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By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
STRIKEFORCE: ROCKHOLD VS. KENNEDY
JULY 14, 2012
LIVE FROM PORTLAND, OREGON
(In a very "Strikeforce" move, the bout between Jason High and Nate Moore started before the televised broadcast, though all five prelims were expected to air on ShoExtreme. High defeated Moore via guillotine choke in 26 seconds.)
-Mauro Ranallo welcomes the Showtime audience to the Rose Garden to introduce tonight's main card. He shoots to Frank Shamrock to discuss the main event between Luke Rockhold and Tim Kennedy, then Pat Miletich to discuss the co-main between Nate Marquardt and Tyron Woodley. Four-fight main card gets under way with Lorenz Larkin against Robbie Lawler.
FIGHT ONE: LORENZ LARKIN VS. ROBBIE LAWLER (MIDDLEWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Both fighters were very tentative to start things off. They each threw a couple of kicks that were blocked or avoided. Larkin landed a left, but a right hook from Lawler had Larkin hurt. Larkin grabbed a clinch as he recovered, and Lawler pressed him to the cage. Larkin tripped Lawler up, and started landing some elbows in the guard. Lawler scrambled and got back to his feet, though Larkin held the clinch. Larkin landed a hard knee to the body. Lawler turned him around, and they battled for position. Larkin landed several hard strikes as he let go and backed Lawler off. Lawler came fight back and stalked. Larkin landed a big uppercut, an elbow and another strike as Lawler clinched. Lawler landed a couple of knees. Larkin unleashed another series of punches and got in a knee. He landed another hard uppercut. They continued to battle for position in the clinch. Larkin landed another right and a hard knee to the body right before the round ended.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Larkin. Lawler had the early right hook that landed, but the rest of the round was Larkin. Good start to his middleweight debut.
ROUND TWO: Larkin landed a hard leg kick to start the round off. He landed a couple more kicks to the legs. Larkin was the aggressor to start the round, and he landed another hard inside leg kick. Larkin looked for an opening as he pawed with his lead hand. He landed a hard right. He added a knee and more wild strikes as Lawler covered up. Lawler blocked a lot of it and then grabbed a clinch, pressing Larkin to the cage. Lawler separated with a good left. Larkin landed a short strike and they stayed in the clinch. Lawler dropped levels for a takedown attempt, and Larkin grabbed for a kimura. Larkin turned it into a guillotine, but Lawler rolled through. Larkin landed a knee to the body. They continued to work in the clinch. They were separated without much offense going on. Larkin came straight ahead and just grazed with a head kick. His shin cut Lawler's head open on top before the round ended.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Larkin. Lawler did almost nothing that round outside of pressing the clinch. Larkin didn't do a ton, but it was certainly more than Lawler.
ROUND THREE: Lawler came out with a lot more aggression and threw a couple punches. He backed Larkin up and landed a body kick. Larkin popped in with a left. Lawler got in close and it was back to the clinch. Lawler went for a takedown, but got stuffed. Lawler landed a few punches as Larkin held off the takedown. Larkin circled out and landed a punch. He missed a spinning back fist. Lawler went high with a kick, but it was blocked. Larkin walked him down and landed a right. Larkin landed a left and a body kick. Larkin landed a couple of punches. Lawler grazed him with a hook. Larkin landed a nice right. Larkin landed a jab. Larkin landed a hook, then a right uppercut. Larkin landed another nice jab. Larkin landed a leg kick. Larkin landed a couple more punches. He landed a nice flurry to drive Lawler back. He landed a few big short elbows. Lawler tried to rush in with one final attack but all the strikes were blocked. Great performance by Larkin tonight.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Larkin. He had Lawler completely off all night. He connected on several big combinations, stayed busy throughout, and never let up when he had openings. Very good middleweight debut for Larkin.
WINNER: Larkin via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
STAR RATING: (**+) There were some real fun moments in that fight, but Lawler was really off all night. Larkin was very impressive, and was as responsible as anything for Lawler being off, but Lawler just wasn't pulling the trigger at all.
