Strikeforce Live Results and Play-by-Play

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Chris Mierzwiak vs. Dominique Steele

Round 1
Steele comes forward with a pair of left hands and an uppercut, immediately causing Mierzwiak to clinch up. Mierzwiak winds up on the bottom, but keeps scrambling and catches Steele in a loose triangle. Steele pops loose and they stand, only to clinch again. Steele gets underhooks and tosses Mierzwiak down, but they don’t stay there for long. Left hook connects for Steele, then a jumping knee appears to daze Mierzwiak, who shoots for a takedown. Steele denies it and Mierzwiak instead cracks him with a knee in the clinch. Mierzwiak takes the driver’s seat now, hopping onto the kneeling Steele’s back. Mierzwiak cinches up a body-triangle and rolls to his back as he works for the rear-naked choke. Steele does well to defend by peeling the wrists and punching over his shoulder, and eventually reverses the position with just under a minute left. They stand back up and Steele puts more left hands on Mierzwiak, then just misses with another jump knee. The middleweights end a very tight first round in the clinch.

Mike Fridley scores the round 10-9 Mierzwiak
Chris Nelson scores the round 10-9 Steele
Mike Whitman scores the round 10-9 Mierzwiak

Round 2
Mierzwiak jumps guard and immediately begins angling for a triangle choke. Steele shucks it off and Mierzwiak drives forward on a leg, then goes back to closed guard. Mierzwiak tries an armbar, but again Steele slips out and moves to north-south position. A knee to the body makes Mierzwiak roll back to guard. Steele keeps punching, gets caught in a loose triangle but immediately slams his way out. Steele works from half-guard on Mierzwiak’s left and punches cause Mierzwiak to roll and give up his back. They stand and Steele connects with a jumping knee. Steele has Mierzwiak pinned on the fence and connects with a half-dozen hard right hands. Mierzwiak looks exhausted; he just dodges a jumping knee, but crumbles after a hard right hook. Steele gives chase and gets the crucifix position against the cage with a minute left. A few short right hands hit the unprotected face of Mierzwiak before the escapes the crucifix, but Steele finishes the round on top.

Mike Fridley scores the round 10-9 Steele
Chris Nelson scores the round 10-9 Steele
Mike Whitman scores the round 10-8 Steele

Round 3
Mierzwiak clinches Steele into the fence early with no result. When they break, Steele times a low kick and puts Mierzwiak on his back in the middle of the cage with a right straight. Mierzwiak gets back to his feet and the tired fighters clinch on the cage as the pace slows significantly from the first 10 minutes. Steele hits an easy double-leg and throws a few punches from closed guard before Mierzwiak throws up a triangle. Steele slips out but leaves Mierzwiak enough space to scramble and take his back. Mierzwiak has a body-triangle and works in slow-motion for a choke. Steele twists into Mierzwiak’s guard with 20 ticks left and finishes on top.

Mike Fridley scores the round 10-9 Steele (29-28 Steele)
Chris Nelson scores the round 10-9 Steele (30-27 Steele)
Mike Whitman scores the round 10-9 Steele (29-27 Steele)

Official result: Judge Randy Crawford scores it 29-28, while judges Sal D’Amato and Chris Lee have it 29-27 for the winner by unanimous decision, Dominique Steele.

Amanda Nunes vs. Alexis Davis

Round 1
Nunes comes out slugging with right hands and the pair are in a firefight immediately. Davis tries to tie up and slow the pace, but Nunes just keeps trying to push her away and throw bombs over the top. Davis throws a knee up the middle and Nunes answers in kind. Davis lands a few solid punches before Nunes digs for a single-leg and spins her down at the base of the fence with three minutes left on the clock. Davis clings to a leg and works back to her feet. The women trade jabs, knees as they move in and out of range in the center. Nunes clubs Davis with a looping right and they clinch up again.

