(Dan Cormier does a dead-on impression of how his face is going to look after he gets hit with one of those fists. / Photo via MMAFighting.com)
Tonight, four big-ass dudes become two, and we mean that in the straightest way possible. Strikeforce’s lovably meaningless heavyweight tournament reaches its semi-final phase tonight at the U.S. Bank Arena in Cicinnati, Ohio, supported by a middleweight title fight and a compelling light-heavyweight feature between Muhammad “King Mo” Lawal and Roger Gracie.
Round-by-round results for the “Barnett vs. Kharitonov” Showtime main card will be piling up after the jump starting at 10:30 p.m. ET. CagePotato liveblog-mercenary Matt Kaplan will be handling business tonight, so please make him feel welcome, and refresh the page every few minutes for all the latest.
I’ll take “liveblog-mercenary” over “Shemp Howard” any time, thank you very much.
Here we go. During the opening montage, the four remaining heavies are standing in what looks like a mini glacier forest. In their shorts. Barefoot. Hmm…
Frank Shamrock‘s not sweating yet, so that’s good. Miletich says Cormier is a tougher match-up for Bigfoot than Overeem would have been. Interesting enough.
Maximo Blanco vs. Pat Healy: Mauro called Jimmy Lennon, Jr. the “maestro of the microphone.” He loves alliteration. Rd. 1: Healy is a big dude, but Blanco kicks out his back leg and is in half guard. Some short right hands and elbows from Blanco. Action gets back to a stand up, and Blanco connects with a right uppercut. Left head kick, knees and uppercuts from Blanco. Healy is down again and Blanco works from Healy’s open guard. Healy wants an armbar on Blanco’s right arm. Now he angles for a…what the f? Blanco just bitch slapped Healy with his toes. Healy is bleeding and the ref has stopped things for the doctors to take a look. Blanco lost a point. Rd 2: Healy pumps the jab, but Blanco moves his head well and stays safe. Blanco lands a spinning back fist, but Healy connects with harder counter punches. More Healy jabs. Healy slams Blanco to tha mat and works for the RNC, but to no avail. Healy falls, Blanco lands a right, Healy clinches and knees. Healy has Blanco’s back against the cage and looks for wrist control. Healy slams Blanco again, but Blanco is up. And back down once more. healy still wants that rear naked choke, but isn’t in position. Wait, yup he is. Dunzo. Healy wins via submission.
Big Black is sitting behind Rich Franklin ringside, in case anyone’s curious.
King Mo Lawal vs Roger Gracie: King Mo still wears the crown, huh? Oh well. Gracie seems ot be in better shape. Rd 1: I like Gracie’s all black trunks. Very early 90s of him. Mo looks loose and poised. Gracie holds his hands high as both men feel things out with very little action. Mo throws a lead left hook. Gracie jabs. MO hits with a short left as Gracie moves in. The crowd is booing a little already. Mo catches a kick and connects with a right. A push kick from Gracie is followed up by a Gracie flying knee. Gracie jabs. Mo misses a snapping left hook from Mo. More feeling out. Big right from Mo drops Gracie, who doesn’t get back up after two more shots on the ground (that didn’t land clean). Mo put some stank on that right hand! Gracie is out of it.
In a pre-recorded interview, Barnett says he plans to rank Kharitonv amongst the dead and rip his flesh and drink his blood. The poor interviewer is incredibly uncomfortable right now. Her career plans for broadcast journalism are clearly not working out. Kharitonov’s translator is pretty hot.
Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza vs. Luke Rockhold: Mauro says this fight is “pedigree vs. potential.” Rd 1: Rockhold kicks at the lead leg of the champ. Jacare shoots, but Rockhold sprawls. Big overhand right from Jacare, who drags Rockhold to floor and presses Rockhold’s hips down. Jacare is landing hard ground shots. Rockhold is up. But back down after a second. And back up we are. each man has an underhook. Jacare lands a knee against the fence. Push kick from Rockhold is answered with a right from Jacare. Another body kick from Rockhold and another right from Jacare. Rockhold catches Jacare coming in. Two good kicks from Rockhold! Jacare gets the takedown after two punches from Rockhold, but Rockhold gets right back up. Tough round to score. Rd 2: Spinning back kick and a lead leg kick from Roockhold. He just misses the head kick. More kicks and Jacare looks stymied. Jacare drops Rockhold with a right! Rockhold is back up, though. Here comes Jacare, pressing Rockhold against the fence again. Rockhold lands a straight left through Jacare’s hands. A lead right hook from Jacare lands. Knee from Rockhold in the clinch against the cage. Knee from Jacare. Knees to the thigh from Rockhold. They’re trading putting one another against the fence. And they break. Left from Rockhold. Right from Jacare. Jacare hits with another big overhand right. Rockhold ends the round with a kick. Rd 3: Front kick from Rockhold, who then lands a sharp left. Jacare switches up the stance. Body kick from Luke misses. Jacare’s kicks land. Luke kicks for real now. Jacare is kicked “in the peninsula south of the equator,” as bald Mauro says. After a break, Jacare snatches a single and dumps Luke onto the floor. Jacare is working furiously to finish, but Luke gets back to his feet. Punch-kick combo from Luke. Puch kick from Luke. Jacare blocks a left head kick. Luke kicks the lead leg once more. Jacare needs to get going. Luke is scoring with kicks and fists, high and low. Jacare cracks luke with a short right hook. Luke comes with a straight left and keeps mixing up his punches with kicks (and vice versa). Rd. 4: Three good rights from Jacare early are answered with a left from Luke. Luke charges in with kicks, but Jacare counters with that lead right hook. Jacare presses against the fence and takes some knees from Luke, who’s not got Jacare against the cage. Right hands and a right kick from Jacare have Luke backing up. Jacare drops for a double; Luke stuffs it with his back against the cage. A knee from Jacare; right hook from Luke as they break from the clinch. Good body kick from Luke, who stuffs another takedown and lands a left as Jacare stands back up. Knee from Luke as he muscles Jacare against the fence. Rd. 5: Front kick from Jacare and a body kick from Luke. Luke lands that straight left. Another front body kick from Jacare. Uppercut-left cross combo from Luke connects. Jacare swings and kicks and misses . Luke kicks low. Jacare hits a body kick and a low leg kick. Body shot from Luke is countered with a lead right hand against the cage. Jacare trips Luke and blankets him on the floor. Luke wants to sit up and slips away. They’re up. Left from Luke…and two good rights. Front kick from Jacare, but Luke keeps coming ahead. Jacare clinches but Luke escapes and lands a cool body kick, Right from Jacare. 1-2 from Luke. Left from Luke. Right from the champ. And another as he presses Luke against the fence. That was a good fight. And the winner is… Luke Rockhold by unanimous decision.
Mauro just quoted the WKRP in Cincinnati theme song. Gus Johnson who?
Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva vs. Daniel Cormier: Bigfoot is a BJJ blackbelt “phenom”? We call that hyperbole. Miletich thinks Bigfoot Silva should be called “Giant Reach” Silva. (Because he has a big reach advantage, y’see.) Rd. 1: Rich Franklin’s bro is the ref? Head kick from Silva is blocked. Silva rushes in with punches and backs Cormier against the fence. They separate and Cormier lands a big right! Wow. Silva is down, and Cormier is in Silva’s guard. He’s out and lets the big fella back to his feet. Cormier lands a crisp left that stuns the Brazilian. And another. Silva shoots; nope. He’s pulling a Werdum and baiting Cormier into his guard. Silva’s up. Cormier sweeps him down and stays out of the guard. The crowd is restless as Silva remains down for a bit. 1-2 from Silva. Cormier drops Silva with a left jab and a right uppercut, and Silva is done! Cormier is in the finals.
Josh Barnett vs. Sergei Kharitonov: This is the one fight on this card I’m really excited for. Mauro just called Josh “Captain Catch Wrestling.” Rd. 1: Punches fly early from both men…and land, for the most part, Josh trips Sergei and is in the mounted position. Elbows, hammer fist. Sergei tries to buck, but in vain. And again. Josh is heavy on top. More gnp from Josh. Sergei strikes from his back. Heavy elbows from Josh. Damn. Josh fires down as Sergei punches up. Josh gets back control as Sergei covers up. Josh throws short uppercuts and hammer fists. Sergei is flattened, pounded some more, and choked out from the side! Josh vs. Cormier in the Grand Prix finals.