-Larkin gets on his knees and asks Dana White to bring bonuses to the guys in Strikeforce, as they're part of the family too. That was kind of a sad moment. If he was going to ask for something, it should have been a spot in the UFC.
FIGHT TWO: ROGER GRACIE VS. KEITH JARDINE (MIDDLEWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Jardine circled around the outside as Gracie took the center. Gracie landed a left hook. Gracie landed a couple jabs. Jardine tried to rush in, and Gracie immediately grabbed a body lock and tripped him for a takedown into half guard. Jardine defended well as Gracie looked to pass. Jardine worked to the cage, then got to his feet. Gracie landed a knee, then dragged Jardine back down. Gracie trapped Jardine's arm and landed several strikes against the cage. Gracie passed beautifully to mount with a full minute left. Gracie landed a hard elbow and several strikes. He postured up with a nice elbow. He tried to set up a mounted triangle, but Jardine got out. Gracie landed several more elbows to close out the round.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Gracie. The damage from dominant position was close to a 10-8, but not quite enough.
ROUND TWO: Gracie landed a few early strikes. Jardine again tried to rush in, but he again got taken down. Gracie trapped his arm behind his back and dragged him to the ground. Gracie landed another elbow to the head, opening him up. Jardine gave up his back. Gracie tried to get his hooks in with lots of time left. Gracie got the body triangle locked in and tried to get Jardine flattened. Gracie dragged him down. He couldn't get the arm under Jardine's chin. Gracie landed some strikes from the back. Gracie switched up the body triangle. Gracie transitioned to an arm triangle in the mount, but Jardine got out. Gracie landed a few strikes, but rode out the round on top.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-8 Gracie. A clearer 10-8 that time due to positional dominance and damage done, along with Jardine having nothing offensively for him.
ROUND THREE: Jardine landed a hard body shot. Gracie landed a strike. Gracie got in a knee as Jardine missed a punch. Gracie landed a left. They traded strikes. Jardine landed a hard two punch combo. Gracie went for a desperation takedown, but Jardine got free. Jardine threw a combo, but it was mostly blocked. Gracie was breathing heavily out of his mouth. Gracie ducked under a punch and grabbed a clinch. He landed a knee but Jardine got out. Gracie landed a few body kicks. He got in a left. Jardine rushed in wild again but Gracie clinched. Gracie landed a couple of strikes and avoided a final rush at the end.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Jardine. Not much to the round, but Jardine got in a few good punches and was the aggressor in the final frame. Too little, too late, though.
WINNER: Gracie via unanimous decision (29-27, 30-27, 30-26)
STAR RATING: (**) The blood and a tough opponent wouldn't allow Gracie to get the submission in this one, but his domination in the first two rounds was impressive nonetheless. Jardine just doesn't have much left in the tank, and hasn't really for several years, but it was a needed win for Gracie.
-They showed highlights from the prelims before heading to the title fights.
FIGHT THREE: NATE MARQUARDT VS. TYRON WOODLEY (WELTERWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP)
ROUND ONE: Woodley engaged early with a head kick, but it was blocked. Marquardt landed a kick low, causing a brief pause. Marquardt looked to move forward, but Woodley backed him off. He landed an inside leg kick. Marquardt threw a body kick. Woodley cracked Marquardt with a right hook. He rushed him across the cage, then took him down. He landed a few knees to the body as Marquardt tried to get back to his feet. Marquardt got to his feet and turned around, recovered. Marquardt landed a knee to the head. Woodley landed a knee to the body. Marquardt landed another knee and Woodley backed off. Marquardt then dropped Woodley with a right. He landed a hard body kick, then stuffed takedown attempt. He went for a guillotine, but Woodley rolled out. Marquardt landed a hard knee and another punch as he rushed in. Marquardt landed a knee. He landed a hard elbow to back out. Woodley was staggering a bit. Marquardt landed a hard body shot and they clinched. Woodley landed a knee, then Marquardt returned one to the body. Marquardt landed a hard elbow. Woodley landed a knee. Marquardt backed off, then looked to close him in on the cage. Marquardt landed another right as Woodley tried to back away. He stuffed a takedown attempt and pressed him to the cage. He landed a hard knee. Woodley tried to escape and Marquardt rushed him once more.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Marquardt. He was losing the round, then came back huge in the last half once he hurt Woodley.
