BROOMFIELD, CO — Knockout artist Duane “Bang” Ludwig (17-8) capped off an electrifying night of Strikeforce mixed martial arts (MMA) action, scoring a first round TKO on Sam “The Squeeze” Morgan (19-12), in their highly-anticipated rematch at Broomfield, Colorado’s Broomfield Event Center on Friday, October 3rd. Superstar Frank “Twinkle Toes” Trigg (18-6) controlled the action against Falaniko “Niko” Vitale (26-9) for three consecutive rounds to notch a unanimous judges’ decision victory.
Morgan, who stopped Ludwig in 52 seconds when they faced off three years ago, took Ludwig down early in the first. Ludwig stood up shortly thereafter, though, and began to find his mark with his left hook and right hand.
A hard left hand to the body from Ludwig staggered Morgan. Ludwig followed up with a hard right hand to the head that put Morgan on his knees. Still on his feet, Ludwig blasted the downed Morgan with a left hand to the midsection.
Ludwig dropped into Morgan’s guard and began tagging Morgan with a flurry of blows. Morgan turned on to his side in an effort to escape the barrage, but Ludwig continued the heavy offensive until Morgan verbally submitted at the 2:01 mark of the first round.
Trigg, a former NCAA wrestling stud and 2000 Olympic wrestling trials finalist, showed off his stand-up combat skills, repeatedly backing Vitale into the cage and setting up flurries of elbows and right hands with a straight left hand, followed by a hard knee to the head. Vitale attempted to counter each time, but Trigg either controlled Vitale’s arms against the fence or back pedaled out of harm’s way.
In the third round, Trigg scooped his opponent up and slammed him, but was unable to make any headway on the ground.
Michelle “The Karate Hottie” Waterson (5-2) made good on her promise of an explosive fight and also made it a short night for Tyra Parker (0-2). After scoring a straight right hand that stunned Parker, Waterson backed her opponent into the corner and began unloading knees to Parker’s face while the two were clinched.
Parker escaped, but made the mistake of turning her back, which allowed Waterson to latch on and sink in a choke. With the hold firmly intact, Waterson brought Parker to the ground and produced a submission at 1:20 of the opening round.
Two-time New York State Metropolitan Boxing Champion and Muay Thai Champion, Carlos Zevallos (1-0), survived an early storm at the hands of fellow light heavyweight (205 lb. limit) Andre “The Silencer” Walker (1-4) before turning the tides on Walker with a series of knee strikes in the clinch.
Zevallos took Walker to the ground and quickly transitioned from side control to mount where he rained down on Walker with punches until the referee called an end to the bout at the 4:48 mark of the opening round.
Billy Evangelista (8-0) was dropped twice in the first round by Luke “Lil’ Hulk” Caudillo (14-11) in lightweight (155 lb. limit) action, but made it to his feet after the second knockdown and launched a fearsome attack that, soon after, put Caudillo on his knees. An onslaught of punches from inside Caudillo’s guard forced “Lil’ Hulk” to turn over, allowing Evangelista to sink in a choke before the bell sounded.
Evangelista capitalized on the momentum he gained and controlled the pace of the fight in rounds two and three. Caudillo’s takedown defense was strong, but Evangelista managed to score a takedown in the third and final round and drop punches from both sides.
A slowdown in the action prompted the referee to stand the fighters up. Evangelista was awarded a unanimous judges’ decision following the close of the third round, raising his undefeated record to 8-0.
After keeping the fight standing for the majority of the first two rounds, Donnie Liles (12-5) decided to bring his welterweight (170 lb. limit) fight with Pete “The Secret Weapon” Spratt (18-15) to the mat, scoring two takedowns in the third. The second takedown produced dividends as Spratt gave up his back after being mounted. Liles sunk in a rear naked choke and, from his back, forced Spratt to tap at 1:59 of the round.
Tyler Toner (3-1), a 25-year-old upstart from nearby Aurora, dominated “Relentless” Ricky Johnson (0-2) with an all-out assault standing up and strong defense on the ground before finishing Johnson with a ground and pound offensive at the mark 3:44 of the second round.
Strikeforce “Payback” was televised live on HDNet.
Complete Strikeforce “Payback” Results:
Tyler Toner def. “Relentless” Ricky Johnson – TKO (Strikes) at 3:44, Round 2
Michelle “The Karate Hottie” Waterson def. Tyra Parker – Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 1:20, Round 1
Carlos Zevallos def. Andre “The Silencer” Walker – TKO (Strikes) at 4:48, Round 1
Billy Evangelista def. Luke “Lil’ Hulk” Caudillo – Unanimous Decision, 3 Rounds (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Donnie Liles def. Pete “The Secret” Weapon” Spratt – Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 1:59, Round 3
Frank “Twinkle Toes” Trigg def. Falaniko “Niko” Vitale – Unanimous Decision, 3 Rounds (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Duane “Bang” Ludwig def. Sam “The Squeeze” Morgan – TKO (Strikes) at 2:01, Round 1