Strikeforce’s “Challengers 16” was an unfortunately underwhelming event. It had a few good fights, but far and away it was an event plagued by not-so-good performances and outright boring encounters. Still, the night was not a total waste. But which stars shined brightest, and what moments will fans be talking about in the following weeks? Here’s my take on the matter: my top 5 best moments of Strikeforce: “Challengers 16”.
5. Seeing and hearing the always-good announce team.
I’ve made no secret of my absolute hatred for the announcing team of Frank Shamrock, Gus Johnson, and Mauro Ranallo. In small bursts I can appreciate Shamrock and Ranallo, I absolutely despise Johnson, and when their powers combine, it’s like my ears are being assaulted every thirty seconds. Compare this to “Challengers”, which features the always-insightful Stephen Quadros and the equally-insightful former champion Pat Miletich. And “Challengers 16” was another good night for the team.
4. Jason High having a decent fight and still being unimpressed with his performance.
High is not a boring fighter. He’s just a wrestler. He’s a good wrestler, with good standup, although he’s been knocked out a few times. But I repeat: he is not a boring fighter. So it was a bit deflating to see him perform at “Challengers 16” in a fight that bordered on “Lay and Pray” at times. Thankfully, his displeased post-fight reaction redeemed him in my eyes. For Jason High giving us an average, bordering-on-good performance and hating himself for it, I think he deserves a spot on this list.
3. Lorenz Larkin’s comeback.
When Gian Villante spent most of the first round of his fight with Lorenz Larkin on top of Larkin and doing minimal damage, my hopes of their fight being entertaining were almost completely dashed. But luckily for this fight, Larkin made a big comeback starting in Round 2 and ultimately would win a competitive slugfest. Larkin saved both the show and its audience from another boring fight, and for that he should be commended.
2. Ryan Couture’s first loss.
It wasn’t easy seeing Ryan Couture lose for the first time. He’s got a good head on his shoulders, and he’s shown some real skill in his two pro MMA bouts. But I think this loss was good for him, it exposed some of his weaknesses while further showcasing his huge heart, impressive cardio, and growing abilities as an all-around good fighter. Plus, this was a really good, very competitive fight. It’s rare, but sometimes a fighter really does gain more from a loss than from a win. I think that’s what happened with Ryan Couture, and since it was such a fun fight, it definitely deserves a place on this list.
And my personal pick for the best moment of Strikeforce “Challengers 16” is…
1. The main event.
Caros Fodor is an entertaining fighter. James Terry is an entertaining fighter. And luckily, they matched up well with each other and gave us an entertaining fight. Neither man was gun-shy, they both wanted to finish and spent themselves in order to try and go for the finish. Their cardio wavered a bit in the third round, resulting in it being the weakest of the three rounds, but that’s only because both men put so much effort into the first two rounds. It was wild brawl and highly entertaining, and it definitely deserves the top spot on this list.
So there you have it, fans and friends: those are the moments I’ll be remembering from “Challengers 16″