Join Inside Fights’ own Trent Pusey at 9pm ET for all the action from the live showing of Strikeforce: Nashville. Dan Henderson makes his Strikeforce debut on CBS in a Middleweight Title Bout with champion Jake Shields, Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion Gegard Mousasi takes on Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal and Lightweight Champion Gilbert Melendez defends his belt against DREAM Lightweight title holder Shinya Aoki.
Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Championship
Gegard Mousasi (c) vs. Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal
Referee: John McCarthy
King Mo dances to the ring with a harem of women, one of which is carrying an opened umbrella indoors! This is not a good start. Mousasi’s entrance is more subdued, as expected.
They paw at each other to start the round, broken up by a high leg kick from Mousasi. Overhand right from Lawal. Lawal lands another right and grabs a single leg. Mousasi unloads with double-digit unanswered punches as Lawal attempts the takedown. Lawal finally gets the champion down. Lawal presses Mousasi against the cage and attempts lunging punches to his downed opponent. Mousasi keeps Lawal away with upkicks from his back. Lawal grabs a leg, swings it aside, and falls on top of Mousasi, throwing more punches while Mousasi covers up. Lawal frequently switches from standing to ground-and-pound. Mousasi gets to his feet with one minute left. Lawal shoots and Mousasi sprawls. Lawal looks tired. Lawal takes Mousasi down with a double leg. Mousasi back up. A short left lands for Lawal at the bell.
Lawal gets another takedown on Mousasi, this time opting to jockey for position as opposed to throwing punches as he did in the opening stanza. Mousasi is landing hammerfists, backfists, and swinging lefts from his back. Mousasi presses Lawal away with his legs. Lawal doesn’t let Mousasi back up but his ground-and-pound is ineffective. Mousasi is back up and Lawal immediately takes him back down, albeit sloppily. Mousasi is relaxed and active from his back. Lawal whiffs on a hayemaker. Mousasi back up with one minute left in the round. Lawal grabs a leg and forces Mousasi down again. Mousasi attempts an armbar but Lawal escapes. Mousasi uses the cage to get Lawal’s back for a rear naked attempt but time expires in before any headway could be made on the submission attempt.
They trade punches to start the third round, Lawal’s being more desperate and wild. Mousasi with a knee to Lawal’s stomach. No combos here as it has become one and done on the strikes. Lawal gets a takedown. He has yet to pass Mousasi’s guard. Lawal lets go of a wristlock as he tries to sneak punches into Mousasi’s abdomen. Lawal lands a nice right while Mousasi goes for another armbar. More punches land from Lawal as Mousasi can do nothing more than cover up. Mousasi has rolled over to his side but Lawal is content on being active this round and throwing punches while Mousasi does little to impress.
Mousasi opens with a leg kick. Jab misses from Mousasi. Lawal throws a right and shoots off of it to get the takedown. Mousasi uses his legs to keep Lawal at a distance. Lawal grabs a wrist while Mousasi rolls over to his side. Lawal gets back to his feet and Mousasi lands a serious upkick. Lawal smothers Mousasi and throws left hands while his forearm sticks into Mousasi’s gut. Big John stands them up. Lawal goes for a leg and Mousasi tries to sprawl but it is to no avail. Lawal gets the takedown and moves into side control. It’s the first time Lawal has had any kind of control on the mat tonight. And of course, he lets it go and we’re back to Lawal grabbing a wrist while Mousasi rolls over to his side. Mousasi is trying to throw rights from the bottom position but he doesn’t have the distance. Round ends with Lawal staring at a downed Mousasi.
Mousasi throws a right hook but Lawal defends. Lawal feints a right and secures a double leg takedown. Lawal forces Mousasi’s head against the cage on the takedown. Lawal goes for wrist control while Mousasi attempts a hammerfist. “King Mo” chants start. Big John calls for time with three minutes left due to an illegal upkick as he kicked the head of a grounded fighter. A point is taken from Mousasi and the fight is restarted on the ground. Lawal’s left eye is nearly swollen shut. Mousasi is warned again for kicking to the head of a grounded fighter. Mousasi is bleeding from the bridge of his nose. Mousasi gets up. Lawal grabs Mousasi and gets his back from a standing position. Mousasi breaks free and misses a heavy right hand. Lawal takes Mousasi down appears on his way to the light heavyweight title. Big John stands them up with thirty seconds left. Mousasi stalks as Lawal backpedals. Nice jab lands from Lawal and he punctuates the round with another double leg takedown.
Inside Fights scores it 49-45 Lawal
Result: Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal by unanimous decision 49-45 on all three cards
Lawal becomes the new Strikeforce Light Heavyweight champion. He thanks the haters in the crowd and says he’s just going to keep on winning.
