On August 21st 2010 in Houston, Jacaré Souza (4-0 Strikeforce, 14-2-1 Career) and Tim Kennedy (3-1 Strikeforce, 12-3 Career) battled for the vacant Strikeforce Middleweight Title. Both men were undefeated in the company at the time and fought an intelligent title fight. Keeping their distance and waiting for the perfect moments to strike, they fought to an exciting and very close decision. Kennedy, his corner, and his hometown Texas fans in attendance were taken aback when it was revealed that Jacaré was crowned the new champion. Now in 2011, Tim Kennedy is back and he is ready to prove to the world that he is the best middleweight Strikeforce has to offer.
Controversial decisions in mixed martial arts are one of the biggest downfalls in the sport. Kennedy was frustrated after the loss and thought he had done everything he needed to get the decision victory. In a recent interview on Inside Fights’ MMA 24/7, he told us “I was covered in blood so I don’t know if that went against me. I know I out-punched him, I know I out-kicked him, I took him down two times and stuffed his takedown every time.” Unfortunately for Kennedy, the judges awarded Jacaré the win and now he has to fight his way back to the top.
Before his lone loss in Strikeforce, Tim Kennedy was on a rampage. His Strikeforce debut was against Nick Thompson, who was coming fresh off a victory over former UFC fighter and current Strikeforce Welterweight contender Paul Daley. Impressive in his debut, Kennedy made Thompson submit to strikes, a rare occurrence in the sport. He went on to submit Zak Cummings (North-South Choke) and Trevor Prangley (Rear-Naked Choke).
The possibility of a rubber-match against Jason “Mayhem” Miller almost presented itself to the Texan in January. The two had met twice before and hold unanimous decisions over each other (Kennedy over Miller in 2003 and Miller over Kennedy in 2007). A victory over “Mayhem” Miller would have undoubtedly boosted Kennedy up to contender status in the eyes of the fans, but for reasons unknown the fight never solidified. On the topic, Kennedy mentioned “Jason and I were both very much for the fight. Jason, while he’s a crazy dude, he’s a really standup athlete… I think it was other stuff on the industry side that effected us not fighting.”
“I want to get back in there and show that I should be the [Strikeforce] Middleweight Champion.”
Still amounting a very impressive Strikeforce record despite the loss, Kennedy wants to step into the cage with more elite competition in 2011. “Any fight besides Jacaré I would be disappointed in.” He continued “My goal is to get back in there and get the middleweight title. I want fights that are going to get me ready for that. I know Robbie Lawler just lost to Jacaré, so maybe put me and Robbie together and see how that turns out.” The day after this interview, it was decided who Kennedy would face next.
Mevlin Manhoef (0-1 Strikeforce, 24-8-1 Career) and Tim Kennedy are set to meet at “Strikeforce: Feijao vs. Henderson” in March. Even though Melvin Manhoef is walking into the cage having lost six out of his last eight competitive bouts (MMA and K-1), he still poses a threat to his opponents. As an established K-1 kickboxer, Manhoef’s striking is among the best in his weight class in Strikeforce. With that being said, he is susceptible to counter-punches and takedowns; two categories Kennedy has shown us he excels in. If he gets past Manhoef, Kennedy is more than ready to step into the cage again with Jacaré Souza, or whoever is the Strikeforce Middleweight Champion.
“I want a five round fight and I want a title at the end of it. I’m not going to say I have a grudge or a chip on my shoulder, but I’m kind of disgruntled I don’t have a belt right now. I feel that I’m the best fighter at 185 in Strikeforce so my goal is to get that title.”