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Eye Poke Steals the Show at Strikeforce Challengers

StrikeforceJustin Wilcox, Ovince St. Preux and Liz Carmouche all had the biggest wins of their MMA careers at Friday night's Strikeforce Challengers event on Showtime. So it's a shame that an accidental eye poke ending a fight in just six seconds is what everyone will be talking about.

But that's exactly what happened on Friday night:
The fight between Dream welterweight champion Marius Zaromskis and Waachiim Spiritwolf was over as soon as it started when Zaromskis charged across the cage at the opening bell, went for a flying knee and accidentally poked Spiritwolf in the eye, causing an injury that led the ringside doctor to call off the fight. The official ending was a no contest, six seconds into the first round, in one of the fastest, strangest endings to a fight in MMA history.

The Showtime announcers didn't seem to understand the rules about injuries caused by accidental fouls, which led to some confusion until the rules official went on the air and explained things. It was a bizarre fight all the way around, and although no one could have seen that ending coming, this fight never should have been booked in the first place:
Zaromskis hasn't defended his Dream title in more than a year, and ought to either fight in Japan again or relinquish his belt.

Furthermore, if Zaromskis is going to fight in the United States, he should face a better opponent.
Spiritwolf isn't a good enough fighter to be worthy of fighting a champion of a major promotion. On the other hand, this was Zaromskis's third time in the Strikeforce cage this year, and he still hasn't won a fight in Strikeforce. So maybe Zaromskis should be fighting opponents like Spiritwolf, who's 8-7-1 in his MMA career.

In the main event, Wilcox had absolutely no trouble methodically defeating Vitor Ribeiro by unanimous decision. Ribeiro was once among the best lightweights in all of MMA, but as the sport has progressed, Ribeiro hasn't. Wilcox outclassed Ribeiro in the stand-up, showed off a good sprawl when Ribeiro went for takedowns, and easily won the fight, 30-27 on all three judges' scorecards.

In other action:
--St. Preux, a former University of Tennessee football player, beat Antwain Britt by unanimous decision, with all three judges giving the fight to St. Preux, 29-28. St. Preux is an extremely talented athlete who still needs some seasoning as a fighter, but he has a lot of promise, and seeing fighters like him develop is exactly what the Challengers shows should be about.

-- Liz Carmouche beat Jan Finney by third-round TKO with some good-looking ground and pound, improving her professional MMA record to 5-0 and showing that she has the ability to become a significant player in Strikeforce's 135-pound women's division. Carmouche said after the fight that she'd like to take on former champion Sarah Kaufman next.

-- Caros Fodor submitted Derek Getzel with a D'Arce choke late in the first round, an impressive finishing move after four minutes of unimpressive fighting. Fodor improved his record to 7-2, with six wins by submission.

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