Strikeforce: "Barnett vs Cormier" Live Play-By-Play & ResultsThe Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix reached its conclusion tonight at Strikeforce: “Barnett vs Cormier” from HP Pavilion in San Jose, California. In the tournament final, former UFC titleholder Josh “The Warmaster” Barnett battled Daniel Cormier to determine the grand prix champion.

Also tonight, Strikeforce Lightweight Champion Gilbert “El Niño” Melendez put his title on the line against rival Josh Thomson in a trilogy bout, while light heavyweights Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante and Mike “MAK” Kyle faced off for a second time. has live play-by-play for the event.


Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix Final

Daniel Cormier vs Josh “The Warmaster” Barnett

Round 1:
Barnett slipped while throwing an early body kick, but got back to his feet and landed a left hook. He clinched briefly, but Cormier punched free and followed with a combination. Right hands landed for both fighters and Cormier scored with a hard one-two and a knee. More punches were exchanged and Cormier began to target the body. Barnett closed in with a knee and landed two punches soon after. Cormier clinched and threw knees to the body and head.

Barnett landed a standing elbow and Cormier countered with a short uppercut. Barnett punched his way into a clinch, but Cormier shrugged him off and landed a combination to the head and body. A four-punch combo and a looping left hook landed for Cormier and both scored with knees to the body. Cormier continued to control the striking exchanges with punches, but Barnett landed a big knee in the final 30 seconds. Cormier clinched against the cage. 10-9 Cormier.

Round 2:
Barnett began round two with a punch-kick combo, but ate a hard one-two for his troubles. Barnett mixed up his strikes with kicks that weren’t present in the first round and he backed Cormier up with a knee. Cormier circled out and resumed throwing lead left hooks. Cormier flurried with punches and ended with a body kick. Barnett clinched and threw knees. Cormier broke away with an uppercut and took Barnett down seconds later.

Barnett threw elbows from the bottom while Cormier punched from the top in his guard. Barnett looked for a triangle choke, but Cormier easily evaded and landed a hard elbow. A bloodied Barnett tried to roll for an armbar and a toe hold. Cormier escaped and returned to Barnett’s guard. He landed more punches and short elbows and closed out the round strong with a final salvo. 10-9 Cormier.

Round 3:
Cormier flurried with a one-two and a looping right hook in the third round. Barnett clinched and tried for a takedown. Cormier circled out and landed lead lefts. He jabbed and scored with another combination. A right hok from Cormier caused Barnett to duck forward. Cormier picked him up, flipped him all the way over and slammed him down to the mat. Cormier landed on top in side control and landed elbows.

Barnett scrambled up to his feet and escaped a guillotine choke. Cormier landed punches and Barnett answered with a knee to the body. A lunging left hook landed for Cormier and Barnett began to bleed heavily from the face again. Barnett landed a combination and a knee, but Cormier hurt him with a head kick and swarmed with knees and punches. Barnett weathered the storm, but Cormier took his back. Barnett stayed on his feet and landed elbows. 10-9 Cormier.

Round 4:
Barnett closed in with leg kicks and punches in round four. He landed a knee and clinched, but Cormier broke away. Cormier landed a nice counter left hook and Barnett clinched again. He landed two knees before Cormier pushed away. Cormier threw a left head kick and followed with a right. Barnett clinched and pressed Cormier against the cage. He landed a knee and Cormier countered with a left hook as he circled out.

Barnett missed with a spinning backfist and Cormier answered with a right hook. He took Barnett down, but Barnett countered with a kneebar and an Achilles lock. Cormier rolled and managed to kick free. He took top position in Barnett’s full guard and landed short elbows to the head and body. The fighters were stood up and Barnett landed a knee. He clinched and landed another knee in the final seconds. Closer round. 10-9 Cormier.

Round 5:
Barnett landed punches and a body kick in round five and time was called after Cormier slipped on some water near the fence. Action resumed after it was cleaned up and Barnett clinched. He landed a knee and a right cross as Cormier backed away. Cormier flashed out a head kick, which was answered by a body kick and a left hook from Barnett. Cormier continued to kick high and Barnett pushed forward with a punch-kick combo.

Barnett cut off the cage and landed a leg kick. Cormier circled to the side and scored with a quick one-two. Cormier ducked under a spinning backfist and took Barnett down. Barnett stood against the cage and narrowly avoided being slammed down again. The fighters battled in a clinch and Cormier kept Barnett pinned against the fence. Cormier finally backed away and circled as Barnett chased him to the bell. 10-9 Cormier.

Winner: Daniel Cormier by Unanimous Decision (50-45, 50-45, 49-46) after five rounds. He improves to 10-0-0 and becomes the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix Champion.


