Strikeforce kicked off the Zuffa era with a blood-soaked main event as Josh “The Silverback” Wilcox beat Rodrigo Damm at Strikeforce Challengers 15 on April 1 in Stockton, Calif.
Wilcox took advantage of the UFC-inspired rule change that allows elbows to a grounded opponent to bust open Damm with strong right hands and elbows.
By the time the first round of the lightweight battle was over, the mat looked “like a Jackson Pollock painting,” according to announcer Mauro Ranallo.
Damm, a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, survived to the bell and seemed ready to go for Round 2, but the doctors made the right decision and stopped the fight.
Speaking of the doctors, the fighters and referee were standing around awkwardly before the fight because the doctors were not in place for the opening bell.
Wilcox, a former bodybuilder and NCAA Division I wrestler, moved closer to a shot at the Strikeforce lightweight title, currently held by Gilbert Melendez.
The co-main event also featured the lightweight division, as Caros “The Future” Fodor (8-2), used his “dirty boxing” skills to gain a third-round TKO win over David “Tarzan” Douglas (6-3) after a barrage of punches and knee strikes.
Douglas’ twin brother, Damion, had a better time in the opener. The welterweight scored a surprising split decision victory over Wayne Phillips (5-4).
Damion (4-1) was annoyed with the fans booing after the fight, when they seemed to be booing the judges’ decision.
Lorenz Larkin looked great at light heavyweight, improving his record to 10-0 with a second-round TKO over K-1 kickboxing veteran Scott Lighty.
Showing off super-quick hands and feet, Larkin stunned Lighty with a left uppercut in the second round before finishing him with another left hand.
The highlight of the night came from James Terry (10-2), who threw a right hook that knocked Josh Thornburg (7-3) out cold 4:38 into their 165-pound catchweight fight
Terry was so pumped up after the fight that he called out Ronnie from MTV’s Jersey Shore.
Jeff D. Gorman is the only announcer ever to reach the Big 3 in Pro Wrestling and also call play-by-play for a live, global MMA pay-per-view. Check out his writing and announcing at JeffDGorman.com, hit up his Twitter or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.