Strikeforce Challengers: Laver Johnson-Lolohea Mahe Cageside Blog

Erik Fontanez@@Erik_FontanezCorrespondent IMarch 27, 2010

The Save Mart Center in Fresno, Calif. is starting to fill with MMA fans as Strikeforce Challengers: Johnson vs. Mahe is getting ready to let the fighters into the cage.

The night will kick off with a few amateur fights en route to a main event bout between Lavar “Big” Johnson and Lolohea Mahe.

Lavar Johnson is in the cage right now testing out the canvas in his street clothes, but don’t worry, he plans to wear fight shorts later...I think.


6:58 - Fights will start in a little over 10 minutes.

7:10 - Announcer is giving love to all the sponsors and now calls Chris Buron to the cage. He’s walking out to my taste of music, hip hop. More specifically, Damien Marley ft. Nas—Road to Zion. As we say in the hip hop community, that sounds dope.

7:13 - Avery Kaleo is coming to cage now to Break Stuff by Limp Bizkit. Not exactly hip hop, but I still dig it.


This fight is an amateur bout so expect three, two-minute rounds.

Rd. 1 - From the get go, the local Kaleo is the aggressor. Halfway through the round, gets a takedown and establishes control. Not much going on in the guard, but Kaleo wins it 10-9 on my card.

Rd. 2 - Not much going on and it is apparent that Buron doesn’t really want to trade strikes with Kaleo. Kaleo is the better stand up fighter and if Buron doesn’t do something miraculous, this will be all for Kaleo.

Rd. 3 - Kaleo peppers Buron with strikes and gets another strong takedown. Buron can do nothing with Kaleo in his guard, showering him with small ground-and-pound strikes. The horn goes off and I have to say this will be a unanimous decision for the local kid, Avery Kaleo.

29-28 Kaleo, 29-28 Buron, 29-28 Kaleo. Kaleo wins by split decision.


7:28 - First bout of the night is done and I can't see why one of the judges saw Buron winning a round. Oh well, no matter. Kaleo took that fight and rightfully so. Crowd loved to see their local fighter win in the first fight.

7:37 - Ricky Jackson is coming down to the cage now to Lil’ Wayne. Halfway through the song, they cut it off for some reason. Don’t know why.

7:39 - Trinidad Valdez is coming to the cage now to some hard rock song that neither me nor my iPhone can recognize. That’s okay little iPhone, I don’t blame you. You’re still perfect in my eyes.


Rd. 1 - Welterweight amateurs are going at it in this 170-pound fight. Jackson gets caught with a shot early and the two go into a clinch. Valdez is throwing bombs looking to put Jackson out for the night. Jackson comes back with a shot late in the first round to get the KO. Valdez went down like a sack of potatoes.

Ricky Jackson wins by KO at 1:59 of the first round. Jackson KO’s a local guy to the dislike of the crowd.


7:52 - Guy in front of us just asked, "is there a girl fight?" Yes, there are girls fighting, but they can probably kick your ***.

7:55 - John Chacon is coming to the cage now. His choice of entrance music is Papa Roach Last Resort. He’s losing his sight, losing his mind. Should he be fighting in that condition? That was a joke. I know. I’ll stop...maybe.

7:58 - Local fighter Paul Ruiz is coming down to House of Pain, I think. Crowd loves this guy. I don’t know him but I like his choice of music.


Rd. 1 - Chacon gets smothered with strikes on his feet before the fight goes to the ground. Chacon takes Ruiz down with a grab of the heel. The fight gets back on the feet before Chacon gets a huge takedown. Round ends with Chacon in Ruiz’s guard. Pretty even so far, but I have to give it to Chacon for that monster takedown.

Rd. 2 - The fight gets intense on the feet before Chacon gets another takedown. This appears to be the only way Chacon can control this fight because Ruiz is out-striking him standing up. Ruiz tries to get a guillotine choke, but doesn’t get it to sink in deep enough. Round ends with little happening in a grappling match on the ground.

Rd. 3 - These guys are getting pretty intense. Chacon utilizes his wrestling to get this fight to the ground where he uses some ground-and-pound. Both of these guys have a lot in their tanks and looks like they can go all night. The last minute of the fight goes back and forth as far as control on the ground until Ruiz gets Chacon’s back where he peppers him with strikes to the side. Off to the judges.

29-28, 30-27, 29-28 Decision for Ruiz.


8:12 - John Devine is coming out to Eminem. Hip hop is taking the cake as far as the entrance music.

