Strikeforce returned to Las Vegas for the twentieth installment of its Challengers series.  The Pearl at the Palms was again the venue, and the night’s five-fight main card aired live on Showtime.  Headlining the card was a middleweight fight between Antwain Britt and Lumumba Sayers.

Sayers dismantles Britt

Colorado-based middleweight Lumumba Sayers quickly spoiled the middleweight debut of Antwain Britt.

The man known as “Heavy Hands” pressed Britt against the fence and connected with a short right hand-left hook combination that buckled the knees of Britt.  Sayers finished Britt with an uppercut that ended the fight just 28 seconds into the first round.

Rousey continues streak of first-round, first-minute armbars

Decorated judoka Ronda Rousey kept her perfect record intact by scoring her seventh consecutive submission win (amateur and professional).

Her opponent, Julia Budd, had hoped to keep the fight standing and utilize her Muay Thai base, but Rousey had nothing of it.  Just seconds into the fight, Rousey clinched and secured a takedown against the fence.  She effortlessly moved to mount and attacked Budd’s right arm.

Budd refused to tap and her arm was dislocated in the process.  Rousey stated that she is moving to the 135-pound division and she’d like to take on former title-holder Sarah Kaufman next.

Amagov turns the lights out on Smith

Russian middleweight Adlan Amagov made his opponent Anthony Smith pay for missing weight in their contest.

Amagov scored early with a takedown and worked from the top position, but it was his work on the feet that would end the bout.  Amagov clipped Smith with a left hand that wobbled the fighter and then followed with a big right hand that sent Smith crashing to the mat.  Amagov followed Smith to the ground and rained down punches before the referee stepped in to stop the assault.

Smith chokes out Cook

Trevor Smith started the run of first-round finishes on the main card with a slick guillotine over T.J. Cook.

The pair battled on the ground for the majority of the bout, but it was Smith’s ground game that would be the difference.  Smith latched onto the neck of Cook and swept to the mount, forcing Cook to tap.

Brunson outlasts James

In a battle of former All-American wrestlers, Derek Brunson proved to be the stronger man as he took a decision over Nate James.

Brunson repeatedly put James on his back and frequently passed the guard of James.  James was unable to mount any significant offense from his back.

In the final round, Brunson dropped James with a straight left hand, but rather than follow James to the ground, Brunson elected to cruise to victory and claim all three rounds on the judges’ scorecards.


Main Card (Showtime)

Lumumba Sayers def. Antwain Britt by KO (punches). Round 1, 0:28

Ronda Rousey def. Julia Budd by submission (armbar). Round 1, 0:39

Adlan Amagov def. Anthony Smith by KO (punches). Round 1, 2:32

Trevor Smith def. T.J. Cook by submission (guillotine choke). Round 1, 4:28

Derek Brunson def. Nate James by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Preliminary Card (not televised)

Matt Ricehouse def. Bill Cooper by unanimous decision (29-27, 30-26, 30-26)

Bobby Green def. J.P. Reese by submission (rear-naked choke). Round 3, 2:25

Quinn Mulhern def. David Hulett by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Andreas Spang def. Willie Parks by TKO (punches). Round 1, 3:10

Photo: Ronda Rousey armbars Julia Budd (Strikeforce)