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Mike Aina wins via DQ at Strikeforce Challengers

The inaugural "Sho MMA: Strikeforce Challengers" Friday night in Fresno, Calif. could not avoid the controversy that followed its predecessor, "ShoXC: Elite Challenger Series."

The main event ended in disqualification when referee Herb Dean called off the fight at 3:40 of the second round due to Billy Evangelista's kneeing the head of a one-leg-downed Mike Aina. Replays showed that Aina was actually hit in the left shoulder.

"I feel bad at what happened, but I am definitely planning to protest," Evangelista said. "Nothing I did was on purpose. I thought I had timed the knee perfectly and that he was on his feet when it was delivered."

Aina, who fights out of BJ Penn's camp, gets a win on his record, but feels it was not rightfully deserved.

"No one likes a fight to finish this way," Aina said. "I don't look at it as a win for me, and he should not look at it as a loss for him. It should have been a no contest."

Three of the six ShoXC main events last year ended under unfavorable circumstances. At ShoXC in March, Malaipet was disqualified for illegal strikes to the back of Thomas Denny's head. The next event saw Poai Suganuma win via flying knee over Jared Hamman that was potentially a premature stoppage. And at the final ShoXC, Dave Herman finished Kerry Schall with help from a knee below the belt.

RESULTS:

  1. Ben Holscher def. Cody Canterbury via submission (RNC) - R1 (2:47)
  2. Ousmane Thomas Diagne def. Kaleo Kwan via unanimous decision
  3. Fabricio Camoes def. Torrance Taylor via submission (RNC) - R1 (3:21)
  4. Spencer Herns def. Chad Sutton via majority decision
  5. Bao Quach def. Tito Jones via unanimous decision
  6. Aaron Rosa def. Anthony Ruiz via TKO (RNC) - R1 (4:29)
  7. "Big" Lavar Johnson def. Carl Seumanutafa via KO (punch) - R1 (0:18)
  8. Sarah Kaufman def. Miesha Tate via unanimous decision
  9. Mike Aina def. Billy Evangelista via DQ (illegal knee) - R2 (3:42)