Two title fights in the light-heavyweight and middleweight divisions, a lightweight slugfest between KJ Noons and Jorge Gurgel, and Bobby Lashley‘s latest bit of record-padding, all brought to you by the world-famous City of Syrup. Let’s be real — if you’re not watching Strikeforce tonight, you’re a damn fool. Or, you don’t have Showtime. Or, you have better things to do. Speaking of which, your usual live-bloggers are occupied tonight, so respected CagePotato contributor Matt Kaplan will be filling in. Round-by-round updates can be found after the jump, beginning at 10 p.m. ET. Refresh the page for all the latest, and let your voices be heard in the comments section.
So they’re playing up the America vs. Brazil thing in the promo, which features a shirtless Kennedy, King Mo, Feijao, and Jacare pounding on heavy bags and grappling dummies in abandoned buildings and shipping yards.
No ‘stache for Gus Johnson tonight — a little disappointing. At least Ranallo has the goatee. “The newly retired” legend Frank Shamrock explains that Jacare and Kennedy have superstar potential…and movie star potential. Oh God. Kennedy is “a hard punchin’ family man” and BJJ saved Jacare’s life.
Who participates in the text message polls? Anyway, let’s get started:
Chad Griggs vs. Bobby Lashley:
Round 1: I like “The Grave Digger” nickname. Lashley, however, seems less impressed and nails an immediate takedown. Side control, looking to trap Griggs’s left arm. Griggs is up! And back down again. And up! Big knee to Lashley, who presses Griggs up against the fence. Ref breaks it up, and Griggs is dumped onto his back, but he seems to have bloodied up Lashley in the clinch earlier. Lashley’s left eye is effed up: big, nasty gash.
Round 2: Lashley looks markedly slower, but then slams Griggs down hard, moves to half guard, and softens up Griggs’s body with punches. Meanwhile, Griggs and his sweet sideburns are staying busy from the bottom. Full mount for Lashley; dropping leather. (Frank ‘rock mentions how someone ought to teach Lashley the side choke; Mauro asks Frank for a quick tutorial and gets one.) Ref stands the fight up. Lashley is bloodied and appears tired. Gus Johnson reminds us that this fight is real, not acting. Lashley shoots on Griggs, who holds him off, pounds the shit out of Lashley’s face, and it’s all over! Wow. Griggs by TKO.
Luke Rockhold is being interviewed cageside by whatshername about his upcoming fight against Matt Lindland. He says Lindland is a grinder, yada yada yada. In the middleweight title fight tonight, he predicts early dominance by Jacare, and a late comeback by Tim Kennedy. Eh.
KJ Noons vs. Jorge Gurgel:
Gurgel said in a pre-fight segment that he wants to keep the fight standing and that both guys are number one contenders. Shamrock has no idea why Gurgel fights the way he does, and Ranallo says Gurgel could be a stand-up comedian.
Jimmy Lennon bestows the coveted title of “MMA’s most successful crossover fighter” to KJ Noons. I just realized that Lennon looks like my friend’s aunt.
Round 1: Referee Kerry Hatley calls for action. Big right by Gurgel. Head kick by Gurgel. Noons jabs. Gurgel’s kicks are looking for Noons’s lead leg and connecting. Noons lands two big rights. Gurgel keeps coming forward. Big kicks from both fellas. Gurgel’s right eye is lumped. He misses a flying knee, and Noons lands some nasty body punches. Noons looks very relaxed. WOW! Noons drops Gurgel with a left hook right after the bell. Damn!
Round 2: That was a monster left hook to end Round 1. And Noons just dropped Gurgel with another left hook! Illegal knee! Is it over? What the eff? Replay: right to the body, left hook. Gurgel dropped. Noons punches Gurgel some more and knees him in the head when Gurgel’s knees are down. Did the ref stop the fight after the knee? Looks like no. Ranallo wants Big John in there. Oh well. Noons takes it by KO.
Up next: Noons wants Nick Diaz and to continue boxing. Did he just say he wants to box Floyd Mayweather? Oh sweet Jesus…
Ranallo and Shamrock are still pissed about the illegal knee and the referee’s idecision. Moving on…
Tim Kennedy vs. “Jacare”Souza:
A video game simulation of the fight? Really? Come on now. This is going to be a sick fight. Jacare is a new dad. Kennedy is a war hero. My heart strings can’t take it. Let’s do this.
