A ferocious Justin Wilcox power punched his way to a unanimous decision victory over Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt Vitor “Shaolin” Ribeiro in the lightweight (155 pounds) STRIKEFROCE Challengers main event, Friday night on SHOWTIME. Former University of Tenn., linebacker turned MMA rising star Ovince St. Preux (8-4) also notched a unanimous decision win over Antwain Britt (11-5) in featured light heavyweight (205 pounds) action from Jackson Convention Complex in Jackson, Miss.
The 31-year-old Wilcox (10-3), a former NCAA wrestling standout for Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, opted to keep the fight standing, punishing Ribeiro with straight right hands throughout their three-round bout. Ribeiro repeatedly tried to take the fight to the ground, but Wilcox fended his opponent off with a well-timed sprawl.
“We came out wanting to exploit his stand up. At AKA, we’ve got the best stand up,” said Wilcox, who was awarded all three rounds by the three judges scoring the fight. Wilcox’s win was his fifth straight.
Asked about a potential matchup with another star in STRIKEFORCE’s lightweight division, undefeated Lyle “Fancy Pants” Beerbohm, after the win over Ribeiro, Wilcox acknowledged his interest in facing Beerbohm.
“He keeps calling out the big dogs,” said Wilcox of Beerbohm, “but, if he wants to fight, I’m your Huckleberry.”
A much anticipated bout between go-for-broke strikers Marius Zaromskis (13-5, 1 NC) and Waachiim Spirit Wolf (8-7-1, 1 NC) took a quick, anti-climactic turn after Zaromskis attempted a flying knee out of the gate in the first round, but accidentally stuck a finger in Spirit Wolf’s eye on the way down.
Unable to see properly, a frustrated Spirit Wolf was allotted a five minute period to regain his vision, but could not do so. After he was examined by the ringside physician for the second time during his recovery period, it was determined that the laceration to Spirit Wolf’s eye was too severe for him to continue, prompting a stoppage to the bout and a no contest being declared.
“In the case of an accidental foul, the referee has the discretion to give the fighter up to five minutes regardless of what kind of foul occurs,” said Cory Schafer, STRIKEFORCE Rules Director and ISKA President. “If the foul occurs in the first or second round of a three round fight and the fighter can’t continue as a result of the accidental foul, the bout is declared a no contest.”
One fight later, lightning inexplicably struck for the second time when St. Preux accidentally poked Britt in the eye in the opening seconds of the first round. Fortunately, Britt regained enough of his vision to continue after a brief break and examination from the ringside physician.
After the action resumed, Britt went on the offensive, scoring a hard right hand to St. Preux’s chin. St. Preux returned the favor, though, landing a left round kick to the liver and, then a right round kick to Britt’s ribs.
Britt caught his opponent’s right leg off the kick and took St. Preux down, but St. Preux scrambled to take Britt’s back and began firing away with punches to the body and side of Britt’s head. As the round winded down, St. Preux suddenly attempted a calf slicer to submit Britt, but Britt survived the round.
Britt made a strong stand in the second round, taking St. Preux down and blasting him with repeated punches, including a series of short hammer fists while St. Preux remained relatively inactive in guard.
In the third stanza, St. Preux turned the tides again, taking Britt to the ground and mounting him. Britt fought his way back to guard and the referee stood the fighters up after neither was advancing his position. After stopping a Britt takedown attempt, the final round came to a close with St. Preux working from half guard.
All three judges scored the fight two rounds to one in favor of St. Preux, whose win was his fourth straight and second under the STRIKEFORCE banner.
“I feel like I’m ready for anything,” said the 27-year-old St. Preux, a resident of Knoxville, Tenn., after the fight. “I’ll put everybody in check in alphabetical order.”
In other SHOWTIME televised STRIKEFORCE Challengers action, Liz “Girl-Rilla” Carmouche (6-0) continued her unbeaten run by stopping brawler Jan Finney (8-9) with a ground and pound offensive in the third round of their welterweight (135 pounds) matchup.
Carmouche, the winner of the STRIKEFORCE women’s 135 pound tournament “reserve” matchup in Phoenix, Ariz. on Aug. 13, was quick on her feet, pelting Finney with round kicks and working aggressively on the ground.
After dominating the first two rounds, Carmouche, who hails from San Diego, Calif., scored her third takedown of the fight in the third and final scheduled round and quickly mounted Finney.
A short flurry of punches from Carmouche prompted Finney to turtle up, giving Carmouche the opportunity to inflict more damage with an onslaught of punches to the side of Finney’s face. The referee soon after stepped in and halted the fight, giving Carmouche a TKO win at the 1:30 mark of round three.
Twenty-six year old, Caros “The Future” Fodor (4-0, 1 NC) earned his second victory in STRIKEFORCE Challengers competition using a slick ground game against STRIKEFORCE newcomer Derek “The Pretzel” Getzel (2-2), who secured a spot on the Challengers card by winning an eight-man qualifying tournament in Minnesota earlier this year.
Fodor, a member of Matt Hume’s AMC Pankration in Kirkland, Wash., secured a takedown in the first stanza and landed in side control. Getzel escaped a Fodor keylock attempt, but Fodor quickly initiated a d’arce choke while inside Getzel’s guard and sunk in the choke while simultaneously passing guard. Getzel tapped out from the hold at the 4:39 mark of the first round.
Complete STRIKEFORCE Challengers Results:
Justin Wilcox def. Vitor Ribeiro via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Ovince St. Preux def. Antwain Britt via split decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Marius Zaromskis vs. Waachiim Spirit Wolf – No Contest due to laceration of Spirit Wolf’s eye as a result of an accidental eyepoke in Round 1
Liz Carmouche def. Jan Finney via TKO (punches) – Round 3, 1:30
Caros Fodor def. Derek Getzel via submission (d’arce choke) – Round 1, 4:39
Wes Shivers def. Goldman Butler via KO (punch) – Round 1, 2:15
Jacob Noe def. Wesley Little via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Jeremiah Riggs def. James Sharp via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Anthony Mitchell def. Jeffery Hedgepeth via submission (guillotine choke) – Round 1, 2:02
Thomas Vazquez def. Brian Hall via TKO (strikes) – Round 3, 2:11
Joel Cooper def. Brian Burse via submission (armbar) – Round 1, 1:27
Ken Duboise def. Travis Robertson via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)