(Luckily, Scott Coker was there to break the tension with one of his trademark sauerkraut farts. I’m sorry, I usually don’t go that lowbrow, but nobody’s reading this, right? / Props: Esther Lin/Showtime)
Here’s a quick list of things that people are more interested in than Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Kennedy, according to Google trends: Bastille Day. Chick-fil-A. Wayne Gretsky’s foxy daughter, Paulina Gretsky. Steam. Yes, steam, like vaporized water. Now, was all that just a cheap ploy to draw more search traffic to our liveblog? Sure. But you know what? These guys need all the attention they can get.
If you’re here with us tonight, we thank you and welcome you. Tonight, Strikeforce is presenting a title fight double-bill, with Luke Rockhold attempting to make his second middleweight belt-defense against Tim Kennedy, and Nate Marquardt and Tyron Woodley throwing down for the vacant 170-pound strap. Plus, Robbie Lawler welcomes Lorenz Larkin to the middleweight division, and Keith Jardine gets a third chance to earn a win in Strikeforce, this time against BJJ scion Roger Gracie.
We’ll be giving you round-by-round results from the Showtime main card starting at 10 p.m. ET. Refresh the page every few minutes for all the latest, and feel free to discuss Gustav Klimt and Michael Clark Duncan’s heart-attack in the comments section.
Robbie Lawler vs. Lorenz Larkin
Larkin’s not doing the pink-streak-in-his-hair thing tonight? I feel like I don’t know this man anymore. Ranallo and Miletich talk about how Robbie Lawler’s got his asthma under control, so look out, world.
Round 1: Larkin takes the center of the cage. Lawler throws a tentative kick to make first contact. Each man respecting the other’s power. Larkin tries a kick of his own but misses. Robbie lands a hard, short hook and Larkin is on wobbly legs already. Lawler tries to capitalize and they clinch against the cage. Larkin clears the cobwebs, scores a very slick trip takedown and gets on top of Lawler. Larkin in Lawler’s guard. Lawler on his feet. Larkin pushes him against the fence, throws a knee to the body. Nice dirty boxing from Larkin and a flying knee. Lawler gives some punches right back, but takes a stiff uppercut. Lakin throws more uppercuts in close with the help of a collar-tie clinch. More inside shots to the bell. I’d score it 10-9 for Larkin.
Round 2: Leg kick Larkin. And another. Larkin throws one high. A hard inside leg kick from Larkin. Larkin with a sharp straight right followed by a leg kick and Lawler is covering up and retreating. Larkin clinches up to work his inside game some more but Lawler punches out of it.They clinch again and Lawler drops for a leg. Larkin spins into a guillotine attempt. Lawer out. They return to the clinch against the cage. Short punch from Larkin. The ref breaks ‘em. Larkin bounces a kick off Lawler’s head that splits him open badly. The round ends and Larkin clinched it with the damage from that kick.
Round 3: Lawler stalking and throwing, trying to be aggressive and get the finish in the last round. Lawler goes for the single-leg against the fence, and Larkin is defending. Larkin gets out and gets slugged with punches. Larkin with a hook, but a follow-up spinning backfist misses. Nice head kick from Lawler. Larkin measuring. Lawler backs him up with a lead hook. They trade kicks. Larkin lands with short, straight punches. He’s outboxing Lawler now. Hook and an uppercut from Larkin. Leg kick Larkin. Lawler tries a head kick, but it’s blocked. More short, nasty punches from Larkin. Elbows from larkin. Lawler fires some Hail Mary haymakers at the bell, but they miss, and we’re going to the cards. Should be a no-brainer here; the fight was all Monsoon. And an impressive showing in his middleweight debut.
Larkin def. Lawler via unanimous decision (30-27 x 3). During the post-fight interview with Ranallo, Larkin admits that Lawler made him do the stanky-leg in round 1. After telling us that the better man will win tonight in Rockhold vs. Kennedy (insightful!), Larkin drops to his knees and begs Dana White to start giving out end-of-night bonuses in Strikeforce. Come on bro, Dana doesn’t do charity. Go ask Mr. Sauerkraut Fart.
Roger Gracie vs. Keith Jardine
Round 1: Oh yeah, there’s that herky-jerky style we’ve missed so much. Jardine’s lead hand is nowhere near his face, and he’s lunging forward with his chin. He rushes in, Gracie clinches with him, and immediately takes him down. Gracie in half guard. Gracie looking to pass, but Jardine shutting him down so far. Gracie wraps up Jardine’s neck, looking for a choke, but Jardine gets up. With a little help from a fence-grab, Gracie gets the fight back down to the mat. Gracie stuffs Jardine against the cage, slugs him in the face a couple times, then passes to mount. Short elbow from Gracie. Gracie turns Jardine away from the fence and fires some short elbows. And a couple more that have some serious sting on them. The horn sounds and Jardine walks off to his corner, bleeding as usual.
