Surging welterweight prospect Nah-Shon
Burrell rode a strong third round to a controversial split
decision over James Terry
Strikeforce “Rockhold vs. Jardine” on Saturday at the Hard Rock
Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
All three cageside judges scored it 29-28: Glenn Trowbridge and
Marcos Rosales for the 21-year-old Burrell (8-1, 3-0 SF), Junichiro
Kamijo for Terry (11-4, 6-3 SF), who exited the stage in obvious
Terry appeared to control much of the first two rounds with
occasional overhand rights, superior work in the clinch and
repeated takedowns, three of them in the first five minutes alone.
Burrell was effective on his feet in spurts but looked lost on the
ground and failed to establish much of an offensive rhythm in the
face of relentless pressure in close quarters.
Perhaps believing he was behind, Burrell emptied his arsenal in
round three, as he blasted Terry with everything from stinging
right uppercuts and standing elbow strikes to knees, body blows and
leg kicks. Still, Terry, a protégé of former Strikeforce
middleweight champion Cung Le,
appeared comfortable with his effort as the fight closed. Rosales
and Trowbridge disagreed with his assessment.
Villante File Photo
Villante quickly defeated Smith.
Two-division Ring of
Combat champion Gian
Villante needed a little more than a minute to put away
Smith in a light heavyweight encounter. It was over in 65
Villante (9-3, 2-2 SF) shut down an initial takedown attempt from
Smith, an All-American wrestler at Iowa State University, and went
to work with his strikes. He smothered Smith (9-2, 2-1 SF) in the
clinch and attacked with knees, a low kick and a stout left hand. A
right hook put Smith in retreat mode, and Villante powered him to
the ground. There, he fired off a series of hammerfists that called
referee Kim Winslow into action.
The loss halted Smith’s streak of five consecutive victories.
the Cage mainstay Ricky Legere
Jr. dealt Las Vegas-based Swede Christopher
Spang his first professional defeat, as he captured a unanimous
decision in a competitive welterweight bout. Legere (14-4, 1-0 SF)
swept the scorecards by identical 29-28 counts.
Spang (4-1, 1-1 SF) simply could not stay on his feet. Scoring with
repeated takedowns, Legere kept the fight where he wanted it with
ground-and-pound and active top control. An athletic striker, Spang
had his moments, including a tight first-round guillotine choke and
a late third-round rear-naked choke, but not enough of them to make
Legere, who trains out of the
Reign MMA camp, has won his last four fights.
Arizona Combat Sports representative Estevan
Payan dissected Alonzo
Martinez with clean, crisp striking en route to a one-sided
unanimous decision in their 160-pound catchweight bout. All three
cageside judges scored it the same: 30-27 for Payan (13-3, 1-0 SF),
who has rattled off four consecutive victories.
Payan stung his foe with repeated jabs and heavy multi-punch
combinations throughout the 15-minute encounter. The 29-year-old
Rage in the Cage champion landed at a high rate and with authority,
and, by the second round, had Martinez moving backward and shying
away from contact. Payan stuffed and sprawled out of the
Nebraskan’s attempted takedowns, and he punctuated his victory with
a beautiful three-punch combination in the third round, as he put
together a jab, right hook to the body and left hook to the
The defeat snapped a two-fight winning streak for Martinez
(35-16-1, 0-1 SF).