Jorge "Gamebred" Masvidal cruised to a unanimous decision victory in the opening main card bout on Strikeforce: Feijao vs. Henderson card tonight in Columbus. Landing almost 60% of his strikes, Masvidal was given the victory by 30-27 cards from all three of the judges.
Referee Ty Wheeler got the action started and the first round led out with Evangelista throwing loose two punch combinations while Masvidal established his jab nicely. Masvidal caught multiple kicks and tried to get Billy down, but was unsuccessful for more than a second. A lot of knees in the clinch from both. Masvidal landed multiple shots to the body, and continued working Billy with knees in the clinch. Jorge landed a lot more shots and Billy was missing a lot.
The second round led off with an Evangelista takedown attempt which failed, and led to a wild exchange where no one landed. Once again, Masvidal grabbed the leg after a Billy body kick, but Jorge got the sweep takedown this time. Billy popped up quick, but was getting tagged by Masvidal jabs for the rest of the round. Billy's reach disadvantage was readily apparent. Masvidal was toying with Billy at the end of the round, ducking away from Billy's shots and weaving back and forth ala Anderson Silva.
The pace slowed in the third, with Billy loading up single shots and missing while eating jab after jab. Masvidal landed a big shot exiting out off the cage, which got the crowd excited for once. A couple of takedown attempts and a lot of missing on Evangelista's part defined the rest of the round, along with Masvidal's ever-present jab. Billy finally landed a big uppercut and a knee with a minute to go, but it was way too late by then. Masvidal was on cruise control for most of the round, and picked up the expected decision.
Masvidal, who was making his return to Strikeforce after more than 3 years and was looking to turn it around after a controversial loss to welterweight Paul Daley at Shark Fights 13 in September, faced a tough challenge in Evangelista, a longtime Strikeforce veteran who was undefeated in 7 fights in the organization entering this matchup. With the win, Masvidal (21-6, 3-0 SF) moves into the upper tier of the Strikeforce Lightweight division and will be looking for a possible title shot as soon as possible. For Evangelista (11-1, 1 NC, 6-1-1 SF) his first defeat will send him back to the drawing board and a might lead to another stint on Challengers cards.