Chris Nelson scores the round 10-9 Nunes
Mike Whitman scores the round 10-10
Freddie DeFreitas scores the round 10-9 Nunes

Round 2
Davis gives no room for Nunes to trade at the start of round two, moving into the clinch against the fence and trying to hop onto the Brazilian’s back. She can’t get there and Nunes stands up while Davis looks for an ankle pick. Davis puts the clinch on and lands an elbow over the top before Nunes reverses. Davis connects with a dozen solid knees to the thigh and body while they work around the perimeter. Nunes is being stifled and not offering much in return. Referee Greg Franklin splits them up with just over a minute to go and Nunes lands a hard right before Davis clinches again. They work off the cage and Nunes hits a hip-toss in the middle, but Davis gets on top immediately. She dodges an upkick from Nunes and works around the side, then hops into full mount. Nunes gives up her back and Davis sinks both hooks in, flattening her out. She tries briefly for a rear-naked choke, but instead decides to throw rapid-fire punches to either side of Nunes’ head. Ref Franklin steps in for the TKO stoppage at 4:53 of round two.

Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos vs. Jordan Mein

Round 1
The welterweight trade chopping leg kicks early with Cyborg landing harder on the outside. Mein sneaks a nice left hand through as they feel one another out. Santos is thudding away with low kicks, but not throwing much up top, while Mein takes the opposite route, looking to string together straight combinations. Mein is making Santos come forward and looking to land a counter left. A nasty low kick takes the right leg out from under Mein, but he pops right back up. Mein looks to be stepping a bit more gingerly in the final moment, switching between orthodox and southpaw style as Cyborg batters his legs. Santos lands a hard right hand to the body and ducks under a left from Mein.

Chris Nelson scores the round 10-9 Santos
Mike Whitman scores the round 10-9 Santos
Freddie DeFreitas scores the round 10-9 Santos

Round 2
Cyborg goes straight back to his low kicks, working both the inside and outside of Mein’s left stem now. A particularly hard one lands on Mein’s right knee and the Canadian checks the next one. Mein gets a sweeping left hand through and lands a leg kick of his own, then just misses with a head kick. Santos pops his man with a right straight and spins around on a whiffed leg kick. When he turns, Santos is forced to cover up and absorb a six-punch combo from Mein with the body shots landing hardest. Cyborg misses on a vicious hook-kick but plunks Mein with a follow-up right hand. More leg kicks landing for the Brazilian; he tries to go high before the bell but is blocked.

Chris Nelson scores the round 10-9 Mein
Mike Whitman scores the round 10-9 Mein
Freddie DeFreitas scores the round 10-9 Mein

Round 3
Santos tries throwing punches to being round three, but he’s being countered well by the taller Mein. A high kick slaps Mein’s cheek. Mein unleashes his best combination of the fight, four consecutive punches connecting with Santos’s jaw. Uppercuts landing for Mein as he tries to finish the fight. Santos is bloodied, covering up after taking a punch to the body. Santos is trapped against the fence and Mein lands half a dozen level elbows which have Santos falling to the canvas. It’s a brutal TKO finish from Mein at 3:18 of round three.

Yoel Romero Palacio vs. Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante

Round 1
Romero hops around the outside while Feijao assumes the center of the cage. After 40 seconds without a strike thrown, the crowd gets booing. Romero leaps forward with a front kick, misses and nearly falls down. Feijao just misses with a big head kick and lands a slapping inside thigh kick that has Romero shaking his head. Three minutes in and there’s still not a whole lot going on. Romero continues jumping around while Feijao tries another head kick. Referee Dan Miragliotta halts the action with 30 seconds left and issues Romero a warning for inactivity. Romero tries a takedown at the 10-second mark, only to be stuffed and forced to slip underneath Feijao.

