New champion crowned as Strikeforce lowers the curtains
In the first match up of the main card on Strikeforce’s final event Jacre Souza took on UFC fighter and TUF 3 alum Ed Herman in a catch-weight bout at 194 pounds.
Jacre used some precise striking to set up a take down. they were reset on their feet after Herman was warned for up kicking a downed opponent. Once Jacre got him down again he quickly locked in a kimura and Herman taps out at 3:10 of round 1. Rolondo “Jacre” Souza does his last alligator crawl across the cage for the Strikeforce fans in Oklahoma City.
Former Strikeforce and Dream light heavyweight champion “The Dreamcatcher” Gegard Mousasi took on the powerhouse Mike Kyle.
Just over a minute into the fight Mousasi gets the take down and as Kyle allows Mousasi move into half guard so he can try to get up. Mousasi starts working the short elbows that splits the head of Kyle. Mousasi moves to the mount and postures up. Mousasi rains down punches and Kyle gives up his back and Mousasi locks in the rear naked choke to get the tap out at 4:09 of round number 1.
Nandor Guelmino stepped up to the challenge and took on long time heavyweight veteran and former UFC heavyweight champion Josh “The War Master” Barnett.
The sambo fighter Barnett gets the quick tie up and take down. Barnett tried for a leg lock and Guelmino uses the opportunity to get to his feet but can get no space before Barnett latches back on and drags him to the mat and ends up in the mount. Barnett locks in the arm triangle from the mount and Guelmino taps out 2:11 the first round. That moves Barnett’s record to 32-6 with 20 wins coming by way of submission. Barnett gives his classic pro-wrestling style interview after the fight and calls the other heavyweights cowards and tells them to run because he is going to take all their heads.
Dion “The Soldier” Staring, who is an Afghanistan war veteran, stepped up to the plate to face the two time Olympic wrestler, the Strikeforce Grand Prix Champion and undefeated Heavyweight Champion Daniel Cormier.
Cormier was making his return to Oklahoma were he was an Oklahoma State All-American wrestler. Staring has Alistar Overeem in his corner who Cormier replaced in the grand prix tournament. Cormier showed some thudding kicks early in the fight before Staring tried to tie him up. Cormier doesn’t mind and gets a huge throw and is now in side control. Cormier delivers some short elbows before Staring is able to get to his feet. Cormier lands a big right hand and left that has Staring hurt and Cormier takes the fight back to the ground. Cormier from side control works the short elbows again and knocks out the mouth piece of Staring got up long enough for McCarthy to pause the action and get the mouth piece back in. Cormier takes the fight back to the mat and delivers more big elbows and punches but Staring is able to survive the round.
Staring ties up Cormier in the second and Cormier puts him back on the mat. Cormier with more short elbows until Staring rolls over and Cormier has to switch to punches. McCarthy has seen enough after Cormeir spends the almost the next three minutes punching a turtled up Staring. Cormier walks over after the fight and tells Staring he is “tough as shit.” Nice sentiment but when the highlight for your night is the fact that you were able to keep from getting knocked out it still isn’t a good day at the office. Winner by TKO at 4:02 of round 2 Daniel Cormier. On April 20th on FOX Daniel Cormier wants Frank Mir and than he is going to let Jon Jones defend is belt on the 27th of April then kick his ass in the fall to a loud eruption from the crowd.
In the main event former UFC title middleweight title challenger and Strikeforce Welterweight Champion Nate “The Great” Marquardt was unable to successfully defend his belt in his first try against Team Quest fighter Tarec “Sponge” Saffiedine.
The first round was Marquardt walking him down and Saffiedine punishing the lead leg with kicks. Marquardt tried to rush in and ate a straight that dropped him. Marquardt tries for a take down Saffiedine defends but Marquardts head is clear now and he is back to pushing the action. Saffiedine side steps a punch and they are tied up on the fence. They trade knees and positions as they jockey for the take down.
The story of this fight was all about Saffiedine punishing the lead leg of Marquardt and defending take downs. Saffiedine showed some great take down defense that he has acquired under the tutelage of Dan Henderson at Team Quest. Saffiedine’s strikes were crisp tonight and a counter right straight had dropped Marquardt in the first round. It didn’t matter that Marquardt was the bigger stronger man becuase Saffiedine used his quickness and technical striking to take this fight. Saffiedine went over and over to the lead leg that looked punished at the end of the first round as the fight progressed Saffiedine pounded away on both sides of that leg over and over. By the close of round three Marquardt’s mouth was hanging open and his left thigh is showing the visible signs of broken blood vessels under the skin.
Round 4 and Marquardt takes a couple more kicks to that leg and it is buckling with eat shot. Pat Militech and Frank Shamrock are commenting on how bad that leg is. Marquardt tried to make a final push looking for the finish with the hay makers. Marquardt tried to tie up Saffiedine with the clinches and Saffiedine would drive his heel down into the mangled thigh of Marquardt. Marquardt also was busted open in the fourth round above the left eye but you can’t stop looking at that leg. The fifth round was nothing different Saffiedine punishing the leg and landing clean shots down the middle. Saffiedine got his own take down with a minute left and dropped big punches and elbows all the way till the final horn sounded. Tarec “The Sponge” Saffiedine received scores 48-47, 49-46, and 49-26 to go down in history as the final Strikeforce Welterweight Champion. Saffiedine started out on the Strikeforce Challengers series and worked his way up to get a championship shot and made the most of it.
Scott Coker the president and founder of Strikeforce started the promotion in 1985 as a kickboxing organization. He admitted it being tough closing the doors but is proud of the all the fighters and what they have done. Coker also thanked Showtime for giving them the opportunity to bring their events to more people and will be indebted to them.