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Ryan Couture back in Strikeforce win column

The same last name that helped Ryan Couture land a deal with Strikeforce before he competed in a professional fight provides extra motivation for every opponent that steps into the cage against him.

“I think drawing a fight with me for some guys is like a lotto ticket because they know there will be attention on the fight because wherever Dad goes there’s attention, and he tends to be there in my corner,” the Las Vegan said of his father, Ultimate Fighting Championship Hall of Famer Randy Couture. “The last name definitely makes me a target, and I know everybody’s going to try to bring their ‘A’ game and knock my head off, and tonight was no exception.”

Ryan Couture, 29, rebounded from his first pro loss with a majority decision over Las Vegan Maka Watson on a Strikeforce Challengers card Friday at the Palms.

Lorenz Larkin remained undefeated with a unanimous decision over Nick Rossborough in the light heavyweight main event, and Shawn Jordan upset Lavar Johnson with a second-round submission in a heavyweight bout.

Couture out-grappled Watson for much of the first two rounds and was close on several submission attempts, but in each round, Watson landed big shots in the final minute.

Couture thought he was ahead going into the final round but wanted to finish strong just in case.

“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,” he said. “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.”

It was a good thing he had a big final round.

Two of the judges had the fight even after two, and the third had Watson up two rounds to none. That judge, Adalaide Byrd, gave Couture a 10-8 final round and scored the fight a draw.

Couture just hopes to continue improving and move beyond being just Randy’s son.

“It adds some pressure, and people expect a lot of me because of what dad’s done,” he said. “It makes me want to work even harder to earn what I’ve got. I don’t want anybody to watch me fight and say he’s just riding his dad’s coattails and milking the name.”

Larkin, a 10-to-1 favorite, had a more difficult time than expected but got his exciting striking game going in the second and third rounds.

He landed a huge knee to the sternum of Rossborough in the final round that slowed him considerably.

Jordan, a former fullback at Louisiana State, caught Johnson with a knuckle on a punch in the opening seconds, causing immediate swelling. The two then traded big shots for much of the fight, but Jordan set up the victory with a takedown against the fence.

He worked for top position, then cranked away on a key lock on Johnson’s arm, forcing a tap late in the second round.

Jason High and Brian Melancon each won unanimous decisions.

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