Chris Nelson scores the round 10-9 Cavalcante
Mike Whitman scores the round 10-9 Cavalcante
Freddie DeFreitas scores the round 10-9 Cavalcante

Round 2
Feijao lands a kick to the body and Romero shrugs it off. The wrestler tries to answer with one of his own, but instead catches Cavalcante right on the cup. Feijao takes 30 seconds to recover and gets back to work, whereupon he easily steps out of the way of a Romero shot. Feijao slips on a high kick and Romero tries to seize the opportunity, but only gets one punch off. Romero tries a takedown now, but can’t get it going. He traps Feijao against the cage and goes wild with punches, landing several but having many more blocked. Romero dumps Feijao down with a double-leg, but the Brazilian uses the fence to hop back up. Another takedown try is blocked and Feijao plows Romero down instead. Feijao lets his man right back up and Romero comes forward with a combination before clinching up on the fence. Romero lands a pair of hooks and steps out of the way of a Feijao uppercut. He matadors a punch from Cavalcante and gives him a thumbs-up. With 30 seconds left, Feijao misses a head kick but connects with a follow-up backfist. Romero falls to the floor and Feijao tries to finish. Romero gets space, hops to his feet, but eats an uppercut and a hook. Romero flops to the ground, dazed, and Feijao lands a single punch from above before referee Dan Miragliotta steps in for the save.

Marcos Rogerio de Lima vs. Mike Kyle

Round 1
It’s Kyle throwing first, pumping a left jab through the guard of de Lima and whipping leg kicks. The Brazilian answers with a nasty outside thigh kick of his own. Kyle connects with a pair of punches to the gut; “Pezao” responds with a two-piece combination followed by a leg kick. Kyle is using his range well, sticking his jab in de Lima’s face and sidestepping the counterpunches. A right straight from Kyle has de Lima backing up into the fence, but Kyle doesn’t give chase. Nice hooks up top from Kyle, followed by a pair to the body. De Lima has appeared dazed after a few combinations, but may just be trying to lure Kyle in. The Brazilian wobbles to his corner at the end of the first frame.

Chris Nelson scores the round 10-9 Kyle
Mike Whitman scores the round 10-9 Kyle
Freddie DeFreitas scores the round 10-9 Kyle

Round 2
De Lima lands a flurry of low kicks, trying to chop Kyle’s base out, but Kyle stays up and continues to pump his jab. A solid counter left connects for de Lima, one of his better punches in the fight so far. Both men are keeping their distance, looking tentative in the middle part of the round. Kyle is getting his jab through at will, while Pezao lands sporadic outside thigh kicks. With a minute left, Kyle rushes in and gets underhooks, tripping de Lima to the base of the cage. De Lima stands, giving up his back in the process. He twists around only to be plowed down again by Kyle, who backs out and finishes the round punching at de Lima’s feet.

Chris Nelson scores the round 10-9 Kyle
Mike Whitman scores the round 10-9 De Lima
Freddie DeFreitas scores the round 10-9 De Lima

Round 3
Kyle swipes with a nice left hook, but de Lima answers with a step-off counter moments later. More inside leg kicks come from the Brazilian; Kyle keeps trying to jab, but he’s coming up short now. Kyle checks a kick and hops out of the way of a body shot before leaping in to plow de Lima down. Kyle works from de Lima’s half-guard with 90 seconds left. The American Kickboxing Academy fighter throws left hands to the body and head, mashing de Lima with his forearm. Kyle closes it out with right hands to the ribs and leaps to his feet at the horn with his arms raised.

Chris Nelson scores the round 10-9 Kyle (30-27 Kyle)
Mike Whitman scores the round 10-9 Kyle (29-28 Kyle)
Freddie DeFreitas scores the round 10-9 Kyle (29-28 Kyle)

Official result: Judges Chris Lee and Bruce Snell score it 29-28, while judge Otto Torriero sees it 30-27, all in favor of the winner by unanimous decision, Mike Kyle.

