Sayers Ruins Britt’s Middleweight Debut at Strikeforce Challengers 20


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After a 16-fight professional MMA career spent at 205 pounds, Antwain Britt looked the part of an imposing physical specimen in his inaugural venture to middleweight.

Lumumba Sayers wasn't impressed with his opponent's transformation, however. The Grapplers Edge product didn't take long to give Britt (11-6) a rude welcome to his new weight class, knocking out the Virginian in just 28 seconds in the Strikeforce Challengers 20 main event at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas on Friday night.

Sayers (5-2) looked for a takedown in the bout's initial moments, and when that failed the two combatants briefly clinched against the cage. Sayers launched his assault as he broke away from Britt, connecting with a short right hook that had “The Juggernaut” reeling. A powerful uppercut sealed the deal, giving Sayers the first knockout victory of his career. His previous four triumphs had come via submission.

It was Britt's third straight defeat, and just the second time he has been knocked out in a 17-fight MMA tenure.

With the swift finish of Britt bolstering his resume, Sayers said he won't be picky regarding his next opponent.

“Whatever they put in front of me, we're gonna take one fight at a time. Whatever they put in front of me, I'm gonna handle it,” Sayers said. “Whatever Strikeforce puts in front of me, we've got it going in.”

Four fights into her professional mixed martial arts career, Ronda Rousey is becoming downright predictable in the cage.

Unfortunately for her opponents, the Olympic judo bronze medalist’s plan of attack doesn’t seem to be getting any less effective. Julia Budd became the fourth victim of Rousey’s notorious armbar, succumbing to the hold just 39 seconds into the first round of their 145-pound bout. It wasn’t the quickest victory of Rousey’s career -- a 25-second victory over Sarah D’Alelio at Challengers 18 retains that honor -- but the Santa Monica, Calif., native was happy with the result nonetheless.

“I got tagged a couple of times, but that was really good. I’m stoked, I’m glad you guys are cheering for me this time,” Rousey said, addressing the crowd at the Palms.

Rousey (4-0) wasted little time in clamping her signature move on the muay Thai specialist, and Budd had no chance at defending her aggressive foe. Cageside doctors quickly surrounded Budd (2-2) at the conclusion of the bout, as the Canadian’s right arm appeared to be badly dislocated by the torque of the submission.

Recently Rousey has expressed an interest in moving down in weight to set up a showdown with Strikeforce 135-pound champion Miesha Tate, and she reiterated those plans after the bout.

“That’s still what I want to do,” she said. “I really want to have a title fight against Miesha Tate.”

A vicious right hand made a short night’s work for Adlan Amagov, as the Russian striker earned a technical knockout victory over Anthony Smith at 2:32 of the first round in their catch-weight contest.

The fight began with both men swinging wildly before the Russian took his opponent to the ground with a single leg. Smith’s defensive guard forced a standup, and that is where Amagov was able to assert his will. A right hook followed by a left uppercut appeared to daze the Omaha, Neb., native. The decisive right hand soon followed, and Amagov (9-1-1) was quick to pounce and finish the fight with a flurry of strikes on his downed opponent.

“It’s something I was planning to do, I was looking for either a knockout or submission,” Amagov said through a translator following the bout.

Originally scheduled to be contested at middleweight, the bout was held at a 188-pounds when Smith (14-8) failed to make weight. He forfeited 20 percent of his purse to Amagov.

Trevor Smith has shown an affinity for the guillotine choke in his career, and he notched his fourth such victory against T.J. Cook in a light heavyweight scrap. The end came at 4:28 of the opening round, as Smith was able to suffocate his opponent with the choke from mounted position.

Smith improved to 9-1 with the victory -- with eight of those triumphs coming via tap out. Cook (12-4) had no answers for the physical wrestling of Smith. The loss marked the end of a five-fight winning streak for the 29 year old.

According to Smith, the bout went as expected.

“That’s pretty much the gameplan,” he said. “It’s just weather the slow start and get on top and submit everybody.”

Derek Brunson remained undefeated, overpowering Nate James in a middleweight contest. All three judges scored the bout 30-27 in favor of the Jackson’s Mixed Martial Arts product.

The visibly larger Brunson (9-0) controlled the fight from the outset, taking James (13-8-1) down three times in the first five minutes. The North Carolina native failed to do much with the position, however, as James was able to get back to his feet repeatedly. Brunson was more impressive in round two, slamming James to the canvas with a suplex early and threatening his opponent with rear-naked chokes throughout the frame. James’ lone highlight of the round came when he rolled into a kneebar attempt, but Brunson was able to escape unscathed.

Brunson showcased his striking early in the final frame, flooring the American Kickboxing Academy product with a straight left hand. He punctuated the victory with a high-crotch takedown in the round’s final moments.

In preliminary card action, Matt Ricehouse (6-0) took a unanimous decision over Bill Cooper (2-1) at lightweight, while Bobby Green (17-5) submitted American Top Team's James Reese (5-2) with a rear-naked choke at the 2:25 mark of round one in their 155-pound tussle.

Also, Quinn Mulhern (17-2) scored a unanimous decision over David Hulett (18-10) at welterweight, and Las Vegas resident Andreas Spang (7-1) notched an opening round TKO against Willie Parks (4-2) at the 3:10 mark.

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