Two titles were fought for Saturday night at Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Kennedy in the Rose Garden of Portland, Oregon. The middleweight belt remained firmly around the waist of Luke Rockhold (10-1) after he handed Tim Kennedy (14-4) a Unanimous Decision defeat and “The Great” Nate Marquardt (32-10-2) gave “T-Wood” Tyron Woodley (10-1) a very cold welcome to the big leagues with a fourth-round KO to capture the vacant welterweight title. Roger Gracie (6-0) handed UFC veteran “The Dean of Mean” Keith Jardine (17-11) a lopsided beating and “The Monsoon” Lorenz Larkin (13-0) remained undefeated at the expense of veteran striker “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler (19-9). Though not the most fan friendly event in Strikeforce history, the card did help to reestablish the middle- and welterweight divisions which have seen a bit of chaos with the recent trend of high profile Strikeforce fighters either moving to the UFC or otherwise compromising their position with Zuffa.
The UFC’s sister promotion Strikeforce returns to action in the Rose Garden of Portland, Oregon for Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Kennedy on July 14. The night’s main event features a middleweight championship tilt between US Army sniper Tim Kennedy (14-3) and reigning king pin Luke Rockhold (9-1). Co-main duties will see “The Great” Nate Marquardt (31-10-2) return after a year-long hiatus to face “T-Wood” Tyron Woodley (10-0). The anchor bout of the evening sees two devastating punchers clash as “The Monsoon” Lorenz Larkin (12-0) puts his undefeated record on the line in his middleweight debut against “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler (19-8). UFC veteran “The Dean of Mean” Keith Jardine (17-10-2) will pit his eclectic kickboxing style to the test against dangerous submission artist Roger Gracie (4-1).
The second installment of Strikeforce action in 2012 takes place this Saturday in the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. “Hands of Steel” Scott Smith (17-9) returns from a timely lay-off to take on one of the middleweight division’s rising new stars, Lumumba Sayers (5-2). “The Punk” Josh Thomson (18-4) is back from injury and will be greeted by KJ Noons (11-4) in his return. Midway through the main card, two dynamos of the sport meet as knockout artist “Semtex” Paul Daley (29-11-2) battles a fellow veteran in “Hitman” Kazuo Misaki (24-11-2). Bristol Marunde (12-6) makes his Strikeforce debut in the co-main event but has a steep mountain to climb in the form of submission ace, “Jacare” Ronaldo Souza (14-3). The main event has been turning heads for some time and now it finally comes to fruition when “Takedown” Miesha Tate (12-2) puts her women’s welterweight title on the line against “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey (4-0). With all the action already placed on the main card, here’s a glance of what to look out for when the combatants take to the cage.
Did you miss me? Well, dry your tears icemigos. I have returned. There was a rough few weeks with no MMA events – at least none that I was able to see. And now… now… I have three events to draw from. Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Henderson, Strikeforce Challengers: Voelker vs. Bowling III, and Bellator 47.
Let’s start from the top. What’s up with Fedor? Sure, anyone can get knocked out by Dan Henderson but before that Fedor was swinging wildly. Yes, Fedor is known to try and finish a fight when he has someone hurt but there was an almost desperate recklessness in Fedor’s attempt to finish – not the precision timing that KO’d Andrei Arlovski in mid-air.
Strikeforce has come and gone from the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, leaving empty seats and the occasional snack wrapper or beer bottle where thousands of screaming fans once stood watching “The Last Emperor” Fedor Emelianenko (31-4) fight for the second time in the Windy City. The world’s second most powerful force in MMA presented one of its most stacked cards to date last night and while some of the bouts went pretty much as expected, big things still went down. From the first bell of the prelims to the last punch of Fedor’s main event brawl against “Hendo” Dan Henderson (28-8), MMA Gospel was there, looking for the lasting effects a card with this much name recognition would have on the MMA world.
