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Strikeforce LA Undercard Blog: Clifford-Umphries, Kowal-Sandoval Updates

LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- This is the Strikeforce live blog for the two preliminary bouts on tonight's Strikeforce-Showtime card from the Nokia Theatre.

On the undercard, RJ Clifford battles Jeremy Umphries, and Marcus Kowal faces Hugo Sandoval.

The live blog is below.

Marcus Kowal vs. Hugo Sandoval

Round 1: Kowal, a local boy, has plenty of fan support as he takes to the cage/stage at the Nokia Center. After a couple inside leg kicks from Sandoval, Kowal shoots and gets his man to the mat. He moves to side control and works some knees to the body. Sandoval recovers half-guard, then full guard. Kowal stands up, then dives back down with a punch when his attempts to improve his position are stymied by Sandoval. Sandoval tries for a triangle choke but lets it go when Kowal picks him up to slam him. Sandoval throws frantic upkicks and one catches Kowal in the head as his knees are on the mat. You can't do that, which is what referee Herb Dean is likely telling Sandoval, just before deducting a point. After the restart Sandoval hurts Kowal with a straight right, but gets too ambitious trying to take his back and gets dumped on his back before having his own back briefly taken before the round ends. MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9, Kowal. Would have been a 10-10 round if not for the point deduction from Sandoval.

Round 2: The fighters exchange kicks to the legs and body in the early going. The pace has definitely quickened. Kowal walks right into a straight punch from Sandoval and goes down face first on the canvas. Sandoval moves to the side and rains down hammer fists. Kowal is unresponsive, and Herb Dean calls a stop to it.

Hugo Sandoval def. Marcus Kowal via TKO (punches) at 0:43 of round 2

RJ Clifford vs. Jeremy Umphries

Round 1: Clifford makes the short jog to the cage wearing a foam finger. That's always a fan favorite. Umphries goes for the single-leg takedown right away and gets it without much trouble. Clifford gets back to his feet, but is soon put back down as Umphries takes his back and sinks one hook in. Clifford tries to get up again, then tries to roll, but he just can't shake Umphries, who is winning the battle for position but not doing any damage at all. Clifford finally manages to turn and face Umphries in the clinch before putting Umphries on his back in the final minute. Clifford finishes the round with a little ground-and-pound, and it may be enough to steal the first frame. MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9 for Clifford.

Round 2: Umphries lands a nice right hand to start the second, and a few moments later catches a body kick from Clifford and uses it to get him down. Umphries is on top in half-guard and he takes Clifford's back when Clifford tries for an escape. Umphries looking for a rear naked choke. It looks tight, but Clifford isn't tapping. He opts to take a nap instead, and Umphries has no problem administering it. This one is over.

Jeremy Umphries def. RJ Clifford via technical submission (rear naked choke) at 2:27 of round 2

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