ROUND TWO: Marquardt moved straight ahead, looking to get on the attack. Marquardt threw a few leg kicks. Woodley threw a spinning back fist but it was blocked. Woodley then landed an overhand right. Marquardt got a little more tentative, but still moved forward. He landed a couple more hard leg kicks. He landed the straight right, but Woodley clinched. Marquardt broke free, though. Marquardt landed another hard leg kick to the lead leg. The crowd booed a bit as they slowed on the attack. The action slowed quite a bit. They traded jabs. Marquardt landed more leg kicks. He blocked a kick to the body. He landed a hard spinning back kick to the gut. He ate a jab to land a left. He landed a hard straight right again, then took Woodley down with a minute left. Marquardt landed some strikes in the guard. Woodley tried to get his back to the cage. He worked to his feet. Marquardt threw a head kick. Woodley landed a right. Marquardt landed a few body punches as the round ended.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Marquardt. He's landing more strikes, scored a takedown, and is just generally doing more offensively.
ROUND THREE: Woodley landed a few strikes, Pressing Marquardt back. He unleashed a flurry, then dropped Marquardt with a big shot. He started landing a bunch of strikes on the ground. He landed a nice elbow. Marquardt then tried to grab an armbar, but Woodley got free. Marquardt regained his bearings and held him in the guard. They were stood up due to inaction. Marquardt looked to turn it around and moved ahead. The action was super tentative again from both fighters. Woodley landed a left. Marquardt landed a left, then a right to the body. He got in another punch before Woodley circled away. Marquardt landed a couple of right hand strikes. He grabbed a clinch and landed a knee to the body. He landed a hard short forearm. He landed another short strike. Marquardt landed another few elbows and forearms as the round ended.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Woodley. Marquardt nearly took it back late, but it wasn't enough to make up for Woodley's early knockdown and offense.
ROUND FOUR: Marquardt came back ahead as Woodley backed up. Marquardt landed a good body punch. He landed the straight right. He landed a big three punch combo. He threw a front kick to the body. Marquardt landed the straight right again, but Woodley stayed up. Marquardt landed a couple more, then clinched. Woodley's got a chin, that's for sure. Marquardt landed a hard right. He landed a vicious elbow, then a massive combination that knocked Woodley out cold. Holy hell this fight was awesome.
WINNER: Marquardt via KO at 1:39 of the fourth round
STAR RATING: (****-) That was just an absolutely fantastic, back and forth title fight. There were some slow spots in the bout, but there was also a lot of really exciting moments for both of them, and that finish was incredible. Marquardt looked excellent at 170 lbs., and he's now the Champion of a very shallow division.
MAIN EVENT FIGHT FOUR: LUKE ROCKHOLD VS. TIM KENNEDY (MIDDLEWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP)
ROUND ONE: Rockhold took the center and pressed in early. He backed Kennedy to the cage. Kennedy tried to press him back, but Rockhold stayed the aggressor. He threw a high kick but it was blocked. He landed a hard right and they clinched. They traded knees to the legs and body. Rockhold separated with another knee to the body. Rockhold missed a couple punches, then Kennedy did the same and they wound up in a clinch. Kennedy landed a short forearm. They separated again. Kennedy went high with a kick but it was blocked. Rockhold landed a hard combo that hurt Kennedy. Kennedy stumbled back to the cage, but Rockhold just clinched him. Kennedy turned him around. He picked him up and scored a takedown. Kennedy tried to pass, but Rockhold defended well. Rockhold went for a kimura, but Kennedy's arm was between his legs. He got the arm out and went for the armlock. Kennedy used it to pass. He got his back, but Rockhold got to his feet. Rockhold finished the round with a short combo.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Rockhold. Kennedy got the takedown, but it was Rockhold attacking from his back and he did a lot more offensively on the feet.