8:13 - Daniel Cormier is coming to the cage now. The Notorious BIG Dead Wrong is his entrance music. We’ll see who’s dead wrong by the end of this fight—another bad joke. I should be a comedy sidekick. You know, the guy in the movies who makes the stupid punch lines and eventually gets shot near the end of the movie.


Rd. 1 - Heavyweights going at it, and by the looks of their physiques, they don’t look like they can go all three rounds. Wait, spoke too soon. Who needs to go three rounds when you got CORMIER THROWING RIGHT HOOKS THAT KNOCK OUT DEVINE?!

Daniel Cormier wins by KO at 1:09 of Round 1.


8:23 - There are some ladies with some pink wigs sitting in the front row. I don’t know the science behind pulling off that fashion trend.

8:34 - Strikeforce ring girls are walking around the cage and the fellas in the crowd are liking it...and some women.

8:46 - Main card is about to start and Mauro Ranallo is calling the play-by-play for the Showtime viewers at home. First fight on the main card will be a 160-pound clash between Shamar Bailey and Justin “The Silverback” Wilcox. Just spoke to Josh at MMA Valor who says that every time they come to a Strikeforce card, Wilcox seems to fight on it. It’s like they’re connected or something.

8:56 - Wilcox is making his way to the cage now. One thing I’m noticing about both their entrances is that they’re coming into fight with a lot of muscle. Here we go!


Rd. 1 - Wilcox opens up a cut on Bailey’s face and the blood is getting in his right eye. Doesn’t look like he can see very well. Stand-up war—with Wilcox getting a majority of the strikes in. Ref calls timeout?! They’re checking Bailey’s cut.

Wilcox is landing a bunch of punches and Bailey is backing up. Wilcox goes in for a single leg, but to no avail. Yes, a takedown attempt. It was brief, but it happened.

Bailey goes in for a takedown but it gets stuffed and the horn sounds signaling the end of the round.

Rd. 2 - Wilcox is just overwhelming Bailey on his feet. Nearly finishes him with punches just after the start of the round. Whoops, Wilcox is claiming eye poke and the crowd boo's.

Bailey just doesn’t have an answer for Wilcox standing up, but refuses to take this fight to the ground. Wilcox throws a low kick and catches Bailey in the eggs. Ouch!

After a short break, the fight continues and Wilcox lands a solid head kick, but Bailey still stands. Wilcox finishes out the round by showering Bailey with punches and gets a big single leg takedown. I score it 10-9, Wilcox, on my card.

Rd. 3 - Wilcox still backing up Bailey in the third round. Bailey has taken a lot of strikes to the head in this one and he has to get a big KO or submission if he’s going to get this win.

Wilcox takes him down and gets the full mount. Bailey is holding on, but Wilcox is still landing a lot of small punches. Complete and utter control by Wilcox towards the end of the round. I see him winning the decision for sure.

Judges scored the fight 30-26, 30-27, 30-27, unanimous decision for Justin Wilcox.


9:25 - Miesha Tate is making here way to the cage to some generic dance music. Funny how the undercard guys get great music but the main card gets shafted. Small price for a main card, in my opinion.

9:27 - Local favorite and muay thai fighter Zoila Frausto is coming to the cage and the crowd is getting louder than it’s been all night. Small band of fans are chanting her name to the left of me. A lot of support of Zoila.


Rd. 1 - This will be a 135-pound fight between these ladies. The fight starts out as intense as the stare down was with Tate getting tagged with a stiff jab. Tate grabs the single leg and gets into side control on the ground. Bad place for Frausto to be against Tate.

Tate is now controlling Frausto on the ground. Tate gets the back but Frausto throws her off and the fight is back on the feet.

Crowd is now chanting, “Zoila, Zoila, Zoila,” but Tate gets the takedown again and transitions into side control. Round ends with Tate controlling Frausto from the side.

Rd. 2 - Tate is now willing to stand with Frausto, but pays for it with a clean head kick. Tate shakes it off and gets in the clinch.

Tate's able to get the fight to the ground, once again, and controls from the side. Frausto holds Tate’s head and the crowd is starting to get angry with boo's.

Three minutes into the round and not much has happened. Now, Tate gets the full mount and transitions into a clean arm bar! Frausto fights off the arm bar, but to no avail, and is forced to tap out. Wow, what a finish!

Official call is Tate by arm bar submission at 4:09 of Round 2.


9:50 - Andre Galvao is making his way to the cage now. This generic dance music is killing me but who cares what I think? Well, I care what I think and I think this music gives me a headache. Next track please!

