MMA Flashback: Strikeforce Shines At The Playboy Mansion

By Ross Everett

Hugh Hefner is really starting to show his age, but there he was at cageside wearing his trademark pajamas and bathrobe. Every time the STRIKEFORCE cameramen got a shot of him with the comment that “There’s Hef looking on” it appeared as if he was taking the opportunity to attend to some paperwork. Had he bothered to look up every now and then he would have enjoyed a spirited night of fighting.

STRIKEFORCE had to scramble on this show, as injuries changed the main event several times. It was initially a non-title matchup between former UFC bad boy Renato Babalu Sobral and promotion light heavyweight champion Bobby Southworth. Eventually, both sides of the main event changed several times before settling on a matchup between former BoDog middleweight champion Trevor Prangley and Anthony Ruiz.

The Prangley/Ruiz contest was a one sided affair, with the South African using his strength to repeatedly takedown his opponent and control him on the ground. Ruiz had the edge in the standup game, but Prangley avoided trouble by keeping the fight where he wanted it en route to a unanimous decision victory. With the frequent changes this bout was moved well down on the card and aired third on the televised portion of the event.

The main event was nominally the US debut of World Victory Roads Kazuo Misaki aka The Grabaka Hitman taking on well traveled veteran Joe Riggs. After an uneventful first round, the second round brought fireworks. Riggs struck first, flooring Misaski early in the round with a short left hook. It was what could most properly be called a flash knockdown that in no way hurt the Japanese fighter. In fact, he basically somersaulted back to a standing position and responded in kind with a straight right hand that sent Riggs to the canvas. Josh Rosenthal quickly waved off the fight awarding Misaki the TKO victory.

After the stoppage, Riggs immediately jumped to his feet in protest. The crux of his argument was that he was defending himself and that Misakis blows were doing little damage. He did have something of a case, as the replay showed that he was covered up and absorbing most of the blows to his gloves. With the safety of the fighters always the top priority, our conclusion was that the stoppage was legit. At the same time, however, you certainly cant blame Riggs for not being happy with it.

Earlier in evening, STRIKEFORCE lightweight champion Josh Punk Thompson made short work of a game but overmatched opponent in Ashe Bowman. To his credit, Bowman figured that he had to take the fight to the champion and went on the attack. Thompson then put on a counterpunching clinic nailing Bowman with a straight right followed by a flurry of uncontested punches that sent the young fighter to the canvas for a quick stoppage.

The most impressive submission of the night was courtesy of PRIDE vet Mitsuhiro The Endless Fighter Ishida. Justin Wilcox was the unlucky recipient on a beautiful submission when he attempted to take Ishida down and almost too fast to see the Japanese fighter slapped on an armbar for the quick tapout.

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