Healy (right) won his sixth straight. | Photo: Dave
Holobaugh made certain Pat Healy
earned his paycheck.
Takedowns, ground-and-pound and airtight takedown defense carried
Healy to a unanimous decision over Holobaugh at
Strikeforce “Marquardt vs. Saffiedine” on Saturday at the
Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City. All three cageside judges
scored it for Healy (29-16, 7-1 Strikeforce): 29-28, 30-27 and
Originally primed to challenge Gilbert
Melendez for the Strikeforce lightweight championship in the
main event, Healy weathered another opponent change and settled for
an undercard date with the previously unbeaten Holobaugh (9-1, 0-1
Strikeforce). Victory did not come as easily as many thought it
Holobaugh tagged Healy more than once on the feet, threatened him
with a relentless stream of submission attempts from his back and
freed himself from an arm-triangle choke late in the match.
Ultimately, Healy’s experience, superiority in the scrambles and
will to win drove him to his sixth consecutive victory.
Couture Earns Controversial Decision
Couture, the 30-year-old son of UFC hall of famer Randy
Couture, upset former EliteXC
lightweight champion K.J. Noons by
split decision in a hotly contested preliminary battle at 155
pounds. Two of the three cageside judges -- Nick Atwood and Jim
Lambert -- saw it for Couture by identical 29-28 counts; a third,
Bobby Higdon, cast a dissenting 30-27 nod for Noons.
Couture (left) took a close decision.
Couture (6-1, 6-1 Strikeforce) executed an intelligent game plan
against the superior boxer, as he kept Noons off-balance with a
variety of kicks from the outside.
Noons (11-6, 3-4 Strikeforce) answered with crisp, effective
counterpunches and nearly finished it midway through the second
round, when he clipped Couture in close quarters, set him on wobbly
legs and swarmed with heavy artillery on the cage. Couture survived
the volley, regained his wits and resumed his tactical attack.
Noons delivered the more decisive blows throughout the 15-minute
affair, though he was too often caught in between, waiting for
Couture to make the first move. In the end, his lack of sustained
aggression cost him. Noons has dropped four of his last five
Kennedy Guillotine Finishes Smith
Two-time middleweight title contender Tim Kennedy
coaxed a tapout from Trevor
Smith with a third-round guillotine choke in a competitive
undercard clash at 185 pounds. Smith (10-3, 2-2 Strikeforce)
conceded defeat 96 seconds into round three.
Kennedy stopped Smith in the third.
Kennedy (15-4, 6-2 Strikeforce) wore out his opponent with superb
defensive grappling, thudding knee strikes from the clinch and the
occasional uppercut on the feet. By the time the two middleweights
reached the final frame, Smith wore a look of visible fatigue on
Kennedy defended a sloppy single-leg takedown attempt and locked
down the choke from a standing position, driving Smith to the
ground and leaving him no choice but to tap out.
Gracie (top) put away Smith.
Gracie Choke Submits Smith
Ten-time Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion Roger
Gracie submitted Anthony
Smith with a second-round arm-triangle choke in an undercard
clash at 185 pounds. Gracie (6-1, 4-1 Strikeforce) coaxed the
tapout 3:16 into round two.
After an underwhelming first five minutes in which Smith (17-9, 2-2
Strikeforce) chewed on the Brazilian’s legs with kicks, Gracie
found his stride.
The 31-year-old submission grappling savant put his jab to work in
the second round, struck for a double leg takedown, passed the
Smith guard behind a pair of right hands and ultimately moved to
full mount. From there, Gracie opened a horrendous cut above his
opponent’s right eye with a short elbow strike and transitioned to
the arm-triangle choke for the finish.
Martins Outpoints Gurgel; Surging Payan Stops Bravo
Jungle Fight champion Adriano
Martins recorded his 11th win in 12 appearances, as he captured
a unanimous verdict from Jorge Gurgel
in a preliminary lightweight duel. All three cageside judges scored
it for Martins (24-6, 1-0 Strikeforce): 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27.
Gurgel (14-9, 2-4 Strikeforce) has lost six of his past eight
Payan (right) stopped Bravo with punches.
Arizona Combat Sports export Estevan
Payan stopped Mike Bravo on
second-round punches in an undercard matchup at 155 pounds. Bravo
(7-4, 0-1 Strikeforce) succumbed to the blows 4:01 into round two,
his three-fight winning streak a thing of the past.
Payan (14-3, 2-0 Strikeforce), a 30-year-old
Bellator Fighting Championships, veteran has won his last five
bouts, four of them finishes.