veteran of eight years and a former Strikeforce champion, Mousasi.

Mousasi confirmed he has no intention of relinquishing his place in the MMA hierarchy, least of all to St. Preux. In the end, Mousasi earned an unanimous decision win 29-28 on all three judges scorecards to improve his record to 32-3-2. St. Preux drops to 11-5.

K. J. Noons vs. Billy Evangelista

The two lightweight contenders were separated by only two years and two inches (Noons being the taller and younger), with both having 12 and 13 pro fights to their names, respectively. In this one, it was whatever Evangelista did, Noons retaliated in kind by doing it better and more often.

Undercard results:

Justin Wilcox vs. Caros Fodor

This was one of those classic striker-vs-grappler pairings and the second bout in a row to end in under a minute.

After a brief exchange of punches, the AKA-trained wrestler, Wilcox, was caught by a short right to the head that dropped him. Fodor then pounced on him with followup strikes to cause the referee to wave the bout off at just 13 seconds into the fight.

The win, Fodor’s fifth Strikeforce victory in a row, brings his record to 7-1; Wilcox falls to 11-4 with 1 NC.

Roger Bowling vs. Jerron Peoples

Bowling’s short flurry, sealed by a wicked uppercut ended this bout in 42 seconds.

The fight started with both men unloading at the same time, trading kicks and whiffing hooks. Then Peoples connected with a hook, which was answered by a brutal combo from Bowling that had Peoples against the fence and woozy. At that point Bowling unloaded.

The KO victory moves Bowling to 10-2; Peoples slips to 4-3.

Devin Cole vs. Gabriel Salinas-Jones

In the battle of heavyweights, Cole, with across the board scores of 30-27, got the victory over Salinas-Jones. The two fought mostly in close quarters and against the cage with the college wrestler, Cole, working tirelessly to take his opponent to the canvas.

Record wise, Salinas-Jones, a San Diego native now living in Chicago, goes to 5-1. With the win, Cole’s goes to 20-9-1, which came.

Fernando Gonzalez vs. Eddie Mendez

A second pair of locals, Sun Valley’s Mendez and Murrieta’s Gonzalez, middleweights, entered the hexagon hoping to introduce themselves to the Strikeforce audience. In the end it was Mendez walking away with a majority decision.

After a brief stint on the ground Mendez pushed forward with punches, combinations, testing kicks and a couple of takedowns; and while none landed with enough force to put Gonzalez in danger, he convincingly racked up points. At different times Gonzalez did answer with his own strikes and did in fact have Mendez on the mat in the final minutes with himself on top.

Final scores for Mendes (who’s now 6-1-1) were 30-27, 29-28 with one 28-29 for Gonzalez, whose record drops to 17-10.


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