At Strikeforce: Challengers in Fresno on Friday night, Lavar Johnson, Ron "Abongo" Humphrey and Miesha Tate stood out with wins, all by stoppages.
In the headliner, Johnson won with a TKO in the second round. Before Mahe and Johnson even took to the cage, they had been through plenty of drama. Mahe served a five-year stint in prison for assault, while this was Johnson's first fight back after being shot.
Mahe controlled the first round with effective strikes, a takedown and ground and pound, but he was spent early in the second round. Johnson clearly had better cardio, throwing punches and kicks throughout the round as Mahe dropped his hands and breathed heavily. Finally, Johnson unleashed a barrage of punches, bloodying Mahe's nose and finishing the fight at 3:29 in the second round.
"It feels great just to be a part of this," Johnson said. "I was kind of nervous, but just being able to overcome the gunshots feels good."
George Bush III, the butt of many jokes due to the name he shares with a few ex-presidents, lost in a quick submission. Bush tried for a takedown, but Humphrey caught him in a guillotine and Bush tapped out at 1:44 of round one.
Andre Galvao won a split decision, 30-27, 27-30, 29-28 over Luke Stewart. The grapplefest seemed to be in Stewart's favor, but the judges gave it to Galvao.
Miesha Tate notched an armbar win over Zoila Frausto at 4:09 in the second round of the bout. Frausto, a Fresno native, had the crowd backing but couldn't overcome Tate's grappling. In the first round, Tate came close to getting a rear-naked choke, but Frausto got back to her feet. Tate was close to a choke for much of the second round, but transitioned to an armbar, causing Frausto to tap.
American Kickboxing Academy product Justin Wilcox scored a unanimous decision over Shamar Bailey, 30-26, 30-27, 30-27. got a serious cut in the first round, but when given a chance to stop, he didn't take it. In the second, Wilcox was poked in the eye while Bailey received a crotch shot. Wilcox, a Division I wrestler for Edinboro University, got the win with effective striking and takedowns.
The undercard was mostly filled with amateur bouts, but in a pro bout, two-time Olympic wrestler Daniel Cormier knocked out John Devine with a right hand to the neck in just 1:09.