Strikeforce Prelims: Pat Healy Edges Deep Champion Mizuto Hirota

By Brian Knapp Jul 14, 2012

Team Quest veteran Pat Healy passed a stern test against Deep lightweight champion Mizuto Hirota, as he captured a hard-fought unanimous decision at Strikeforce “Rockhold vs. Kennedy” on Saturday at the Rose Garden in Portland, Ore. All three cageside judges scored it for Healy (28-16, 6-1 Strikeforce) by 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28 counts.

Hirota (14-5-1, 0-1 Strikeforce) was far from a stepping stone for a man many consider the No. 1 contender for the Strikeforce lightweight crown. The 31-year-old shut down Healy’s clinch game early, ripped into him with ringing left hooks and even delivered a first-round takedown.

Healy brought his size, strength and experience into play in rounds two and three, as he gradually wore down his Japanese adversary with takedowns and clinches, mixing in some nice standing elbows when the two lightweights engaged one another on the feet. He has won five fights in a row.

Couture Streak Reaches Three

A well-trained and finely conditioned Ryan Couture extended his winning streak to three fights with a split decision over Joe Duarte in an undercard duel at 155 pounds. All three cageside judges scored it 29-28: Nelson “Doc” Hamilton and Andy Dinger for Couture (5-1, 5-1 Strikeforce); Karen Barringer for Duarte.

Duarte (10-3, 2-1 Strikeforce) did his best work in the first round, when he threatened Couture with standing brabo choke in the clinch, struck for a well-timed takedown and countered effectively with punches to the head and body.

However, The Arena export ran out of steam in rounds two and three, as Couture pushed a pace he could not match. The son of UFC hall of famer Randy Couture, turned the tide in the second, when he secured a takedown, moved to Duarte’s back, fished for a rear-naked choke and ultimately moved to full mount. The 29-year-old Couture picked up where he left off in round three, where he escaped an attempted Peruvian necktie and pushed Duarte to the point of exhaustion.

Masvidal Wins Split Verdict

Jorge Masvidal File Photo

Masvidal outpointed a game Wilcox.
American Top Team’s Jorge Masvidal kept his fists in the face of Justin Wilcox, scrambled to his feet when taken down and won for the third time in four bouts, as he captured a split verdict from Justin Wilcox in a preliminary lightweight duel.

Two of the three cageside judges, Glen Trowbridge and Laura Gregory, scored it for Masvidal (23-7, 5-1 Strikeforce) by 30-27 and 29-28 counts. Ken Barringer cast a dissenting 29-28 scorecard for Wilcox.

Masvidal had the American Kickboxing Academy representative on the ropes in the first round, as he belted Wilcox with a flying knee and swarmed with punches for the attempted finish. Wilcox (11-5, 5-3 Strikeforce) weathered the barrage, and Masvidal flirted with disaster down the stretch, as his offensive output took a noticeable dip in rounds two and three. However, he was the cleaner, more effective striker throughout the 15-minute affair and did enough in the eyes of two of the three judges.

Mein Outstrikes, Outpoints Stinson

Canadian prospect Jordan Mein won for the seventh time in eight appearances, as he cruised to a unanimous verdict over Bellator Fighting Championships veteran Tyler Stinson in an undercard battle at 170 pounds. All three cageside judges scored it 30-27 for Mein (25-8, 2-1 Strikeforce).

Mein executed his game plan beautifully, as he kept the fight standing and battered his foe with punches and kicks to the legs, body and head. The 22-year-old’s onslaught left Stinson (23-9, 1-2 Strikeforce) visibly damaged, with cuts above and below his right eye. The Grudge Training Center representative struck for a takedown in the second round, but Mein returned to his feet in a blink and resumed his attack.

High Guillotine Submits Moore

A resurgent Jason High needed less than half a minute to take out Nate Moore, as he submitted the American Kickboxing Academy export with a first-round guillotine choke in a preliminary welterweight tilt. Moore (8-3, 2-2 Strikeforce) asked out of the match 26 seconds into round one.

High, a finalist in the 2009 Dream welterweight grand prix, has rattled off seven consecutive victories since being released by the Ultimate Fighting Championship following a unanimous decision loss to Charlie Brenneman two years ago.
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