One area where Strikeforce is doing a pretty good job is with developing new talent. As much as I tend to pick on them for certain choices, their Challengers series is worth watching and has already turned out some solid fighters for their marquee events. Though I rarely give Challengers events a Parting Shots feature, this one had enough notable moments to warrant some discussion, especially due to Lyle Beerbohm getting his first career loss against a motivated Pat Healy in what was apparently quite a grudge match…at least, for Healy.
Beerbohm’s “O” finally goes
The owner of two notable things before Friday night (a great nickname and an undefeated record), Lyle “Fancy Pants” Beerbohm only had possession of one of those items at the conclusion of Strikeforce Challengers 14.
Beerbohm looked pretty good throughout, but veteran Pat Healy was simply better as he took a unanimous decision over Beerbohm with 29-28 scores on all three judges’ cards. Healy got the better of standing exchanges regularly and appeared to nearly submit Beerbohm in the second and third rounds.
On the surface, it may appear to be a huge upset, especially to those who are only familiar with the fighters by their win-loss records. Healy was 25-17 going into the fight, while Beerbohm was 15-0. However, Healy is a 27-year old fighter who came up in the sport according to an old school mentality. He improved not just in the gym, but by fighting extremely tough opponents in the cage and learning from his setbacks there. Consider that just one month after he turned 18, Healy fought a pro fight against Brad Blackburn, a very tough opponent. A look at his losses reveals a lot of quality opponents: Denis Kang, Chris Leben, Chris Lytle, Jay Hieron all before Healy’s 24th birthday. By then, he had also beaten Dan Hardy, Paul Daley, Carlos Condit and Tiki Ghosn.
Just as the two have taken remarkably dissimilar paths to Friday’s fight, they don’t seem to see eye to eye on a personal level, either. Of course, that may be more on Healy’s end, as the victorious fighter took exception to some trash talk by Beerbohm that may have been intended to be just your normal “hyping of the fight”.
Check out what Healy had to say in an interview with Sherdog.com after the fight:
“He was talking a lot of trash- a lot of trash- and he’s one of the most arrogant guys I’ve ever ran into. I had every fighter come up to me…people in the production crew like ‘please, kick this guy’s ass’.”
There was also some friction with a former trainer that Healy worked with helping Beerbohm prepare for the fight and even talking trash on internet forums about Healy. Healy said he had paid for half of the trainer’s wedding back when they worked together and called it a “total scumbag move”.
In any case, we may see these two go at it again in the future as neither are going anywhere in a pretty tightly-packed Strikeforce lightweight division.
Ryan Couture remains unbeaten
Although he’s still just 2-0, Ryan Couture was impressive against a similarly-experienced Lee Higgins on Friday night. Couture won by a late submission via rear naked choke, but controlled the bout from the opening bell with pinpoint striking and threatening submissions.
Couture floored Higgins with a right hand in the second round and nearly tapped him with a guillotine in the first. Even late in the third, Couture had to work hard to get the rear naked choke, as Higgins fought it off for a long time before finally submitting.
It’s still early to say how far Couture can go in Strikeforce’s lightweight division, but if he continues to improve and stay active, he could be an important piece of the promotion’s lightweight offering in a couple of years. Time isn’t really on his side, as Couture is already 28 years old, but with hard work and a great camp behind him, he can still make an impact if he continues on his current path.