Nothing seems to rattle Luke Rockhold, not even five hard rounds with Tim Kennedy.

Rockhold (10-1, 9-0 Strikeforce) stalked and struck his way to victory, as he retained the Strikeforce middleweight championship with a unanimous decision over Kennedy in the Strikeforce “Rockhold vs. Kennedy” headliner on Saturday at the Rose Garden in Portland, Ore. All three cageside judges sided with Rockhold by identical 49-46 scores.

“The five-round wars suck, but hard work pays off,” Rockhold said. “I controlled the pace, I think. I stalked him most of the time and made him keep backing up. I defended all his takedowns, for the most part, and got a couple of my own.”

Controlling the center of the cage, the longer and taller champion backed up Kennedy throughout the grueling 25-minute bout. The challenger seemed reluctant to unleash more than one punch at a time, and it cost him. Rockhold countered effectively with straight lefts and right hooks, more than held his own in the clinch and turned away a majority of Kennedy’s takedown bids.

Rockhold connected on the most significant strike of the match in the fourth round, when he planted Kennedy with a right hand, followed him to the canvas and mounted him briefly. Kennedy (14-4, 5-2 Strikeforce) freed himself from the American Kickboxing Academy ace’s clutches but did nothing to push the champion outside of his comfort zone. Rockhold cruised from there.

“I feel good, but I think I could have let some combinations go,” he said. “I loaded up a lot and tried to head hunt. He’s got some funky strikes. They’re unorthodox, and it’s hard to read sometimes when you know he’s going to shoot.

“Kennedy is a great wrestler; he’s so tenacious,” Rockhold added. “What he lacks in technique, he makes up for in his heart and desire. He just keeps coming. I knew I couldn’t get stale for a second.”

Marquardt Buries Woodley, Becomes Welterweight Champion


Former King of Pancrase and Ultimate Fighting Championship title contender Nate Marquardt dispatched the previously unbeaten Tyron Woodley with a series of savage fourth-round strikes against the cage to capture the vacant Strikeforce welterweight championship in the co-main event. Woodley met his end 1:39 into round four.

Marquardt (32-10-2, 1-0 Strikeforce) was the superior fighter from the start, as he blasted the two-time NCAA All-American wrestler with right hands throughout the bout. Woodley dropped the 33-year-old Grudge Training Center fighter with an overhand right of his own in the third round, trailed him to the mat and let loose with some ground-and-pound. Marquardt kept his composure, with experience and toughness digging him out of danger. By the end of the frame, Woodley was a spent force.

That set the stage for the finish. Marquardt pinned Woodley on the cage, uncorked three violent standing elbows and sealed it with a left hook and vicious right uppercut. Woodley (10-1, 8-1 Strikeforce) collapsed, a beaten man for the first time.

“He was out,” said Marquardt, who had not competed in more than a year. “There’s no need for more.”

Gracie Dominates Jardine in Middleweight Debut


Roger Gracie File Photo


Gracie dominated on the floor.

Ten-time Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion Roger Gracie ran a grappling clinic on Keith Jardine in his middleweight debut, as he captured a unanimous decision from the Jackson’s Mixed Martial Arts staple. All three judges scored it for Gracie (5-1, 2-1 Strikeforce) by 29-27, 30-27 and 30-26 counts.

Gracie controlled the first two rounds. In the first, he struck for a pair of takedowns, mounted Jardine and opened a pair of cuts near his adversary’s left eye with a series of elbow strikes. The scene repeated itself in round two, but Gracie also transitioned to Jardine’s back, trapped him in a body triangle and threatened him with chokes. Blood was everywhere -- even on the soles of their feet -- but “The Dean of Mean” denied the decorated Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt’s advances and pushed the fight deeper.

Jardine (17-11-2, 0-2-1 Strikeforce) landed his most significant blow of the bout in the third round, when he wobbled Gracie with a stout right uppercut. However, he failed to follow it up with anything meaningful and let the rapidly fatiguing Gracie off the hook. The leg and body kicks for which Jardine has become known were virtually non-existent during the 15-minute encounter.

“I’m very happy. I was able to do my game plan,” Gracie said. “At one point, it got too slippery. His blood: it soaked me all over, and I couldn’t stay on top of him. I think the striking is what kept me stable on top. The third round, I got quite tired, but I was able to use my long reach and keep him away.”

