MMA Flashback: Strikeforce Shines At The Playboy Mansion

Hugh Hefner is really starting to show his age, but there he was at cageside wearing his trademark pajamas and bathrobe. Had he bothered to look up every now and then he would have enjoyed a spirited night of fighting that may have been short on significant matchups but wasnt lacking for entertainment value.

STRIKEFORCE had to scramble on this show, as injuries changed the main event several times. It was initially a non-title matchup between former UFC bad boy Renato Babalu Sobral and promotion light heavyweight champion Bobby Southworth. Southworth was the first to be pulled from the card due to injury, and was replaced by Anthony Ruiz. Then Sobral suffered an injury that necessitated *his* removal from the card. He was replaced by Trevor Prangley, who has been with a number of organizations and was formerly the middleweight champion of the ill fated BoDog Fight promotion.

The Prangley/Ruiz contest was a one sided affair, with the South African using his strength to repeatedly takedown his opponent and control him on the ground. Ruiz had the edge in the standup game, but Prangley avoided trouble by keeping the fight where he wanted it en route to a unanimous decision victory.

The main event was nominally the US debut of World Victory Roads Kazuo Misaki aka The Grabaka Hitman taking on well traveled veteran Joe Riggs. After an uneventful first round, the second round brought fireworks. Riggs struck first, flooring Misaski early in the round with a short left hook. It was what could most properly be called a flash knockdown that in no way hurt the Japanese fighter. In fact, he basically somersaulted back to a standing position and responded in kind with a straight right hand that sent Riggs to the canvas. Josh Rosenthal quickly waved off the fight awarding Misaki the TKO victory.

After the stoppage, Riggs immediately jumped to his feet in protest. The crux of his argument was that he was defending himself and that Misakis blows were doing little damage. He did have something of a case, as the replay showed that he was covered up and absorbing most of the blows to his gloves. Still, the referee is within his authority to step in and stop the proceedings if a fighter is not intelligently defending himself. While Riggs may not have been taking the full brunt of Misakis strikes, he was basically covered up in survival mode and not doing anything to improve his position. With the safety of the fighters always the top priority, our conclusion was that the stoppage was legit. At the same time, however, you certainly cant blame Riggs for not being happy with it.

Earlier in evening, STRIKEFORCE lightweight champion Josh Punk Thompson made short work of a game but overmatched opponent in Ashe Bowman. Bowman was making a huge step up in class here, and was clearly nervous at the prospect of facing such a high profile opponent. To his credit, Bowman figured that he had to take the fight to the champion and went on the attack. Thompson then put on a counterpunching clinic nailing Bowman with a straight right followed by a flurry of uncontested punches that sent the young fighter to the canvas for a quick stoppage.

The most impressive submission of the night was courtesy of PRIDE vet Mitsuhiro The Endless Fighter Ishida. Justin Wilcox was the unlucky recipient on a beautiful submission when he attempted to take Ishida down and almost too fast to see the Japanese fighter slapped on an armbar for the quick tapout.

Ross Everett is a widely published widely published freelance sports writer and respected authority on soccer betting. His writing has appeared on a variety of sports sites including sportsbooks and sportsbook directory sites. He lives in Las Vegas with three Jack Russell Terriers and a kangaroo. He is currently working on an autobiography of former interior secretary James Watt.

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