Strikeforce Lightweight Championship
Gilbert Melendez (c) vs. Shinya Aoki
Referee: Mario Yamasaki
Melendez stands in the center of the cage while Aoki circles from the outside. Melendez initiates a clinch and throws a right but it misses. Aoki with a kick to the body but it’s caught and Aoki is tripped to the mat. Melendez lets him up. More circling from Aoki. Melendez is trying to gauge the distance with his jab. Melendez catches a finger in the eye and the referee calls a halt to the bout. After a minute break, the fight is restarted. Melendez goes for a nice overhand right but Aoki already began his shoot attempt. Melendez down and Aoki goes for an armbar. Melendez escapes and they are back to their feet. Aoki goes for a spinning backfist and it oddly results in a Melendez punch landing to Aoki’s back. Aoki tripped to the mat. Melendez dives in with left hands. Aoki is squirming in defense but is able to get to his feet. Left body kick from Aoki lands. Melendez lands a jab and follows with some good rights to the body as the round ends.
Aoki shoots in and catches a right uppercut flush. Aoki shoots for a leg again and Melendez goes for ankle control of his downed opponent. Aoki uses his feet to keep the distance and the referee stands the fighters up. Melendez throws a bomb but Aoki sidesteps. Melendez has Aoki pressed against the cage and lands some vicious combos. Aoki complains to the referee about Melendez holding. Melendez lands a right hand off of a jab. Aoki circles the cage while Melendez stalks from the center. Aoki continues to circle left while Melendez attempts to cut him off. Melendez stuffs a takedown and Melendez tries to land some finishing shots. Aoki pulls guard as Melendez forces him to the cage. Aoki has the champion wrapped up so Melendez goes for shoulder strikes as the round comes to an end.
Aoki shoots twice to start and both attempts are averted by Melendez. Aoki again goes for a leg but Melendez proves to be too strong. Melendez falls on top of Aoki and right into full guard from Aoki. Aoki loosens up his guard and the fighters are back to their feet. Melendez uses his jab to keep Aoki as far away as possible. Aoki voluntarily goes to his back. Melendez lands a right but Aoki winds up with wrist control and full guard. This is going nowhere. Fans starting to boo. Melendez gets his hands free and absolutely unloads but little damage is done to Aoki. The stall again on the ground and the referee stands them up with thirty seconds left. Melendez rushes in and Aoki lands a nice knee but this round was all Melendez.
Aoki circles left and tries to close the distance but a left from Melendez backs the challenger up. Aoki goes to his back again and Melendez drops to his knees to disallow any kicks to the head from Aoki. Ref stands them up. Aoki shoots and Melendez catches him in a belly-to-belly and lands a vicious knee to Aoki’s stomach. Aoki goes down but Melendez lets him back up. Aoki circles and misses a single leg. Aoki stays down, hoping that Melendez will eventually welcome his invitation to the mat. Melendez refuses to accept and Aoki is back up. Aoki misses a takedown attempt and he scoots after Melendez from his butt. Melendez connects on a beautiful right that draws a questionable warning from referee Mario Yamasaki. Melendez finishes the round with a flurry.
Aoki circles the cage while Melendez feints the jab. Melendez closes the distance and Aoki immediately grabs his head out of a scrum, claiming to be thumbed in the eye. The ref checks him out and the fight is restarted. Aoki down to the mat and Melendez pulls guard. Aoki ties up Melendez’ arms and switches to rubber guard. Melendez breaks free and lands two rights before Aoki uses his legs once again to create a distance. The fighters are ordered back to their feet. Aoki circles, shoots, misses and tries to pull guard. Melendez, again, does not oblige. Aoki shoots with a minute left and pulls guard this time, only to see Melendez escape. Thirty seconds remain and both fighters are on their feet. Aoki continues to fall to his back. Melendez rushes and drops down hammerfists, two of which land. More attempts by Melendez to finish the fight come up short as the fight comes to an end.
Inside Fights scores it 50-45 Melendez
Result: Gilbert Melendez by unanimous decision 50-45 on all three cards
Melendez thanks his fans and gives credit to Aoki for being a dangerous and intelligent fighter. Melendez thinks he deserves some love now in the lightweight rankings and believes he is top three in the division.
Jason “Mayhem” Miller vs. Tim Stout
Highlights from this fight from the undercard are shown. This fight card is already running extremely long on time with only two fights in nearly two hours. Let’s just get to the main event.
Stout turtled in the first and Mayhem took advantage by throwing punches en route to a stoppage and first round TKO. With the win, Mayhem will now face Robbie Lawler in June.
