"Strikeforce: Houston" main-card recap

Recommended Posts


HOUSTON ? For two rounds, former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal looked like he could get away with his lackadaisical hand position.

For 10 minutes, Lawal appeared as if he could defend his title even while unable to work the fight to the ground.

Then Rafael "Feijao" Cavalcante proved him wrong.

Down two rounds to none after Lawal was just a little faster, just a little crisper, Cavalcante appeared to be fading as time wore on. But the daringly low hands of Lawal finally provided the opening Cavalcante needed. Unable to pull his head back enough to avoid the blow, Lawal tasted a firm right hand on the chin.

Then it all fell apart.

Wobbled by the blow, Lawal returned to his roots and shot in from the outside. But as he had throughout the fight, Cavalcante shucked off the attempt and delivered a powerful knee in the clinch. Lawal staggered back, and Cavalcante refused to let him off the hook.

A wild right hand clipped Lawal's chin, and the belt holder was flat on his back.

Lawal showed heart in working back to his feet and instinctually looking for the takedown, but Cavalcante simply pinned himself against the cage and delivered a stunning array of elbows to the head. Lawal refused to drop, but his body swayed and rocked, and referee "Big" John McCarthy wisely called off the fight 74 seconds into the third round.

In the end, Lawal ended up with the striking advantage over his opponent with a tally of 139-93, but it was the ones that counted that fell to Cavalcante.

With the win, Cavalcante (10-2 MMA, 2-1 SF) claimed his first-ever world title. Meanwhile, Lawal (7-1 MMA, 2-1 SF) suffered his first-ever career defeat.

With Strikeforce's vacant middleweight championship on the line, Brazilian submission ace Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza did what he doesn't do best ? strike his way to victory.

Fellow challenger Tim Kennedy provided a stern challenge, and according to CompuStrike, he actually won the striking battle 207-186 over the 25-minute affair. But Souza's striking total consisted of more clean punches, and he appeared just a step ahead of his opponent throughout the fight.

Kennedy was willing to stay tight in the pocket throughout, but a very tight fight in the opening two rounds started to separate a bit in the third. Kennedy suffered a cut that reddened his face, and with the action close, the damage undeniably colored the action.

Souza slowed as the fight wore on, though he did not appear nearly as fatigued as he did in a May win over Joey Villasenor. Instead, his offense simply slowed, and he allowed Kennedy to stake a claim for the fourth frame by ceasing his offensive moments. But while he was ahead on the cards heading into the final round, the result was anything but certain.

Until it was.

Souza and Kennedy were even again in the final round, but a brief moment of back control on the feet followed by a powerful flurry in the closing seconds left little doubt as to who would claim the belt.

In the end, Souza was awarded the unanimous-decision win with scores of 49-46, 48-47 and 48-47.

Souza (13-2 MMA, 3-0 SF) has now won three-straight fights and is undefeated under the Strikeforce banner. Kennedy (12-3 MMA, 3-1) loses for the first time since 2007.

In lightweight action, former EliteXC champion K.J. Noons turned in one of his most impressive performances of his career, but it was marred by a pair of questionable attacks.

Opponent Jorge Gurgel once again refused to play to his grappling strengths and instead chose to stand and trade throughout the contest ? a strategy that did not turn out well.

Noons earn the best of the striking in the opening frame, and Gurgel's face showed the wear. With blood trickling down Gurgel's face, Noons unleashed a powerful left hook right at ? or perhaps shortly after ? the closing bell of the opening round. Gurgel was dropped from the shot, but referee Kerry Hatley ruled that the punch was legal and a dazed Gurgel was fine to carry on.

Noons pounced in the second frame, and another pinpoint combination put Gurgel again on the canvas. But as Noons looked to Hatley to stop the fight (he declined), he unleashed a barrage of strikes destined to end the fight. Unfortunately, one of those appeared to be an illegal knee that grazed Gurgel's head.

Hatley had seen enough and waved off the fight, even as a protesting Gurgel stumbled to his feet.

Following the win, Noons said it was adrenaline that led him to the wild finish.

"I've got the killer instinct, and I wanted to just go in there and finish it," Noons said.

Following the win ? his sixth straight ? Noons (10-2 MMA, 2-0 SF) called out everyone from Floyd Mayweather to Nick Diaz. Meanwhile, Gurgel (13-7 MMA, 1-2 SF) once again delivered a crowd-pleasing fight, but he's won just one time in his past five trips to the cage.

