Strikeforce Challengers 14: The Top 10 Prospects in Strikeforce Today
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In association with the parent promotion, Strikeforce, and Showtime Cable Network, "Strikeforce Challengers" showcases the promotion's up and coming mixed martial arts competitors to the millions of fight fans worldwide.
Strikeforce Challengers 14 airs tonight, February 18, 2011, from Cedar Park, Texas. Tonight's action includes rising stars Ryan Couture, David Douglas and Lyle Beerbohm.
In addition to the fighters competing at Strikeforce Challengers 14, a number of highly skilled fighters compete on this circuit looking to make the jump to the parent company and compete on that promotion's biggest stage.
Please follow along as I detail the Top 10 prospects in Strikeforce today.
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No. 10: Lavar "Big" Johnson
Lavar Johnson's One Punch KO
Lavar "Big" Johnson is a 6'4", 251-pound destructive force within the Strikeforce heavyweight division. With an overall MMA record of 15-4, Johnson has the talent needed to compete at the next level.
A Muay-Thai freestyle fighter, Johnson trains with amazing strikers, including UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez at the American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, California.
Funneling his obvious strength and power into each and every strike, Lavar has (T)KO victories in 13 of his 15 overall wins.
Losing against fellow Strikeforce prospect Shane del Rosario, at Strikeforce: Fedor vs Silva, Lavar Johnson will be looking to rebound after his arm bar submission loss and continue to rise in the ranks of the Strikeforce Challengers talent pool.
No. 9: Amanda "Lioness Of The Ring" Nunes
Amanda Nunes's KO Victory over Julia Budd
Currently the No. 4 ranked 145 pound female mixed martial arts competitor in the world, this Brazilian dynamo has accumulated a very impressive 6-1 MMA record with six knockout victories.
Her last win came in just 0:14 seconds with a destructive KO of Julia Budd at Strikeforce Challengers 13 in January of this year.
Voicing her desire to fight the Strikeforce women's champion, Christiane "Cyborg" Santos, Nunes added, "I want to fight Cyborg tomorrow, but my manager and trainers feel like I need to gain a little more experience before I fight for the championship," she told MMA Fighting. "I've only been training MMA for three years and I am still learning every day. The day I step in the cage with Cyborg, I will be 100 percent prepared."
A force to wreckened with in the female division, keep an eye on this rising star from Brazil.
No. 8: Daniel Cormier
Highlights of Daniel Cormier
A wrestling sensation at both the collegiate and Olympic levels, Daniel Cormier is currently undefeated at 7-0 in mixed martial arts.
With tremendous knockout power, Cormier's skills in the stand-up battle are very advanced for someone with strictly a wrestling background.
This former King of the Cage heavyweight champion continues to rise in prominence throughout the Strikeforce heavyweight division.
Coming off of a unanimous decision victory over Devin Cole at ShoMMA 13: Woodley vs. Saffiedine, Cormier will soon be making the jump to fight tougher competition and prove his worth to the parent promotion.
No. 7: Ovince St. Preux
Highlights of Ovince St. Preux
Ovince St. Preux was a star wrestler in high school and played on the University Of Tennessee's football program.
This Haitian-American competes in the Strikeforce light heavyweight division.
Solidly built with tremendous strength and power, St. Preux matches up physically with most everyone in the division.
Grounded in his wrestling, Ovince is continually developing his stand-up skills to become a more balanced fighter inside the cage.
With 10 wins, five by knockout and only four losses, Ovince signed a multi-fight deal with Strikeforce.
Recently dominating MMA veteran Benji Radach, St. Preux will be looking to turn the corner in the development of his overall skills and become talented enough to compete for the Strikeforce light heavyweight title.
No. 6: Tyron "T-Wood" Woodley
Highlights of Tyron Woodley
At 28 years old, this Missouri native is 8-0 inside the Octagon and recently signed a four-fight deal with Strikeforce.
This 170 pound grappler trains with some of the best ground practitioners at American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Florida.
A Division 1 All-American wrestler at the University of Missouri, Woodley relies heavily on his grappling and submission abilities inside the cage.
Developing a stand-up attack to complement his ground game, Woodley continues to evolve and gain notice from the match-makers at Strikeforce.
Not short on confidence, Woodley recently stated that he feels a match-up with MMA veteran, KJ Noons, or the Strikeforce welterweight champion, Nick Diaz is in order.
Before he gets ahead of himself, a step up in competition against the hard-hitting Brit, Paul Daley, should be on the horizon for "T-Wood."
