In the first bout on last night’s Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Kharitonov main card, Pat Healy survived an early onslaught delivered by Venezuelan mixed martial artist Maximo Blanco to come back and win the bout via submission.
Right off the bat, Blanco took the momentum by launching a volley of strikes from each limb and all angles. The assault led Healy to dive for a desperation takedown, which Blanco used to flatten him into the mat and take top position. Showing some impressive wherewithal, Healy began looking for submissions to stall Blanco’s attack and improve his own position. While simultaneously trapping Blanco’s arm and looking for a leg lock, the Venezuelan used his free foot to repeatedly smack Healy in the face before the referee could step in and stop him from using the illegal move.
The action was eventually halted and Blanco docked a point while a very dazed Healy did his best to recover and assure the cageside doctor that he could continue on. Last night, he admitted to MMAJunkie that there were moments of doubt in his mind as to whether or not he could forge onward.
“Right after they landed, I kind of rolled over and felt woozy,” Healy said. “I thought I was done right then. But it came back to me pretty quick, and I was able to regain composure. The thought was right there in my head that I could bow out and win, but I’d never be able to live with myself and lay my head on my pillow at night. Once I felt all right, I knew I could come back.”
The Team Quest-trained lightweight also stated that he was unsurprised by Blanco’s torrent of illegal strikes, as he believes the flashy fighter has shown a propensity for such in past fights.
“That’s his thing,” Healy said. “I’ve seen him fight a couple of times in Japan, and he’s got DQd over there. I don’t want to say he’s cheap, but he’s had a few instances like that.”
When the action did resume, Healy stole the momentum and eventually tapped out a withering Blanco with a rear naked choke in the second round. Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Kharitonov went down last night at the US Bank Arena in Cincinnati, Ohio.