Friday night’s Strikeforce Challengers 10 featured Joe Riggs and Louis Taylor in the main event, but it was the Strikeforce women’s one-night, four-woman tournament in the 135-pound division that stole the show.
In the opening bout of the tournament, Miesha Tate controlled the majority of the bout with Finnish fighter Maiju Kujala, but it wasn’t as easy as many had thought. Tate, with a distinct advantage in experience, was able to take Kujala down several times, which likely is what won her the fight. Kujala established a strong jab in round two, finally getting some strong offense going, but it was too little too late with only two three-minute rounds to work with in the tournament format.
Bout number two of the tournament featured Brazilian Jiu-jitsu black belt Carina Damm and Japanese submission specialist Hitomi Akano. Damm shucked much of her BJJ background in favor of a strong striking attack. It worked for her in round one and at the beginning of round two, but Akano wouldn’t be denied, locking in a triangle choke to Mount and submitting Damm with a triangle choke-armbar combination from the top.
The two opening round bouts set up Tate and Akano for the tournament final, the prize being a shot at the winner of a future bout between current champion Sarah Kaufman and challenger Marloes Coenen. In round three, Tate nearly sank a rear naked choke, and went searching for a keylock, but had to settle for pummeling Akano with punches as the final bell sounded, a unanimous decision in her pocket.
Ryan Couture, son of UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture, made his professional debut on Friday night, finishing Rage In The Cage mainstay Lucas Stark in the opening moments of their fight.
Women’s 135-Pound Tournament Final Bout:
-Miesha Tate def. Hitomi Akano by Unanimous Decision, R3
Women’s 135-Pound Tournament Semi-Final Bouts:
-Miesha Tate def. Maiju Kujala by Unanimous Decision, R2
-Hitomi Akano def. Carina Damm by Submission (Triangle Choke/Armbar) at 1:48, R2
Women’s 135-Pound Tournament Reserve Bout:
-Liz Carmouche def. Colleen Schneider by Unanimous Decision, R2
-Joe Riggs def. Louis Taylor by Submission (Strikes) at 2:07, R3
-Ryan Couture def. Lucas Stark by Submission (Triangle Choke) at 1:15, R1
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