Strikeforce Lightweight Championship

Gilbert “El Niño” Melendez vs Josh Thomson

Round 1:
Thomson managed to trip Melendez to the mat in the opening minute, but Melendez immediately returned to his feet and landed a knee. Punches were exchanged and Thomson landed a knee of his own. Melendez dumped him to the canvas and tried to hold him down against the cage. Thomson stood and punched free of the clinch.

Melendez scored with two uppercuts and a knee to the body. Thomson used front kicks to keep Melendez at bay. The fighters briefly clinched and Thomson circled on the outside. He landed a one-two and a body kick, but Melendez caught a second kick and took him down. The close round ended with hammerfists from Melendez. 10-9 Melendez.

Round 2:
Melendez closed the distance and landed uppercuts in the second round. Thomson circled out and the fighters looked to set up combinations. Neither was able to land much and the action remained fairly sparse. Melendez jabbed and landed a grazing right hook. Thomson immediately answered with a flurry of punches that backed Melendez up.

An uppercut landed for Melendez and time was called when Thomson was poked in the eye. The fight continued soon after and Thomson countered a right hook with a straight left. He landed kicks to the body and Melendez returned fire with another right hook. Melendez took Thomson down and flurried with punches as Thomson stood up. Thomson attempted a takedown of his own and Melendez defended with elbow strikes. 10-9 Melendez.

Round 3:
Both fighters landed punches early in the third round and Thomson escaped a takedown attempt with another flurry. Melendez landed a one-two, but Thomson backed him up with a combination and a front kick. Am uppercut from Thomson was met by one from Melendez in return. Thomson tripped Melendez, but Melendez rolled backwards and got to his feet.

Melendez threw an uppercut to the body and he avoided a combination from Thomson. Melendez clinched and fired off five uppercuts and a standing elbow. Thomson flurried in return. Action briefly halted when Thomson was punched in the eye, but he fought on and landed a knee. Punches were exchanged in the final ten seconds. 10-9 Melendez.

Round 4:
Melendez struck first with a left hook in round four, but Thomson countered with his best punch of the fight in the form of a right cross. He followed with a head kick, but Melendez took him down. Thomson stood and Melendez landed a right hook and an uppercut. Thomson responded with a knee and a left hook, which set off another exchange.

Thomson flurried with punches and Melendez answered with an uppercut. Thomson took Melendez down and moved to back control. He worked to secure a rear-naked choke and nearly got it, but Melendez managed to turn his head into the choke and escaped. Thomson retained back control and continued to work for the choke until the bell. 10-9 Thomson.

Round 5:
Melendez pushed forward with punches in the fifth and final round, but Thomson kept him at bay with a counter combination. Melendez was briefly able to take Thomson down and he moved to back control as Thomson stood. Thomson threw a head kick and a right hand after a feint. He flurried in close and both fighters landed left hooks. A stiff jab scored for Melendez and Thomson threw two more head kicks and a combination.

Thomson shot in for a takedown and Melendez stuffed it with knees. Melendez tried for a takedown of his own, to no avail. Thomson was poked in the eye once again, but the fight continued and he landed a series of punches and a knee. Melendez shot in for a takedown, but Thomson stayed on his feet and punished him with punches. Thomson slammed Melendez down and punched to the head and body. 10-9 Thomson.

Winner: Gilbert Melendez by Split Decision (48-47, 48-47, 47-48) after five rounds. He improves to 21-2-0 and remains the Strikeforce Lightweight Champion.


Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante vs Mike “MAK” Kyle

Round 1:
Cavalcante rocked Kyle right away with a right hook and a knee to open the fight. He dove in with punches and hammerfists on the ground and locked on a flying guillotine choke as Kyle stood. Cavalcante was able to drag Kyle to the mat and Kyle tapped out. Impressive win for Cavalcante, who avenges his past loss.

Winner: Rafael Cavalcante by Submission (Guillotine Choke) at 0:33 of round one. He improves to 12-3-0.


Christopher “The Kiss” Spang vs Nah-Shon “The Rock-N-Rolla” Burrell

Round 1:
Both fighters landed punches in the opening seconds and Burrell pushed forward with a combination. Spang landed kicks in return and a knee, then clinched against the cage. The fighters separated and Spang dropped Burrell with a left hook. Burrell stood and Spang blasted him with more punches and a barrage of knees. More punches and knees badly hurt Burrell, who finally fell to the mat and the fight was stopped.

Winner: Christopher Spang by TKO (Knees & Punches) at 3:25 of round one. He improves to 5-1-0.


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