Hello ladies and gentleman, welcome my preview of Strikeforce Challengers: Fresno. The five televised bouts set for Friday, March 26th from the SaveMart Center offer a miscellaneous collection of new faces and standard, if not occasionally whacky styles.
-Lavar â€œBigâ€ Johnson vs. Lolohea Mahe
Lolohea Mahe is a raging monster from the island of Kahalui, Maui, Hawaii. Cutting from 320 pounds down to the 265 pound heavyweight limit will make him the bigger and most likely the stronger of the two by the time they enter the cage. But Lavar Johnson packs a “big” punch and will be the faster and more experienced fighter. Movement is key for Lavar to take this into the deeper waters of the 2nd and 3rd rounds and then check Mahe’s chin with his ‘one-shot-solution’, the right hand. Lolohea needs to turn this into an ugly, non-technical fight, where he bullies Johnson to the fence, roughs his way into a takedown and then gets mean with ground and pound. If Mahe stays on the outside or is slow on his entry for the clinch, then he will fall victim to the accuracy of Lavar Johnsonâ€™s bazooka.
-Zoila â€œThe Warrior Princessâ€ Frausto vs. Miesha â€œTakedownâ€ Tate
In this ultra-intriguing 135-pound ladies match, both women are coming in with momentum. Zoila Frausto is 5-0 and is looking to get taken seriously in the title picture by beating a ranked fighter like Tate, who will be an enormous step up in quality of opposition. Miesha Tate has been in with some of the best females in the world and been impressive. Even in her losing battle (by decision) to current Strikeforce 135 pound champion Sarah Kaufman, Tate had good moments and showed memorable durability. Yes, this is another striker (Frausto) versus wrestler (Tate) match, but both women have worked hard to close the technical gap to now be thought of first and foremost as mixed martial artists. â€œThat being saidâ€â€¦Frausto needs to use her speed and straight punches and kicks to land on Tate and then immediately employ side to side movement to avoid being cornered and clinched. Tate needs to stay either really far away in hopes of sucking Zoila into moving forward into a trap clinch, or really close, pummeling into a body lock or dropping levels to a single or double leg takedown.
-Andre Galvao vs. Luke Stewart
Rorion Gracie has said that if someone beats a member of his family using jiu-jitsu, itâ€™s still a victory for jiu-jitsu. One could easily apply that philosophy to this match because Luke Stewart and Andre Galvao have backgrounds in the grappling art (BJJ). But letâ€™s be honest, Galvao is by far the more dangerous in a straight jiu-jits match. But Luke Stewart, who is trained by Ralph Gracie, is more of an MMA grappler at this point, meaning he is more adept technically with adding strikes to the ground game to set up a submission. This is Stewartâ€™s key to survival; punch Galvao in the face as often as possible. Because if he doesnâ€™t, heâ€™ll be tapping.
-Ron â€œAbongoâ€ Humphrey vs. George Bush III
This one is going to be fun and potentially explosive because both fighters are a little rough around the technical edges and are aggressive. That always makes for thrilling swing fests, until somebody gets clipped. George Bush III must time his straight punches to always find his opponent’s jaw, where â€œAbongoâ€ Humphrey must use his advanced â€˜shake and bakeâ€™ caffeinated footwork style, then land that baseball bat roundhouse kick upstairs.
-Justin â€œThe Silverbackâ€ Wilcox vs. Shamar Bailey
Smaller, (once) highly ranked wrestler (Justin Wilcox) against larger, less decorated wrestler (Shamar Bailey)â€¦hmm. The fact that this is a catch weight fight, with Wilcox fighting up and Bailey dropping down, makes this a little bit more compelling. But truthfully I feel Justin Wilcox is better in every area, except for maybe pure strength. But how will this weight cut be a factor against Shamar in even that area? We’ll see…