Round 1: Hey, there’s Big John. Both men punch and miss. Kennedy lands a right. Big push kick from Jacare, who then lands a few right hands. Looks Jacare is loading up the right. Jacare lands a big right. Tim counters with the same. Jacare’s striking seems to be more effective and efficient here. Tim punches, Jacare slips (or gets cracked?) and gets back to his feet. Jacare’s punching looked pretty crisp in that round.
Round 2: Tim throws a Superman punch, but misses. Kennedy charges in with the ol’ 1-2 and then moves back out. Jacare stuffs a takedown attempt. Jacare lands a big right and gets the better of the ensuing exchange. Body kick by Kennedy. Kennedy rushes in but is held off. His punches seem ineffective. Jacare shoots. Tim holds him off. Jacare’s hands just seem so mcuh faster. Tim’s looking for an opening, it seems. Right hand lands for Jacare in the final seconds.
Round 3: Kennedy remains flat-footed but seems to be landing. Neither man looks fatigued. Tim wades in; Jacare fires back. Blood is coming from above Tim’s left eye now. Big right from Jacare. Left hand from Kennedy’s back pocket misses the mark, but he lands the takedown and is in the gator’s guard. Both men are up after a scramble. Tim is bloody but he keeps throwing. Body kick from Tim, whose hands start to drop as the round concludes. That was a close round.
Round 4: Jacare seems fresh. Tim lands a right hand. Tim attacks Jacare’s lead leg with kicks. Good head movement from Tim to avoid Jacare’s punches. Tim misses a Superman punch, Jacare shoots, and Tim sprawls to safety. Jacare fires a big right. And another. Jacare says he was kicked in the ”Brazilian barbecue,” as Mauro says, and takes a minute. Tim’s left eye is mangled pretty good. Tim shoots; Jacare sprawls.Tim’s high kick is blocked. Jacare pumps left jab. Tim is looking for a way to get inside as the round ends.
Round 5: Tim rushes in and lands a wild left hand. Another left hook lands for Staff Sgt. Kennedy. Jacare jabs. Tim is punching in combinations now, but Jacare continues to work on Tim’s busted left eye with the right hand. Jacare is light on his feet and pushes Tim away. Another right for Jacare. Knee in the clinch from Tim. Jacare’s hands are held high. Tim kicks the lead leg. Tim punches the body. Jacare fights Tim off. Jacare takes Tim’s back, but Tim escapes. Tim rushes in, but to no avail. Big right cross from Jacare. Tim shoots and lands the takedown. at the final bell! Close fight, folks. Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza gets the unanimous decision and the middleweight belt.
Plenty of boos from the Texas crowd rain down. Jacare is gracious in victory. Kennedy points to the stats in his defense, shouts out the troops overseas, praises the state of Texas, and expresses his disdain for the judges.
Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal vs. Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante:
More video game simulation ridiculousness as Frank ‘rock breaks ‘er down. And yes, Jimmy Lennon does look like actress Jane Lynch. Feijao walks out: boring. Mo walks out: robe, crown, dancers, umbrella, scattered rose petals. And that’s why he’s the king.
Round 1: Pretty decent staredown from Mo. Feijao comes in hot with a right and left. Mo rushed in, clinches, uppercuts, body locks, and SLAMS! Feijao pops up. Wow. Mo presses Feijao against the cage and knees Feijao’s left leg. Feijao breaks free and lands a spinning elbow on the separation. Mo jabs to the body. Feijao jabs and throws a big right cross. Mo walks through an uppercut and a knee from the Brazilian. Mo jabs to the body. Feijao lands a big knee…and another big knee. Mo lands a left jab; his hands are dangling at his side. Mo is posturing now as Feijao’s right hand missed the mark. Big leg kick from Feijao to close the round.
Round 2: Both men are in black trunks, so Gus Johnson points out that Mo is “the darker skinned fighter.” Feijao is going to work on the lead leg of King Mo. Feijao looks more relaxed. Feijao lands a high kick; Mo slams him down. Feijao pops up with Mo on his back. Feijao is free, but takes some body shots from Mo. Head kick from Feijao. Mo rushes in and pounds at the body. knees from Mo in the final seconds of the second.
Round 3: Somehow this was deleted (or just not saved), but Feijao landed an early right hand that stunned Mo and followed it with 2 big kneed. Mo landed 2 uppercuts in the clinch but was then dropped my Feijao, who pummeled Mo. Mo got back to his feet and pressed Feijao against the cage, but Feijao’s elbows to a dazed Mo were too much and prompted a just referee’s stoppage. Feijao is the new champ at 205 via KO.