Strikeforce Challengers 15 Preivew

Ok, it’s officially Strikeforce Challengers 15, but it’s also Zuffa’s first Strikeforce event which is exciting.  There are some tremendous fights on this card, so make sure to tune into Showtime and check them out.  While the card might not be filled with name fighters, it is filled with talent and could be a very fun card.   Strikeforce Challengers 15 takes place tonight on Showtime live from picturesque Stockton, CA. 

Damion Douglas (3-1) vs. Wayne Phillips (5-3)

This could be an interesting fight between two guys desperate for a good showing.  In Damion Douglas you have a kid with a solid ground game and a myriad of takedowns and throws.  He’s lost once in four professional fights, and the three he’s won, he’s closed out in the first round.  He’s a fighter who could be on the way up, and a showcase win here on national television would be quite a step in that direction.  Not looking to lay down however is Wayne Phillips, who has the experience edge and carries a 2-0 Strikeforce record into the fight.  Phillips is a grinder who has submissions, wrestling and trains with the likes of Josh Koscheck, Jon Fitch and Luke Rockhold at AKA.  In this fight, it’s experience and perhaps an edge in toughness for Phillips against the youth and excitement of Douglas.  While the odds makers have Wayne Phillips the favorite, it wouldn’t be shocking to see Damion Douglas explode onto the scene with a huge win here.  It should be a very exciting fight.  Could this be a special night for the Douglas brothers, Damion and “Tarzan?”

James Terry (9-2) vs. Josh Thornburg (6-2)

This could be the best fight on the card.  James Terry, from San Jose trains with Cung Le and has been impressive in his career, winning nine fights, including a solid (4-1) record inside of Strikeforce.  Josh Thornburg however lost in his only appearance inside of Strikeforce to wrestling star Roger Bowling (9-1) and will be in his hometown this time.   Thornburg, who is replacing injured Conor Heun , fights with an aggressive standup style and a very smooth ground game could be a handful for Terry if the fight hits the mat, or if Thornburg can catch him early.  The longer the fight goes, the better it is for the experienced James Terry, but something tells me it won’t be easy to put away Thornburg, a Cesar Gracie student in the 209.  Expect fireworks in this one.  Terry is the favorite, but it could go either way and could easily be fight of the night. Expect Thornburg who was a late replacement to make try to close the show early.

David “Tarzan” Douglas (8-2) vs. Caros Fodor (7-2)

This card might not be jammed packed with huge names, but what it is packed with is amazing fights.  This fight is another instant candidate for fight of the night as both guys here are very skilled, and dangerous.  If you haven’t seen “Tarzan” fight before, you’re missing out.  He has kicks, not to be believed and can finish as well as anyone in the sport.  Caros Fodor is trained by Matt Hume and is aptly nicknamed “The Future” because his is certainly bright inside the world of MMA.  He’ll be at a disadvantage standing against the Cesar Gracie trained “Tarzan” but Fodor could out wrestle Douglas and hold an advantage there.  That said, it’s not as if Fodor has nothing for Douglas standing, he’s a very dangerous stand up fighter with heavy hands, but “Tarzan” is faster, has lightning fast kicks and could end this one early if Fodor gets at all careless standing.  This is another case of a Cesar Gracie guy not wanting to lose in Stockton.  Fodor has the ground skills to win it there, no doubt, but it’s a dangerous game standing with Douglas.  Either way, this one will be fun however it goes.   The winner here will climb a few rungs up the Welterweight ladder in Strikeforce.

Lorenz Larkin (8-0) vs. Scott Lighty (6-1)

We interrupt this night of amazing nonstop action for this plodding battle of Light Heavyweights.  Actually, if you haven’t seen “The Monsoon” Lorenz Larkin, this could be a treat.  Larkin is a talented up and coming fighter who has won 6 of 8 fights by either KO or TKO, and five of those six in the first round.  This will be his debut for Strikeforce and he’s stepping up in competition, filling in for Satoshi Isii (4-1) who was set to make his Strikeforce debut but Visa problems as a result of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan made that impossible. Scott Lighty has fought some tough fighters, and his lone loss came to Antwain Britt at Strikeforce Evolution.  Neither fighter looked like bodybuilders at the weigh in, but it might be of note that Lighty came in at 206.2, just missing after disrobing and was forced to lose a little more.  This could be a great way for Lorenz to introduce himself to a massive audience.  Lorenz should be able to close the show, but if he lets Lighty hang around, he’ll regret it.  This won’t be fight of the night, but it shouldn’t bore you to tears either.

Justin “Silverback” Wilcox (10-3) vs. Rodrigo Damm (9-4)

I’ve never seen a Lightweight with as much muscle as Wilcox.  Sean Sherk looks at him and feels insecure.  I mean, this is just a massively built Lightweight.  Wilcox trains at AKA and as you might expect has good wrestling, and controls his fights with takedowns and positioning.  Think a shorter, less athletic and exciting Josh Koscheck, sans the hair.  Rodrigo Damm isn’t going to surprise anyone with his tactics tonight.  He’s a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu fighter and will be looking to submit Wilcox, once the action hits the mat.  At one point, Damm was thought to be a budding star, but that bloom has faded and he’s lost three of his last four.  Three years ago, he was 8-1 with wins over Kultar Gill, Ryan Bow, Johil de Oliveira and Jorge Masvidal, but then, the wheels fell off the wagon and he’s looked very average since.  This is a Strikeforce showcase fight for Wilcox and a loss will disappoint the brass.  Here’s all the game plan he’ll need.  Go for takedowns, keep your head in the middle of Damm’s chest and throw occasional elbows and punches on the mat.  Repeat if necessary.

The undercard of the Strikeforce Challengers 15 card is as follows:

Anthony Avila vs. Rafael Rios

Bobby Escalante vs. Raul Sandoval

Tristan Arenal vs. Tommy Peterson

Adam Antolin vs. Ronald Carillo

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