RYAN COUTURE IMPROVES TO 2-0; PRATER, LARSON, TARZAN ALSO TRIUMPHANT
Photos: Esther Lin/STRIKEFORCE
CEDAR PARK, Texas – In a hotly contested fight, Pat “Bam Bam’’ Healy of Portland, Ore., registered a razor-thin, unanimous three-round decision over previously unbeaten Lyle “Fancy Pants” Beerbohm of Spokane, Wash., in the main event Friday on STRIKEFORCE Challengers at Cedar Park Center live on SHOWTIME®.
In other results on the televised portion of a STRIKEFORCE Challengers event presented by Rockstar Energy Drink: Carlo “Neo’’ Prater (26-10-1), of Houston, Texas, submitted Bryan Travers (14-3), of San Jose, Calif., with an anaconda choke at 38 seconds in the first round in a catchweight bout at 160 pounds, unbeaten lightweight Ryan Couture (2-0), of Las Vegas, the son of MMA legend Randy Couture, submitted (rear-naked choke) Houston’s Lee Higgins (2-1) at 4:41 in the third round; local favorite Ryan Larson (6-2), of Albuquerque, N.M., submitted (triangle choke) Erik Apple (10-3), of Orange County, Calif., at 3:14 of the second round in a welterweight (170 pounds) skirmish and David “Tarzan’’ Douglas (7-2) of Antioch, Calif., submitted (rear-naked choke) Austin fan favorite Nick “The Ghost’’ Gonzalez (16-9, 1 NC) at 1:05 in the first round.
The victorious Healy (25-18) won by the scores of 29-28 on the three judges’ scorecards while Beerbohm dropped to 15-1.
“He talked a lot of trash, but if he wants a rematch, I’ll give him one anytime,’’ said Healy, who pushed former STRIKEFORCE World Lightweight Champion Josh Thomson to the brink before losing his last start on June 26, 2010, on SHOWTIME.
“Beerbohm fought a good fight but I think I outworked and outhustled him. I’d like to fight the winner of the March 5 fight between Billy Evangelista and Jorge Masvidal.’’
A member of Team Quest, Healy has won four of his last five fights and seven of nine. In a 10-year career, he’s defeated several big-name, quality opponents including Paul “Semtex’’ Daley, Carlos Condit and Dan Hardy.
Beerbohm, who not only suffered his first pro defeat but first ever in Mixed Martial Arts – he was 8-0 as an amateur — felt he’d done enough to get his hand raised.
“I definitely thought I won,’’ he said. “I thought going into the third we’d each won a round, but I definitely thought I won that last round. I took the fight to him from the start. But that’s what happens when you let it go to the hands of the judges.’’
The quick victory ended a two-fight losing streak for Prater, who’d also dropped four out of five. He used his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to take down Travers, and moments later it was over.
“My record shows I’m not a perfect fighter, but when you’re down you get up,’’ Prater said. “This was a good win, I’ll get better off this fight, but I’ll be right back in the gym soon.’’
Travers had won seven of eight going in. A six-fight winning streak was snapped when he lost a decision to Healy on STRIKEFORCE Challengers on May 21, 2010, in Portland, Ore., on SHOWTIME.
Couture, who turned pro for STRIKEFORCE on Aug. 13, 2010, is one of the most promising prospects in MMA, but he had to work to get the victory against a game Higgins.
“It felt good to be in there,’’ Couture said, “but the guy was tough as nails. I’m real glad I was able to get him there at the end. For the most part I was happy with my standup and getting almost 15 minutes in there was good.’’
In a battle of wrestlers, the well-conditioned Larson controlled the action from the outset against Apple, who was competing for the first time since Nov. 20, 2009.
“I think the key was to come out fast and dictate the pace,’’ said Larson, a member of Relson Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Austin. “It’s like a dream come true to fight for STRIKEFORCE and to win in my hometown.’’
Tarzan, a member of Cesar Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, dominated en route to winning his seventh fight inside the distance. The Ghostbuster, Douglas was the aggressor from the outset. He dropped Gonzalez with an overhand right followed by a left hook at about the 0:35 mark. He continued the punishment until the referee stopped matters.
“I wanted to show my Jiu-Jitsu skills,’’ said Douglas after outclassing the more experienced, local fan favorite. “Everyone says they never see my Jiu-Jitsu so I wanted to showcase them to the crowd. I do what they tell me. I’ll fight anybody. I feel most comfortable at 155 pounds. When I’m healthy, no one can beat me.’’
In Friday’s non-televised bouts, Aaron Lan Franco (2-0), of Austin, TKO 1 (punches, 4:22) over Thomas Diagne (1-3), of San Jose, at 155 pounds and in an all-Austin affair, Drew Pendleton (3-0) submitted (guillotine choke) Dennis Dombrow (2-1) at 2:38 of the second round at 145 pounds.
Friday’s event will re-air as follows:
Tuesday, Feb. 22, at 10 p.m. ET/PT SHO EXTREME
The telecast also will be available On Demand beginning Monday, Feb. 21, and running through March 6.
Mauro Ranallo called the action on SHOWTIME with The Fight Professor, Stephen Quadros, and MMA legend Pat Miletich serving as expert analysts.
Upcoming STRIKEFORCE Event on SHOWTIME: Saturday, March 5, World Championship Doubleheader – Dan Henderson (26-8) challenges defending champion Rafael “Feijao’’ Cavalcante (10-2) for the STRIKEFORCE World Light Heavyweight (205 pounds) Championship at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio, at 10 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast). In a second world title fight, Marloes “Rumina’’ Coenen (18-4) risks her STRIKEFORCE lightweight title for a first time against No. 1-ranked 135-pound contender, Miesha “Takedown’’ Tate (11-2), of Tacoma, Wash. Also, American military hero Tim Kennedy (12-3) vs. Melvin “No Mercy’’ Manhoef (24-8-1), middleweights; and undefeated Billy Evangelista (11-0) vs. Jorge Masvidal (20-6), lightweights. The event, STRIKEFORCE’s first in the state of Ohio, will take place in conjunction with The Arnold Sports Festival, the nation’s largest health and fitness exposition founded by Arnold Schwarzenegger.
For more information on SHOWTIME Sports, including exclusive video, photos and news links on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING and STRIKEFORCE mixed martial arts telecasts, along with access to the SHOWTIME Sports Facebook® and Twitter® pages, please go to http://Sports.Sho.com.