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

Champ Chris Weidman vs. Luke Rockhold co-headlines UFC 194 in Las Vegas

  • 15 days ago
  • 6 views

A middleweight title fight between champion Chris Weidman and challenger Luke Rockhold will co-headline UFC 194 in December.Filed under: Featured, News, UFC read news >>

Josh Thomson excited to sign 'fighter-friendly contract' with Bellator MMA

  • 17 days ago
  • 3 views

Former Strikeforce champion and ex-UFC lightweight Josh Thomson has officially signed with Bellator MMA. Check out what he has to say about his new home, which reunites him with Scott Coker. Bellator read news >>

Former Strikeforce lightweight champ Josh Thomson signs with Bellator MMA

  • 17 days ago
  • 4 views

Former Strikeforce lightweight champ and seven-time UFC veteran Josh Thomson is the latest addition to the Bellator MMA roster.Filed under: Bellator, News read news >>

Former UFC lightweight Josh Thomson expected to join Bellator MMA

  • 17 days ago
  • 11 views

Former Strikeforce lightweight champion Josh Thomson is expected to sign with Bellator MMA after the UFC declined to give him a new contract. Less than two years ago, former Strikefroce LW champion J read news >>

Luke Rockhold promises to bring 'cockier' UFC champ Chris Weidman 'back down to earth'

  • 18 days ago
  • 187 views

The UFC middleweight No. 1 contender is looking forward to "exposing" the "All-American" champion. It has been four months since Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweight No. 1 contender Luke read news >>

Marlon Moraes suffered cut between eyes, required stitches two weeks before WSOF title defense

  • 22 days ago
  • 1 views

Marlon Moraes successfully defended his World Series of Fighting bantamweight with a third-round submission over Sheymon Moraes at Saturday’s WSOF 22 in Las Vegas, but a cut almost ruined everything read news >>

The Question: Will Rousey vs. Cyborg Ever Happen? Should It Be a Catchweight?

  • 24 days ago
  • 10 views

Last Saturday, Ronda Rousey defended her bantamweight championship with a thrilling knockout win over Bethe Correia. Rousey was celebrated for the win, and rightly so. And she has been celebrated for read news >>

WSOF 22 Fighter Salaries: Marlon Moraes Tops the Payroll

  • 26 days ago
  • 25 views

Marlon Moraes defended his World Series of Fighting bantamweight title on Saturday and was the top earner from the WSOF 22 fight card. read news >>

Photo: Former foes 'Cyborg' Justino and Gina Carano reunited again

  • 28 days ago
  • 610 views

Six years after their historic Strikeforce title fight, Cristiane Justino and Gina Carano reunited for a photo opportunity.Filed under: News read news >>

UFC 190's 'Feijao' Cavalcante: 'In Strikeforce, I was known as the wrestler killer'

  • 28 days ago
  • 9 views

UFC light heavyweight Rafael Cavalcante should’ve experienced deja vu preparing for his upcoming fight against Pat Cummins at Saturday’s UFC 190. Filed under: News, UFC read news >>