Luke Rockhold defended his Strikeforce middleweight title for the second time Saturday night in the main event of Strikeforce “Rockhold vs. Kennedy” by outpointing Tim Kennedy at the Rose Garden in Portland, Ore.

Rockhold utilized his reach effectively throughout five rounds, using his superior length to keep Kennedy on the end of his punching range. However, though he managed to floor the Jackson’s MMA representative in round four, Rockhold could not find a finish against his durable opponent.

“Tim Kennedy is a real tough dude. I think we could compete with anybody out there in the top 10 and beat them,” Rockhold told Showtime Sports following his performance. “He’s tough as nails. I tried to put him away. I know I hit him once pretty good and dropped him, but he recovers quick. It’s proven -- nobody has been able to put him away.”

As Rockhold pressed the action for most of the contest, Kennedy looked to counterpunch while moving in and out of range. Despite trading evenly with the ever-active champion in several exchanges, Kennedy found himself unable to land a tide-turning blow that might have changed the fight’s outcome.

“[Kennedy has an] awkward striking style. He’s hard to read and he’s backing up a lot, and it’s hard to reach him,” said Rockhold. “He’s decent at countering, and you don’t know if he’s going to wrestle or strike. I was a little wary of both and, obviously, I got caught a few times.”

The prevailing wisdom before the contest was that if Kennedy could plant Rockhold on his back throughout the 25-minute affair, the challenger might walk out with the belt. Kennedy’s success in that department proved limited thanks to Rockhold’s concentrated focus on improving his wrestling during training camp.

“[I trained to] wrestle first. A lot of times, guys get on my legs and I try striking. I try pogo-sticking on one leg and try to hit them, which just gets me in trouble,” said Rockhold. “This fight, it was wrestle first, strike second. That was the major success of this fight. I wrestled hard, and wrestling camps are always the worst, but wrestling is the biggest equalizer in all of fighting.”

While it is unclear exactly what currently lies ahead for Strikeforce’s middleweight ace, the American Kickboxing Academy standout says that he should have no shortage of willing challengers, one of whom could be Ronaldo Souza, the man he outpointed to win the belt back in September. Regardless of whom he faces, Rockhold says he plans to hold onto his title for some time.

“[There will be] many more [defenses] to come. I’m not giving it up. I’ll be damned if anybody takes this belt from me,” said Rockhold. “There are quite a few new middleweights in the division now, like Lorenz Larkin and Roger Gracie, but I think ‘Jacare’ is the most likely challenger, as long as he wins [his August bout against Derek Brunson]. Our fight needs closure, and I’d like to have a chance to finish it.”

view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

Twitter reacts to 'Cyborg' Justino's knockout of Faith Van Duin at Invicta FC 13

  • 19 days ago
  • 75 views

Cristiane Justino successfully defended her Invicta FC featherweight title on Thursday with a one-sided victory over Faith Van Duin in the Invicta FC 13 headliner in Las Vegas. See how social media r read news >>

Antonio Braga Neto out, Dominique Steele in against Zak Cummings at UFC on FOX 16

  • 20 days ago
  • 3 views

Strikeforce and Bellator veteran Dominique Steele will have an opportunity to compete on the big stage of the UFC after Antonio Braga Neto was forced out of his UFC on FOX 16 bout with Zak Cummings.F read news >>

'Jacare' Souza manager open to Luke Rockhold or Yoel Romero No. 1 contender eliminator match

  • 25 days ago
  • 33 views

No. 2 ranked UFC middleweight Jacare Souza plans to be back in action come September and isn't expecting a warm up bout ... Top-ranked Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight contender, Ron read news >>

Bellator champ Patricio Freire ‘positive’ he’d beat Jose Aldo: ‘No one can break me’

  • 25 days ago
  • 22 views

Patricio Freire successfully defended his Bellator featherweight title with a second-round finish over Daniel Weichel last Friday at Bellator 138, and being able to coming back from a tough first rou read news >>

UFC Quick Quote: Luke Rockhold is not impressed with your analysis of Yoel Romero

  • 27 days ago
  • 52 views

"Yoel is growing and getting better, but he's running short on time to get as good as he needs to be to beat me and Weidman. Obviously, he's a dangerous guy, and as freak of an athlete as he is -- I read news >>

Morning Report: Luke Rockhold 'afraid fighting is losing its individuality' with UFC's Reebok uniforms

  • 27 days ago
  • 8 views

Luke Rockhold has some notes. The middleweight contender hasn't got hands on with Reebok's newly unveiled UFC uniforms but he already has issues. "I haven't put the attire on yet," Rockhold told UFC read news >>

UFC still wants Weidman vs. Rockhold; 'Jacare' targets September return

  • 27 days ago
  • 4 views

Maybe Chris Weidman was just trolling Luke Rockhold. No sooner had the UFC middleweight champion hinted that the former Strikeforce champion might not be his next opponent, then the UFC squashed the read news >>

Chris Weidman thinks Luke Rockhold could fight Ronaldo Souza for number one spot

  • 28 days ago
  • 16 views

UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman isn't sure if his title fight with Luke Rockhold will go ahead. According to Chris Weidman, there's a chance he won't be defending his middleweight strap again read news >>

Kharitonov not considering retirement: 'I think my fighting career is only at its beginning'

  • 28 days ago
  • 14 views

PRIDE and Strikeforce veteran Sergei Kharitonov discusses his upcoming fight at M-1 Challenge 59, as well as his career expectations over the coming years. Although Russian star Sergei Kharitonov beg read news >>

Morning Report: Chris Weidman believes title bout with Luke Rockhold may be off

  • 28 days ago
  • 67 views

The UFC has already lost an All-American showdown for its doomed New York debut, but now middleweight champion Chris Weidman sounds doubtful for the matchup. Weidman was penciled in to face No. 1 con read news >>