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Gian Villante wins third straight Strikeforce bout

Levittown's Gian Villante awaits the start of his

Levittown's Gian Villante awaits the start of his fight against Chad Griggs in his Strikeforce debut at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, N.J. Villante lost by first-round TKO in a slugfest. (Feb. 12, 2011) (Credit: Newsday / Mario Gonzalez)

Derrick Mehmen has a cross tattooed on the front of his left thigh. On the back and outer side of that thigh is something less permanent: the imprint of Gian Villante's foot.

Villante, from Levittown, peppered the lead leg of Mehmen and mixed in solid punches to win a unanimous decision at Strikeforce on Saturday night in San Jose, Calif. Two judges scored the bout 30-27 and the third judge scored it 29-28 in favor of Villante (10-3, 3-2 Strikeforce).

It marks the third straight win for Villante, who trains at Bellmore Kickboxing Academy.

Villante scored a knockdown early in the first round with a straight right-right upper cut combination. He rushed in and landed a few elbows to the downed Mehmen but didn't finish the bout.

Mehmen (12-5) and Villante both have a strong wrestling background, yet neither tried to use it much. Mehmen attempted four takedowns and succeeded on one, with about 20 seconds left in the bout.

Villante never attempted a takedown, but he didn't need to. The 26-year-old had enough success in striking. He scored a second knockdown in the third round with a straight right punch followed by a right low leg kick.

Villante landed 38 percent of his total strikes (52-for-137), including a 20-7 edge in total power strikes. He landed 10 of his 21 leg kicks.

After the fight, Villante could be heard on the Showtime broadcast saying he played it too safe. But a win is a win, and when you have one fight left on a six-fight contract, it's better to have more wins than losses.

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