ROUND TWO: Rockhold again immediately closed the distance. He threw a head kick. Kennedy shot in, but Rockhold scrambled and took his back. He tried to get his hooks in and landed a few punches and elbows. Kennedy landed an elbow behind him. Kennedy turned it around and got to his feet. Kennedy landed a leg kick. Rockhold landed a kick and a punch on the cage. Rockhold landed another short combo. Rockhold landed a hard straight right and stuffed a takedown. He landed a body kick. Kennedy landed a hard right as Rockhold landed a kick. Rockhold landed another combo and Kennedy shot in. Rockhold went for an armbar and scrambled to the cage. Kennedy stayed on him in the clinch. Rockhold got separation but ate an elbow. Rockhold landed another right. Rockhold landed a left, and Kennedy countered with a right. Rockhold landed a kick high. Rockhold landed a left. He landed another combo. He got in a body kick. He landed another as the round ended.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Rockhold. He's staying on the offensive, and is getting in a lot of strikes, and doing well grappling as well.
ROUND THREE: Rockhold again came forward to start a round. Kennedy landed a leg kick and Rockhold went high with one that was blocked. Kennedy dropped a level and shot in, but Rockhold stuffed it. Kennedy landed a knee, but it went low. Rockhold got a warning for holding the fence as well. Kennedy landed a side kick to the body. Rockhold landed a hard right hook that backed Kennedy off. Kennedy landed a couple leg kicks. He tried to hold him off with kicks, then Rockhold clinched. Rockhold landed some short strikes and elbows before separating. Kennedy landed a few kicks. Rockhold stayed on him. Rockhold landed a hard straight left. Kennedy landed a leg kick. Kennedy landed a left. Rockhold pressed him back again. Kennedy landed an inside kick. He ducked under a punch and got Rockhold's back standing. He dragged him down, but Rockhold got turned around. Kennedy again got his back and looked for a choke, but Rockhold got to his feet. Rockhold went for a kimura, but let it go to sprawl. He landed a punch to separate. Rockhold rushed in with a flurry.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Rockhold. Rockhold didn't have a ton of offense this time around, but did land some pretty big strikes when he was throwing. Kennedy's ground work probably took it for the judges, but he wasn't that close to anything in, and it wasn't sustained for long. Close round though, and it probably went the other way.
ROUND FOUR: Kennedy landed a couple of leg kicks, and a few uppercuts as Rockhold tried to engage. Rockhold went high with a kick. It was blocked, as was a second attempt. Kennedy landed a kick. Kennedy shot in but got stuffed. The action slowed considerably as Kennedy continued circling and backing away. Rockhold landed a body shot. He landed a kick to the body. Kennedy landed a leg kick. Rockhold then dropped Kennedy with a huge right, then dropped into mount. Kennedy recovered quickly, though, and escaped. He looked for a guillotine choke, and used it to get to his feet. They clinched and traded strikes. Kennedy got Rockhold's back standing, but Rockhold turned him around and got on top to ride out the round.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Rockhold. That huge knockdown made it clear, but he didn't even need that as Kennedy did very little once more.
ROUND FIVE: Rockhold continued pressing forward, as he'd done the entire fight. Kennedy landed a couple of kicks. Rockhold landed a nice right. He landed a straight left. He threw a high kick that was blocked. Kennedy grabbed a clinch again, but Rockhold held him off and came back forward. Rockhold landed the straight left. Kennedy landed an inside leg kick. They traded punches attain, and Rockhold had to hold off another takedown attempt. They scrambled and Kennedy went for a guillotine, but Rockhold grabbed a takedown of his own. Rockhold landed a knee to the body and then they stood up again. Rockhold landed another combo. He pressed in with another combo. Kennedy landed an elbow. Rockhold stopped one more takedown attempt to end the fight.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Rockhold. Kennedy just didn't do much of anything at all in this fight, and he'll lose another title opportunity because of it.
WINNER: Rockhold via unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 49-46)
STAR RATING: (*+) Workmanlike performance from Luke Rockhold without much opposition from Kennedy made for a very tedious affair. It was another win for Rockhold, and he proved he was the better fighter, but there wasn't much to this one.
-Thanks for joining us again tonight, we'll have more on this event as the week goes on and more heading into next Saturday's UFC 149 event in Calgary.
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Jamie Penick, editor-in-chief
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Frank Hyden - Rich Hansen
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