Q: Why are we watching a Strikeforce event on Showtime, in the middle of the damn week, ten days before a bigger Strikeforce event on Showtime?
A: Why the hell not?
The stakes are relatively low, but the matchups are promising. In the main event, Renato Sobral and Robbie Lawler slug it out in a moneyweight battle for a potential title shot down the road. Welterweights Evangelista "Cyborg" Santos and Marius "The Whitemare" Zaromskis meet in a guaranteed basher. Plus, Army Staff Sergeant Tim Kennedy defends his country’s honor against South African veteran Trevor Prangley, and KJ Noons returns to the cage against Conor Heun. Round-by-round results await you after the jump. Refresh the page every few minutes for all the latest, and let’s hope these fights end early so I can go to bed.
Mauro Ranallo is working a chain-link announcer booth…by himself? Oh boy, this could get ugly. Prangley gets a bump from being a native of the World Cup host nation. Okay, Stephen Quadros joins the strange cage-themed announcer dais/podium thingy; Mauro announces him as "a black belt in drums." And Pat Miletich makes it a full house. Props for trying new things, I guess.
KJ Noons vs. Conor Heun
Round 1: Heun with the gong and dash, but KJ dodges. Heun stuffs a takedown, and comes forward with an uppercut. Noons with a jab. Heun tries some high kicks. Heun jabs, then lands a leg kick and uppercut. Noons gets in a leg kick. Sharp body kick from Heun. Noons returns a body shot, and lands a nice counter as Heun swings inside. Heun misses another head kick. Heun lands an overhand left. His left eye is looking red and swollen. Heun scores with a takedown, and takes Noons’s back when he tries to get up. Heun sets up a body triangle and slugs Noons in the head. Noons defends the choke but he’s getting lit up with punches. Noons rolls and Heun secures mount. Noons rolls and escapes, getting back to his feet. Noons drops Heun with a punch at the bell. Wild round.
Round 2: Noons catches a high kick from Heun and shoves him down. Heun gets to his feet. Noons with a hook to the body. And a jab. Noons with a left straight as Heun dashes in. Heun sweeps Noons’s leg out, but Noons regains his footing and returns a punch. Noons attacks with a 1-2. Heun makes the "come on" gesture. He lands a knee to Noons’s body. Noons works the body. Noons sticks the jab and a hard pair of punches that seem to stun Heun. He goes in for the finish but Heun backs him off with kicks and punches. Noons with another hook to the body. Heun lands a knee to Noons’s face. Huge left hook from Noons. And a head kick. Heun catches a leg and takes Noons down as the round ends.
Round 3: Heun comes out strong and lands a head kick. He snaps a jab. He tries a leg reap takedown but Noons defends. Noons shoots forward with a knee to the body, but Heun returns with a body kick. Noons with a hard hook. Heun with a knee. Noons jabs. He lands an uppercut. Both guys swinging for the fences. heun scores with a knee to the body. Heun shoots but Noons dodges. Heun tries again, grabbing Noons’s leg, but KJ pulls away. Heun’s face is leaking blood. Heun with an uppercut. Heun shoots and fails. Heun tries for a takedown and lands a punch when it doesn’t pan out. Noons with a big left and a knee to the head. Heun wraps an arm around Noon’s head as the last bell sounds. Very close, but I think Noons may have taken it two rounds to one. And I gotta say, KJ Noons is damn good at carving guys’ faces up.
It’s a split decision. 30-27 Heun (?), 29-28 Noons, and 29-28 Noons, who takes the fight — just like I said. Heun’s face is a grotesque mask of cuts. Time for a Noons/Nick Diaz rematch?
Tim Kennedy vs. Trevor "The Vuvuzela Assassin" Prangley
Round 1: Kennedy whips a low kick, then goes in to clinch. He’s working for a takedown, but Prangley reverses him with a hip toss. Kennedy grabs onto a leg and keeps working for control. They stand. Kennedy with a right hook from the clinch. Prangley with another hip toss, but Kennedy gets back up and *still* works for his own takedown. Finally he gets it, picking Prangley up and dumping him on his back. Kennedy in half-guard, then scores full mount. He throws down some punches. Prangley tries to get up, but Kennedy takes his back and taps him very quickly with a rear-naked choke. AMERICA, FUCK YEAH. Tim Kennedy def. Trevor Prangley via submission (rear-naked choke), 3:35 of of round 1. Impressive performance from Kennedy, who wouldn’t stop trying on that takedown attempt despite being tossed around early.
