Strikeforce came to the Rose Garden in Portland, Oregon with a double bill of title fights tonight at Strikeforce: “Rockhold vs Kennedy.” The event was headlined by a Strikeforce Middleweight Championship bout between Luke Rockhold and Tim Kennedy, who made his second bid for the belt.
Also on the card, the vacant Strikeforce Welterweight Championship was on the line when undefeated prospect Tyron “T-Wood” Woodley battled UFC veteran Nate “The Great” Marquardt. “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler faced Lorenz “The Monsoon” Larkin. MMARising.com has live play-by-play for the card.
Strikeforce Middleweight Championship
Luke Rockhold vs Tim Kennedy
Kennedy kept his distance with kicks in the opening seconds and landed a counter right hook as Rockhold closed in for a clinch. Both fighters landed short strikes in close and Rockhold backed away. A big combination scored for Rockhold, but Kennedy managed to circle away from the exchange. Rockhold rushed in and Kennedy took him down. Kimura worked for a Kimura from the bottom, but Kennedy passed to side control. Rockhold scrambled up and punched to the body. 10-9 Rockhold.
Rockhold threw a head kick to open round two and he took Kennedy’s back in a scramble. Rockhold dragged Kennedy to the mat and looked for a rear-naked choke. Kennedy countered with back elbows and got to his feet. A straight right landed for Rockhold and he followed with two more rights and a body kick. Kennedy countered a kick to the body with a hard right cross, but Rockhold was unfazed.
Rockhold attempted an armbar in a scramble, but wound up on his knees against the fence. He stood and Kennedy kept him pressed up against the cage. Rockhold backed away and both fighters landed hooks. Another exchange of punches followed and Rockhold threw a kick to the chest. Rockhold picked his shots with punches and body kicks as the round came to a close. 10-9 Rockhold.
Kennedy initiated the clinch in round three and tried for a bodylock takedown. Rockhold was warned for grabbing the fence and Kennedy was in turn warned for a knee that strayed low. Action resumed and Rockhold landed a nice right hook. Kennedy ducked under a second right and clinched, but he could not get Rockhold down. The fighters separated and Kennedy landed a grazing head kick.
Rockhold countered a leg kick with a left cross that snapped Kennedy’s head back. Kennedy landed a leg kick and took Rockhold down. He worked for a rear-naked choke and Rockhold rolled to defend. Kennedy secured back control again and tried for another choke, but Rockhold stood up. Rockhold landed a right hook and a knee in the clinch. Very close round. 10-9 Rockhold, just barely.
The fourth round began with more head kicks from Rockhold, who remained the aggressor on the feet. He dropped Kennedy with a right hook and nearly secured mount on the ground. Kennedy recovered and sat up while working for a guillotine choke. Rockhold stood up to escape and Kennedy backed away. Rockhold landed a body kick and Kennedy replied with a right hook. He clinched and reversed a takedown. Kennedy took Rockhold’s back, but Rockhold wound up on top in side control. 10-9 Rockhold.
Kennedy landed counter kicks in the final round and shot in for a takedown. Rockhold stuffed it and landed a nice left cross soon after. He flurried with punches in close, which prompted Kennedy to clinch. Rockhold reversed a takedown attempt, but Kennedy scrambled. The fighters stood and Rockhold swept out Kennedy’s legs. He landed one knee to the body before Kennedy stood up.
Punches were exchanged and Rockhold landed a one-two. He avoided a knee from Kennedy and threw a side kick to the body. In the clinch, the fighters traded knees to the body and Rockhold backed away. He ducked under a right hook and landed more knees in close. Kennedy snuck in a standing elbow and tried for a late takedown. 10-9 Rockhold.
Winner: Luke Rockhold by Unanimous Decision (49-46, 49-46, 49-46) after five rounds. He improves to 10-1-0 and remains the Strikeforce Middleweight Champion.
Strikeforce Welterweight Championship
Nate “The Great” Marquardt vs Tyron “T-Wood” Woodley
The fight began with a quick exchange of punches and body kicks. Woodley rocked Marquardt with a right hook behind the ear and closed in. He took Marquardt down and moved to back control. Marquardt stood against the cage and Woodley landed knees to the body. Marquardt countered with one to the face. Woodley backed away and Marquardt dropped him with a right hand.
Woodley tried to stand and found himself trapped in a guillotine choke. He managed to scramble out and the fighters clinched on the feet. Marquardt scored with an elbow over the top. Woodley escaped the clinch, but he was still wobbly on his feet. Marquardt clinched again and both fighters landed knees. Marquardt continued to score with elbows and he followed with a right hook as Woodley circled around the cage. 10-9 Marquardt.
