Riggs Stops Taylor, Tate Wins Tourney

By Brian Knapp Aug 14, 2010
PHOENIX -- UFC veteran Joe Riggs overcame a slow start to strike Louis Taylor into third-round submission in the Strikeforce Challengers 10 headliner on Friday at the Dodge Theatre. Taylor, caught in a topside crucifix, tapped out to punches from the top 2:07 into round three.

Playing to chants of “Diesel,” Riggs wobbled Taylor with a thudding left hook early in the third round, turned his attempted clinch into a takedown and moved in for the finish. Unable to free himself, Taylor was left with no other option but to ask out of the fight. The 27-year-old Riggs, who holds a victory against current Strikeforce welterweight champion Nick Diaz, has won five of his past six bouts.

Riggs affirmed his interest in participating in the forthcoming Strikeforce middleweight tournament and a rematch with Diaz.

“It’s always up to Strikeforce,” he said.

In the co-main event, Miesha Tate defeated Hitomi Akano by unanimous decision to win the Strikeforce women’s 135-pound tournament.

Tate -- who ousted Finnish export Maiju Kujala in the semi-final -- escaped an attempted ankle lock in the first round and out-grappled the Japanese standout for much of the bout. She grew stronger the deeper the fight went, threatening Akano with a rear-naked choke in the second and closing with a strong flurry of ground strikes in the third. Akano submitted Carina Damm with an armbar 1:48 into round two of their semi-final, but Tate was a far tougher nut to crack.

Miesha Tate (left, vs. Hitomi Akano) won the 135-pound women's tournament: Dave Mandel | Sherdog.com

“My submission defense is one of my strong points,” said Tate, who, in winning the tournament, earned a crack at the Strikeforce women’s 135-pound title currently held by Sarah Kaufman. “I felt really confident coming out here to fight her.”

Meanwhile, lightweight rookie Ryan Couture took the first small step towards following in the enormous footsteps of his legendary father.

The 27-year-old son of UFC hall of famer Randy Couture coaxed a tapout from Lucas Stark with a first-round triangle choke in his professional mixed martial arts debut. The end came 1:15 into round one, as Stark waved the proverbial white flag.

Couture, out of Xtreme Couture Mixed Martial Arts in Las Vegas, scored with a trip takedown inside the first minute, landed some knees from the clinch and caught Stark in the fight-ending choke off a successful but misguided firemen’s carry.

“That’s my favorite [hold], for sure,” Couture said. “I feel great. It’s been a really good week getting ready for this fight.”

Finally, featherweight prospect Chris Gruetzemacher posted his fifth consecutive victory, albeit in controversial fashion, as he stopped Arizona Combat Sports rep Ryan Diaz on a first-round cut.

Gruetzemacher survived an early barrage of knees from the clinch from Diaz, scored with a takedown and went to work from top position. A training partner of current World Extreme Cagefighting lightweight champion Benson Henderson, the 24-year-old postured inside Diaz’s open guard, dropped punches and opened a cut near his opponent’s right eye.

Diaz ultimately closed his guard, but the damage had already been done. The referee halted the bout and summoned the cage-side physician to examine the cut. Much to Diaz’s dismay, the fight was stopped on the advice of the doctor.

Other Bouts
Liz Carmouche def. Colleen Schneider -- Unanimous Decision
Jason Richey def. Edmund Xehili -- Majority Decision
Joel Champion def. Sean Scott -- KO (Punches) 1:06 R1
Rob Anderson def. Alonzo Fears -- Unanimous Decision
Andres Acuna def. Edwin Louis -- Unanimous Decision
Frankie Saenz def. Jace Crawford -- Unanimous Decision
<h2>Fight Finder</h2>