Not bad for an alternate. Daniel Cormier made his case as to be included as one of the top five heavyweights in the world, besting the far more experienced Josh Barnett in the Strikeforce heavyweight Grand Prix final on Saturday night.
The Olympic bronze medalist took the former UFC heavyweight king to the mat, battered him on the feet and displayed great conditioning in lasting 25 minutes in their bout at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif. With the win, Cormier remains unbeaten in 10 professional mixed martial arts appearances.
In the evening’s co-main event, Gilbert Melendez took a hard-fought split decision against Josh Thomson to retain his 155-pound belt. With the win, “El Nino” gained some closure against his nemesis by taking two of three in a trilogy that began in 2008. Here is a by-the-numbers look at Strikeforce “Barnett vs. Cormier,” with statistics provided courtesy of FightMetric.com.
131: Total strikes landed by Daniel Cormier in his five-round victory over Josh Barnett in the Strikeforce heavyweight Grand Prix final. The 2004 Olympic bronze medalist landed more total strikes than “The Warmaster” in every frame but the fifth. The greatest disparity came in round three, when he outlanded Barnett 38 to 12.
0: Times Daniel Cormier has been taken down in his six previous Strikeforce appearances. Gary Frazier, Jeff Monson and Antonio Silva were a combined 0-for-6 on takedowns against the American Kickboxing Academy product. Barnett failed on his only takedown attempt.
1,966: Days since Josh Barnett’s last professional defeat, a unanimous decision loss to Antonio Rodridgo Nogueira at a Pride Fighting Championships event on New Year’s Eve 2006. “The Warmaster” had won eight straight fights within five different promotions before falling to Cormier.
4: Takedowns by Cormier. In fights that have been documented by FightMetric, Barnett had not been taken down since his loss to Nogueira in 2006.
111: Significant strike advantage for Cormier against his three heavyweight Grand Prix foes. The American Kickboxing Academy product defeated Jeff Monson (86 to 15), Antonio Silva (15 to 6) and Barnett (84 to 53) to become the promotion’s first tournament champion.
75: Total minutes of fight time between Gilbert Melendez and Josh Thomson in Strikeforce bouts. Melendez defeated the Californian via split decision on Saturday to retain his lightweight crown. All three contests between the two men have been championship bouts.
56: Significant strikes by which Thomson outlanded Melendez in their first meeting on June 27, 2008, a bout “The Punk” won via unanimous decision. It was the only time Melendez has been outstruck in his last 15 cage appearances. Melendez outlanded Thomson 132 to 76 in their main event matchup on Saturday.
84: Percentage of strikes landed by Thomson that were deemed significant by FightMetric.com. By comparison, 58 percent of Melendez’s strikes landed during his five-round encounter with Thomson were significant.
5: Takedowns by Melendez against Thomson in the final bout of their trilogy. In their previous two meetings, Thomson held an 8-to-0 edge in takedowns against “El Nino.” Melendez was 5 for 10 on takedowns on Saturday night; he was a combined 0-for-11 in their first two encounters.
111: Strikes to the head landed by Melendez. By comparison, Thomson landed 59 total strikes to the head of his opponent.
39: Advantage in ground strikes for Melendez. The Skrap Pack representative did most of his damage in the final frame, landing 34 strikes on the floor against “The Punk.”
8:32: Difference in time between Rafael Cavalcante’s first meeting with Mike Kyle – a second round TKO loss – and his rematch with the American Kickboxing Academy product on Saturday night, which “Feijao” won with a guillotine choke 33 seconds into the opening frame.
0: Total strikes landed by Kyle versus Cavalcante. The 32-year-old managed to throw just one strike before “Feijao” secured his fight-ending submission.
2-4: Record for Gesias Cavalcante since he captured the K-1 Hero’s middleweight tournament championship with a victory over Andre Amado in 2007. During that time, two of JZ’s bouts -- versus Shinya Aoki and Justin Wilcox -- have been ruled no-contests due to fouls by the Brazilian. Cavalcante dropped a split decision to Isaac Vallie-Flagg on Saturday night.
66: Total strike advantage for Vallie-Flagg in the third round of his split-decision triumph over Cavalcante. The Jackson’s MMA product grew stronger by the round in the most significant test of his career to date. After being outlanded 36 to 25 in round one by his Brazilian opponent, the New Mexico resident outstruck “JZ” in rounds two (47 to 32) and three (91 to 25).
11: Fight unbeaten streak for Vallie-Flagg, who hasn’t tasted defeat since losing to Rudy Bears via first-round submission in 2007.
29: Total strike advantage for Chris Spang in his first-round knockout victory against Nah-Shon Burrell. “The Kiss” landed 40 of his 61 strikes before finishing the bout with a series of knees and uppercuts in the Thai plum. Burrell had won his last six fights, including three under the Strikeforce banner.
101: Total strikes landed by Carlos Augusto Filho in his unanimous decision triumph over Virgil Zwicker. It was the first fight for Inocente since Sept. 17, 2010.
.140: Significant striking accuracy for Derrick Mehmen in his unanimous decision loss to Gian Villante. Mehman landed just 29 of 203 significant strikes he attempted in the light heavyweight affair.
39: Significant strikes by which Villante outlanded Mehmen. The former Hofstra University football and wrestling standout connected on 68 of his 132 significant strikes, a 52 percent success rate.