Round 2: Once again, Jardine gallops in throwing terrible-looking jabs, gets snatched up and dumped on the mat. I’m starting to think this Keith Jardine guy doesn’t have a bright future in the sport. Gracie takes Jardine’s back as the Dean tries to escape. Jardine’s face is pouring blood. Gracie looking for that rear-naked choke. Gracie sinks the hooks for a body-triangle. Jardine is in the worst position possible against a grappler of Roger’s caliber, but he’s surviving. Jardine throws some desperate punches behind himself at Gracie. Gracie transitions to the arm-triangle, but doesn’t get that either. So he goes back to mount and rides out the rest of the round. Another 10-9 for Gracie, on the Unofficial CagePotato Scorecards.
Round 3: Gracie with a push kick to the body. Gracie looking a little tired on the feet. Jardine goes to the body. Gracie makes an awkward takedown attempt (too slow, too high) and doesn’t get it. This is Jardine’s moment to turn the tables, but I guarantee he won’t. Gracie tries to clinch, Jardine pulls out. Ditto. Jardine with a 1-2. He comes in firing again, Gracie drops low and tries for another takedown to slow him down. Jardine escapes, fires more punches. Okay, Gracie is basically done here. He just needs to make it to the end of the round. Gracie lands a knee from clinch. Jardine lifts his arms in Diaz-esque fashion. Gracie with a jab. Gracie lands a front kick to the body. Jardine windmills some punches. Gracie clinches. Jardine whiffs one more by a mile before the last bell sounds. He might have taken the round on aggression, but that’s another win for Gracie, whose gas-tank failed him in the third-round.
Gracie def. Jardine via unanimous decision (29-27, 30-27, 30-26). Gracie blames his gas-out on a poorly-timed weight cut, but says he’ll be staying at 185.
Nate Marquardt vs. Tyron Woodley
Nate Marquardt still looks pretty jacked at 170. And so far, it’s been a good night for guys dropping to new weight classes. Tyron Woodley’s mom is the new Rashad Evans’s wife, volume-wise.
Round 1: Woodley comes out fast. Marquardt lands a groin kick that briefly pauses the action. Woodley smashes Marquardt with a punch coming in and Marquardt stumbles backwards. Woodley follows and takes Marquardt’s back. Marquardt turns and defends. They trade knees and separate. Now it’s Marquardt’s turn to land a huge shot that stumbles Woodley. Marquardt swarms and tries to lock in a guillotine on the mat. Woodley escapes. Nice knee to the grill from Marquardt in a clinch. They separate. Marquardt lands to the body. They clinch again and Marquardt gets in a short hook. Woodley punches out. Marquardt chases and attacks. Woodley rolls out, and Marquardt runs forward throwing punches to the bell. 10-9 Marquardt.
Round 2: Leg kick Marquardt, who starts out as the aggressor this time. Woodley throws a spinning backfist that’s mostly blocked. Hard leg kick from Marquardt. Marquardt lands a diving right hand. Brief clinch. Another leg kick from Marquardt shakes Woodley. Again. Damn, Woodley’s mom is annoying. Inside leg kick Marquardt. Woodley’s not doing much besides retreating and taking leg kicks. Great spinning back kick from Marquardt! Another long straight right from Marquardt lands. Marquardt follows it with a takedown. Woodley works to his feet. High kick Marquardt, counter right hand from Woodley. That’s the bell. Clear 10-9 for Marquardt. Woodley looked slow in that round; he’s got 15 more minutes to go and he needs to wake up.
Round 3: 1-2 from T-Wood. Woodley swarms with more punches, and knocks Marquardt to the mat! Yep, Woodley just woke up. Woodley working some ground and pound. Marquardt looks for the armbar but can’t put it together. The ref stands ‘em pretty quickly after a brief stalemate. Woodley whiffs a superman punch. Wide hook from Woodley. Heavy leg kick from Marquardt. And a nice body punch. Woodley has officially lost his momentum again. Marquardt presses him against the cage, works some knees, and an elbow. And another. One more big punch until the bell. Harder round to score; Woodley looked great early, but then let Marquardt take over again.
Round 4: Body shot by Marquardt. And a big right to the face. Leg kick. Now Marquardt lands some nasty punches to Woodley’s face. Woodley’s got some chin on him. Again, a right hand from Marquardt snaps Woodley’s head back. And BOOM: Marquardt with some dynamite elbows to Woodley’s head against the fence, then a hook and one more uppercut to Woodley’s face as his legs give out. Nate strolls off like a boss, no follow-up shots needed. Incredible knockout. Nate the Great is back, and he’s got a belt to prove it.
