Strikeforce: "Barnett vs Kharitonov" Live Play-By-Play & ResultsStrikeforce came to the U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati, Ohio tonight for the second round of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix. The stacked card was headlined by a grand prix semi-final bout between former UFC champ Josh “The Warmaster” Barnett and one-time PRIDE star Sergei Kharitonov.

The second semi-final matchup in the heavyweight tournament saw Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva take on wrestling standout Daniel Cormier. The Strikeforce Middleweight Championship was on the line when Ronaldo “Jacaré” Souza faced Luke Rockhold. has live play-by-play for the card.


Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix Semi-Final

Josh “The Warmaster” Barnett vs Sergei Kharitonov

Round 1:
Kharitonov opened the fight with a flurry and Barnett answered with jabs. Another combination scored for Kharitonov, but Barnett fired back with a right hook and a leg kick. Kharitonov landed a big flurry and Barnett looked to be hurt very briefly, but he quickly recovered and threw a series of uppercuts. Barnett took Kharitonov down and landed on top in mount. He threw short elbows and hammerfists from the top as Kharitonov tried to buck out.

Barnett prevented Kharitonov from escaping and he landed more punches. Barnett picked his shots with punches and elbows until Kharitonov rolled to his stomach. He looked for a rear-naked choke, then peppered Kharitonov with more punches. Barnett flattened Kharitonov out and continued to throw punches until Kharitonov rolled to his back. Barnett secured an arm-triangle choke and Kharitonov tapped out.

Winner: Josh Barnett by Submission (Arm-Triangle Choke) at 4:28 of round one. He improves to 31-5-0 and advances to the finals of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix.


Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix Semi-Final

Daniel Cormier vs Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva

Round 1:
Cormier landed an early leg kick, but Silva caught it and rushed forward with punches. Cormier blocked most of them and backed away. He floored Silva with a big right hook, but Silva recovered on the ground and tried to set up a submission. Cormier stood and allowed a bloodied Silva to follow. A stiff jab backed Silva up and Cormier rocked him again with more punches. Silva shot in for a takedown and Cormier easily stuffed it. He stood over Silva and kicked at his legs.

Silva was stood up and he landed a hard kick to the body, but Cormier caught it and tripped him to the mat. Cormier kicked at Silva’s legs again, then backed away and Silva stood up. Silva landed two right hands and threw another body kick. Cormier caught it and landed a counter right hook. Seconds later, Cormier dropped Silva for good with a left hook, uppercut combo. Huge win for Cormier, a tournament alternate who now advances to the finals.

Winner: Daniel Cormier by KO (Punches) at 3:56 of round one. He improves to 9-0-0 and advances to the finals of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix.


Strikeforce Middleweight Championship

Luke Rockhold vs Ronaldo “Jacaré” Souza

Round 1:
Souza landed kicks early on and Rockhold tried to catch one. Souza attempted a takedown and Rockhold sprawled out. He landed a knee and stood, but Souza appeared to rock him with a right hook. Rockhold recovered and Souza took him down. Souza prevented Rockhold from standing and peppered him with some decent right hands. Rockhold briefly stood and was immediately taken down again.

Souza pinned Rockhold up against the cage on the ground a second time and scored with left hands. Rockhold stood Souza landed a knee. The fighters separated and Rockhold threw a pair of body kicks. Souza drilled him with two lunging right hooks, but Rockhold recovered and landed a punch-kick combo. Rockhold threw flashy kicks and a one-two that prompted Souza to dive for a takedown. 10-9 Souza.

Round 2:
Rockhold landed a spinning back kick to the body in round two and followed with more kicks to the body and head. He began to target Souza’s lead leg and right arm with kicks, but Souza staggered him with a counter hook. Souza swarmed with more punches, but Rockhold defended and blocked many of the strikes. A standing elbow scored for Souza in a clinch and Rockhold broke free.

Rockhold threw two more kicks to Souza’s right arm including a jumping switch kick. A right hook backed Rockhold up briefly, but he fired back with a one-two and a body kick. The fighters clinched and battled for position against the cage. Souza landed knees and Rockhold countered with two of his own. Both fighters landed right hooks after separating and Souza countered more of Rockhold’s kicks with right hooks. Very close round. 10-9 Souza.

Round 3:
Rockhold landed body kicks and jabs in round three and Souza answered back with kicks in return. Rockhold landed a kick-punch combo, but a follow-up kick strayed low and time was called to allow Souza to recover. The fight continued and Souza scored a trip takedown against the cage as Rockhold threw punches with his free hand. Souza struck from the top and attempted a Kimura as Rockhold stood.

