It’s been said by more than a few well-connected sources that Strikeforce is a show with a successful business model and deserves to be mentioned among the big promotions in North America.
Photos by David "Canada" McLeod
It’s been said by more than a few well-connected sources that Strikeforce is a show with a successful business model and deserves to be mentioned among the big promotions in North America. The promoters have successfully been promoting kickboxing shows for years in the Bay Area and with that experience in their very first venture into Mixed Martial Arts had the largest attendance of any MMA show at the time (Shamrock vs Gracie). How do they do it? For starters, they know the area very well, and while they have managed to put on some fights between big name stars, much of the draws are produced right here in the talent rich northern California area. In addition to their large, well publicized shows at venues like San Jose Arena and Playboy mansion (in addition to their show on NBC), Strikeforce also produces much smaller shows on their banner such as the Young Guns series, which features local up and coming talent exclusively. Held at the rather intimate San Jose Civic Auditorium, a more theater like venue that house crowds in the tens of hundreds as opposed to the tens of thousands, the joint was nonetheless rocking as fighters were eager to prove they belonged on the big show, and the fans came out to support their friends.
Because they card was made up of mainly fighters either making their debut or under five fights, the contests all were made up of 3 x three minute rounds.
The first fight of the evening pitted Mike Davis of Cesar Gracie’s camp/Team 209, a fighter who has had a few fights but not any in several years, against a debuting O.J. Dominguez representing Triune. The fight was nearly over quickly as O.J. managed to take Mike’s back from standing, but Mike remained calm and eventually got out. The remainder of the fight was all Davis as he proceeded to grind out a unanimous decision taking down and grounding and pounding O.J. until the final bell.
David Rasouli scored some big slams against Jeremy Tavares in the second bout that got the crowd excited. Tavares attempted some submissions from the bottom and even managed to scramble on top at least once in the match, but Rasouli utilized an classic top game and strike strategy to take the second unanimous decision of the night.
Eric Castille and Matt Pedro exchanged on the feet and on the ground briefly in the opening round, but early in the second Pedro took control and managed to finish Castille with a choke for the first submission victory of the night.
Alexandre Trevino was looking to quickly earn the second submission of the night as he caught the shooting Gennaro Strangis in a guillotine choke early in the first, but Strangis remained calm and escaped and managed to reverse positions. Trevino defended well from his back, and even managed to launch a bit of offense with a few up kicks. In the second round both men managed to land a few hard shots and wobbled the other, Strangis took advantage of this to finish the round in the mount position. In the third round Trevino used his reach advantage and stalked Strangis around the cage in a largely uneventful round, and Trevino took the decision.
In the fifth bout of the evening, Ryan Bastianelli controlled Hussain Rasoulli from the top largely to take the decision.
The sixth bout was a 125 pound match up that proved to be exciting between Adam Antolin and Javi Alanis. Antolin got the fight to the ground early and worked for the rear naked choke but Alanis managed to survive the round. In the second, perhaps deciding to forgo the submission, Antolin forced the stoppage from strike from the mount.
Blink and you missed the bout between Superheavyweights Yohan Banks and Michael Diaz. A flurry from Banks sent Diaz down to the mat early, followed by a brief ground and pound until referee Josh Rosenthal jumped in seconds into the match to award Banks the win by KO.
Chris Bostick took control of the match early against Jorge Interiano, and finished the bout with a textbook armbar from the top.
An intermission was then called as the officials and crew had to fix the cage. It soon became apparent the door had come off the hinges and the rest of the event had to be scrapped. (Strikeforce officials no doubt having visions of Bobby Southworth and James Irvin spilling out of the cage in their bout a few years ago). Although the crowd was obviously disappointed, and several well anticipated fights were scrapped, the announcer did his best to appease fans by saying the ticket stubs would be honored at the next Young Guns event. Despite the equipment failure, it was a good night of fights and fans had a chance to see who might make it to the big show one days, or more likely get their chance to support their local heroes. Strikeforce is set up for a busy week as just seven days later they hold their second show at the Playboy mansion with a card that has yet to be fully announced. The Young Guns IV show has not been scheduled at this time.