Saturday, November 20, 2010

Strikeforce Challenger 12 Leftovers: Liz Carmouche and Ovince St. Preux Show Hidden Potential

Strikeforce presented the twelfth installment of its "Challengers" series last night in Jackson, Mississippi. In the main event, Justin Wilcox left his high caliber wrestling game at home in exchange for a toe-to-toe battle with Vitor Ribeiro. Wilcox utilized his newly-honed striking abilities to defeat the four-time Brazilian Jiu Jitsu world champion by way of unanimous decision. In other lightweight action, Caros Fodor opened the main card, collecting his second Strikeforce win with a first round submission over Derek Getzel. Fodor had only briefly locked up a brabo choke, but secured it tight enough to draw the tap midway through a gator roll. Meanwhile, crossover Dream welterweight Marius Zaromskis' hopes to finally notch a victory on American soil came to an abrupt halt. Zaromskis opened the first seconds of his match against Waachim Spiritwolf with a flying move straight out of a Bruce Lee flick, only to accidentally poke Spiritwolf in the eye. The event physician did not allow the bout to continue, leading to a "no contest" ruling.

Two other slots on the Strikeforce Challengers 12 card highlighted fighters with with workable potential. Liz Carmouche and Ovince St. Preux both took home wins last night. Carmouche defeated a much more experienced opponent in Jan Finney. St. Preux kept the pressure on his opponent, Antwain Britt, en route to a unanimous decision victory.

More after the jump...
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Liz Carmouche is currently undefeated at 5-0. Last night's fight was her Strikeforce debut, in which she made a strong showing, displaying fierce hand skills and proficiency in the clinch. While "Girl-rilla" does present skills above that of most apprentice level female fighters, there's always room for improvement. Liz Carmouche presents herself as an inside fighter, but often finds herself on the perimeter. She will have to jab her into the clinch. The clinch is a strong area for Carmouche. While in the clinch, Carmouche likes to go for the hip-toss, but her impatience to get her opponent to the mat causes her to miss many opportunities to deliver solid knees. Liz Carmouche's plan for success is quite simple, as her deficiencies are common for green fighters. If she continues to improve and round out her skill set, she may very will find herself among Strikeforce's toughest women's bantamweights -- Marloes Coennen, Sarah Kaufman.

Ovince St. Preux (8-4) definitely opened eyes when he defeated fellow light heavyweight prospect Antwain Britt last night. The two fighters almost met last year in Aruba at Vendetta Fighting Championship's eight-man light heavyweight tournament "A Night of Vengeance." But, the time was right for St. Preux last night, who used superior athletic ability to overcome his opponent. Sporting Omega Psi Phi Fraternity brands on both biceps, St. Preux has the build and athletic prowess to cause some damage in Strikeforce's light heavyweight division. He's lean, has long arms and legs, speed, stregnth, and flexibility. If the former University of Tenessee linebacker could apply his athletic abilities to his fight game, the results could be dangerous. St. Preux's strongest asset is his striking. He does not hesitate to utilize his reach when punching or kicking, and the power and speed by which he delivers those strikes is evident. However, his ground game needs much improvement, and even St. Preux himself has admitted to the need for improvement in the wrestling department. Still, St. Preux's grappling does have static moments, last night he managed to pull of an old school catch wrestling style calf slicer. The technique did not draw a tap but proved his potential on the ground. St. Preux also earned a runner-up spot in Sports Illustrated's mid-2009 "Submission of the Year" poll for a nasty calf slicer he used to defeat Ombey Mobley at XFC 8. The calf slicer might be his go-to move on the ground but his overall grappling game won't survive on the hinges of just one move. The solution to Preux's areas of deficiency is quite simple -- change camps. Nothing against Knoxville MMA, with whom he presently affiliates, but a fighter with Preux's abilities deserves a step up on the evolutionary ladder of MMA camps. Unfortunately, there are no major mixed martial arts camps local to Knoxville, Tenessee, however, relocating a few hours away to maybe Atlanta, St. Preux could find himself in good hands at American Top Team-Atlanta. No matter what school he were to choose, St. Preux's best option if he wants to improve is to identify an established school where he can hone his athletic abilities for the purpose of fighting.

Strikeforce: "Strikeforce Challengers 12"
November 19, 2010
Jackson Convention Complex
Jackson, Mississippi

Main Card:
Caros Fodor def. Derek Getzel via Submission (Brabo Choke) R1 4:39
Liz Carmouche def. Jan Finney via TKO (Punches) 3 1:30
Marius Zaromskis vs. Waachiim Spiritwolf ruled NC (Spiritwolf Poked in the Eye) R1 0:06
Ovince St. Preux def. Antwain Britt via Decision (Unanimous)
Justin Wilcox def. Vitor Ribeiro via Decision (Unanimous)

Preliminary Card:
Kent DuBose def. Travis Robertson via Decision (Unanimous)
Joel Cooper def. Brian Burse via Submission (Armbar) R1 1:27
Thomas Vasquez def. Brian Hall via TKO (Punches) R3 2:11
Anthony Mitchell def. Jeffrey Hedgepeth via Submission (Guillotine Choke) R1 2:02
Jeremiah Riggs def. James Sharp via Decision (Unanimous)
Jacob Noe def. Wes Little via Decision (Unanimous)
Wes Shivers def. Goldman Butler via KO (Punch) R1 2:15

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