Strikeforce Middleweight Championship
Jake Shields (c) vs. Dan Henderson
Referee: John McCarthy
Shields starts with a head kick. Henderson misses a right but connects on his second right hook sending Shields to the mat. Henderson gets on top but Shields covers up well and recuperates. Back to their feet and another right from Henderson sends Shields staggering backwards. Henderson with more rights as he is looking solely to land the right and finish this fight. Shields opts to go down to his back but Henderson denies. Back up and Henderson has his right cocked. Shields gets into a clinch against the cage and the fighters rest a bit as they jockey for leverage. Referee John McCarthy separates the two and restarts the fight. Shields gets a takedown but Henderson is back up and has Shields pressed against the cage in a clinch. Henderson misses an elbow as the round expires
Shields shoots for a single leg takedown. Henderson fights the attempt and Shields won’t let go of the leg. Henderson goes for Shields’ back as the champion holds onto the leg. Shields works from the ground and maneuvers into full mount. Shields lands a few right hands from the top. Henderson goes to his side but is reluctant to give up his back. Shields picks Henderson apart with jabs from the full mount. Henderson tries to clinch but Shields is teeing off to the body and head. Henderson rolls to his side and Shields flirts with a side choke before going back to more punches from the top. As dominant as Henderson looked in the first round, Shields looked every bit as dominant in the second.
Henderson misses a right. Shields feints a leg kick. Shields shoots for a single leg and secures a takedown but Henderson immediately scrambles to his feet. Shields jabs and narrowly averts a right hand counter from Henderson. Shields shoots and gets a single leg takedown. Shields tries to pass guard but Henderson has him in half guard. Shields is able to move into side control and they scramble on the ground for a dominant position. We end up where we started as Shields gets back to side control. Shields slides on top and goes for a mounted guillotine but Henderson is able to pop his head out from the tight squeeze. Shields has full mount as Henderson tries to buck him off. Shields goes for an armbar with less than ten seconds remaining in the round. Henderson gets a right in before the round ends.
Henderson with a big right that misses followed by a kick. Shields dumps Henderson down with a single leg but Henderson gets right back to his feet. Another single leg shoot from Shields and they wrestle on the mat with Henderson locking Shields up in a crucifix. Henderson could get credit for a pinfall here but no limbs are free for striking so he relents. Shields moves back to a mount as Henderson can’t hold onto the half guard. Shields into side control as he works Henderson’s arm. Shields can’t get the submission and seamlessly floats into full mount. Shields throws punches as Henderson defends. Henderson flails a backfist from his back. Shields continues the striking as Henderson can do little but cover up and move his head.
Henderson needs a knockout. Shields keeps active with the jab to set up his next shoot attempt. And here it comes right on cue. Shields takes Henderson’s leg and wrestles him to the mat. Shields maneuvers into full mount once again as Henderson attempts to use the cage to get up. Henderson rolls to his side and Shields goes for the neck but Henderson reverts to his back. Shields into side control and he briefly works the arm before getting back to full mount. They have migrated away from the cage and closer to the center of the cage. Henderson uses his upper body strength in attempt to power out of Shields’ mount but it doesn’t work. Shields reestablishes his mount and goes for an armbar with twenty seconds left. Shields slips and goes for a kneebar while Henderson kicks at him as the fight comes to an end.
Inside Fights has it 48-45 Shields
Result: Official Decision: Jake Shields by unanimous decision 49-46, 49-45, 48-45
Shields is giving credit to Dan Henderson in the post-fight interview for the beating Hendo gave him in the first when Jason “Mayhem” Miller interrupts and asks about his rematch. Miller lives up to his nickname as mayhem breaks out in the cage. Shields’ team of fighters, which include Nick Diaz and Gilbert Melendez, are in the middle of a melee. People are being pulled off of one another as Gus Johnson reminds them they are on live television. Nate Diaz can be seen in the middle of the pandemonium as most of the attention is on pulling Diaz away. CBS cuts their live coverage and does not return to air.
I can’t see CBS being happy with how this night played out. There were two one-sided bouts that couldn’t have done much to drum up interest from casual fights. And the main event became one-sided and was sapped of all the drama that was built up in the first two rounds.
CBS decided to pull their coverage and not return to the hysteria that was going on in the ring. Nick Diaz seemed to be at the center of this after taking offense to Mayhem Miller’s post-fight interruption. Mayhem had no business in the cage and no one should be surprised by Nick’s reaction as he’s shown a short temper in the past. Just a messy night for MMA.
Tags: CBS, DREAM, Gilbert Melendez, jason mayhem miller, Jason Miller, king mo, Mixed Martial Arts, Muhammed Lawal, Shinya Aoki, Strikeforce, Strikeforce: Nashville, UFC, UFC.com