Voelker a winner at Strikeforce Challengers
Roger Bowling predicted a war in his rematch with Bobby Voelker.
Unfortunately for “Relentless,” Voelker proved just a little too “Vicious.”
After a slow start, Voelker earned a second-round stoppage over Bowling in the main event of Friday’s Showtime-broadcast “Strikeforce Challengers 11: Bowling vs. Voelker II” event in Fresno, Calif. The contest served as a rematch of the pair’s May bout, which Bowling won via technical decision.
Just as in their first meeting, Bowling and Voelker looked to bang it out on the feet in the early going. Bowling earned the best of the early exchanges, and he looked capable of pouring on the offense. Instead, he settled for a bit of clinchwork in the closing seconds of the round, and Voelker slowed the momentum.
In the second, Voelker landed the better shots on the feet after each fighter failed to land a takedown. Apparently wobbled, Bowling settled for pulling guard. Voelker made him pay with a barrage of blows from the top. He avoided an armbar attempt from underneath and continued to unload until the stoppage came with 62 seconds left in the round.
With the victory, Voelker (23-8 MMA, 3-1 SF) has now won three of his past four fights. The loss is the first for Bowling (8-1 MMA, 1-1 SF) as a professional.
The awe-inspiring comeback from a near-fatal gunshot wound of Lavar Johnson endured a few speedbumps in the evening’s co-feature, but opponent Virgil Swicker, outweighed by some 24 pounds, ultimately proved incapable of dealing with his foe’s “Big” power.
Zwicker tried to use mobility to his advantage and chop down Johnson with low kicks. The plan worked, but things changed when Johnson finally landed one of his massive punches. Several more followed, and Zwicker slumped against the cage in the face of the attack.
Johnson was declared the winner 2 minutes and 17 seconds into the opening round.
With the win, Johnson (15-3 MMA, 3-0 SF) now has seven-straight wins. Zwicker (8-2 MMA, 0-1 SF) falls short in his Strikeforce debut.
Fighting in front of his hometown crowd, striking specialist Billy Evangelista survived a first-round scare to battle back to a unanimous-decision win over Waachiim Spiritwolf in a catchweight affair.
Evangelista found himself on his back after being clipped early in the first frame, but the undefeated lightweight managed to return to his feet and remain upright for the remainder of the contest. And beyond simply maintaining his feet, Evangelista began to deliver his hallmark striking flurries.
To his credit, the “Native Warrior” also returned fire in an entertaining affair, but his cardio began to fail as time wore on, and his face showed the wear of Evangelista’s fists. The fight was tight throughout, but all three judges believed Evangelista had done enough to take home the decision.
Victorious again, Evangelista (11-0 MMA, 7-0 SF) remains undefeated and appears primed to take on some of Strikeforce’s best 155-pounders. Meanwhile, Spiritwolf (8-7-1 MMA, 0-1 SF) falls to 2-2-1 in 2010.
In the night’s lone female contest, Canadian Muay Thai specialist Julia Budd showed flashes of her striking pedigree on the feet, but it was her ground game that eventually earned the debuting mixed martial artist a win over the previously undefeated Shana Olsen.
Budd landed a few powerful punches in the opening round, and even reversed an Olsen takedown attempt to wind up in top position. However, from there Budd’s inexperience was evident as she landed a series of illegal elbows from top position and was deducted a point.
It wouldn’t matter.
In the second, Olsen looked for the takedown from a bodylock but wound up pulling Budd on top of her. This time, Budd went with punches rather than elbows and earned a TKO stoppage at the 2:51 mark of the round.
Budd (1-0 MMA, 1-0 SF) tastes victory in her first MMA contest, and her striking pedigree (coupled with a few more wins) will likely lead to quick calls for a matchup with dominant 145-pound champ Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos. Meanwhile, Olsen loses for the first time since turning pro in May 2009.
In the night’s broadcast-opening contest, heavyweight John Devine kept former top prospect Brandon Cash winless since Feburary 2009.
After trading a few inconsequential strikes on the feet and Devine began to attack the back of Cash. “Money” tried his best to defend the advances, but after a brief stall warranted a restart, Devine work quickly to the back with both hooks in and sunk in the fight-ending rear-naked choke.
Devine (6-4 MMA, 1-1 SF), who was defeated in 69 seconds by top prospect Daniel Cormier earlier this year, improves to 3-1 in his past four fights. Cash (5-3 MMA, 0-2 SF) has now dropped three consecutive fights.