It was a long night at Strikeforce: “Rockhold vs. Kennedy” with all but one fight ending within three rounds but at the end of the marathon card Strikeforce showed they still have enough talent to stand alone for now. Strikeforce: “Rockhold vs. Kennedy” took place July 14th at the Rose Garden in Portland, OR with a main card broadcast live on Showtime.
In the main event defending middleweight champion Luke Rockhold extended his win streak to nine with a unanimous decision over Tim Kennedy. For five rounds Rockhold pushed the pace and used his reach advantage to out-strike Kennedy with a knockdown in round 4 being the punctuation mark, the challenger’s best round being the third where he briefly took the champion’s back. This marks Kennedy’s second loss in a title bout with his August 2010 unanimous decision loss to Ronlado Souza being Kennedy’s only other loss in four-and-a-half years. Rockhold also fought Souza with that fight in which Rockhold won the title being Rockhold’s only other decision in his career. Besides the obvious rematch with Souza (5-1 in Strikeforce, 15-3-1 overall) there is potential for a fight with Lorenz Larkin (4-0 in Strikeforce, 13-0-1 overall) or possibly in the future Roger Gracie (3-1 in Strikeforce, 5-1 overall) since Larkin defeated UFC vet Robbie Lawler and Gracie defeated UFC vet Keith Jardine also on this card.
In the co-main event UFC vet Nate Marquardt made quite a statement in his Strikeforce debut by handing Tyron Woodley his first loss for the vacant welterweight title. Unlike the main event this one was close with Woodley stunning Marquardt and Marquardt knocking down Woodley in the first with the rest of the bout being just as back-and-forth for three rounds before Marquardt backed Woodley against the cage and landed two clean elbows followed by a hook and uppercut for the KO. This is arguably Strikeforce’s deepest division despite the loss of former champion Nick Diaz as in the wings still gaining momentum are Roger Bowling (4-2 Strikeforce, 11-2 overall), Tarec Saffiedine (4-1 Strikeforce, 12-3 overall), and arguably Bobby Voelker (4-1 Strikeforce, 12-3 overall). Scott Smith is arguably the next biggest name in Strikeforce however his 3-4 Strikeforce, 17-10-1 overall record casts doubt on how relevant he is at this point in time.
The undercard was equally as interesting due to the amount of fights at lightweight, the division for which Strikeforce have been criticized for relying on champion Gilbert Melendez and former champion Josh Thomson for too long. With Pat Healy, Ryan Couture, and Jorge Masvidal all picking up wins on the undercard at lightweight while Caros Fodor is waiting in the wings this division seems to have improved overnight, literally.
Up next on August 18th the women’s bantamweight title is on the line between defending champion Ronda Rousey and former champion Sarah Kaufman, interesting considering most of the division has moved to Invicta FC which have a show July 28th. Look for more on that card in the days to come.
Undercard (Showtime Extreme):
Strikeforce: “Rockhold vs. Kennedy” results:
Jason High def. Nate Moore 0:26 R1 by guillotine choke
Jordan Mein def. Tyler Stinson by unanimous decision
Jorge Masvidal def. Justin Wilcox by split decision
Ryan Couture def. Joe Duarte by split decision
Pat Healy def. Mizuto Hirota by unanimous decision
Main card (Showtime):
Lorenz Larkin def. Robbie Lawler by unanimous decision
Roger Gracie def. Keith Jardine by unanimous decision
WW title: Nate Marquardt def. Tyron Woodley 1:39 R4 by KO
MW title: Luke Rockhold def. Tim Kennedy by unanimous decision