9:53 - Luke Stewart is coming to the cage now with a background in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. I thought I saw Urijah Faber in his corner, but it was just a guy with similar hair.


Rd. 1 - Short exchange on the feet leads to a takedown by Galvao. Galvao stands up quickly while Stewart is on his back and lands a few standing punches, but the fight goes back to both on the ground.

A display of jiu-jitsu is on right now as the two are tangled up at the legs looking for ankle locks, but no one's is getting caught. Fight gets back up on the feet.

A long clinch against the cage ends in a takedown that quickly gets back on the feet. Stewart threw a few punches shortly after that but not much more. Not much happening in the first round.

Rd. 2 - Stewart throws a few kicks but causes minimal damage and the two clinch against the cage. The clinch breaks and the two fighters seem to still be testing their distances. A few small boo's later and that lights a fire under Stewart when he lands a few strikes.

Stewart lands a soft right kick to the ribs but it leaves a red spot on Galvao. Nothing too Cro Cop-ish though.

The fight goes to the ground and the two wrestle for position when Stewart transitions into Galvao’s guard. Not much happening with these two fighters.

Rd. 3 - Stewart is utilizing his kicks a lot but not landing a lot of huge blows, more tagging him and stacking up hits. The two clinch and trade knees before Galvao gets the takedown landing in Stewart’s guard.

Stewart reverses into side control and Galvao goes on the defensive until the fight gets back on the feet.

The guy next to me is on Facebook because he’s not interested in this fight at all. Part of me doesn’t blame him.

This fight has turned into a grappling competition and a fan behind me is yelling, “you suck!” Still a close fight because of all the transitions in grappling, though.

I say Stewart gets the win on this one for more strikes landed, but we'll see what the judges say.


10:22 - George Bush III is making his way to the cage. Bill Clinton is in his corner to show some cross party love. No, just kidding, but there really is a fighter named George Bush III entering the cage. So, do the judges have to vote for a decision in this one? I’m just saying.

10:25 - Abongo Humphrey is now entering the cage. This guy looks like pure muscle at 5’11” and 203 pounds so I wonder if he’ll get gassed quickly. We’ll see, my friends.


Rd. 1 - The round starts off with both fighters hitting heavy. Humphrey lands a nice head kick, but uses another and gets taken down. After briefly being on their feet, Bush goes into for a slow takedown and goes right into a guillotine in the half guard of Humphrey. Fight ends just moments later by tap out.

Official call is submission by guillotine choke at 1:44 of Round 1 for Humphrey.


10:36 - Main event is next between heavyweights Lavar Johnson and Lolohea Mahe. Mahe is making his way to the cage at the moment and entering to a chant of boo's, likely because of the fact he’s fighting a local fighter in Lavar Johnson.

10:38 - Johnson hasn’t even entered the cage yet and he’s getting a big ovation. This guy is going to have this whole house behind him once he gets in that cage.

Here he comes, just having been the victim of a gun shot months ago. Johnson is making his return to Strikeforce after his near-fatal episode with a bullet. In an earlier interview with Bleacher Report, he said he was feeling good so let’s see if this is the case tonight.


Rd. 1 - Tap of the gloves and it begins. Johnson gets tagged with a strong punch but recovers. Ref stops the action to check an eye poke but everyone is good. Back on again and these two heavies like trading punches.

Mahe struggling to get a double leg takedown, presses Johnson against the cage.

Now, Johnson looks to get a standing guillotine and the crowd gets excited. Johnson chooses to let the guillotine go though and Mahe gets the takedown he was looking for.

Mahe is now on top of Johnson and controlling him from getting back on his feet. To the love of the crowd, Johnson gets back on the feet only to get taken down again.

Round ends with Mahe on top of Johnson.

Rd. 2 - The round begins with the two fighters trading punches followed by a wild leg kick that misses by Johnson.

Johnson backs Mahe against the cage and the crow smells blood!

Both fighters are looking winded but Johnson is landing punches. Mahe eventually hugs Johnson against the cage.

Johnson rocks Mahe, but the Hawaiian is still standing.

The crowd is going nuts and Johnson eventually gets through some punches and drops Mahe! Mahe is down on all fours and the ref calls the fight.

This crowd is loving their local fighter, Lavar Johnson.

Official call is 3:29 of Round 2 by TKO, Lavar Johnson over Lolohea Mahe.


That’s all she wrote! Or more like that’s all I wrote. Whatever, man. I’m out!


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