Strikeforce Challengers 16 took place in Kent, Wash., on Friday night. The crowd may have been sparse, but those in attendance and those watching on Showtime, were treated to a high-paced main event between lightweights Caros Fodor and James Terry.
Caros Fodor vs. James Terry
Coming into this fight, many pundits thought James Terry would be able to slow Caros Fodor down, something that most of his opponents haven’t been able to do lately.
Well, Terry wasn’t able to do it either.
In true blitzkrieg style, the former Marine stormed Terry from the opening bell, never relenting. A student of former Strikeforce middleweight champion Cung Le, Terry kept trying to separate and strike from range, but Fodor would have none of it. He stayed in close on Terry, stalking him around the cage, rocking him with punch combinations and knees to the body.
Terry was continually backpedaling, trying to land strikes, but Fodor proved hard to hit. And when Terry shifted gears, trying to find the takedown, Fodor was able to defend most of his attempts and rattle Terry with short punches and driving knees to the body.
Terry managed some solid offense in the third round, finally getting Fodor on the mat and working some solid ground and pound, but it was too little, too late.
“I was definitely working on my striking a lot,” said Fodor after the fight. “Terry’s an extremely tough guy. We had a great strategy and I was able to carry it out.”
He wasn’t able to put Terry away, but the strategy did earn a unanimous nod from the judges, who scored the bout 30-27, 30-27, and 29-28.
Fodor now would like to start ramping his way up to a title shot.
“Anybody, sir, who’ll get me closer to a title shot, sir,” the former Marine answered when asked who he would like to fight next. “This is four in a row for me and I’d like to start fighting the contenders and get my way up there, sir.”
Ryan Couture vs. Matt Ricehouse
Two undefeated and highly promising lightweights coming into the fight, Matt Ricehouse and Ryan Couture put on a tremendous display in Washington.
From beginning to end, both fighters threw everything they had at each other. The majority of the fight was spent on the feet, Couture often trying to clinch up, but Ricehouse was just as savvy in the clinch, trading knee for knee and punch for punch.
Couture didn’t want much to do with Ricehouse’s dangerous submission game, but Ricehouse did a good job countering Couture’s striking game on the feet, edging out a unanimous decision, 29-28 on all three scorecards.
“I tried to stay in the middle of the cage like everybody does, try to own middle,” Ricehouse said of his strategy.
“I think I did pretty good; he’s no joke.”
Ricehouse improved to 5-0, while Couture dropped to 2-1.
Lorenz Larkin vs. Gian Villante
Lorenz Larkin continues to be a great find for Strikeforce, although Gian Villante took Larkin out of his game in the opening round of their fight on Saturday night. Villante scored the takedown and ground and pounded his way to a dominant stanza, but the rest of the fight was all Larkin.
Once he got his motor running in round two, Larkin didn’t take his foot off the gas pedal. His creative striking style – mixing in blazing kicks and knees with a blistering jab – allowed Larkin to pick Villante apart for the remainder of the fight.
He earned a unanimous decision from the judges, who scored it 29-28 on all three scorecards. Larkin remains undefeated, with his record now a perfect 11-0.
Jason High vs. Quinn Mulhern
It may not have been the most entertaining fight of the night, but Jason High dominated King of the Cage welterweight champion Quinn Mulhern from bell to bell.
Despite a four-inch reach advantage and being six inches taller, Mulhern wasn’t able to capitalize on his physical features. High instead was patient in the stand-up, forcing Mulhern to step in on him and negating his reach advantage.
But where High excelled was his wrestling. He took Mulhern down over and over throughout the fight, punctuating his dominance by picking Mulhern up and slamming him to the mat with about 30 seconds left in the bout.
The fans, however, and even High himself, didn’t seem to be all that pleased.
“It was okay,” said High. “I’d like to be able to do more. Still working on changing some things, trying to get better.
“But the important thing is that I got in there tonight and got the W.”
Julia Budd vs. Germaine de Randamie
Julia Budd, going into her fight with Germaine de Randamie, knew she didn’t want to stand with the kickboxer from the Netherlands. In fact, she did that once before, in a kickboxing bout, and got knocked out.
“This is a rematch. I lost to her in a minute-thirty in a kickboxing fight,” said Budd after the fight.
There was no chance of that happening this time as Budd, for the better part of the fight, put de Randamie on her back, grounding and pounding her. That was the plan coming in, and although de Randamie avoided most of the takedowns in round three and applied some solid ground and pound of her own, the strategy earned Budd a 29-28 nod from all three judges.
“I worked my wrestling a lot. I know that she’s a good stand-up fighter,” said Budd. “She hits hard, so I wanted to wrestle her. I know it’s not good to watch, but you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.
“I trained day and night for this fight, and I knew I was leaving that cage with the win.”
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