For the second time, Luke Rockhold defended his title as the Strikeforce middleweight champion won over Tim Kennedy at Rose Garden Arena in Portland, Ore on Saturday with a unanimous decision. He not only retained his title but also earned the respect he’s been looking for by winning the fight.
All three judges scored 49-46 during the five-round title fight, with four rounds win for Rockhold and only one for Kennedy. Although the fight ended with a unanimous decision, Rockhold was so close to knocking out Kennedy in several moments during the fight.
It was said that among the Strikeforce champs, it was Rockhold who is less respected, but according to him, he controlled the pace, and successfully stalked Kennedy, making him back up.
Kennedy was a tough opponent for Rockhold compared to Keith Jardine whom he fought in January. Kennedy was even seen to have dominant positions during the fight, but was not able to hold them too long to win over Rockhold because his size allowed him to get back to his feet at once.
According to Rockhold, Kennedy’s got some funky strikes but he lacks in technique.
Meanwhile, in the co-main event, for the first time in more than a couple of years, Strikeforce finally found the rightful champion for the welterweight title. Since Jake Shields left in July 2010 for UFC, the 170-pound title remained vacant these past few years, until Nate Marquardt nabs the belt and put it around his waist. He won over Tyron Woodley with a five-strike knockout.
For Marquardt, it was a dream-come-true as even when his opponent was throwing some pretty good shots, he was still able to wear himself out. Marquardt was a former middleweight title challenger in the UFC, but this was his first fight in 16 months after he got fired from the UFC in June 2011 due to failure to get medical clearance.
Marquardt and Woodley were trading momentum as they battle back and forth from round to round. But despite that, Marquadt was still able to get Woodley to back out and finish him with three straight elbows, a left hand and a right uppercut.
Roger Gracie also dominated Jardine on the Showtime-broadcast main card while Lorenz Larkin feared striker Robbie Lawler with a unanimous decision.
According to Strikeforce and Showtime, a Sept. 29 card will be held in Sacramento and it will be headlined by heavyweight tournament winner Daniel Cormier.