The first major card of 2012 happens tonight as Strikeforce returns to Showtime on their free preview weekend. Newly crowned middleweight champion Luke Rockhold will defend his title against former UFC light heavyweight and Ultimate Fighter alum Keith Jardine. Former Olympic hopeful and Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal returns to the cage as well as Tyron Woodley, former collegiate wrestling teammate of Bellator welterweight champion Ben Askren. Stay tuned for all of our live coverage of the event!
Interesting to see how Strikeforce has changed so far under the Zuffa banner. The entrances appear to be UFC-like now, without the big stage and more subdued.
Alonzo Martinez vs. Estevan Payan
Round 1: Martinez pushes the pace early and the two are exchanging with big shots early on. They are throwing wild power shots, Martinez throwing more wildly but not connecting as often as Payan. He’s countering Martinez’s big windmill shots with hooks and quick jabs. Martinez goes for the takedown and can’t finish, Payan hitting straight rights off his left jab repeatedly. His combinations look crisp, too. Payan goes for the takedown but can’t finish, gets him against the cage and hits with a combo. Martinez gets away and is eating a lot of unanswered punches. Payan looks really crisp; Martinez isn’t wading in with wild shots and seems to be cautious in exchanging. Payan is controlling the center and Martinez goes for the takedown and gets him against the cage. Couldn’t complete, eats a hook as Payan circles away. Round ends as Payan clearly won the round.
Round Score: 10-9 Payan
Fight Score (So Far) 10-9 Payan
Round 2 Payan works his jab early and Martinez is hesitant to throw. Anytime Martinez tries to do anything he’s eating a jab or a straight to the face. Payan lands a combination that knocks off Martinez’s mouthguard. Martinez is throwing wild and Payan is eating him up with distance; he’s found his range and is just connecting with some hard shots. Payan hits a big body kick and Martinez goes for a desperate takedown, can’t finish it and Payan gets him up against the cage. He’s picking his spots now and Martinez looks weary of exposing any part of himself up for Payan’s striking game. Martinez goes for a takedown and is really sloppy on it, Payan sprawls and gets away easily. Payan is owning the distance game easily; Martinez goes for a handful of punches and eats some hard strikes from Payan. He’s looking to get back when he throws punches and there’s nothing on them; Payan is evading easily and Martinez is eating a number of strong shots to the face.
Round Score: 10-9 Payan
Fight Score (So Far) 20-18 Payan
Round 3: Payan pushes the pace early, connecting with a number of shots. Martinez responds with some leg kicks and shows some life early in the 3rd. Payan makes him eat some jabs, though, and Martinez is more confident in his kicks. He’s establishing his range more effectively and Payan isn’t countering his kicks as effectively as his punches. Payan makes him eat some big uppercuts off a pair of wild exchanges; Payan has him figured out now and is almost landing whenever he wants. He’s thoroughly out-classing Martinez at this point on his feet; Martinez is going for some sloppy takedowns, just reaching and not driving, and Payan is stuffing them easily. Martinez is hitting him with some big shots. Martinez looks to be wanting to just survive the fight and not win the last round or try for a finish. He seems resigned to his fate and Payan isn’t letting up. Round ends with Martinez going for a takedown again and failing, Payan hitting some body shots and laying on Martinez’s back.
Round Score: 10-9 Payan
Official Inside Fights Score 30-27 Payan
Official Result 30-27, 30-27, 30-27 Payan by UD
Ricky Legere vs. Chris Spang
Round 1: Legere comes out pushing the pace, neither fighter throwing but making Spang get up against the cage. Legere with a HUGE slam and takes Spang down. Spang in closed guard, goes for an armbar from bottom but can’t finish. Legere and Spang play position game against the game; neither are going for strikes. Legere with a couple light strikes but nothing major. Legere passes into side control, along the fence. Spang is controlling Legere’s head well and counters Legere’s attempt into mount into half guard. Full guard, Spang moves his hips up high. Legere tries to posture up for strikes, Spang does a great job preventing anything major. Spang pushes him off and Legere moves quickly to get Spang against the cage again. Round ends with Legere going for a double. Spang with a guillotine to finish the round. Legere almost taps right before round ends.
Round Score: 10-9 Spang … Legere had better position but didn’t do much with it. Spang tried to finish twice, connected with the only major strikes of the round and almost finished it. Wouldn’t be shocked if it was 10-9 Legere on position, though.