Larkin Outduels UFC Veteran Lawler


Lorenz Larkin posted the most significant victory of his career, as he took a unanimous decision from former EliteXC champion Robbie Lawler in a middleweight showcase. All three cageside judges scored it the same: 30-27 for the unbeaten Larkin (13-0, 4-0 Strikeforce).

Lawler (19-9, 3-5 Strikeforce) landed a short right hand to the temple and had the Californian reeling in the first round, but his follow-up barrage did not net him the desired finish. Larkin recovered, bounced back later in the period and did some exquisite work in close quarters with knees, punches and elbows.

For much of the rest of the bout, Lawler’s big guns remained holstered. Larkin stepped up his attack with some more multi-faceted striking, as he cut his opponent on the top of the head with a grazing kick in the second round. Blood streamed down Lawler’s face. Nothing changed down the stretch, and Larkin put an exclamation point on the win with three vicious standing elbows late in round three.

More Strikeforce “Rockhold vs. Kennedy” » Strikeforce Prelims: Pat Healy Edges Deep Champion Mizuto Hirota
Strikeforce “Rockhold vs. Kennedy” Play-by-Play
view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

Live stream: UFC 187 fan Q&A video with Luke Rockhold

  • 7 days ago
  • 0 views

Who better to host today's UFC 187 fan Q&A than Luke Rockhold? The former Strikeforce middleweight champion is expected to fight the winner of the Chris Weidman vs. Vitor Belfort championship co main read news >>

Jacare Souza: I'm fighting Chris Weidman next because Luke Rockhold was already knocked out

  • 3 days ago
  • 407 views

Guess I was wrong. Former Strikeforce middleweight champion Luke Rockhold (14-2), fresh off a dominant, second-round submission win over Lyoto Machida, is ranked No. 1 in the world at 185 pounds and read news >>

'Ronaldo' Souza undergoes knee surgery; wants title shot or Luke Rockhold next

  • 9 days ago
  • 7 views

Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza is healing up after knee surgery. The former Strikeforce middleweight champion recently underwent the procedure to repair damage done to his left meniscus in his quick win over read news >>

Luke Rockhold ‘More Than Prepared’ to Take UFC Middleweight Title

  • 24 days ago
  • 13 views

Top 185-pound contender Luke Rockhold is more than prepared to take the title from the eventual UFC 187 winner between champion Chris Weidman and Vitor Belfort. read news >>

Luke Rockhold: Chris Weidman's win over 'deflated, heartless' Vitor Belfort didn't prove anything

  • a day ago
  • 166 views

Sounds like someone still isn't ready to join Team Weidman. You would think that after his third title defense, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweight champion Chris Weidman would finally read news >>

UFC 187 Q&A with Luke Rockhold

  • 7 days ago
  • 0 views

At the UFC 187 Q&A, UFC middleweight contender Luke Rockhold will answer questions from the fans Friday evening. The video above is expected to begin at 5 p.m. ET. read news >>

Video Replay: UFC 187 Q&A Featuring Middleweight Contender Luke Rockhold

  • 7 days ago
  • 2 views

Top-ranked middleweight contender Luke Rockhold fielded questions from the fans prior to the UFC 187: Johnson vs. Cormier weigh-in on Friday. read news >>

Tim Kennedy trashes UFC-Reebok deal, insists Twitter account got hacked

  • 22 days ago
  • 27 views

So don't Email him the number for that local truck driving school just yet... Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) unveiled its compensation tiers earlier this week (see them here), outlining the dol read news >>

Chris Weidman: Luke Rockhold 'not great anywhere;' Jacare Souza 'more dangerous'

  • 2 days ago
  • 44 views

Is Luke Rockhold next for undefeated UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman? Or should Ronaldo ‘Jacare' Souza get the next title shot? Rockhold and Souza are the leading candidates to meet Weidman a read news >>

Chris Weidman Says Ronaldo 'Jacare' Souza Is 'More Dangerous' Than Luke Rockhold

  • 2 days ago
  • 1 views

The UFC has yet to name the next challenger for Chris Weidman's middleweight title, but the 185-pound king recently shared his thoughts on the matter. After wiping out Vitor "The Phenom" Belfort at U read news >>