Pat Healy vs. Maximo Blanco

Round 1
Blanco ducks right inside and Healy tries to mug with uppercuts, but they quickly split. Healy falls to his back off a low leg kick and Blanco goes down into Healy’s close half-guard. The Venezuelan tries to pass on Healy’s left and instead gets pushed back to full-guard, then pushed out entirely as Healy scrambles up. Healy comes inside and eats an uppercut and a right hook. He tries to pump his left jab, can’t find the range and Blanco ducks under a left hook. Now it’s Blanco lands a high kick right under Healy’s chin and gives chase to the floor with knees and a flurry of punches. Healy survives and closes up guard with his left side flush to the cage. The veteran swings his hips around, trying to secure Blanco’s left arm for an armbar. Blanco twists out of it and Healy dives for a lock on Blanco’s left leg. Blanco uses his right foot to kick Healy in the face several times before referee Gary Copeland can intervene. Healy is bleeding and dazed, but he’s approved to continue by the ringside physician. Referee Copeland deducts a point and action resumes with 90 seconds left. Blanco misses with some wild kicks, but gets inside with a kick to the body and explosion of furious strikes. It’s Healy who gets the takedown, though, and Blanco kneels with Healy in control on his right side. Healy punches away to the side of the covering Blanco’s head for the final 30 seconds.

Chris Nelson scores the round 9-9
Mike Whitman scores the round 9-9
Freddie DeFreitas scores the round 9-9

Round 2
Healy, now fully patched up and Vaselined, looks to establish his jab early in the second, moving forward on Blanco. Blanco answers with a left jab and fluid right uppercut as he moves around the perimeter of the cage. A smiling Blanco dips out of the way of several jabs, but falls to his rear, stunned from a left hand. Healy gives chase and slams Blanco on the floor, leaping onto his back. Healy has a rear-naked choke partially sunk, but Blanco stays calm and twists his head out. Healy just misses a knee on the way up, has a leg swept out from under him and takes a few Blanco uppercuts. Healy dives on a single-leg, gets a waistlock and pins Blanco to the fence. Keeping busy with left hands, Healy eventually lets Blanco up before ragdolling him right back down. Healy has another rear-naked choke and this one looks much deeper than the last. Blanco resists momentarily, but he’s stuck this time and is forced to tap out at the 4:27 mark.

Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal vs. Roger Gracie

Round 1
Hands low, Lawal pushes range-finding punches from the center of the cage. Lawal has his right hand cocked with his left by his hip, trying to lure the rangy Gracie inside to strike. Gracie tries with a few jabs, dodged and caught by Mo. Light boos rain down from the crowd just before the halfway point and referee Jerry Poe urges them to get busy. They do just that, Gracie landing a knee and forcing Mo backward with kicks. The pace slows again until Poe instructs them to get to work and Lawal throws a combo. Inside the final minute, it’s still anyone’s round. Gracie lands a jab and Lawal answers with a murderous right hand that bounces off the side of Gracie’s head. Gracie collapses and Lawal lands another right on the ground to seal the deal. Gracie is knocked stiff, Lawal misses with a third punch and referee Poe jumps in to call it at 4:33 of the first round.

Strikeforce Middleweight Championship
Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza vs. Luke Rockhold

Round 1
Dan Miragliotta is the third man in the cage for this 185-pound title bout. The southpaw Rockhold starts with leg kicks to the lead left leg of Jacare. The Brazilian shoots and is stuffed, but sends Rockhold backpedaling with an overhand right. Souza chases him down and tries to slam the American. Rockhold sits at the base of his fence with Souza trying to yank the legs out from under him. It’s a stalemate for a minute until Rockhold puts his back to the fence and Souza lands a series of hard right hands. Another takedown attempt from Souza nearly sees him take Rockhold’s back. Instead, they wind up in the mirror of the position they were just in, this time with Souza landing lefts. Rockhold stands and Jacare fires a few knees outside in the clinch. They split with 90 seconds remaining in the opening frame. Rockhold grazes Souza’s jaw with a front kick then eats a right hand. A pair of high kicks are blocked by Souza, who retaliates with a crisp left hook and chases Rockhold down with another winging combo. Rockhold lands a couple leg kicks, has a switch kick blocked and drills a hard, partially blocked kick to the champ’s body. Souza tries for a takedown, but can’t hold Rockhold to the floor at the horn.

