Ryan Couture bounces back with win at Challengers 19

Good thing Ryan Couture didn’t see the scorecards going into the final round of his lightweight bout against Maka Watson Friday night during Strikeforce Challengers 19 at the Palms, or he might have been downright scared.

Despite controlling Watson’s back for the entire first round, which two judges rightfully scored in Couture’s favor, the son of UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture, lost both rounds according to judge Adalaide Byrd’s score sheet.

“Up to this point in my pro or amateur career, I had never won a decision, so it made me really nervous to go to the judges,” said Couture.

But after sweating through Byrd’s decision of a draw, the other two judges ruled that Couture’s effort in the third round—he again controlled Watson’s back and rained down several punches, but couldn’t finish the Hawaii native—was good enough for a majority victory, 29-28, 29-28, 29-28.

“(I was surprised) a little bit. I thought I had dominant positions through so much of the fight that I thought I would take it 30-27. But he did damage every time he got on top,” said Couture, who improved to 3-1 with the victory.

“I threatened with submissions, but I didn’t bust his face up. Everybody has a different opinion of what it takes to win a fight.”

And while Couture didn’t get the exciting stoppage he had strived for in his first bout back since losing for the first time as a pro when Matt Ricehouse outpointed him at a June Strikeforce event in Kent, Wash., he was pleased with his blue-collar effort.

“I was just more motivated I knew I had to work that much harder this time and look that much better this time,” Couture said. “It was a hard-fought fight, another tough opponent. It was a quality win. I showed this time I can fight my fight and really grind it out when I need to.”

Strikeforce Challengers 19 Results

Light heavyweight (205 pounds) — Lorenz Larkin defeated Nick Rossborough by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 30-27).

Heavyweight (265) —Shawn Jordan def. Lavar Johnson by submission (keylock, 3:08-Round 2).

Lightweight (155) — Ryan Couture def. Maka Watson by majority decision (29-28, 28-28, 29-28).

Welterweight (170) — Jason High def. Todd Moore by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).

Welterweight (170) — Brian Melancon def. Felipe Portela by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27).