Woodley landed a spinning backfist to the upper chest of Marquardt in round two. Marquardt replied with a leg kick and clinched briefly. Woodley punched free of the clinch and the fighters circled. More leg kicks scored for Marquardt and he followed with a spinning back kick. A big right hand backed Woodley up to the cage and Marquardt took him down. Woodley stood and landed an uppercut. He countered a head kick with a right cross. 10-9 Marquardt.
Woodley began the third round with a nice right hand and he pressed forward with more punches. Another big right dropped Marquardt and Woodley punished him from the top with punches and elbows. Marquardt tried for an armbar and Woodley evaded danger. Referee Dave Hagen quickly stood the fighters up and Woodley landed a quick combination. Marquardt kicked at his leg and clinched with two right hands over the top. He landed knees and three standing elbows. 10-9 Woodley.
A big right hook scored for Marquardt in the fourth round and he backed Woodley up with a three-punch combo seconds later. Marquardt continued to find a home for his right hand. He backed away from the clinch with Woodley and unloaded a big elbow and two vicious punches that dropped a barely conscious Woodley to the canvas. The fight was immediately stopped.
Winner: Nate Marquardt by KO (Elbow & Punches) at 1:39 of round four. He improves to 32-10-2 and becomes the new Strikeforce Welterweight Champion.
Roger Gracie vs “The Dean of Mean” Keith Jardine
Lead left hooks landed for both fighters early on and Gracie clinched. He tripped Jardine to the mat and tried to pass to mount. Jardine defended well and kept Gracie in his half-guard. Jardine scrambled and used the cage to stand up. Gracie landed a knee on the way and took Jardine down again. Gracie trapped Jardine’s right arm and fired off short right hands. He moved to mount and landed more punches and elbows. Gracie tried to set up a top-side triangle choke and he cut Jardine with elbows late in the round. 10-8 Gracie.
Jardine tried to establish his jab in the second round and Gracie effortlessly took him down. Gracie re-opened the cut near Jardine’s left eye with an elbow and took his back. Gracie secured a body triangle and tried to set up a rear-naked choke. Jardine continued to bleed all over the place, but he fought off Gracie’s choke attempts. Gracie nearly locked on an arm-triangle choke. He used it to move to mount and threw elbows from the top. 10-8 Gracie.
Jardine flurried to the body in the final round and avoided a clinch attempt against the cage. Gracie missed with a knee and appeared to slow down. An uppercut and a left hook landed for Jardine, who began to bleed from near the right eye. He rocked Gracie with a right hand, but Gracie clinched.
Jardine circled out and landed another combination. Gracie ducked under a right hook and landed a knee, but he could not maintain the clinch. Gracie threw front kicks and a stiff jab. Jardine scored with a knee and threw wild punches in search of a knockout in the final seconds. Close final round. 10-9 Jardine.
Winner: Roger Gracie by Unanimous Decision (30-26, 30-27, 29-27) after three rounds. He improves to 5-1-0.
Lorenz “The Monsoon” Larkin vs “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler
After a cautious opening minute, Lawler badly rocked Larkin with a lead right hook. He swarmed with more punches, but Larkin recovered quickly and clinched. He tripped Lawler and landed punches and elbows from the top. Lawler worked back to his feet, but Larkin landed a knee, a solid leg kick and an uppercut. Lawler fired back with punches and clinched. Larkin remained active with short punches and a knee to the body before the bell. 10-9 Larkin.
Larkin kept his distance and landed single punches and leg kicks in round two. He flurried with punches and landed knees to the body. Lawler clinched and threw a three-punch combo. Larkin countered with a tight guillotine choke and Lawler had to spin and roll to escape. Larkin landed a standing elbow in the clinch as Lawler threw short punches. The fighters were separated and Lawler was cut by a kick to the top of the head. 10-9 Larkin.
Larkin opened round three with a body kick and Lawler was aggressive with a left hook and a body kick of his own. He punched his way into a clinch and tried for a takedown. He could not get Larkin down, but landed a big left hook. Larkin replied with a combination and just missed with a spinning backfist.
Lawler attempted a head kick and Larkin kicked to the body. A one-two connected for Larkin and Lawler quickly answered with a left hook. Larkin mixed up his strikes with punches and leg kicks as Lawler struggled to land anything damaging. Larkin jabbed and flurried, then scored with two elbows before the bell. 10-9 Larkin.
Winner: Lorenz Larkin by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) after three rounds. He improves to 13-0-0, 1 NC.
(Undercard results and play-by-play on Page Two.)