Strikeforce Challengers 4 Preview

Jorge Gurgel Takes On Billy EvangelistaWhile somewhat overshadowed by the CBS-televised event the night after, the fourth edition of the successful Strikeforce Challengers series on Friday features a solid lineup of fights. The event is headlined by a lightweight bout between former UFC competitor Jorge “J.G.” Gurgel and undefeated Strikeforce veteran Billy Evangelisa.

Elsewhere, welterweights square off when rising star Luke Rockhold takes on TUF alum Jesse “JT Money” Taylor. will be on-site in Fresno, California and will have live play-by-play of the event.


Jorge “J.G.” Gurgel vs Billy Evangelista

Guaranteed to be a show stealer, this lightweight bout features two of the most exciting fighters in the division. Both push the pace with relentless offence and both will be aiming to take one step closer to a shot at the Strikeforce Lightweight Championship with an impressive win.

Gurgel (13-5-0) is one of the most skilled submission fighters in the lightweight division and his first nine career victories came by tapout. However, his UFC career was a rollercoaster of three-round decisions as Gurgel engaged in a series of kickboxing fights with his opponents and met with mixed success.

His Strikeforce debut against Conor “The Hurricane” Heun was another standup war, but Gurgel finally managed to come out on top and walked away with a well-earned decision victory. However, he has yet to finish a single opponent in close to five years.

Evangelista (9-0-0, 1 ND) has also gone to a decision on multiple occasions, but he possesses the knockout power that Gurgel lacks. If Gurgel stands and trades with Evangelista, as he almost certainly will, Evangelista could easily become the first man to knock Gurgel out.

After his most recent fight against “Iron” Mike Aina ended in controversy and was later overturned, Evangelista will look to return to his winning ways as he aims to keep his undefeated record intact.

The most likely scenario in this bout is that it goes the distance, as Gurgel’s chin is very good but he will almost certainly be outstruck by Evangelista. As in many of his UFC wars, the judges won’t be on Gurgel’s side in this one and Evangelista will take a step towards the Strikeforce Lightweight Championship.


Shane del Rosario vs Brandon Cash “Money”

This battle of unbeaten heavyweight prospects could very well see the victor graduate to the bigger Strikeforce shows and both will aim to make a statement at the other’s expense.

Del Rosario (8-0-0), a veteran of the former EliteXC’s ShoXC Challenger Series and the M-1 Challenge, has won all eight of his fights by stoppage, including seven by knockout. He possesses very heavy hands and has the ability to end the fight with Cash at any time.

Cash (5-0-0) has only gone to a decision once and has three knockout victories himself. He is a well-rounded fighter, but has not yet faced the same level of competition that del Rosario has.

The chances of this fight going the distance are extremely slim, as a knockout is all but assured. Both fighters will be gunning for a crowd-pleasing win that will open the eyes of Strikeforce management.

Del Rosario’s experience edge will be a key factor and he will keep his undefeated record intact as he hands Cash his first loss with a first-round KO.