Fabricio Werdum stops by for a quick interview with Mauro. He says he’ll show everybody next week that it is he, not Fedor, who is the best in the world. It’s very important that you all support him, he says. His interpreter couldn’t get a word in edgewise, poor guy.
Evangelista "Cyborg" Santos vs. Marius Zaromskis
Zaromskis moved to American Kickboxing Academy from London Shootfighters after getting his ass kicked by Nick Diaz. Herschel Walker and Dan Henderson are in the building. Cyborg has five inches of reach on the Whitemare.
Round 1: Zaromskis comes in with punches, and Cyborg dishes out a few of his own. Cyborg with a hard body kick. Cyborg catches Zaromskis with a punch, wobbling him backwards. Zaromskis lands his first high kick. Leg kick from Zaromskis, counter punch from Cyborg. Leg kick Cyborg, body kick Zaromskis. Cyborg with a head kick that rocks Zaromskis, and some punches to follow it up. Dazed, Zaromskis throws a flying knee, and flies directly into a right hand from Cyborg that knocks him stiff. Cyborg throws one more punch from the top before the ref pulls him off. Great win for Cyborg. Too bad the fight didn’t last longer, these guys were smashing each other. Evangelista Santos def. Marius Zaromskis via KO, 2:38 of round 1. There goes the last of Zaromskis’s hype. Back to Japan, probably…
Robbie Lawler vs. Renato Sobral
My wish of an early night is coming true. Ain’t no way this one goes more than two rounds. Mauro Ranallo gets on a jag asking the guys how Bruce Lee would do in MMA, and what weight class he would compete at. His partners do their best to change the subject.
Round 1: Leg kick Sobral. Lawler charges in with a punch, and Sobral grabs him in a clinch, and walks him over to the fence. Sobral with a couple of knees inside. Big John separates them after a short stalemate. Lawler brushes Sobral back with a punch then throws a flying knee. They clinch for a bit on the fence then separate. Sobral with a leg kick and takedown. Lawler gets up and avoids being guillotined. Lawler slips throwing a body kick and Sobral is on him. Lawler pops up and resets. Sobral shoots and clinches, scores with a knee before Lawler gets out. Both guys lands leather. There’s the horn. Sobral is cut over his nose.
Round 2: Sobral snaps a body kick but eats a punch. Low kick Sobral. Lawler fires some punches into Sobral’s head as the Brazilian tries to get a takedown. Lawler with a sharp straight left. Body kick Sobral. Sobral chases with strikes, and Lawler pretends like he’s hurt. Sobral doesn’t take the bait. Hard high kick from Sobral. And a leg kick. Lawler paws with a leg kick. Sobral whips a high kick and briefly slips to the mat. He gets up and fires a body punch. Robbie with a right. Sobral with a pair of kicks, then knees in a clinch. Lawler sticks the jab. Sobral returns it. They trade right hands. Lawler with a counter left. There’s the horn. This one’s going to a third round after all…
Round 3: They clash, clinch, and Sobral drives in a knee. Sobral tries a single leg, but Lawler escapes. He tries it again, with no success. Lawler lands his jab. Leg kick Sobral. Body kick Sobral. Sobral fires a spinning backfist that hits Lawler’s shoulder. Lawler with a 1-2, then a high kick. Sobral with a front kick to the body, and a right straight to the body, and another kick. That can’t feel good. Lawler scores with a pair of hard punches. Lawler stalking forward. Lawler with a right hook. He comes in brawling. Lawler lands the jab. Lawler lands one more right as the round ends. Very close match; scores might be all over the place.
It’s unanimous: 29-28, all for Renato Sobral. The crowd boos. That’s the breaks, kids. Babalu has a nasty gash above his left eye. He tells Robbie the beer’s on him tonight. He also says he won’t fight King Mo, but with all respect, he’d like to avenge the loss he took against Dan Henderson 11 years ago. Eh, what else are you gonna do with those knuckleheads. Let Hendo fight Babalu. Let King Mo fight Fedor. Let Cris Cyborg fight KJ Noons for all I care. It’s cage-fighting, people — it doesn’t always have to make sense. Good night, Potato Nation.