Round 2: Flying knee from Spang and Legere gets the takedown again. Spang in full guard, closed. Legere not doing much on top, connecting with a small hammerfist but Spang is doing a good job using his body to keep Legere from hitting anything with power behind it. Spang tries to sweep himself out, Legere into sidecontrol and Spang gets Legere back into his guard. Back on the ground, not much happening. Standup. Spang connects with an overhand right and Legere goes for the takedown off a missed spinning backfist from Spang. Legere gets the double, Spang uses a crotchlift to stop . Legere counters and slams him across the cage. Lands in half guard. Spang controlling his head and it’s a positional game at this point. Legere is looking to advance position, Spang is holding on, round ends in this position.
Round Score: Legere 10-9
Fight Score (So Far) 19-19
Round 3: Spang comes out throwing and being more cautious, maintaining the distance so Legere can’t take him down. Legere is almost content to stand with him as Spang is connecting more, including a big kick to the gut. Spang picks him apart on his feet in the first 90 seconds of the fight; Legere gets him down on a takedown. It was a strong takedown; Legere took a single and converted it to a double as Spang stopped the initial shot. Legere in Spang’s guard again, playing the position game again. Legere stands them up after about 90 seconds of inactivity, Spang unloads and Legere goes for the takedown, chains a single into a trip but can’t finish. Gets Spang against the cage, though. Legere goes for a slam but can’t finish, but gets Spang down to the ground. Legere back in his guard, Spang escapes and gets the back. Locks in a rear naked choke, has it deep but defended well by Legere. Legere is defending this well, Spang goes for an armbar with ten seconds left, Legere rolls into mount as the round ends.
Round Score: 10-9 Legere
Official Inside Fights Score 29-28 Legere
Official Result 29-28 Legere by UD
Trevor Smith vs. Gian Villante
Round 1: Smith goes for an early takedown, Villante gets him down, scrambled back up and hits a knee against the cage. Smith with kicks and Villante responds in kind. Straight right from Villante and hammerfists, Smith eats a number of shots but is still in it. Kim Winslow stops the fight right as Smith begins to comeback. Bad stoppage.
Official Result Gian Villante by TKO at 1:05 of the first round
Nah-Shon Burrell vs. James Terry
Round 1: Lot of stalking to start, Terry with a lower leg kick that almost goes a bit lower than he wanted. Burrell with a big left that staggers him, followed by a stiff leg shot. Terry is staying away from Burrell’s power as anytime Burrell connects he’s doing damage. Terry with a takedown, Burrell in full guard but open. He scoots back to the cage, Terry reassesses and into half guard. Burrell isn’t doing much on his back and Terry is mainly working to get into side control. Burrell gets back up by terry into a guillotine, Terry locks a single leg and drags him down. Burrell powers out of mount and terry still has top control. Manages to get back but Burrell doing good work controlling his hands. Terry gets a hand free long enough to connect with a short uppercut, Burrell into the cage. Terry looking for a single as Burrell goes for a switch, can’t finish and Terry gets him to the ground. Not strong positioning though and Burrell back to his feet, back against the cage. Round ends as Terry goes for a superman punch.
Round Score: 10-9 Terry
Round 2: Terry goes for a high kick that gets blocked by Burrell. Terry is staying away from Burrell’s power; tries to get in and out with quick jabs but Burrell makes him pay with some big shots. Terry catches Burrell coming in and goes for the takedown. Gets it and gets into side control. Terry goes for the mount, lands in half guard. Looking to get to his back and gets it, can’t get in hooks and Burrell gets away. Burrell wins the exchanges with striking; Terry is darting in and eating much bigger punches than he’s giving. Terry goes for a takedown but Burrell makes him eats some knees for it. Burrell looks so much more confident on his feet and is beginning to figure out the distance; you can see he’s figuring out when Terry is going to go for a takedown. Terry goes for a wild double leg and gets him down but Burrell fights it off strongly, landing in half guard. Round ends with Terry hitting some strikes from the top.
Round Score: 10-9 Terry
Fight Score (So Far) 20-18 Terry
Round 3: Burrell stalks Terry across the cage and is winning the striking game. Terry is circling away from Burrell and Burrell goes a little wild. Against the cage and Terry eats a big left hook exiting. Burrell stops a takedown attempt with a knee to the body. Burrell is taking him apart on his feet this round but he isn’t going for combinations, et al. He’s almost content to hit one punch instead of a combination. Big left hook and a knee to the head, then knees to the bodies. Terry knows he’s up two rounds and is doing what he can to last the rest of this and take the decision.
