Jorge Gurgel. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Undefeated lightweight fighter Billy Evangelista will challenge UFC veteran Jorge Gurgel in the main event of the latest edition of Strikeforce Challengers, which will take place on November 6 at the Save Mart Center in Fresno, California.
Strikeforce officials announced the matchup and the event itself in a press release sent out to the media this afternoon. The event’s five-bout televised main card will be broadcast live on Showtime starting at 11 PM ET/PT (delayed on the west coast).
“Smokin” Joe Villasenor raises his arms in triumph over Evangelista Cyborg Friday night in the main event on the second Strikeforce Challengers series on Showtime. Photo by Esther Lin/Strikeforce.
VILLASENOR DECISIONS CYBORG IN MAIN EVENT; GURGEL AND HEUN PROVIDE CROWD-PLEASING FIREWORKS; KENNEDY AND KAUFMAN EACH SCORE VICTORIES
KENT, Wash. – “Smokin” Joe Villasenor showed no signs of rust after a year away from the cage as he recorded a close split decision over Evangelista “Cyborg” in the main event of the sophomore edition of Strikeforce Challengers Friday night on Showtime before an enthusiastic crowd at the ShoWare Center.
In a gritty and tactical battle all the way to the end, Villasenor proved victorious winning on two of the three judges scorecards, 29-28, 28-29, 29-28. “I haven’t fought in over a year and that’s a great fight to come back to,” Villasenor said afterwards. “A three-round war. I was really surprised by (Cyborg’s) countering. It turned into a great fight.”
Joey Villasenor. Photo by Esther Lin/EliteXC.
Strikeforce continues to move forward and will hold its second-ever “Challengers” event tonight on Showtime from the ShoWare Center in Kent, Washington with a decidedly different look compared to their inaugural event back in May.
While a slew of skilled prospects will still be featured, tonight’s show will sport an unusual number of fighters that are often seen on the main cards of Strikeforce’s bigger events. The fact that both Dennis Hallman and Duane Ludwig have been relegated to preliminary bouts shows the sheer amount of notable talent on display.
The event will be headlined by a sure-fire middleweight slugfest between Brazilian striker Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos and Greg Jackson-trained Joey Villasenor. Additional bouts slated for the televised main card include a middleweight clash between former BodogFight welterweight champion Nick Thompson and Army veteran Tim Kennedy as well as a lightweight bout involving Jorge Gurgel and Conor Heun.
Kid Yamamoto. Photo courtesy of Fighting and Entertainment Group.
Here are your quick hits for the afternoon of June 18, 2009.
— Former pound-for-pound phenom Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto will return to action a little less than two months after suffering his first professional MMA loss in seven years at K-1’s “World MAX 2009” event on July 13 in a kickboxing bout. “Kid” will be fighting Jae hee Cheon in a three-round matchup. Other notable MMA fighters competing include Tatsuya Kawajiri and Atsushi Yamamoto. [Japan-MMA.com]
— Longtime veteran Dennis Hallman will now be facing training partner Justin Davis in a catch-weight bout at tomorrow night’s “Strikeforce Challengers: Villasenor vs. Cyborg” event at the ShoWare Center in Kent, Washington. Hallman was originally slated to take on Cedric Marks, who was forced out of the bout after reportedly competing this past weekend and acquiring a medical suspension because of it. A lightweight bout between Jorge Gurgel and Conor Heun will also now be contested at a catch-weight of 160 lbs. [MMA Junkie]
Joey Villasenor. Photo by Esther Lin/ProElite.
NEW YORK — Middleweight (185 pound) wrecking machines “Smokin” Joey Villasenor (26-6) and Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos (16-12) will face off in the main event of a Strikeforce Challengers mixed martial arts (MMA) card at the all-new ShoWare Center in Kent, Washington on Friday, June 19.
Also enlisted for the card, thus far, are lightweight (155 pound) fan-favorite Jorge Gurgel (12-5), wrestling ace Dennis “Superman” Hallman (40-12-2), and Hallman protégé Cory “The One” Devela (9-2).
The live Showtime telecast of the event will begin at 11 p.m. ET/PT (tape delayed on the west coast) and will include up to five bouts.
Gurgel, Sokoudjou among recent UFC cuts
Jorge Gurgel and Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou are among the recent cuts from the UFC roster. Both were involved in losses in their last fight within the octagon.