Chris Nelson scores the round 10-9 Souza
Mike Whitman scores the round 10-9 Souza
Freddie DeFreitas scores the round 10-9 Souza

Round 2
Rockhold just misses a spinning back-kick and then slaps outside with one to the thigh. More and more kicks from the AKA fighter, who pushes in with a sharp three-piece combination. A right hook from Jacare has Rockhold in trouble, nearly hitting the ground. Rockhold stumbles backward and Jacare chases him down, but can’t find the same success with follow-up punches. Jacare clinches momentarily and exits with a solid standing elbow. Souza blocks another pair of hard left high kicks, inching away from the more active Rockhold. With just over two minutes left, Jacare decides to stop backing up and dips under a punch from Rockhold to tie up. Rockhold reverses the champ into a cagepost and drills half a dozen knees to Souza’s left thigh. Jacare reverses the position and pops Rockhold with a right before escaping the Thai clinch. Rockhold presses forward again with a combo and has his head knocked back with another right hand from Souza. Rockhold doesn’t go down this time and continues moving forward, alternating kicks and punches in the final half-minute. Souza is backing up, staying out of harm’s way and stepping off with a counter right hand to the horn.

Chris Nelson scores the round 10-9 Souza
Mike Whitman scores the round 10-9 Souza
Freddie DeFreitas scores the round 10-9 Souza

Round 3
Again it’s the challenger Rockhold moving forward to being the third period. The AKA fighter pumps his jab and Jacare tries to back him up with a trio of high kicks. Rockhold answers with a blocked head kick of his own, throws a combo and finishes with a kick that catches Souza in the groin. Souza complains to referee Miragliotta that this is the second low blow from Rockhold and sits in his corner to recover. Action resumes with about 3:40 remaining. Souza lifts up Rockhold’s left leg and Rockhold slugs him in the face a few times. Jacare stops the punches by sweeping the other leg and pinning Rockhold on the fence. Rockhold stands and Jacare looks for a standing kimura. The challenger extracts his limb and keeps pressing in, backing Souza up with a push kick and lobbing more low. Souza is stepping out of the way of all Rockhold’s left hands, trying to counter on the right, but he’s not finding his space. Rockhold stands up straight to taunt and Souza drops his hands, too. Rockhold tries to sneak a punch in, but Jacare has the same thought.

Chris Nelson scores the round 10-9 Rockhold
Mike Whitman scores the round 10-9 Rockhold
Freddie DeFreitas scores the round 10-9 Rockhold

Round 4
The challenger lands a solid left hook and Jacare answers with a kick across the thighs. Rockhold drops his hands low and shakes them, baiting the titlist who answers with a kick to the midsection. A pair of nice right hands get through for Jacare and Rockhold circles out. Rockhold is dripping blood from his nose at the two-minute mark and Jacare clinches him into the cage. They battle with over-unders, Rockhold standing outside and looking for a trip. Jacare snuffs it out and charges with punches, exiting with a hard elbow-right hand combo. Rockhold sprawls against the cage on a Jacare single-leg and turns the champ over. They stand, exchanging knees in the clinch and now Souza is the man moving forward. Souza pops Rockhold with a few stiff rights, catches a turning kick and drags him down. Rockhold gets back up and clinches on the fence, drilling a few knees on the outside before the horn.