Burrell is getting a bit flashy as Terry isn’t going for takedowns, et al, and is content with circling away. Big right uppercut from Burrell and he spends most of the final minute going for home run shots but unable to finish. One of them winds up with Terry going for the takedown and pinning him against the cage. Round ends with Terry maintaining top control.
Round Score: 29-28 Terry
Official Inside Fights Score 29-28 Terry
Official Score: 29-28 Terry, 29-28 Burrell, 29-28 Burrell … Burrell by SD
Tarec Saffiedine vs. Tyler Stinson
Round 1: Stinson comes out with a couple wild punches and lands a couple on Tarec. Tarec is moving away and looking for the counter as Stinson is head hunting tonight. Stinson is stalking him across the cage and Tarec is in retreat. Lands a good round kick to the head, Stinson counters with an outside leg kick. Stinson wild again, Tarec with another high kick. Tarec with a nice combination as Stinson is waiting for a big shot instead of just throwing wildly. Tarec is working some good outside kicks, Tarec gets him against the cage. Stinson gets caught with a big elbow and Stinson charges after but can’t capitalize. Tarec gets the takedown and Stinson with a beautiful rolling armbar. Can’t finish, scramble and they’re on their feet. Tarec goes for a left hook, Stinson with a counter of his own and Stinson pounces. Last 20 seconds of the round with Stinson stalking, connecting with some big shots but not quite connecting with the big kill shot he’s looking for.
Round Score: 10-9 Stinson
Round 2: Stinson starts the round by stalking, looking to throw that left. Stinson chases him across the cage, looking for moments to throw. He connects with a handful of shots but misses the big ones. Tarec is on the defensive as Stinson is pushing the pace. Stinson pushes Tarec into the cage with his movement, throwing wildly but connecting with a handful of what he’s throwing. Tarec goes for the takedown and gets it, landing in half guard. Stinson is going for a sweep and ends up getting into full guard. Tarec is hitting some body shots but nothing major. He’s not being very active but enough to prevent a standup, I think. Stinson is doing a good job defending himself, using wrist control to keep Tarec from going for anything big. It’s mainly hand fighting at this point as the round ends with Tarec on top but not doing an extreme amount on top.
Round Score: 10-9 Tarec
Fight Score (So Far) 19-19
Round 3: Stinson gets hit low to start the round, takes a minute to recover. Tarec unloads with some big kicks and then gets a big takedown on Stinson. Lands in side control. Stinson rolls into an armbar but can’t finish it, gets into guard with Tarec. Tarec on top but not doing much; just enough to be active though. Stinson is playing wrist control and keeping him from doing anything major. Not much is happening as Tarec is trying to hit something big but Stinson is defending himself really well on the bottom.
Tarec isn’t doing anything to pass guard and Stinson is hitting him with short elbow and fists from inside Stinson’s guard. Stinson is cut with about 20 seconds left and there’s a standup. Stinson is controlling the octagon positioning game as Tarec is looking to counter. Stinson with a good left counter and both miss with high kicks. Stinson pours it on for the last 15 seconds as Tarec is ducking most of it. Round ends and both are fairly bloody. Tough round to score.
Round Score: 10-9 Tarec
Official Inside Fights Score 29-28 Tarec
Official Result 29-28 Stinson, 30-27 Tarec, 29-28 Tarec … Tarec by SD
Jordan Mein vs. Tyron Woodley
Round 1: Mein comes out flashing the jab, not hitting, and Woodley connects with a body kick after missing a wild overhand right. Woodley is looking to set up a shot with his strikes but hasn’t gone for a shot yet. Mein is staying away and waiting for it. Woodley shoots in and Mein defends it against the cage. Woodley picks up the leg in a high crotch but can’t finish it. Mein is using leverage to prevent the takedown. ref break and Mein connects with some light kicks. Woodley goes for a double and can’t finish, turns it into a body lock and gets him to the ground. Woodley’s arm triangle fails and he’s in half guard, Mein controlling his opponent’s upper body with hooks. Woodley goes for the posture and Mein tries to sweep, scramble and Woodley back into half guard. Woodley gets swept into a scramble, both men on their feet. Round ends with Woodley going for a takedown after a missed front kick from Mein.