Gurgel never fails to give a wild performance, such as the one against Aaron Riley that garnered him Fight of the Night honors at UFC 91. But more often than not, he has come out on the losing end, having lost three of his last 4 fights. He has been widely criticized for not utilizing his BJJ Black Belt skills more and instead choosing to stand and trade with his opponents. Gurgel will not be out of work long as he has already signed an exclusive contract with the Strikeforce promotion. In the end, it would not surprise me if Zuffa didn’t help get him signed right away. His time in the UFC was clearly up and yet he was a real favorite of Dana White’s. A demotion to WEC would be seen as just that while also inadvertantly degrading the WEC’s lightweight class.
Brock Lesnar def. Randy Couture - TKO (punch)
Kenny Florian def. Joe Stevenson - Submission (rear naked choke)
Dustin Hazelett def. Tamdan McCrory - Submission (armbar)
Gabriel Gonzaga def. Josh Hendricks - TKO (punch)
Demian Maia def. Nate Quarry - Submission (rear naked choke)
Aaron Riley def. Jorge Gurgel - Unanimous Decision
Jeremy Stephens def. Rafael dos Anjos - KO (punch)
Mark Bocek def. Alvin Robinson - Submission (rear naked choke)
Matt Brown def. Ryan Thomas - Submission (armbar)
In the second round Lesnar landed a punch that sent Couture to the mat. Lesnar then jumped on Couture, landing a big hammer-fist, and then continued to punch and punch until the fight was stopped. Four fights into his MMA career, and Brock Lesnar is the UFC heavyweight champion. It was good to finally see a heavyweight championship fight, but with Lesnar becoming champ so fast it’ll be interesting to see how the former WWE star is received as UFC champ by MMA fans, and general sports fans alike.
Here are our predictions (after the jump, winners in bold) for tonight’s UFC 91 event.
The main card will be broadcast on pay-per-view and Yahoo! Sports starting at 10 PM ET.
Jorge Gurgel. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Grappling ace Jorge Gurgel will welcome veteran Aaron Riley back into the Ultimate Fighting Championship when the two clash in a scheduled lightweight bout at UFC 91 on November 15 according to MMA Junkie. Bout agreements have reportedly already been signed, making the fight official.
With all of his nine professional wins coming by way of submission prior to entering the UFC, Gurgel came into the organization with a good amount of promise, only to become a relatively inconsistent fighter in the following years, evident by his 3-3 record in the UFC. Gurgel defeated John Halverson at UFC 82 earlier this year only to suffer a late third-round submission loss to Cole Miller at UFC 86 in July.
Riley returns to the UFC after a two-year absence from the company. Riley fell via unanimous decision to Robbie Lawler at UFC 37 and signed back on for a one-fight stint four years later at Ultimate Fight Night 3, where he stopped by Spencer Fisher in the first round of their fight. Riley is currently riding a two-fight winning streak, most recently winning a decision over Steve Claveau at XMMA 5 on September 13 in Canada.
And people say leg-kicks don’t hurt? MMAjunkie.com posted the medical suspensions for UFC 86 with Quinton “Rampage” Jackson out until possibly January 2nd, 2009!:
- Quinton Jackson - suspended until Jan. 2 due to possible left knee, tibia, fibia and thumb injuries (can be cleared early by orthopedic doctor); minimum suspension until Aug. 5 with no contact until July 27 for precautionary reasons
- Forrest Griffin - suspended until Sept. 4 due to right-upper-eyelid laceration (can be cleared early by doctor)
- Chris Lytle - suspended until Sept. 4 due to laceration near right eye (can be cleared early by doctor)
- Josh Koscheck - suspended until Aug. 5 with no contact July 27 for precautionary reasons
- Marcus Aurelio - suspended until Jan. 2 due to possible left-thumb ligament injury (can be cleared early by orthopedic doctor); minimum suspension until Aug. 5 with no contact until July 27 for precautionary reasons
- Justin McCully - suspended until Jan. 2 due to possible left-shoulder injury (can be cleared early by doctor)
- Cole Miller - suspended until Sept. 4 due to facial lacerations (can be cleared early by doctor)
- Jorge Gurgel - suspended until Jan. 2 due to right tibia, fibia and elbow injuries (can be cleared early by orthopedic doctor)
- Dennis Siver - suspended until Aug. 20 with no contact until Aug. 5 for precautionary reasons
- Justin Buchholz - suspended until Sept. 4 due to scalp laceration (can be cleared early by doctor)