Frank Trigg dominated tough veteran Falaniko Vitale wire to wire en route to a unanimous decision victory at Strikeforce: Payback. Trigg essentially dictated where and when the fight occurred, and Vitale had no response whatsoever. The CompuStrike stats clearly underscored Triggs superiority in the fight, giving him a lopsided 41 to 7 edge in strikes landed.
In the co-main event, Duane Bang Ludwig earned an explosive TKO win over Sam Morgan. After an evenly contested first minute, Ludwig quickly took control with a series of Muay Thai knee strikes which set up a perfectly placed bodyshot to the liver that floored his opponent. Ludwig quickly pressed his advantage and never gave Morgan a chance to recover.
In perhaps the most entertaining bout on the card, highly touted Billy Evangelista survived his second big scare in as many fights to remain undefeated. After a split decision victory over Nam Phan in June, Evangelista found himself in grave danger of a TKO loss early in his bout with tough veteran Luke Caudillo. Caudillo”who goes by the nickname Lil Hulk”opened the fight with a flurry, knocking Evangelista to the canvas three times in the opening minute. Via some combination of wits and toughness, Evangelista managed to survive the barrage and began to take over the fight late in the round with his superior technical striking. He landed a nice combination late in the frame that knocked Caudillo down, which improbably earned Evangelista an even round after being on the brink of a stoppage loss.
As the rest of the fight unfolded, Caudillo made the mistake of becoming a headhunter looking for a KO punch which allowed Evangelista to take over the fight. Evangelista continued to score with crisp combinations and as the bout progressed demonstrated his superior conditioning”a major factor at the high altitude of the Broomfield, Colorado fight venue. Evangelista would eventually earn a unanimous decision victory though the 30-27 score awarded by one judge was questionable considering that he spent the first half of round one being bounced around the cage like a beach ball.
A highly anticipated womens match took place early in the evening, with former Hooters waitress Michelle The Karate Hottie Watterson easily defeating an overmatched opponent in Tyra Parker. Parker, whod lost her pro debut six weeks ago, may have been rushed back into action too quickly but she came out fighting gamely swinging for the fences with wild, powerful punch attempts. Watterson easily figured out her opponent, however, and The Karate Hottie quickly took over with her more disciplined striking approach.
The event marked Strikeforces first visit to Colorado, and another in a series of very entertaining fight cards. Scott Coker and his team deserve a lot of credit for their matchmaking”even in the lower card fights they have a knack for putting together bouts that more often than not are exciting and competitive. Strikeforce is clearly a promotion on the rise, and could be the USA’s #2 group before long.
Ross Everett is a freelance writer specializing in mixed martial arts, judo, soccer betting, falconry and model railroading. He is a well known expert on sports betting and has made countless TV and radio appearances. He lives in Southern Nevada with his Filipino houseboy, three Jack Russell Terriers and a retired racing wombat.