Justin Wilcox was potentially on the way to the biggest win of his career against Gesias "JZ" Cavalcante when a freak poke to the eye ended that hope. The former college wrestler got drilled in his right eye and immediately hit the deck, writhing in pain. The ringside physician came in and tested Wilcox's vision. Seconds later, she recommended a stoppage to the fight. The bout was halted just 31 seconds into the second and called a no decision.
"I wanted to put more pressure on him in the second. He came forward with the head and I poked him in the eye. It happens. That's MMA," Cavalcante told HDNet. "I did not think I was winning [in the first]. I was patient, trying to see what his gameplan was. In the second, I was getting more comfortable."
Cavalante (15-4-1) considered by many a top 10 lightweight back in 2008 really needed the win as well. The Brazilian came in a loser of three of four against top notch competition.
Things didn't go too well in that opening round. He was far from blown out, but Wilcox (11-3) had a higher strike attempt output and scored often with straight rights and crosses.
Wilcox, a campmate of college teammate Josh Koscheck at American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, Ca., has added to his game with each fight. He's turned himself from one-dimensional wrestler to a well-rounded fighter in just three years. Cavalcante was going to have a tough time taking him out.
Heun slips by Almeida in excellent grappling battle
Conor Heun has been involved in some absolute wars with Strikeforce. Tonight, he got a chance to show off his grappling, submission defense and toughness. In what was a dead even fight against Magno Almeida, Heun turned it on in the final 90 seconds to walk away with a unanimous decision victory, 29-28 on all cards.
Facing a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, Heun (9-4) got stuck in several predicaments including some nasty armbars. The worst came toward the end of the second. He had his arm twisted and turned for over 55 seconds. Heun survived, but at the end of the fight his right arm looked deformed.
Even with the jacked up right arm, Heun probably sealed the victory by pounding away at Almeida (9-2) in the final round. With 1:45 left, Almeida got Heun in a d'arce choke. The American survived, escaped and transitioned to top control. Sitting in Almeida's full guard, Heun worked to the body and head. He got off a bunch of vicious hammer fists and even some double hammer shots.
Heun won the first round in unconventional fashion from the bottom. Almeida got top control and was in Heun's full guard, but couldn't get anything off. Heun used a brilliant rubber guard to control Almeida and got off a bunch of solid elbows to score with the judges.
Strikeforce - Dallas undercard:
Isaac Vallie-Flagg def. Brian Melancon via unanimous decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
Nah-Shon Burrell def. Joe Ray via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)