Memorable Moments from the Strikeforce Card
The semifinal round of the Strikeforce Heavyweight World Grand Prix Tournament is in the books and the results are below:
Josh Barnett vs. Sergei Kharitonov: Barnett wins via submission (4:28 of Round 1) to advance to the finals of the heavyweight Grand Prix
Antonio Silva vs. Daniel Cormier: Cormier wins via KO (3:56 of Round 1) to advance to the finals of the heavyweight Grand Prix
Ronaldo Souza vs. Luke Rockhold: Rockhold wins via unanimous decision (50-45, 48-47, 48-47) to win the Strikeforce middleweight title
Muhammed Lawal vs. Roger Gracie: Lawal wins via KO (4:33 of Round 1)
Maximo Blanco vs. Pat Healy: Pat Healy wins via submission (4:24 of Round 2)
Mike Kyle vs. Marcos Rogerio de Lima: Kyle wins via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Rafael "Feijao" Cavalcante vs. Yoel Romero: Cavalcante wins via KO (4:51 of Round 2)
Jordan Mein vs. Evangelista "Cyborg" Santos: Mein wins via TKO (3:18 of Round 3)
Alexis Davis vs. Amanda Nunes: Davis wins via TKO (4:53 of Round 2)
Chris Mierzwiak vs. Dominique Steele: Steele wins via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-27, 29-27)
What follows are nine memorable moments from Saturday Night's fight card.
Alexis Davis Beats Amanda Nunes at Her Own Game
Heading into this bout, Amanda Nunes was on a six-fight winning streak, with all six of those victories coming via KO or TKO. In her last fight, she stopped Julia Budd in a mere 14 seconds.
Nunes came out swinging, looking to end the fight early, but Davis weathered the storm, losing the first round to Nunes, but leaving her with a nice hematoma on her forehead at the end of the first.
With a bit more than a minute-and-a-half in the second round, Nunes delivered a nice throw, but Davis used the momentum to roll through and take top position where she took full mount, delivering some ground and pound before Nunes rolled, giving up her back.
Davis briefly considered a rear naked choke, quickly abandoned the submission attempt and commenced to tee off with lefts and rights to the head of Nunes. The flurry of strikes brought about a TKO stoppage with seven seconds left in the second round.
Jordan Mein Takes the Fight to Evangelista Santos
21-year-old Jordan Mein, who made his professional debut against Rory MacDonald in 2006, delivered an impressive Strikeforce debut on Saturday night, defeating Evangelista Santos via third-round technical knockout.
Santos owned the first round, delivering a number of heavy leg kicks. Mein started to find his rhythm in the second round, showing some nice boxing skills.
At 1:15 into the final round, Mein took over the fight, delivering heavy strikes, driving Santos' back to the cage where he assaulted Santos with right and left elbows that brought the referee in for the stoppage.
Rafael "Feijao" Cavalcante Delivers After a Slow Start
Rafael 'Feijao' Cavalcante, the former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion, found himself facing Yoel Romero on the preliminary card on Saturday night.
The fight was Cavalcante's first since losing the title to Dan Henderson in March of this year, while Romero, a former Olympic wrestling medalist, was making his Strikeforce debut.
Romero did not impress early on in his first Strikeforce fight, spending most of the first round dancing around the outside, avoiding any contact. His style earned him a warning for inaction from the referee. He also inexplicably threw his chin out to taunt the former champ.
In the second round, after a brief timeout for a low blow from Romero, the Cuban-born Romero finally opened up, appearing to put Cavalcante in some trouble. With 30 seconds left in the round, Cavalcante missed with a high kick, but dropped Romero with a spinning backfist on the follow-through.
After that, it was just a matter of seconds before the fight was over.
Pat Healy's Comeback
Maximo Blanco was making his US and Strikeforce debut in this fight. Early on, Blanco took Healy to the ground with a leg kick, quickly working some elbows to the head of Healy.
Halfway through the round, Blanco caught Healy with a headkick that hurt Healy, and again the fight went to the ground where Blanco delivered several kicks to the head of the downed Healy. The illegal kicks left Healy looking dazed, and after a brief visit from the doctor, Healy continued.
After the break and a point deduction for Blanco, the fight round continued with Healy taking the fight to the ground delivering strikes to the head of his opponent as the horn sounded.
Healy dropped Blanco with two minutes left in the round and looked for the choke when the fight hit the ground. Blanco quickly escaped, but the fight shortly went back to the ground where Healy delivered punches to the head of Blanco.
Shortly after that, Healy again went for the rear naked choke, this time forcing Blanco to tap for the first time in his career.
Muhammed Lawal's Knockout of Roger Gracie
Heading into this fight, no one questioned the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu pedigree of Roger Gracie, what they did question was his chin. Former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal answered those questions for all on Saturday night.
Early on, the inactivity of the fighters brought some boos from the crowd, but with both fighters looking to avoid the strong suit of the other, the feeling out was not unexpected.
With 30 seconds left in the round "King Mo" saw his opening and took it, dropping Gracie with a big right, he then added two more rights for good measure.
Luke Rockhold Impressive After Long Layoff
Injuries had kept Luke Rockhold out of the cage since February 2010, while a lack of suitable opponents had kept Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza out of the cage since January 2011. Going into this fight, the odds were heavily stacked against the younger Rockhold.
The fight looked to be very close, but what most likely tilted it in the favor of the challenger was the number of strikes attempted and landed.
Souza attempted 138 strikes, landing 63 of them while Rockhold attempted an impressive 367 strikes, landing 145, more than Souza threw.
Before this fight, Rockhold had never been out of the first round.
Daniel Cormier Dominant
Heading into this fight, many MMA pundits picked Daniel Cormier to defeat Antonio Silva even though the odds were in Silva's favor.
Within the first minute of this fight, it looked like those picking Cormier were onto something as Cormier dropped Silva with a big right. Cormier had Silva in trouble throughout the round, using his quickly developing striking skills.
Cormier used a smart strategy in this fight, refusing to follow Silva, a BJJ black belt, to the ground whenever he dropped him.
With a little over a minute left in the round, Cormier dropped Silva with an uppercut and followed that up with two hammerfists to his downed opponent.
An impressive KO for a still developing heavyweight.
Josh Barnett Punches His Ticket
Josh Barnett knew he had to get this fight to the ground and after eating a few punches from Sergei Kharitonov, he did just that. From there, Kharitonov had little defense, absorbing some ground and pound from Barnett, who had full mount.
When Kharitonov gave Barnett his back and Barnett flattened him out, it was only a matter of time before Barnett would use his catch wrestling skills to sink the side choke end the fight via submission.
American Kickboxing Academy's Dominance
American Kickboxing Academy went 4-0 on Saturday night, with Daniel Cormier, Luke Rockhold, Muhammed Lawal and Mike Kyle all scoring victories.
AKA is making a solid case for being the strongest team in all of MMA.