From tkduffy22 on Flickr.
Bob Sapp’s return to his home state of Washington didn’t go so well. The former NFL lineman and K-1 star was stopped by fellow kickboxer Jan Nortje in brutal fashion, stunning the 7,089 in attendance at the Tacoma Dome for last night’s Strikeforce and Bodog Fight co-promoted event.
After cutting Sapp with a series of stiff left jabs in the opening moments of the fight, Nortje followed up with a barrage of punches while his opponent was up against the cage. Seconds later, Sapp was on the receiving end of one final left hook that sent him crumpling to the canvas and forced the referee to wave off the proceedings.
The win was Nortje’s first in mixed martial arts since Tadao Yasuda was forced to bow out of their December 2002 bout because of injury. After the fight, Nortje (2-5) expressed his desire to compete under the Strikeforce banner in the future.
“It wasn’t luck,” Nortje said. “I trained my ass off for this fight. I knew Sapp was one hell of a job to take on, but I did it. Thanks to Scott Coker and Strikeforce, I’m going to keep doing this. This feels nice. This feels good.“
A disappointed Sapp (9-3-1) revealed a potential hamstring injury that may have hampered his performance during a post-fight interview.
“My hamstring buckled and I wasn’t able to get back up,” Sapp said. “I tried to move around a lot but it wasn’t working. Unfortunately I just couldn’t get it done today.”
After a brief exchange on the feet, Cory Devela put veteran Joe Riggs on his back for good just two minutes into their middleweight bout with a swift judo throw. Immediately tapping out after he hit the mat, it was obvious that Riggs was in extreme pain from what appeared to be an unconfirmed lower back injury.
Although Devela landed two right hands flush to a downed and submitting Riggs, it was evident that the injury was the main cause behind the former UFC welterweight title contender being unable to stand up. A stretcher was called into the cage and Riggs was taken to nearby St. Joseph Medical Center where he remained overnight before being released earlier this morning.
Devela, now 8-1, noted that he hoped Riggs (27-10) would fully recover from the injury after the fight.
After a few minutes, I knew that I probably shouldn’t be standing with him,” Devela said. “He’s a hard-hitting guy and I had a better chance of tying up with him and beating him up that way. I hate to see when a fighter gets hurt like that so I hope he’s alright and comes back hard.”
Former UFC heavyweight champion Maurice Smith (12-10) took advantage of opponent Rick Roufus’ lack of a ground game, quickly submitting the renowned kickboxer and trainer with an armbar nearly two minutes into their bout. Even though he has now reached the age of 46, Smith seems that he is content to continue fighting and was extremely confident when discussing his second straight victory since halting a seven-year hiatus from the sport.
“I knew sooner or later I’d get him on the ground and when I did, I knew the fight would be over,” Smith said. ““I knew on the ground he wouldn’t beat me. I may be 46, but I’m a bad 46-year-old at that.”
Jorge Masvidal (13-2) and Eddy Ellis (14-4-1) both earned impressive unanimous decision victories over their respective opponents in undercard action.
Complete event results are below:
Nathan Coy def. Dave Courchaine - KO (Punch)
Zach Skinner def. Scott Shaffer - Unanimous Decision
Mike Hayes def. Matt Kovacs - Unanimous Decision
Lyle Beerbohm def. Ray Perales - Submission (Guillotine)
Mychal Clark def. Josh Bennett TKO (Doctor’s Stoppage)
Jorge Masvidal def. Ryan Healy - Unanimous Decision
Eddy Ellis def. Steve Berger - Unanimous Decision
Maurice Smith def. Rick Roufus - Submission (Armbar)
Cory Devela def. Joe Riggs - Submission (Injury)
Jan Nortje def. Bob Sapp - TKO (Strikes)