Chris Nelson scores the round 10-9 Souza
Mike Whitman scores the round 10-9 Rockhold
Freddie DeFreitas scores the round 10-9 Souza

Round 5
Rockhold lands a slapping kick to Jacare’s chest. His right jab is snapping back Souza’s head while the champ tries to keep the taller challenger at range with a push kick. Jacare lands a solid kick to the body while Rockhold goes to the legs, escapes a takedown try and punches to Souza’s body. Jacare gets underhooks on the fence and tries to trip Rockhold down, but Rockhold pops right back up. Another takedown from Jacare; he can’t get Rockhold flat, but he keeps the American down longer this time. Left-right hook combo from Rockhold cracks the champ and he hunts Jacare down with three or four more. Jacare looks to have recovered when he eats another right and answers with one of his own. Now, Rockhold lands a body kick and Jacare gives him a right hand back. Right hand to the body from the challenger as it goes into the final 30 seconds. A pair of left hook connect for Rockhold and Jacare goes to his counter-right again. Jacare charges just before the horn, winging punches and connecting with a few right hands. They end in the clinch and both men walk away with their arms raised in what should be a very close decision.

Chris Nelson scores the round 10-9 Rockhold (48-47 Souza)
Mike Whitman scores the round 10-9 Rockhold (48-47 Rockhold)
Freddie DeFreitas scores the round 10-9 Rockhold (48-47 Souza)

Official result: It’s a unanimous decision with judges Sal D’Amato and Chris Lee scoring the bout 48-47, while judge Bruce Snell has it 50-45, all in favor of the new Strikeforce middleweight champion, Luke Rockhold.

Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix Semifinal
Daniel Cormier vs. Antonio Silva

Round 1
Cormier tries an outside low kick and Silva rushes him with a few right hands. The former Olympian has his back to the fence momentarily but circles out. Cormier cracks Silva with a walloping overhand right and dives into the Brazilian’s guard. Silva appears to have recovered as Cormier stands up and motions him back up quickly. Cormier backs away from a pair of long punches and pops Silva with a left, then another. Silva is dazed when another right comes over the top, forcing him to dive for a takedown. Again, Cormier opts to stand and let the big man back up. Cormier pops a left jab through, catches a kick and sweeps Silva to the floor. He stands over “Bigfoot,” who kicks at Cormier’s knee. Eventually, Cormier backs away and Silva stands with about 90 seconds left. Bigfoot slugs at him, not landing much as Cormier circles out. Cormier catches a kick, spins Silva around and pops him with a right. Cormier ducks inside with a left hook and uncorks a huge right uppercut that sends Silva crashing to the floor. Silva looks finished already, but Cormier makes sure of it, closing out the fight with a pair of hammerfists. Referee Greg Franklin steps in; the official time of the stunning knockout is 3:56 of round one.

Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix Semifinal
Josh Barnett vs. Sergei Kharitonov

Round 1
Referee Dan Miragliotta is in charge of the evening’s main event. Barnett dances around the outside, eating a pair of right jabs from Kharitonov early. They tie up and trade uppercuts in the clinch briefly before disengaging. Barnett gets a little space, grabs one of Kharitonov’s legs and trips him down, the catch-wrestling specialist hopping directly into full mount. Kharitonov tries to buck and roll, but Barnett has his hips anchored, sitting up to throw punches and leaning forward to mash with his forearm. Barnett throws right hands to the head and body then leans his forearm on the Russian’s throat and taps with little hammerfists. Still half a round to go as Kharitonov tries to buck more and Barnett again stays in place. Barnett hooks his heels into Kharitonov’s legs and solidifies his mount. The next flurry of punches has Kharitonov turning over and Barnett sinks both hooks in with 90 seconds remaining. Kharitonov turtles and Barnett throws right hands under the armpit. Barnett flattens his man out and punches away, causing Kharitonov to turn. As he does, Barnett instantly locks on a tight arm-triangle choke and hops off to Kharitonov’s left side. It’s only seconds before Kharitonov is tapping. The end comes officially at 4:28 of the first round, sending Barnett through to meet Daniel Cormier in the finals of the Strikeforce heavyweight world grand prix.

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