The 32-year-old Voelker stopped Roger Bowling with a crippling second-round knee and follow-up punches in the Strikeforce Challengers 17 headliner on Friday at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas. The dramatic conclusion to their welterweight trilogy came 2:16 into round two, as Voelker took the rubber match in decisive fashion.
A Team Vision representative, Bowling controlled the vast majority of the main event with his speed, blistering body kicks and crisp, powerful counterpunching. He wobbled Voelker with a left hook with half a minute remaining in the opening round but could not finish it. Time, it seems, was not on his side.
Bowling (9-2, 2-2 SF) carried his momentum into round two, where he secured two takedowns. However, Voelker returned to an upright position almost immediately and invited him to clinch. From there, he trapped Bowling in a loose Thai plum and cracked him as he tried to exit. Delivered to the temple, the knee had Bowling staggering backward, visibly shaken. Voelker (24-8, 4-1 SF) closed with the kind of patience and precision one expects from a 32-fight veteran, as he dropped his foe face first with a left hand and finished it with unanswered blows on the ground.
“It was pretty suspenseful,” Voelker said. “He was winning the whole thing. I knew I had to wait a little bit and weather the storm.”
St. Preux Finishes Cason in 72 Seconds
The fast-rising Ovince St. Preux spoiled the promotional debut of the previously unbeaten Joe Cason, as he struck the Roufusport product into first-round submission in a featured light heavyweight duel. Cason patted the mat in surrender 72 seconds into round one.
St. Preux (11-4, 5-0 SF) connected with a pair of counterpunches on Cason and quickly established a foothold in the bout. The former University of Tennessee linebacker then wobbled the incoming Cason (8-1, 0-1 SF) with a kick to the head, drove him to the canvas with a left hand and followed him to the ground. St. Preux showered the Milwaukee-based fighter with punches from the top and brought it to a close a little more than a minute after it started.
Kaufman Cruises Past Carmouche
Superior boxing and quality takedown defense carried former Strikeforce women’s welterweight champion Sarah Kaufman past Liz Carmouche in a pivotal showdown at 135 pounds. All three judges scored it 30-27 for Kaufman, who has posted back-to-back wins since surrendering her title to Marloes Coenen in October.
Carmouche (5-2, 2-2 SF) was effective in slowing the fight to a manageable pace in the first round, as she pressed Kaufman in the clinch and kept the Canadian off balance with foot stomps, short punches and knees to the body and legs. However, Kaufman quickly established herself from the perimeter, and by the end of the opening period, she was putting together crisp combinations.
Kaufman (14-1, 5-1 SF) only strengthened her position in the match during rounds two and three, as she bloodied Carmouche’s nose and mouth with jabs and straight right hands. Carmouche tried in vain to put the fight on the ground, only two be turned away by her far more experienced and accomplished counterpart.
Cole Outpoints Jordan, Halts Two-Fight Skid
International Fight League veteran Devin Cole passed a stern test from Shawn Jordan, as he took a unanimous decision from the hard-nosed former LSU running back in a heavyweight showcase. No scores were announced.
Jordan (11-3, 0-1 SF) -- who accepted the matchup on three days’ notice as a replacement for the injured Lavar Johnson -- performed well in his Strikeforce debut. He secured a takedown roughly 90 seconds into round one and quickly transitioned to Cole’s back, his hooks in. Jordan threatened briefly with a rear-naked choke, but the experienced and savvy Cole (19-9-1, 1-1 SF) escaped back to his feet and out of danger. Once there, Jordan wobbled him with a beautiful uppercut with a minute left in the round and closed the stronger of the two men with a series of heavy right hands.
Cole kept Jordan at arm’s reach in round two and scored effectively from the outside. He delivered a double-leg takedown midway through the period and peppered Jordan with knees to the ribs. Cole worked his way into top position again in the third round, capitalizing on a failed guillotine choke attempt from Jordan, a Rich Clementi protégé whose offensive output faded as the fight deepened. Cole kept him grounded, attacking with punches and elbows while entrusting his fate to the judges.
“I trained hard,” said Cole, who snapped a two-fight losing streak. “It’s the first time I’ve been able to train full-time in five years. I’m in shape. I’m working hard, and I think it showed.”
Amagov Takes Split Nod Over Stallings
Russia-based Chechen Adlan Amagov secured multiple takedowns and outstruck Ronald Stallings en route to a split decision in a featured middleweight matchup. Two of the three cageside judges, Glenn Trowbridge and Patricia Morse-Jarman, scored it 29-28 for Amagov; a third, Mark Smith, cast a dissenting 29-28 ruling in Stallings’ favor.
Amagov (8-1-1, 1-0 SF) set the table for victory in his promotional debut with a dominant first round, as he countered effectively, landed thudding kicks to the inside and outside of Stallings’ lead leg and delivered a pair of takedowns. The fight followed a similar pattern in round two, with Amagov occasionally opening up with wild punches and kicks, many of which missed the mark.
A Lloyd Irvin protégé, Stallings (9-4, 1 NC, 0-1 SF) was at his best in the third period, when he clocked Amagov with knees from the clinch, struck for a takedown of his own and threatened with a kimura from side control. He later mounted Amagov, who escaped back to his feet. The two middleweights engaged in a furious exchange as the fight concluded, spending what little energy they had left. Amagov has not lost in nearly four years.
More Strikeforce “Challengers 17” »
• Strikeforce “Challengers 17” Preliminary Bout Results and Play-by-Play