Marquardt def. Woodley via KO, 1:39 of round 4. Woodley’s mom is eerily quiet.
And now, the main event…
Luke Rockhold vs. Tim Kennedy
Round 1: Rockhold stalking Kennedy against the fence. Kennedy launches forward with a punch to avoid getting jammed up. Rockhold misses a high kick. They clinch. Knee from Rockhold, and they separate. Kennedy again with that long, diving punch. Rockhold presses him against the fence again, and there’s another knee. Short elbow from Kennedy. They separate. Body kick Kennedy. Rockhold makes hard contact in a flurry of punches. Rockhold pushes Kennedy against the fence, but Kennedy reverses position and slams Rockhold to the mat. Rockhold keeping Kennedy stuck in half-guard. Rockhold considering a straight armlock. He stretches Kennedy’s arm out but loses it. Rockhold gets to his feet. They slug in close from a clinch. There’s the horn. Tight round, but I might give it to Rockhold for landing more significant strikes.
Round 2: Rockhold opens with a head kick. Kennedy tries to respond with a takedown, but Rockhold takes his back in a scramble. Rockhold trying to hold the position. They trade elbows from a mutual crouching position. Kennedy bulls his way up. Wide hook from Kennedy misses. Rockhold wades in and throws hard punches. He lands a dead-on straight right, followed by a body kick. Front kick to the face by Kennedy. They go to the mat, and Rockhold briefly looks for the armlock again. They’re up, and clinched against the cage. Kennedy lands a short elbow on the way out. They exchange punches. Rockhold tries a turning side kick. Kennedy with a nice counter-punch after being tagged. Rockhold with a question-mark kick that lands. Rockhold pushes Kennedy back with punches. They both try kicks. And that’s the horn. I have the champ up two rounds to none.
Round 3: Leg kick Kennedy. He drops low and clinches, putting Rockhold against the fence. Knee to the body from Kennedy. He does it again but lands to the crotch this time. They take a break, and Rockhold is warned for shorts-grabbing. Rockhold lands flush with a right hook. Kennedy drops low to clinch again as Rockhold starts to pour it on. They break. High kick Kennedy. Rockhold with a left hand, then another hard straight left. Quick leg kick from Kennedy. Kennedy dodges and counter-punches. Rockhold tries a couple more of those Brazilian kicks. They clinch, and Kennedy scrambles and takes Rockhold’s back. Rockhold rolls and stands, but Kennedy stays on him. Rockhold with a nice escape. Rockhold tries a spinning back kick at the horn.
Round 4: Rockhold moves in, Kennedy responds with a pair of uppercuts. Rockhold following him around the cage. Kennedy sticks and moves with a leg kick and a side kick to the body. But Rockhold is still the aggressor and lands punches whenever he can find Kennedy. Hard body kick from Rockhold. High kick Rockhold, counter punch Kennedy. Rockhold goes to the body. They both land hard rights at the same time, but Rockhold’s was apparently a little harder because Kennedy falls to the mat. Kennedy tries a guillotine, Rockhold escapes it and they both return to their feet. they clinch against the fence. Rockhold tries to drag Kennedy down, Kennedy reserves him, then Rockhold reverses him, ending the round on top.
Round 5: Again, Kennedy is content to backpedal in the standup exchanges. That’s not the best strategy to win a title fight, and won’t help the Jackson camp’s reputation for that sort of thing. Nice straight left from Rockhold. Kennedy grabs on against the fence, dropping low for a takedown. A mad scramble that ends with Kennedy looking for a guillotine choke. Rockhold escapes and drives a knee to Kennedy’s ribs before escaping. Side kick to the body from Kennedy. Kennedy driving forward to clinch. Rockhold gets out. Not enough sense of urgency from kennedy, who’s clearly down on points. Knee to the ribs from Rockhold in the clinch. Dirty boxing inside. Kennedy drives forward for another clinch as the last horn sounds. Nothin’ left but to make it official.
Rockhold def. Kennedy via unanimous decision (49-46 x 3). Solid performance for the defending champ, and Rockhold credits his team for his win over Kennedy. But it just wasn’t a fight that will drastically change public opinion of either man. Will Rockhold have to face Larkin or Gracie now, or will he just fight Jacare Souza again? Who else is there? On the bright side, Nate Marquardt is back from the dead, and did it hormone-free if you believe him. So what did you think of tonight’s fights? Sleep on it, and we’ll talk more tomorrow and Monday. Sweet dreams, Potato Nation.