And so the 14th Strikeforce Challengers event is in the books, and you're reading about it here because there were three California born-or-based fighters on the card, held in Cedar Park, TX. It wasn't a great night though, as the Bay Area/California-based fighters only came out of things 1-2, but it was a good event through and through. Other than local products, the card saw Ryan Couture, son of MMA legend Randy Couture, take home another stoppage win with a rear naked choke of Lee Higgins while Lyle Beerbohm, undefeated coming into this fight with fifteen wins, dropped a unanimous decision to Pat Healy.
It was a good fight, but I feel as though I should hate it to its very core specifically due to a spot of hilariously bad commentating. In a move that challenges Mauro's awful pun during the Fedor vs Silva event a couple weeks ago, Pat Miletech exclaimed "He just delivered a Beer-bomb!" after Lyle scored an early slam takedown. Mauro responded with "Nice one," as he did all night and I found myself wanting to shriek at my television "No, Mauro! It was not a nice one! None of this has been nice! Shut up shut up shut up!" When he said "Going for the Beer-naked choke," I almost cried. But back to the California fighters...
David Douglas opened up the main card with an early win over Nick Gonzalez by way of submission. The Antioch, CA fighter out of the Cesar Gracie Jiu Jitsu Academy came out at the opening of the fight swinging hard, overwhelming Gonzalez early. It was all Gonzalez could do to try and use his above-average movement to escape, but Douglas was just too determined and his left hook landed flush on the Texan's jaw. To avoid the ensuing ground and pound (which surely would have resulted in a KO), Gonzalez gave up his back to protect his face from the punishment, and Douglas was happy to oblige him by securing a rear naked choke and the tapout at 1:05 of the very first round. Make the jump for more.
Things didn't fare so well for another California product on the card, Erik Apple. Apple has been viewed as someone with a lot of potential, but he came out flat against the determined Ryan Larson. Apple, fighting out of Orange Country, CA (born in Laguna Niguel, CA) started the first round by taking the center of the cage. He threw leg kicks and a few punching combinations, but failed to land. The two exchanged takedown attempts and battled in the clinch for a short time, before Larson lands a shot and secures a double-leg takedown. The two battled on the ground but Larson showed his savvy by gaining the crucifix position, going for a couple kimura attempts along the way.
The round is clearly Larson's, but Apple shows some fight near the end of the round by reversing into a heel hook submission attempt, but the bell sounds and the round is over, with all three judges scoring the round for Larson. The second round was a lot like the first, except much more domination on Larson's part. He secured an early takedown and switched between working on submission attempts and trying to implement ground and pound. Apple was game, but overmatched, and eventually was rolled into a triangle after giving up mount, then his back, then mount again and the fight was over with the hold at 3:14 of the second round.
Finally, the last California fighter, Bryan Travers found himself on the losing end of a fight as well. The Bakersfield product didn't have many opportunities to speak his case in the fight as Carlo Prater came into the fight looking for his renaissance. He got it, scoring a takedown early and immediately sinking in a form of front choke. Travers found himself tapping and the referee didn't quite catch it, so he slipped into unconsciousness before the referee pulls Prater off just 38 seconds into the fight.