March 16 the Ultimate Fighting Championship returns to Montreal, Quebec, Canada as welterweight champion “Rush” Georges St. Pierre (23-2) takes on a dangerous adversary in Nick Diaz in the UFC 158 headlining match-up. The co-main event sees “The Natural Born Killer” Carlos Condit (28-6) take on “Bigg Rigg” Johny Hendricks (14-3). Chris Camozzi (18-5) battles fellow middleweight “The Promise” Nick Ring (13-1). In the card’s opener, The Ultimate Fighter alumni “The Martian” Mike Ricci (7-3) meets “Freakshow” Colin Fletcher (8-2) in a lightweight showdown. The card’s anchor will have two welterweights meet in a pivotal match-up as “The Great” Nate Marquardt (32-11-2) returns to the UFC to meet “The Juggernaut” Jake Ellenberger (28-6). Both fighters are coming off recent setbacks, but a victory over the other is more than enough needed to put them back on their former path to glory.
All good things must come to an end. In this case, the good thing is the Strikeforce promotion that has essentially served as a UFC feeder league, as well as a home for those high profile fighters on the Zuffa poo-poo list, since its inception. The California-based, Zuffa-owned promotion will lock its cage doors one last time Saturday night as “The Great” Nate Marquardt (32-10-2) defends his Strikeforce Welterweight Championship for the first and only time against dangerous submission fighter “Sponge” Tarec Saffiedine (13-3). Co-headlining the event is Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix Champion Daniel Cormier (10-0) who will face “The Soldier” Dion Staring (28-7). “The Warmaster” Josh Barnett (31-6) will make his first appearance since losing in the finals of the Grand Prix as he goes toe-to-toe with “The Hun” Nandor Guelmino (11-3-1) in the anchor bout, and “The Dream Catcher” Gegard Mousasi (32-3-2) will face the always dangerous “Mak” Mike Kyle (19-8-1). Opening duties for the main card fall squarely on the shoulders of “Jacare” Ronaldo Souza (16-3) who looks to continue rebuilding his title dreams at the expense of “Short Fuse” Ed Herman (20-8).
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 promotional child of the Zuffa family unloaded with its first offering of the new year last night as Strikeforce presented Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Jardine. The card featured reigning Strikeforce Middleweight Champion Luke Rockhold (9-1), who defended his belt against “The Dean of Mean” Keith Jardine (16-10-2), and “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler (19-8) who put his devastating left hand up against the crisp kickboxing of Adlan Amagov (2-1). Also appearing on the main card were wrestling stand-outs “King Mo” Muhammed Lawal (9-1) and “T-Wood” Tyron Woodley (12-0) who tested their mettle against “The Monsoon” Lorenz Larkin (11-1) and Jordan Mein (22-6). Opening the card was a tightly contested bout between “The Sponge” Tarec Saffiedine (12-2) and “The Evolution” Tyler Stinson (22-8). The fights lived up to the expectations of the fans and ushered in 2012 on a good note for Strikeforce. Here’s how things went down.
Luke Rockhold vs. Keith Jardine: Rockhold via TKO (Punches), Round 1, 4:26
Robbie Lawler vs. Adlan Amagov: Lawler via TKO (Flying Knee and Punches), Round 1, 1:48
Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal vs. Lorenz Larkin: Lawal via TKO (Strikes), Round 2, 2:32
Tyron Woodley vs. Jordan Mein: Woodley via Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27), Round 3, 5:00
Tarec Saffiedine vs. Tyler Stinson: Saffiedine via Split Decision (28-29, 29-28, 30-27), Round 3, 5:00
Strikeforce hits the ground running in 2012 as it dishes out MMA action this Saturday night from the Hard Rock Cafe and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. The California-based promotion’s veterans welcome new faces to the main card and hope to stake their claim within their respective divisions. Knockout artist ”The Evolution” Tyler Stinson (22-7) takes on “The Sponge” Tarec Saffiedine (11-2) in the main card’s opener. One of the welterweight division’s top dogs, “T-Wood” Tyron Woodley (11-0) collides with the fast rising Jordan Mein (22-6). “The Monsoon” Lorenz Larkin (11-0) takes a step out from the Strikeforce: Challengers series to face his stiffest test to date, “King Mo” Muhammed Lawal (8-1). Just as many who watch NASCAR hope to see a crash, the casual MMA observer comes to watch someone get knocked out and with Adlan Amagov (2-0) and “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler (18-8) suited against each other, the crowd should be on the edge of their seats. Middleweight gold is up for grabs in the main event when champion Luke Rockhold (8-1) defends his newly earned title for the first time against “The Dean of Mean” Keith Jardine (16-9-2). Strikeforce has stepped up its game over the past several years, and if this card is any indication of what’s to come, fans are in for an exciting year.
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