Fresno, Calif – The Strikeforce Challengers Series invaded the Save Mart Center for the second time this year.
The main event featured, UFC veteran, Jorge Gurgel taking on hometown favorite, Billy Evangelista.The first round was a feeling out process for both fighters. Billy landed cleaner combinations but Jorge was still punching back. Evangelista scored a takedown at the end of the round.
In the second round, Jorge was landing solid punches to Billy’s face but Billy still had cleaner combinations and scored another takedown. Late in the round, Gurgel landed a head kick knocking Evangelista on his back and Gurgel went for a guillotine. But, Billy weathered the storm and escaped before the end of the round.
The final round saw solid exchanges from both fighters and a lot of work from the clinch. Billy would score a third takedown, after being stood up by the referee both fighters fought until the final bell.
The judges scored the fight 30-27, 30-27, & 29-28 with the unanimous decision going to Billy Evangelista.
In a battle of undefeated fighters, Fresno’s Brandon Cash took on Shane Del Rosario.Cash came out strong dominating the fight and rocking Del Rosario early.
He avoided Del Rosario’s submission attempts until Del Rosario pulled out an omaplata and the win at 2:51 in the first round.
UFC veteran, Jesse Taylor took on Luke Rockhold; the fight went to the ground early. Rockhold would go to work and take Taylor’s back. Once in position, Rockhold sunk in a rear-naked choke and put Taylor to sleep, literally.Rockhold wins by rear-naked choke at 3:42 in the first round.
Merrit Warren attempted a heel hook submission on Thomas Diagne in the middle of the first round. Diagne tried to fight the hold but Warren had it locked in and Diagne tapped out at 3:49.
In the only women’s fight on the card, Fresno’s Zolia Frausto took on Elisha Helsper.
In the first round, both fighters were feeling each other out and exchanging briefly. Until Zolia landed a Superwoman punch and became more aggressive until the round ended.
Helsper came out swinging early in the second but Zoila would land a head kick and would become more confident as the round progressed. Helsper would battle back but Zolia was in control of the round.
The third round was more of the same as both fighters exchanged. Frausto was throwing a strong jab and showing better striking than Helpser. Even though, Helpser scored a takedown, Zolia aggression and striking won her the round.
Frausto would take the unanimous decision win with all three judges scoring the fight 30-27.
On the undercard:
Ben “the Teacher” Holscher took Johnny Goh to school winning a unanimous decision with all three judge scoring the fight 30-27.
Fresno’s Casey “The Underdog” Olson wasted little time on Chris Culley. Olson scored a memorable takedown on Culley; picking up Culley walking to his corner and slamming him on the mat. From there Olson would take Culley’s back then ground and pound until the referee stopped the fight.
Olson wins by technical knockout at 2:32 in the first round.
Cole “The Apache Kid” Escovedo landed a devastating head kick that leads to a TKO over Maurice Eazel at 1:47 of the first round.
In the first fight of the evening, Rico Altamirano (2-2) defeats Alex Trevino by unanimous decision.