Strikeforce: Lawler vs. Shields Live Coverage

Join us tonight for our live coverage of the Strikeforce show in St. Loius! The show features a main event between two former EliteXC champions as Robbie Lawler takes on Jake Shields in a catchweight bout.

Our liveblog will begin at 9:45pm ET on this very post. Join me for a fun evening that will (hopefully) be filled with great fights!

The televised card:

  • Robbie Lawler vs. Jake Shields (182lb Catchweight)
  • Andrei Arlovski vs. Brett Rogers (Heavyweight)
  • Nick Diaz vs. Scott Smith (180lb Catchweight)
  • Phil Baroni vs. Joe Riggs (Welterweight)
  • Kevin Randleman vs. Mike Whitehead (Light Heavyweight)

Let’s get this party started a little early with some undercard results and notes from Brian Oswald and Derek Bolender, who are currently cageside in the press area at the show.

UNDERCARD RESULTS

  • Pat Benson d. Dave Cochran (Submission, 2:18 of round one)
  • Lucas Lopes d. Scott Ventimiglia (Disqualification, illegal knee to downed opponent)
  • Tyron Woodley d. Salvoder Woods (Submission, 4:20 of round one)
  • Booker DeRousse d. James Wade (TKO via strikes, 4:06 of round one)
  • Mike Kyle d. Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante (TKO via strikes, 4:05 of round two)
  • Jesse Finney d. Josh Bumgarner (Submission, 1:55 of round one)

And that concludes our coverage of the undercard. We’ll be back in 30 minutes to start our coverage of the televised card.

Fedor Emelianenko is now in the building. He’s sitting cageside with Tom Atencio and Josh Barnett. Tim Sylvia is also sitting in the vicinity.

Coverage of the live televised event will begin shortly; stick around and start a discussion on the comments of this post.

And we’re live. Gus Johnson and Frank Shamrock are at cageside, with Shamrock discussing the fact that the main events will be contested at catchweight. Gus makes reference to Nick Diaz destroying Shamrock on the last show. And look, it’s Mauro Ranallo.

I know Zuffa doesn’t want to make any kind of connection to pro wrestling, but the Strikeforce stage, lighting and pyro reallys adds to the quality of the show. I don’t know if the UFC will ever return to using the stage and lighting rig they used to, but they certainly should give it a thought.

Gegard Mousasi is now sitting with Tom Atencio, Fedor and Barnett.

KEVIN RANDLEMAN VS. MIKE WHITEHEAD

Round One: Randleman is ready to GO. He’s fired up and in the best shape I’ve ever seen him in. Big John is the ref. Whitehead with leg kicks. His game plan appears to be to throw leg kicks and stay away from the strikes. Whitehead misses a kick and Randleman takes him down. Whitehead escapes. He pushes Kevin against the cage and then takes him down.  Randleman kicks him out and stands up. Randleman is gassed. Whitehead with a takedown but Randleman reverses it and stands up. Kevin is seriously gassed at this point.  Whitehead with another takedown and falls into half guard, but Randleman reverses it again with a sweep for the third time. Randleman can’t even keep his hands up. Whitehead is controlling the fight. Uppercut from Whitehead and then presses him against the cage.  Whitehead with an easy takedown. Whitehead stays on top to close out the round. He’ll take that one.

Round Two: Whitehead with another takedown. It seems to me that Randleman didn’t really get much of his wind back during the break, because he’s still exhausted. Whitehead into side control. Whitehead has basically been laying on Randleman for over 2 minutes, and the boo birds are out in full force. Whitehead is completely smothering Randleman’s face with his forearm. Whitehead into full mount. Randleman escapes and lands an uppercut. These two fighters are so exhausted that it’s almost painful to watch. Shamrock says Randleman looks great but certainly isn’t in fighting shape. Frank tells the truth. This is turning into a bad, bad fight. Whitehead will win round two as well.

Round Three: Randleman’s corner told him that he has to go for broke. He does, throwing a big overhand right that staggers Whitehead. He lands another big shot. Whitehead with a big shot of his own. Randleman just DROPPED Whitehead with a huge punch. Randleman is on top but Whitehead gets up. I have no idea how he survived that – that punch literally echoed through the arena. Randleman should have pounced and capitalized, but he took his time and paid for it. Randleman presses him against the cage. Randleman throwing more punches, looking more confident. Whitehead shoots in with a takedown and gets it easily. Whitehead has a wristlock and is going for a kimura. Randleman slips out of the wristlock. Randleman escapes again and is back to the feet. Whitehead with a right hook. Randleman is swinging with big punches, but he’s too exhausted to have any kind of accuracy. Randleman wins this round, but it won’t be enough, as Whitehead should take the 29-28 decision.

Winner: Mike Whitehead by decision (29-28)

Randleman threw a couple of big punches, but Whitehead dominated the striking and the wrestling.

Pat Miletich, Josh Thomson, Josh Barnett, Tim Sylvia and Fedor Emelianenko are shown sitting at cageside.

There were concerns that Phil Baroni may have overtrained, given the obvious change in his body over the past six months. He certainly looks impressive, but will that translate to good cardio?

Baroni, ever the showman, comes out in his trademark robe and glasses. No dancing this time, unfortunately. He’s easily one of the biggest and most in-shape guys, at least visually, in the entire welterweight division, and that includes Georges St. Pierre and Thiago Alves.