Rockhold backed away and the fighters traded punches in close. Rockhold landed a front kick to the body and attempted a head kick that was blocked. Souza landed a right hook and Rockhold answered with a series of kicks. A left cross landed for Rockhold and he quickly followed up with a punch-kick combo. More left hands landed for Rockhold and Souza replied with a right. Rockhold remained aggressive and landed two kicks late in the close round. 10-9 Rockhold.

Round 4:
Rockhold was the aggressor with combinations of kicks and punches in the fourth round as Souza appeared to slow down. Souza managed to land two punches, but Rockhold kept him backing up with kicks. Two big right hands landed for Souza and Rockhold began to bleed from the nose. Both fighters kicked to the body and Souza clinched. He landed a knee and Rockhold reversed the clinch.

Souza attempted a trip takedown, but Rockhold defended and the fighters stood. Souza put together a nice combination of punches and kicks, then followed with a standing elbow. He dropped down for a takedown, but Rockhold sprawled and pushed Souza off of him. Back on the feet, both fighters landed more kicks to the body and Rockhold tried for a takedown of his own. Souza defended and clinched. Rockhold reversed and scored with a knee. 10-9 Souza.

Round 5:
Rockhold landed more combinations of kicks and punches in the final round as Souza countered with single strikes only. A left hook, leg kick combo scored for Rockhold and Souza clinched against the cage. He tried for a takedown, but Rockhold defended and stood. Souza landed a knee on the way up and took Rockhold down. He tried to set up a submission, but Rockhold escaped to his feet.

Rockhold landed a flurry that rocked Souza and he followed with another combination seconds later. Souza recovered and landed punches and a leg kick. A spinning body kick and a right hook landed for Rockhold and Souza answered with a right hook. Rockhold scored with a left cross and Souzsa rushed forward with a series of strikes as the fight came to a close. 10-9 Rockhold.

Winner: Luke Rockhold by Unanimous Decision (50-45, 48-47, 48-47) after three rounds. He improves to 8-1-0 and becomes the new Strikeforce Middleweight Champion.


Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal vs Roger Gracie

Round 1:
Lawal stayed on the outside early on and threw single jabs to the body. He walked forward with his hands down as Gracie landed occasional jabs of his own. Lawal scored with a lead left hook and just missed with a second one. Gracie landed a knee and began to walk Lawal down, but Lawal landed a counter left and circled away. Gracie rushed in with a flying knee that partially landed.

Gracie threw a right cross, but Lawal answered with a looping hook and narrowly missed with a one-two. He continued to throw lead left hooks that kept Gracie on the defensive. After a lull in the action, Lawal landed a looping overhand right that dropped Gracie to the mat. Gracie tried to recover, but Lawal dove in with one more right hand that knocked Gracie out cold.

Winner: Muhammed Lawal by KO (Punches) at 4:33 of round one. He improves to 8-1-0.


Pat “Bam Bam” Healy vs Maximo “Maxi” Blanco

Round 1:
Blanco landed a solid body kick early in the fight and tripped Blanco with a leg kick. He dove in with hammerfists, but Healy attempted an armbar from the bottom. Blanco threw short elbows and more hammerfists, then passed to half-guard. Healy battled back to his feet and Blanco landed an uppercut. Healy pushed forward with punches, but Blanco rocked him with a head kick and followed with more punches. Healy recovered, but Blanco landed another head kick and dropped him to a knee with a front kick to the jaw.

Blanco remained aggressive with strikes on the ground, but a bloodied Healy worked for an armbar and a toe hold. Blanco illegally kicked Healy in the face repeatedly to escape and time was called. The kicks damaged Healy’s nose, but the fight continued and Blanco was deducted a point. After the restart, Blanco swarmed with punches and a spinning back kick. Healy took him down and secured back control. He threw hammerfists to the sides of Blanco’s face until the bell. 9-9.

Round 2:
The fighters were more cautious in the second round as they circled and exchanged single punches and kicks. Blanco landed a short uppercut and picked his shots with punches as Healy seemed to be content to jab. Blanco fell and Healy took advantage by securing a partial rear-naked choke on the ground. Blanco managed to escape to his feet and Healy fell while throwing a kick.

Blanco landed punches, but Healy recovered and threw a left hook to the liver. He took Blanco’s back and dragged him down to the mat. Healy tried for another rear-naked choke, but Blanco escaped. The fighters stood and Healy took Blanco down again. He rolled forward into another rear-naked choke and Blanco was forced to submit. Good win for Healy.

Winner: Pat Healy by Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) at 4:24 of round two. He improves to 26-16-0.


(Undercard results and play-by-play on Page Two.)