Strikeforce Rockhold vs. Jardine: What's Next for the Winners?
Strikeforce middleweight champion Luke Rockhold took one step forward in defending his title for the first time against UFC veteran Keith Jardine, who was making his middleweight debut in the main event of Strikeforce's latest offering on Showtime.
Rockhold won his title last year after defeating Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza. It placed him among the very best at 185 pounds.
In a middleweight bout, Robbie Lawler and Lorenz Larkin fought in an anticipated matchup that may have produced a potential title challenger in the division.
Other fighters on the main card include Muhammed Lawal, Tyron Woodley and Tarec Saffiedine. This is what's next for the winners.
Saffiedine Defeated Stinson Via Split Decision (28-29, 30-27, 29-28)
Tarec Saffiedine defeated Tyler Stinson by split-decision to take his current win streak to two, which also includes a victory over Scott Smith.
The controversial decision came from a scorecard scored for Stinson. Saffiedine did enough throughout to win two, if not all, of the rounds.
With Saffiedine being in the very shallow Strikeforce welterweight division, there won't be many opponents outside of opponents he has already faced inside the promotion. A rematch against Tyron Woodley, who he lost to a year ago, could be next, and it could be for a title.
Woodley Defeated Mein Via Split Decision (28-29, 29-28, 30-27)
Tyron Woodley won a split-decision over Jordan Mein to take his record to a perfect 10-0. It was another fight that many people thought the winner deserved to win unanimously, and Woodley definitely deserved the victory.
With dominant wrestling and control on top, Woodley has been able to beat some good opponents, including Paul Daley and Tarec Saffiedine. His lone knockout victory came against Andre Galvao.
A rematch with Saffiedine is likely, but it might not be a fight Woodley wants to take unless it's for a title.
Lawler Defeated Amagov Via TKO (flying Knee and Punches) at 1:48 of Round 1
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In the middleweight division, heavy-handed fighter Robbie Lawler knocked out Adlan Amagov in highlight-reel fashion.
After landing a flying knee to his opponent's head, Lawler swarmed on Amagov with ground-and-pound to earn the knockout victory just less than two minutes into the bout. The win broke a two-fight losing streak, which includes losses against Tim Kennedy and Ronaldo Souza.
If Lawler doesn't rejoin the UFC anytime soon, fights versus up-and-comers will have to do for the 29-year-old. The only notable middleweight that he hasn't fought and has currently fought and won in Strikeforce is Derek Brunson, who is 9-0 and 3-0 in Strikeforce. This will likely be next.
Lawal Defeated Larkin Via KO (punches) at 1:32 of Round 2
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"King Mo" Muhammed Lawal turned in another solid performance against an undefeated opponent in Lorenz Larkin, knocking him out in the second round with vicious ground-and-pound.
Seventeen unanswered shots landed before the referee pulled Lawal off, and it sets him up for a possible shot at the Strikeforce light-heavyweight championship, a title he previously earned after defeating Gegard Mousasi. He lost the title in his first defense to Rafael Cavalcante last year.
Lawal's next fight will probably be a rematch against Cavalcante or Mousasi, and it will be for a title or a No. 1 contender's spot.
Rockhold Defeated Jardine Via TKO (punches) at 4:26 of Round 1
At 9-1, Luke Rockhold remains one of the best middleweight fighters in the world, and with an impressive first-round knockout win over Keith Jardine in the main event, sets himself up for a showdown with former title challenger Tim Kennedy.
Kennedy is 14-3 with two back-to-back wins over Robbie Lawler and Melvin Manhoef. Four of his last five victories have come by submission, and with Rockhold's exciting style and personality, makes for one of the better matchups Strikeforce can put on in 2012.