THE TWO SHEDS REVIEW by Julian Radbourne – now in it’s 10th year!
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MMA action returned to Bravo’s screens here in Britain this past Sunday night with the latest Strikeforce Challengers show, headlined by Sarah Kaufman against Takayo Hashi, and with Mauro Ranallo, Stephen Quadros and Pat Miletich handling commentary duties.
The show began with James Terry facing Tarec Saffiedine in the welterweight division. This mainly stand up battle proved to be a great opener, with Saffiedine controlling the pace throughout with his crisp striking and kicking, and whenever Terry got the take down the Belgian quickly escaped. Terry’s take down attempt in the final seconds summed up his night as Saffiedine immediately reversed into the mount. No surprise here as Saffiedine took the unanimous decision from the judges with this highly impressive performance.
Then it was on the middleweight division as Luke Rockhold faced Paul Bradley. An exciting fight saw Rockhold using his height and reach advantage to good effect, knocking Bradley on his backside a few times. Rockhold went for a guillotine, but a final flurry was ended when a knee winded Bradley, with the referee stepping in as Bradley fell to the ground, giving Rockhold the TKO win. Another impressive performance here.
The middleweight action continued with Trevor Prangley and Karl Amoussou. A fight that showed a lot of promise will be remembered for Prangley’s inadvertent eye poke towards the end of the first round. With Amoussou claiming that he couldn’t see out of his right eye the referee, on the advice of the doctor, stopped the fight and ruled it a technical draw. This upset Amoussou, who thought he was going to get five minutes to rest so he could recover, but he didn’t realise that rule only applied to low blows. An unfortunate end to what was shaping up to be a good fight.
The main event saw Sarah Kaufman taking on Takayo Hashi for the vacant Women’s Welterweight title. This five rounder was a pretty one-side affair. Kaufman out boxed Hashi throughout, and whenever the Japanese fighter went for a take down Kaufman was easily able to defend. And that was about it. Hashi was kind of disappointing as she seemed unable to change her tactics, even though she was clearly losing, while Kaufman seemed intent on doing just enough to get the win. No surprise here as Kaufman got the unanimous decision. It was an okay fight, but not the most inspiring action I’ve seen on a Strikeforce show.
In conclusion – two good fights, an unfortunate accident which, and a slightly uninspiring and one-sided main event meant that my first Strikeforce Challengers show was a mixed bag, mainly because the Kaufman/Hashi fight promised much but really didn’t deliver. But with Strikeforce now firmly entrenched in their new British television home, I’m really looking forward to seeing a lot more of them in the coming months, where they’ll hopefully become a viable alternative to the UFC.