If the comparisons between fellow WWE veterans Bobby Lashley and Brock Lesnar hadn't stopped before Saturday night, they will certainly cease following the evening's first televised contest.

The heavily favored Lashley took opponent Chad Griggs to the floor early and often, and he used his collegiate wrestling background to control the action on the floor. But Lashley looked uncomfortable and frantic on top, and he passed on submission attempts in favor of punching from the top. While it was effective in the opening round, it was obvious Lashley was tiring quickly.

As the round closed, Lashley's face showed the wear of Griggs' counterattacks as a wide cut just under the left eye bled freely.

In the second round, Lashley put the wound aside and returned to his wrestling base. But even as he advanced to a secure mount position, he showed little desire to finish with a submission ? even as multiple opportunities stood in front of him. Lashley's attack was so anemic from the top that referee Jon Schorle stood the fighters with Lashley in the mount position.

On the restart, Lashley offered a lazy, fatigued shot, and Griggs pushed his head down and unloaded until the end of the frame. Lashley slowly rose to his feet, and as Schorle quizzed the massive American Top Team fighter if he wanted to continue, the former WWE star neglected to answer. It was all Schorle needed to wave off the fight between frames.

Lashley did not protest.

Following the surprise win, Griggs said he realized public opinion was definitely not in his favor.

"I think there was like 15 people here that thought I was going to win," Griggs said. "Bobby is such an athlete, such a monster."

With the upset win, Griggs (9-1 MMA, 1-0 SF) has now won four-straight fights overall. The loss for Lashley (5-1 MMA, 1-1 SF) is the first of his career.

SEE ALSO: "Strikeforce: Houston" preliminary-card recap: Cormier rolls; Galvao survives scare


* Rafael "Feijao" Cavalcante def. Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal via TKO (strikes) - Round 3, 1:14

* Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza def. Tim Kennedy via unanimous decision (49-46, 48-47, 48-47) - for vacant Strikeforce middleweight title

* K.J. Noons def. Jorge Gurgel via KO (punches) - Round 2, 0:19

* Chad Griggs def. Bobby Lashley via TKO (strikes) - Round 2, 5:00


* Daniel Cormier def. Jason Riley via submission (strikes) - Round 1, 1:02

* Andre Galvao def. Jorge Patino via TKO (strikes) - Round 3, 2:45

* Vinicius Magalhaes def. Rocky Long via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)

* Adam Schindler def. Keir Gooch via submission (rear-naked choke) - Round 1, 1:58

* Reynaldo Trujillo def. Jose Santibanez via TKO (strikes) - Round 1, 0:28

* Chad Robichaux def. Humberto DeLeon via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

* Artenas Young def. Chad Cook via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 30-27)


Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's amazing how in 2 events, Strikeforce saw all of it's current and future draws lose value.

With Bobby Lashley's defeat, there goes the heat that he was bringing. Maybe he will get a title shot now since that seems to be the rule. Since Fedor is ducking Overeem like crazy and Overeem couldn't care less about Strikeforce, I guess the next Strikeforce card will be full of women's MMA with Miesha Tate looking to take the place of Gina Carano as the face of women's MMA.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow, did not think that King Mo would lose.

Why not? He looks like he bought into his own hype and went charging in after Feijao with those wacky bodyshots. It was a bad gameplan and it showed. Feijao hit him over and over again with knees. Whener Lawal got in the pocket, Feijao just strapped on the muay thai plum and BAM!

This event proves time and time again just how much Strikeforce is bush league stuff. Stopping Lashley while he is in full mount... how great of them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I hope KJ Noons comes to the UFC, watching Strikeforce is similar to watching some of the older UFC fights their good fighters they just only have 1 style which isn't much use in MMA.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I hope KJ Noons comes to the UFC, watching Strikeforce is similar to watching some of the older UFC fights their good fighters they just only have 1 style which isn't much use in MMA.

The guy that won by illegal blows? I'd much rather have Jacar? in the UFC. The MW division would be on fire!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The guy that won by illegal blows? I'd much rather have Jacar? in the UFC. The MW division would be on fire!

A shot less than half a a second after the bell, and the knee while it knocked the **** out of him was after the referee had already stopped the fight, he dominated him which wasn't surprising consider that Jorge has lost 5 out of his last 7 fights.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This topic is now closed to further replies.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.