No. 5: David "Tarzan" Douglas
Highlights of David Douglas
At 5'11" 155 pounds, David "Tarzan" Douglas competes out of the Cesar Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy in Antioch, California.
With an overall MMA record of 5-2, Douglas has represented both the Elite XC and Strikeforce promotions inside the Octagon.
With victories over
Chute Boxe prospect Marlon Mathias and Muay-Thai superstar Malaipet, Douglas will be looking to add more high profile victories to his record.
Keep an eye out for this rising lightweight star.
No. 4: Ryan Couture
Ryan Couture victorious via arm bar
The son of Hall of Fame fighter, Randy Couture, Ryan definitely has the pedigree to compete at the highest level within the cage.
Fighting in the lightweight division under the tutelage of Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas, Ryan has a solid amateur wrestling base and continues to excel as a submission specialist.
With the high level talent that surrounds him at Xtreme Couture, the stand up skills necessary to compete on the main stage of Strikeforce are emphasized for this young fighter.
With one victory by submission to his credit, Ryan Couture will be looking to keep his winning streak intact against Lee Higgins at Strikeforce Challengers 14.
No. 3: Rhadi Ferguson
Pre-Fight Work Before Strikeforce Debut
A four-time U.S. national Judo champion and 2004 U.S. Judo Olympian, Dr. Rhadi Ferguson is also an accomplished strength and conditioning coach training at American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Fla.
A black belt in both Brazilian jiu-jitsu and judo, Ferguson is noted as being the only MMA competitor to compete in the Olympic Games, the Brazilian jiu-Jitsu World Championships, and the Abu Dhabi Submission Wrestling World Championships.
Making his professional MMA debut in 2010, Ferguson TKO'd his first two opponents in the light heavyweight division earning an invitation to the Strikeforce promotion.
With his Strikeforce debut at Strikeforce Challengers 13: Woodley vs. Saffiedine on Jan. 7, 2011, Rhadi was victorious over John Richard via kneebar in the second round.
Surrounded by tremendous talent at American Top Team and with an Olympic level work ethic, Rhadi Ferguson will continue to grow as an ultimate fighter and become a notable force within the light heavyweight division for Strikeforce.
No. 2: Shane Del Rosario
Shane del Rosario illustrating his stand-up prowess
Shane del Rosario is undefeated in MMA with an 11-0 record and is 7-1 as a professional Muay-Thai kick-boxer. With stoppage victories in all 11 of his professional mixed martial arts fights, including eight by knockout and 10 within the first round, del Rosario is an extremely talented fighter inside the Octagon.
With stand-up abilities, including devastating leg kicks and powerful punches, del Rosario blends the assets of each discipline into a dynamic fighter inside the octagon.
At Strikeforce: Fedor vs Silva, Del Rosario fought in an alternate match for Strikeforce's World Grand Prix heavyweight tournament defeating fellow prospect, Lavar Johnson. Employing an unconventional stand-up game and utilizing his ground abilities, del Rosario won the bout via submission (armbar) to earn the first reserve spot in the tournament.
Ever improving as an ultimate fighter, del Rosario's background as a kickboxer is what makes him so lethal inside the cage.
It will not be long before Shane del Rosario is competing in the Strikeforce main events.
No. 1: Lyle "Fancy Pants" Beerbohm
Lyle Beerbohm showcasing his talents
A freestyle wrestler competing in the Strikeforce lightweight division, Lyle Beerbohm is currently undefeated throughout his entire mixed martial art's career.
With an overall MMA record of 15-0, he has six knockout and seven submission victories to his credit.
An accomplished wrestler in high school, Beerbohm became addicted to methamphetamine and spent a year in the Washington State Penitentiary on drug related crimes.
While incarcerated, Beerbohm's interest in MMA was piqued while watching The Ultimate Fighter.
Stating that he has recently replaced his meth addiction with the addiction to mixed martial arts, Beerbohm's success inside the Octagon and personal success outside of the cage are the basis for a documentary film chronicling the ultimate fighter's struggles with drugs and his subsequent rise from the addiction.
Holding victories over accomplished MMA practitioners including Duane Ludwig and Vitor Ribeiro, Beerbohm will be looking to extend his undefeated streak to 16 when he competes against Pat Healy at Strikeforce Challengers 14.
Truly an amazing story of overcoming adversity and achieving personal success, I look forward to watching Lyle Beerbohm continue to evolve inside the Strikeforce cage.