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By David Tees on 8/15/2011 7:13 PM
When you got to pick an event to kick off a weekend full of MMA action, you couldn’t do wrong by choosing Strikeforce Challengers 18. The event saw the fall of a top ranked lightweight fighter and the rise of a 145 pound female division competitor. Also, a former WEC fighter went down to defeat and a top prospect achieves his first ever Strikeforce victory.

Round One: The Continuous Fall Of “JG”

Jorge Gurgel came out of the UFC Ultimate Fighter 2 as one of the best lightweight prospects to enter the promotion in a while. Fast forward a few years now and the Strikeforce veteran has now lost three of five fights in the promotion. Joe Duarte executed a pretty decent game plan against his more experienced foe to edge out a unanimous decision victory. Jorge Gurgel now has to go back to the drawing board once again before MMA’s second biggest promotion gives him a pink slip.

Next Round For Joe Duarte: Pat Healy, Justin Wilcox or Lyle Beerbohm

Next Round For Jorge Gurgel: A release from Strikeforce

Round Two: Pulling The Upset

Very few people outside of immediate friends and family probably chose Nate James to defeat Danillo Villefort on Friday Night. However, those friends and family are proven correct as Nate James defeated Danillo Villefort by unanimous decision. After an excellent first round performance, Danillo Villefort seemed to gas out and Nate James simply took advantage. Nate James now finds himself on the fast track in Strikeforce after defeating one of the top rated middleweights in MMA.

Next Round For Nate James: Robbie Lawler, Derek Brunson or Ovince St. Preux

Next Round For Danillo Villefort: Cory Devela, Joe Ray or Lumumba Sayers

Round Three: That’s A Slipper Opponent

If there was one thing the much bigger Pat Healy thought he could do against Eric Wisely on Friday Night was control him, but he was proven wrong. Despite having the size advantage, Pat Healy was hardly able to control Eric Wisely on the ground and both fighters were scrambling like crazy. Pat Healy did barely manage to pull out a unanimous decision victory on Friday Night, but it could have easily gone either way. Eric Wisely, who competed at lightweight on Friday Night, may be better suited to compete at featherweight due to his size disadvantage.

Next Round For Pat Healy: Gesias Cavalcante, Justin Wilcox or Jorge Gurgel

Next Round For Eric Wisely: A drop to the featherweight division

Round Four: Twenty Five Seconds Of Controversy

Very few female fighters have debuted in Strikeforce in the last year with as much fanfare as Ronda Rousey brought with her. After a rousing start that included a quick jumping arm bar from Ronda Rousey on opponent Sarah D’Alelio, the controversy began. Referee Steve Mazzagatti quickly stopped the fight after claiming that Sarah D’Alelio screamed in pain from the hold. However, it was later explained that a fighter screaming in pain in a submission could warrant a fight stoppage, so the controversy may have easily been a misunderstanding for most.

Next Round For Ronda Rousey: Julia Budd, Amanda Nunes or Germain Da Randamie

Next Round For Sarah D’Alelio: A Strikeforce release

Round Five: Finally…

Gian Villante started off his run in Strikeforce in an important position, facing Chad Griggs in a Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix reserve fight. After suffering that defeat and another one to Lorenz Larkin, Gian Villante was put on the preliminary card of Strikeforce Challengers 18. Gian Villante finally woke up and smelled the roses because he took what was his final opportunity to win a fight by defeating Keith Berry on Friday Night. If he had lost, Gian Villante would have gone from a televised fight on a big Strikeforce card to a televised fight on a Strikeforce Challengers card to a fight on the un-aired preliminary card to an outright release.

Next Round For Gian Villante: Derrick Mehmen, Antwain Britt or Ron Humphrey

Next Round For Keith Berry: A Strikeforce release

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