Thursday, July 21, 2011 | 6:30 p.m.
If You Go
- What: Strikeforce Challengers 17
- When: Friday, July 22, 6 p.m.
- Where: The Pearl At The Palms
- Tickets: $65 to $175, Ticketmaster
Trilogies are always special in combat sports.
A third meeting between two fighters can only take place if the first two matchups were both indecisive and exciting. Welterweights Bobby Voelker and Roger Bowling add a third chapter to their rivalry Friday at The Pearl at The Palms in the main event of Strikeforce Challengers 17.
Bowling, a 29-year old fighting out of Cincinnati, won their first fight when an inadvertent eye poke from Voelker, a 23-year old from Kansas City, stopped the action in the third round. Voelker (23-7 MMA, 3-1 SF) found revenge nine months ago with a second round TKO victory over Bowling (9-1 MMA, 2-1 SF).
They’ll both know what to expect from each other at the Challengers event, which starts at 6 p.m. and airs via tape delay on Showtime at 11 p.m. on the West Coast, because of their familiarity.
“You always think that, but that’s when you go back to the drawing board and realize you need to learn something new and bring something new to the fight,” Voelker said. “You don’t know what each one of us is going to bring to this.”
Voelker vs. Bowling III will cap off the first Challengers card since Strikeforce decided to relocate the series to the Palms. Voelker, speaking at Thursday’s weigh-in, where all 18 fighters on the card made weight, said he felt honored that Strikeforce selected him to headline the first event in a new era.
“I’m going to show why Roger and I are the main event,” Voelker said. “We’re going to put on a great show”
Voelker is primarily a striker, as 14 of his wins have come via knockout. Bowling is well-rounded and will likely try to take the fight to the ground with his wrestling.
Bowling enters as a slight favorite at -175 (risking $1.75 to win $1) at The Palms with Voelker listed at +145 (risking $1 to win $1.45).
Pick: Bowling by decision
Check below for full betting odds on the main card, provided by The Palms, and a pick for every fight.
Heavyweight Bout: Devin Cole (18-9-1 MMA, 0-1 SF) vs. Shawn Jordan (10-2 MMA, 0-0 SF)
Line: Cole -240, Jordan +190
Matchup: Jordan stepped in as a last-minute replacement for Lavar Johnson, who had to cancel with an injury three days ago. Jordan, a Bellator veteran, has fought just as tough as competition as Cole and arguably fared better. But he doesn’t have the toughest chin. Cole is a wrestler whose striking has come along.
Pick: Cole by TKO
Light Heavyweight Bout: Ovince St. Preux (10-4 MMA, 4-0 SF) vs. Joe Cason (9-1 MMA, 0-0 SF)
Line: St. Preux -255, Cason +205
Matchup: St. Preux is one of the brighter 205-pound prospects at the moment with four misleading losses from when he first started training and transitioning from being a Division I football player at Tennessee. Cason has also shown promise and spends time working with famed striking coach Duke Roufus.
Pick: St. Preux by decision
Women’s Bantamweight Bout: Sarah Kaufman (13-1 MMA, 4-1 SF) vs. Liz Carmouche (5-1 MMA, 2-1 SF)
Line: Kaufman -210, Carmouche +170
Matchup: Carmouche gained praise for stepping in late and dominating current 135-pound champion Marloes Coenen until succumbing to a fourth-round triangle choke her last time out. But Kaufman is more experienced and a former champion herself.
Pick: Kaufman by TKO
Middleweight Bout: Adlan Amagov (7-1-1 MMA, 0-0 SF) vs. Ron Stallings (9-3 MMA, 0-0 SF)
Line: Amagov -450, Stallings +300 (offshore odds)
Matchup: The Russian striker makes his American debut against Stallings, whose nickname is “The Choir Boy.” Stallings could have an advantage on the ground, as evidenced by his five submission victories and Amagov’s only defeat coming via choke. But can he get the fight there?
Pick: Amagov by knockout