Despite main-event win, Strikeforce's Caros Fodor says biggest fights are still on deck | MMAjunkie.com

KENT, Wash. –Competing in front of friends and family in his home state, popular prospect Caros Fodor earned his fourth straight Strikeforce victory on Friday in the Strikeforce Challengers 16 main event.

Defeating a respected opponent in James Terry (10-3 MMA; 5-2 SF), Fodor (6-0 MMA, 4-0 SF) established himself as one of the promotion's brightest young prospects at 155 pounds.

The victory, which aired on Showtime from ShoWare Center in Kent, Wash., simply was the result of a game plan that worked.

"James is really dangerous," Fodor told MMAjunkie.com (UFC blog for UFC news, UFC rumors, fighter interviews and event previews/recaps | MMAjunkie.com) after the fight. "He likes to pump himself up. He'll throw a combo, then back up and shake his arms out. That's his rhythm. Our game plan was to disrupt that rhythm and make him fight at a pace that he did not want to fight at."

Fodor did exactly that as he aggressively rushed in with punching flurries to open each of the bout's three rounds. The strategy hurt Terry and forced him to retreat.

Fodor's plan was to keep Terry on the defensive and break him down as the fight wore on.

"I was going to try to take him down and look for a submission," Fodor said. "But I was landing some good punches on the feet and some good knees as well when I had an opening, so I kept it standing.

"I'm happy with my performance. James is a really tough guy. I wanted to get the finish, but I'm OK with [not getting] it. I've just got to work on not slowing myself down so that when I'm going forward, I'm throwing strikes to end fights. And when I get in a clinch, [I need to] start catching submissions right away."

Strikeforce Challengers 16's Matt Ricehouse eyes improvement over title contention | MMAjunkie.com

KENT, Wash. – Friday night in the Strikeforce Challengers 16 co-headliner in Kent, Wash., Matt Ricehouse (5-0 MMA, 3-0 SF) entered the Strikeforce cage for the third time and picked up his biggest win to date.

The 24-year-old Missouri native controlled the majority of his three-round bout with Ryan Couture (2-1 MMA, 2-1 SF) to earn a hard-fought unanimous decision.

Despite his win over the son of UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture, who received the biggest ovation of the night, Ricehouse remains humble and said he has a long way to go before he is ready to challenge the top contenders in the Strikeforce lightweight division.

"I'm nobody special," Ricehouse told MMAjunkie.com (UFC blog for UFC news, UFC rumors, fighter interviews and event previews/recaps | MMAjunkie.com) after the Showtime-televised fight. "I just learn all the time."

In studying tape on Couture, Ricehouse felt that one of his opponent's strengths was in throwing straight punches. It was a tactic that he adopted as his own on Friday, and it led to considerable success.

"We thought that he was going to want to keep it standing, and we felt that I was better standing [than him]," he said. "So it was just about beating him with straight punches. I wanted to hit him with one-twos until he didn't want to stand anymore."

Strikeforce Challengers 16's Lorenz Larkin is here to entertain you | MMAjunkie.com

KENT, Wash. – In a prospect-vs.-prospect matchup at Friday's Strikeforce Challengers 16 event in Kent, Wash., Lorenz Larkin (11-0 MMA, 2-0 SF) earned a one-sided unanimous-decision victory over former Ring of Combat standout Gian Villante (7-3 MMA, 0-2 SF).

For Larkin, who dazzled the crowd, exciting fights are the key to making a name for himself in the Strikeforce light-heavyweight ranks.

His vicious leg kicks wore down Villante over the course of their Showtime-televised fight. It was a strategy that went exactly as planned for the unbeaten Californian.

"I was testing out my leg kicks," Larkin told MMAjunkie.com (UFC blog for UFC news, UFC rumors, fighter interviews and event previews/recaps | MMAjunkie.com) after the fight. "He comes from a kickboxing gym, but he didn't really like to check the kicks, so I just went from there.

"I knew that if I took away his legs, he would have no shot [for takedowns]. When it went to the ground, I was in a safe position, and it seemed like he tired himself out in round one."

Villante entered Strikeforce as a highly touted prospect, but he suffered his second straight defeat as Larkin took over in the second half of their bout thanks to superior striking. In Larkin's mind, his job as a light heavyweight is to entertain the fans and win impressively.

"I like to win in any way I can," he said. "But we're 205-pounders. Nobody wants to see us on the ground doing jiu-jitsu. It's always my goal to work back up if I get taken down to work my standup."

Ex-UFC fighter Jason High gets second life with Strikeforce Challengers 16 win | MMAjunkie.com

KENT, Wash. – Jason High has found a new home in Strikeforce, but "The Kansas City Bandit's" focus remains the same: to keep winning fights impressively in order to move up the ranks.

On Friday night, High (14-3 MMA, 1-0 SF) made his promotional debut at Strikeforce Challengers 16 with a dominant three-round decision victory over King of the Cage champion Quinn Mulhern (15-2 MMA, 0-1 SF) at Kent, Wash.'s ShoWare Center.

Although the wrestling-heavy fight drew the ire of some in the arena, High was largely satisfied with his Showtime-televised performance and knew he fought to his strengths.

"Now that some time has gone by, I realize that I fought a smart fight and did what I came to do, but when I was in there, I was kind of disappointed," High told MMAjunkie.com (UFC blog for UFC news, UFC rumors, fighter interviews and event previews/recaps | MMAjunkie.com) following his victory. "I wanted to stand with him a bit, but kind of subconsciously after the first round, I took him down a few times, and he wasn't threatening with submissions."

Strikeforce's Julia Budd was fueled by 2008 run-in with Germaine de Randamie | MMAjunkie.com

KENT, Wash. – Friday's Strikeforce Challengers 16 main card opened with a historic fight as Julia Budd (2-1 MMA, 2-1 SF) and Germaine de Randamie (2-2 MMA, 1-1 SF) squared off in the first women's bout promoted under the Zuffa LLC banner.

Avenging a 2008 Muay Thai loss, Budd used a strategic game plan consisting of takedowns and top control to earn a unanimous-decision victory.

It was her first fight back since suffering a 14-second knockout loss to Amanda Nunes. For Budd, it was all about sticking to plan.

"My coach, Lance Gibson, and I noticed from studying tapes that Germaine doesn't fight very well going backward," Budd told MMAjunkie.com (UFC blog for UFC news, UFC rumors, fighter interviews and event previews/recaps | MMAjunkie.com) after the fight, which aired on Showtime from ShoWare Center in Kent, Wash. "She's always pressing forward as the aggressor. We wanted to keep her going backward and then shoot and take her down. You could notice even in her last fight that her ground game was not her best."

As in her Strikeforce debut this past October, Budd once again displayed solid wrestling skills in taking de Randamie to the mat repeatedly throughout their three-round fight. While she found de Randamie's defense on the ground to be formidable – owing largely to her opponent's long limbs and strength – Budd was able to land strikes from the top and maintained dominant positions.

"I know that I have a lot of work to do in all departments like my jiu-jitsu and my wrestling," Budd said. "Going into this camp, it was something that we decided that we were going to work a lot on. I don't find wrestling that hard, and I really love it. I like working takedowns. I'm a kickboxer, but I love working on that as well."

Budd hopes that the fight with de Randamie shows that she is more than just a one-dimensional kickboxer and that she can perform well wherever the fight may go. Keeping her ego in check during a fight is key, Budd said, as she sometimes becomes too eager to stand and trade strikes.