Round Score: 10-9 Woodley
Round 2: Mein pushing forward and Woodley looking for a shot. Connects with a big overhand right, goes for the takedown and can’t connect on the double. Gets a body lock and trips him down and back into half guard. Woodley not doing much on the ground as Mein gets him into full guard. Trying to turn it into butterfly guard and get his weight off, Woodley working well enough to prevent. Neither guy is doing much from this spot; Mein is looking for an elbow to the head but Woodley is defending it well. Shocked there isn’t a standup at this point but not a lot of action. Mein is starting to connect with elbows but as soon as he connects Woodley is adjusting position. Round continues with Woodley trying to stack Mein up but not doing much with it.
Round Score: 10-9 Woodley
Fight Score (So Far) 20-18 Woodley
Round 3: Mein goes for a knee and misses, Woodley capitalizes and takes him down. Lays on top of him in an open full guard, Woodley gets his face into the cage. Mein and Woodley do the same thing as round 2; elbows hit until Woodley adjusts, attempts at sweeps are stopped and Woodley comfortable staying in guard. Halfway into the round and Woodley content to stay in position.
Mein is looking for a keylock and Woodley is defending well. With 80 seconds left we get a standup and Mein throws wildly. Woodley goes back to his takedown and gets the bodylock again. Mein gets into the clinch and going for the takedown, can’t finish. Round ends with the two pressed into the cage exchanging knees.
Round Score: 10-9 Woodley
Official Inside Fights Score 30-27 Woodley
Official Result 29-28 Mein, 29-28 Woodley, 29-28 Woodley … Woodley by SD
Lorenz Larkin vs. Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal
Round 1: Both come out a bit tentative, Larkin leery of a shit and Lawal of Larkin’s power. Lawal with a big single and slams him down hard. Lawal postures up and cnonects with some shots and he’s aggressive in his posturing. Larkin is eating a lot of shots to the body and elbows to the head while in full guard. Larkin is going for a sweep but Lawal is maintaining his hips. Larkin tries to get a scramble but Lawal stands up and lands back into Larkin’s half guard. Lawal stops the sweep of Larkin with some big strikes. Larkin tries to roll his way out and Lawal keeping the pressure on. Lawal with some big ground and pound with Larkin against the cage. Larkin’s being controlled on top by Lawal with good hip movement. Larkin’s eaten a lot of punishment and a bad standup from Kim Winslow. Lawal is stalking Larkin and maintaining control of the cage. Larkin isn’t committing because he’s worried about Lawal’s shot. Round ends with Larkin going for a quick flurry but not connecting.
Round Score: 10-9 Lawal
Round 2: Larkin connects with a couple uppercuts but Lawal gets a big single leg to a foot sweep, landing in Larkin’s guard. Larkin is trying to control Lawal’s hands but Lawal works the body and hammer fists to the head. Lawal postures up and pours on with some big punches, ref stops in at 1:31 of the second round.
Official Result: Lawal by TKO at 1:31 of the second
Adlan Amagov vs. Robbie Lawler
Round 1: Both come out wildly and Amagov gets a takedown. Lawler up quickly but Amagov gets him back down, working in open half guard. Lawler on his knees, Amagov knees him to the head illegally. One point being deducted from Amagov.
Neither guy throwing, Lawler with a flying knee and nails Amagov. Strikes finish it off.
Official Result: Lawler by TKO at 1:48 of the first round
Luke Rockhold vs. Keith Jardine
Round 1: Jardine comes out aggressive, connecting with a couple lower leg kicks and throwing some punches. Rockhold with a body kick and a jab. Flying knee from Rockhold misses, Jardine goes for the single and the two are against the cage. Rockhold reverses him against the cage, landing some knees to the mid section. Rockhold is trying to circle away and Rockhold is doing well to keep him there, releases him and back to the middle of the cage. Rockhold with a spinning back kick that connects after missing a wild head kick. Jardine with a stiff jab and Rokchold catches him with a right. Jardine with a left and Rockhold clinches against the cage. Jardine circles away, Rockhold misses a spinning back kick and another wild head kick before hitting a shin to the body. Wild exchange and goes for the clinch, Jardine rolls away. Right hand catches Rockhold mid kick, left hook connects from Jardine. Rockhold tags him with a big right and Jardine is ROCKED! He the unloads and takes a number of wild shots, Rockhold unloads until Herb Dean pulls him off with 34 seconds left in the round.
Official Result: Rockhold by TKO at 4:26 of the first round
Tags: Adlan Amagov, Jordan Mein, Keith Jardine, Lorenz Larkin, Luke Rockhold, Mixed Martial Arts, Muhammed Lawal, Robbie Lawler, tyron woodley