Billy Evangelista beat Jorge Gurgel by unanimous decision in the main event of the Strikeforce Challengers Series event in Fresno Friday night, running his professional MMA record to 10-0.
Gurgel is a Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt who's much better on the ground than he is on his feet, but he has a tendency to stand and trade with his opponents even when that's not the right strategy for him to win the fight. That's what he did in the early going against Evangelista, trading punches with him despite the fact that Evangelista has better hands. The fight didn't go to the ground until the final seconds of the first round, when Evangelista took Gurgel down.
In the second round Gurgel tried to get creative with his striking, swinging and missing on a spinning back fist before Evangelista took him down. At first Evangelista looked like he'd be able to put Gurgel in a lot of trouble with his ground and pound, but Gurgel managed to get back up and then rock Evangelista with a head kick. In the final moments of an exciting second round, Gurgel put Evangelista in a guillotine choke that Evangelista escaped just before the bell.
By the third round both men appeared tired, and they were a little slower in the stand up, with Gurgel doing most of the damage. With 30 seconds left Evangelista took Gurgel down, and although Gurgel tried to work the rubber guard, he wasn't able to get Evangelista into any kind of trouble. The judges scored it 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28 for Evangelista.
"It was exactly what I expected from Jorge," Evangelista said afterward. "He's very aggressive."
One could also say that Gurgel is very sloppy: Until Gurgel starts relying on his strengths as a fighter, he's going to keep losing a lot of fights like this one. Gurgel, who described himself as "very embarrassed" by the loss, falls to 13-6.