Fedor Emelianenko vs. Dan Henderson: Henderson via TKO (Strikes), Round 1, 4:12
Marloes Coenen vs. Miesha Tate: Tate via Submission (Arm Triangle), Round 4, 3:03
Robbie Lawler vs. Tim Kennedy: Kennedy via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27), Round 3, 5:00
Paul Daley vs. Tyron Woodley: Woodley via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28), Round 3, 5:00
Scott Smith vs. Tarec Saffiedine: Saffiedine via Unanimous Decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27), Round 3, 5:00
After the smoke clears from “Hands of Steel” Scott Smith (16-8) and Tarec Saffiedine’s (10-2) card-opening bout and “Semtex” Paul Daley (24-11-2) and “T-Wood” Tyron Woodley (10-0) square off, Strikeforce will deliver a trio of bouts that have captured the attention of MMA fans worldwide. First, 185ers “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler (18-7-1) and Tim Kennedy (14-3) will face each other in a slugger’s duel to climb one step higher on the middleweight ladder. Then, in the co-main event, incumbent champion Marloes Coenen (17-4) will pit her Golden Glory kickboxing and renowned submission skills against “Takedown” Miesha Tate (11-2). Finally, in the evening’s featured attraction, current Strikeforce and former PRIDE 205lbs. champion “Hendo” Dan Henderson (27-8) will face one of the most respected and controversial figures in MMA history, “The Last Emperor” Fedor Emelianenko (31-3). After suffering back-to-back one-sided losses, Fedor Emelianenko flirted with retirement and faces falling out of the top ten for the first time in his career should he fail against “Hendo”. Henderson himself is riding a pair of KO wins and is looking at a triumphant and profitable return to the UFC with a win over the Russian Sambo master under his belt.
Before “The Last Emperor” Fedor Emelianenko (31-3) steps into the cage to face the dangerous for all the same reasons “Hendo” Dan Henderson (27-8), Strikeforce will treat the Windy City to a dose of mixed martial arts action featuring “Hands of Steel” Scott Smith (16-8), Tarec Saffiedine (10-2), “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler (18-7-1), Tim Kennedy (14-3), “Semtex” Paul Daley (24-11-2), and “T-Wood” Tyron Woodley (10-0). Joining this stellar cast of warriors are the ladies who make up the co-main event, Women’s Welterweight Champion Marloes Coenen (17-4) and her challenger “Takedown” Miesha Tate (11-2). Coenen failed in her run at 145lbs. but dropped to the welterweight division and submitted two previously undefeated fighters in former champion Sarah Kaufman (14-1) and “Girl-Rilla” Liz Carmouche (3-1). Tate, for her part, won her way into title contention by returning to the Challengers Series with a three-fight win streak that saw her defeat two top opponents in one night. The match means the world to WMMA, as the womens’ place on the primary Zuffa roster rests squarely on the sustainability of the women’s welterweight division. After the performance Kaufman put on last Friday, these ladies will have to bring their A-game to prove that there is more than one 135er with the skills to interest the MMA world at large and, more importantly, the Zuffa brass that decides whether the ladies stay on the Strikeforce main card or find themselves sent back to a niche market appeal on the Challengers Series.
This Saturday night, one of the world’s premier mixed martial arts promotions presents what may be its most impressive card to date with Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Henderson. Heavy-handed brawlers “Hands of Steel” Scott Smith (16-8), “Semtex” Paul Daley (24-11-2), and “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler (18-7-1) will square off with Tarec Saffiedine (10-2), “T-Wood” Tyron Woodley (10-0), and Tim Kennedy (14-3) respectively, and nearly guarantee highlight reel-worthy matches as well as a knockout or two. The co-main event sees the ladies take the spotlight with Womens’ Welterweight Champion Marloes Coenen (17-4) putting her belt on the line against top wrestler “Takedown” Miesha Tate (11-2). MMA fans across the globe wait with bated breath for multiple-time Russian Sambo Champion and arguably the most popular fighter in the history of the sport, “The Last Emperor” Fedor Emelianenko (31-3), to step into the cage on the heels of two consecutive losses to face fellow PRIDE veteran and proud owner of the most dangerous overhand right in MMA, Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion “Hendo” Dan Henderson (27-8).
Here, MMA Gospel’s staff make their own predictions of how the night with infinite possibilities will play out. Don’t be shy – post your picks for Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Henderson’s main card, and don’t forget to tune in to Showtime this Saturday at 9pm ET to catch the fights live.
Two legends of MMA will collide in a long-awaited match-up this Saturday night in Hoffman Estates, Illinois as Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion ”Hendo” Dan Henderson (27-8) will meet “The Last Emperor” Fedor Emelianenko (31-3) for the first and possibly last time in their respected careers. Strikeforce Women’s Welterweight Champion Marloes Coenen (17-4) will finally take on “Takedown” Miesha Tate (11-2) in the night’s co-main event. Former UFC contender “Semtex” Paul Daley (24-11-2) will face Big 12 wrestling champion “T-Wood” Tyron Woodley (10-0) and “Hands of Steel” Scott Smith (16-8) will open the card against “Sponge” Tarec Saffiedine (10-2). Also on the card is former title challenger and Elite XC Middleweight Champion “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler (18-7). Lawler has had mixed success within Strikeforce, with two bone-chilling knockout wins and three losses, the most recent being his title fight against champion “Jacare” Ronaldo Souza (13-2). Lawler will face former US Army sniper and former title challenger Tim Kennedy (14-3) in a barn burner match-up that will likely lead one to another title shot against the man who defeated them both.