PHIL BARONI VS. JOE RIGGS

Round One: I always find it interesting when fighters don’t touch gloves. Shamrock says Baroni punched him so hard that it rattled his teeth. Perhaps that’s why he is currently wearing braces. Riggs with a takedown and then takes his back. Riggs works for a rear naked choke but Baroni moves and gets out of it. Riggs with a big punch. Riggs moves into side control and takes his back again. Baroni has no answer for Riggs on the ground. Riggs pushes against the cage, but Baroni stands up. Riggs drags him down with a single leg. Baroni stands back up but Riggs drags him back down. Baroni reverses and ends up on top with some good punches to the body. Baroni is landing some big punches, and it appears that Riggs is going for a choke. McCarthy stands them up and Riggs comes in with a single leg but Baroni stays standing. Baroni takes the back and then comes in with some big punches when Riggs reverses. I’m not sure how to score that round, because Baroni landed more punches and Riggs couldn’t really do anything after his takedowns. I’ll give it to Baroni, but only slightly.

Round Two: Baroni is usually gassed by now, so this has to be a small victory. Baroni with some big punch attempts that mostly miss. Riggs misses with a spinning backfist. Riggs lands a superman punch and then takes Baroni to the ground. Baroni stands up again and then takes Riggs down with a double leg. Baroni with more body shots on the ground. Baroni looks wobbly and misses a takedown. Riggs with a big hook and a huge knee, followed by another straight. I have no idea how Baroni is still on his feet. Not only that, but Baroni shoots for a takedown. Baroni’s definitely gassed now, but he gets him down and into the guard. Riggs sinks in a triangle choke DEEP, but Baroni gets out. Baroni with a few more punches on the ground. Phil is simply trying to breathe and survive at this point. This round goes to Riggs.

Round Three: Riggs lands a bunch of shots, including a spinning back kick to the ribs of Baroni. Phil is taking some punishment now and is simply trying to survive. How in the WORLD is Phil Baroni still standing right now? He’s been hit with the kitchen sink. Baroni is on his bike. Baroni is taking a ton of punishment, yet he remains in the pocket and continues to throw punches. Baroni with a half-hearted head kick and Riggs pounces. The fire is gone from Baroni’s eyes, but he’s still not going down. Phil has a nasty mouse over his left eye.  Riggs with the takedown and the fight ends. Riggs takes this one and the fight.

Winner: Joe Riggs by decision

Riggs broke both of his hands again in the fight. He’s pretty emotional, talking about supporting his wife and kids. He also has the flu. I’ll tell you one thing: fighting MMA while down with the flu is not something I’d be interested in doing.

They’re showing a hype video for Carano vs. Cyborg, which takes place August 15th. The Josh Thomson vs. Gilbert Milendez rematch also happens that night, and Alistair Overeem will fight as well.

NATE DIAZ VS. SCOTT SMITH

This should be a fun match. Diaz is getting booed out of the arena.

Looks like Big John is going to ref all the fights tonight.

Round One: Diaz is taunting Smith, who presses Nick against the cage. Diaz is just teeing off on Smith with those tiny little punches. Smith with a great right hand, but Diaz catches Smith with his own hook. Diaz sticks out his chin to taunt Smith and Smith whacks him with a solid punch. Diaz with a side headlock but Smith takes his back and then gets a takedown. These guys are punching the crap out of each other. My words will ALWAYS fail to describe the action in this fight. Diaz ends the first round with a big leg trip, and then pushes Smith away. Diaz took that round.

Round two: Smith takes the back and lands a big right hand, then they separate. Diaz throws about 30 punches per second. Diaz is teeing off but Smith lands one big punch that cuts Diaz open.  Same thing again, Diaz landing about 40 punches and Smith throwing one big one. This is Gomi/Diaz all over again. For those of you who know what I’m talking about, you’ll know this is high praise. More of the same – tons of punches from Diaz, Smith with one big one, wash, rinse and repeat.  Diaz with a big kick. Diaz with two more high kicks and Smith with a huge leg kick. Smith is getting punched in the forehead quite a bit. Smith with a superman punch, but Diaz is back in with a bunch of punches. Smith goes down, but it’s the end of the round. He’s okay, just resting. Diaz threw 221 punches in that round. Diaz gets that round easily.

Round three: Smith goes for a touch of gloves, but Diaz pushes him away. What a great heel this guy is. Smith pushes him against the cage, so Big John breaks it up. Diaz back with more punches and kicks. Diaz is switching between southpaw and orthodox. Diaz takes his back and sinks in the hooks. Diaz sinks in the choke and Smith taps out. What a spectacular and dominant performance by Nick Diaz. I’m incredibly impressed.

Winner: Nate Diaz by submission

Diaz threw 397 punches to Smith’s 93.

ANDREI ARLOVSKI VS. BRETT ROGERS

Round one: Rogers comes out with punches and KILLS Arlovski in mere seconds. Andrei’s chin strikes again!

Winner: Brett Rogers by KO

At first I thought it might have been an early stoppage, but on the replay it’s clear that Arlovksi was completely out. And to illustrate the point, they show the REF CAM from John McCarthy. Yes, Andrei was finished. Arlovksi has a bad habit of walking backwards with no head movement, and strikers are always going to exploit that.

A superstar was made tonight.

Mauro is interviewing Fedor at cageside. You know why Fedor’s scary? He’s quiet, religious and respectful. And he can also kill you with his bare hands. Something about that combination just doesn’t sit right with me. Josh Barnett steps up to get interviewed next.

ROBBIE LAWLER VS. JAKE SHIELDS

Round one: Shields with a takedown but Lawler sprawls. Lawler presses him against the cage. Shields with a body kick. Shields looks pretty uncomfortable. Lawler takes him down but Shields secures a guillotine for the tapout.

Winner: Jake Shields

A very, very impressive win for Jake Shields. He submitted Lawler with ease, and to not count him as one of the top five welterweights in the world would be a travesty. Shields tells Gus Johnson that he wants Cung Le and he wants the middleweight championship. Given Le’s schedule, that probably won’t happen until 2014.

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