I got to see the Strikeforce Challengers 12 in Jackson, Mississippi on Friday night and was entertained by some of the fights. The only disappointment came in the middle of the card when the Marius Zaromskis-Waachiim Spirit Wolf fight was called after six seconds because Spirit Wolf was poked in the eye. That would have been an exciting fight, but Justin Wilcox made up for it putting on a clinic in the main event.
The former wrestler and bodybuilder gave up little ground to Shaolin, the Dream veteran, winning by unanimous decision. Wilcox won the fight 30-27 on all three judges’ cards and really was only damaged a few times when he took shots to the face. He beautifully fended off any attempts by Ribeiro to get a takedown, dropping his hips and blocking Shaolin from grabbing his legs. Wilcox decided to win the fight using his stand-up game and constantly peppered Ribeiro with punches to the body and face, doing a good amount of damage.
At 5’6″ and 155lbs, Wilcox is an absolute beast, earning the nickname “The Silverback” for his muscular stature. He is a physical specimen with good conditioning, and his stand-up game is strong, serving as a nice complement to his wrestling game. The only area where it appears Wilcox needs work is how he beats his opponents. Eight of his 10 wins have come by decisions with one coming by TKO and the other by submission. You’d like to see more variety in what he can do to beat his foes, but he looks like an emerging contender.