MMAFrenzy’s coverage of Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Cormier continues with our play-by-play coverage tonight’s card.
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Heavyweight Grand Prix Final: Josh Barnett vs. Daniel Cormier
Round 1 – Josh Rosenthal is our referee for tonight’s bout. Touch of gloves and we’re off. Kick to the body on Barnett and he slips but Cormier stays standing. Cormier closing distance with overhand power shots. Leg kick by Cormier. Nice headkick by Cormier, big thai knee by Cormier. Cormier with a power shot and Barnett clinches. Cormier defends it expertly. Knee to the body by Barnett. Left by Barnett is countered hard by Cormier. Clinch by Barnett but nothing there for him. Barnett with an elbow over the top in the collar tie. Combo by Cormier. Midkick by Barnett. Barnett clinches but again Cormier defends. Bodyshots by Cormier followed by hooks to the bead. Front kick missed by Barnett. Frontkick by Cormier misses. Barnett clinches and Cormier with thai clinch and lands a nice knee. Push kick by Cormier. 1-2 by Cormier lands flush. Barnett storms forward and lands a big knee but Cormier clinches him hard against the cage. MMAFrenzy scores the round 10-9 Cormier.
Round 2 – Left by Barnett. Nice combo by Cormier. Another 1-2 by Cormier. Right by Barnett. Midkick by Barnett checked. Big hooks by Cormier land on Barnett. Barnett throws a big knee but Cormier evades. Solid combo by Cormier. Outside legkick by Barnett. Nice knee by Barnett in the clinch but Cormier with a big uppercut. Nice body shot by Cormier. Cormier with an single and he runs the pipe to get Barnett down. Cormier working inside Barnett’s guard now. Big elbow by Cormier. Barnett throws his legs up for an armbar but Cormier defends perfectly. More elbows by Cormier. Barnett is bleeding bad now. Round ends with Cormier landing more elbows. MMAFrenzy scores the round 10-9 Cormier (20-18).
Round 3 – Barnett moving forward again and Cormier evades the strikes. Nice 1-2 by Cormier. Barnett working for a takedown along the cage but Cormier pulls him into clinch and circles out. Nice lefts by Cormier. Barnett moves forward and Cormier with a nice counter combo. Front kick by Barnett. Cormier with a single leg and Cormier runs the signature OK State crotchlift to slam Barnett into side control. Barnett takes a few shots but escapes. Headkick by Barnett misses. Superman punch by Cormier glances off. Jabs by Cormier. Barnett throws a knee and Cormier catches it. Right headkick by Cormier and he’s teeing off on Barnett along the cage. Big knee by Cormier in the clinch. Cormier takes Barnett’s back while standing and he’s wary of the knee bar. Barnett’s face is pouring blood now as the round ends. MMAFrenzy scores the round 10-9 Cormier (30-27).
Round 4 – Barnett coming forward again and he lands a nice knee but Cormier circles away. Barnett moves forward and Cormier counters beautifully to the body. Nice left hook by Cormier.Barnett works the jab but misses. Fast left headkick by Cormier is check and he fires a powerful right headkick that glances off. Barnett forces Cormier to the clinch but Cormier easily rotates off. Ugly spinning backfist by Barnett misses. Cormier looks for a single but backs off and lands a power shot. Cormier with another single and Barnett counters by rolling for a kneebar and Cormier rotates away but Barnett lands a heelhook but Cormier works free. Cormier in Barnett’s guard now. Cormier working the body and head now as Barnett tries for elbows and works for wrist control. Rather quick standup by Rosenthal. Barnett with a knee now. Barnett working against the cage but cannot get anything. Barnett’s face is battered as the round ends. MMAFrenzy scores the round 10-9 Cormier (40-36).
Round 5 – Shake of hands and we’re off. Cormier checking kicks by Barnett, Barnett storms forward but Cormier evades. Brief stoppage to wipe up some water. Barnett with big swings that miss and he clinches. Knee by Barnett. Barnett with another knee as Cormier rotates out. Knee by Barnett barely misses. Left by Barnett. Headkick by Cormier misses. Barnett storms forward but Cormier escapes. Cormier is fighting like he’s up here as he is being very evasive. Cormier with a nice right. 1-2 by Cormier lands. Another bad spinning backfist attempt by Barnett and Cormier lands a double. Barnett gets up and Cormier looks for a big slam but Barnett bases out to stop it. Cormier now controlling Barnett along the cage with the clinch with :40 left. Barnett with double unders briefly but Cormier pummels in. Cormier lets him free with :10 left and he just avoids a clearly exhausted Barnett as the round ends. MMAFrenzy scores the round and the fight for Daniel Cormier (50-45).
Daniel Cormier def. Josh Barnett via unanimous decision (49-46,50-45,50-45)
Lightweight Title Fight: Gilbert Melendez (c) vs. Josh Thomson
Round 1 – Dan Stell is our referee and we are under way. Fighters circling early with Thomson playing the edge. Melendez slaps away a front kick. Nice combo by Melendez. Thomson stops it with a leg sweep but cannot keep Melendez down. Big exchange with Thomson getting the better of it. Melendez pumps a jab and takes Thomson to the canvas. Thomson looking to wall walk, but Melendez has the leg trapped and both fighters are exchanging shots. Thomson breaks free and we’re back on our feet. Melendez with a nice combo and brief knee from the thai clinch. Front kick is checked by Melendez. Thomson tries a body lock but Melendez evades. Hook by Melendez grazes Thomson. :20 left and the fighters are just feeling each other out. Nice combo fired by Thomson but it’s mostly blocked. Melendez catches a kick and takes Thomson down as the round ends. MMAFrenzy scores a close round 10-9 Melendez.
Round 2 – Big uppercuts by Melendez narrowly miss. Takedown attempt by Melendez is shucked away by Thomson. Headkick by Thomson misses. Big shots by Melendez but Thomson with great head movement avoids most of them. Melendez grabs a body lock but Thomson works out along the cage. We’re centered now. Thomson with a solid combo, Melendez stops it with a jab. Melendez catches Thomson in the eye and we have a brief break. Nice countering by Thomson. Melendez drags him into a big exchange and Melendez gets the better of them. Melendez shoots with a minute left and slams Thomson to the mat. Thomson trying to wall walk but Melendez holds him down. Thomson gets free but Melendez unloads with nice combo. Thomson tries a takedown but Melendez defends with a solid sprawl and a barrage of elbows. MMAFrenzy scores the round 10-9 Melendez (20-18).
Round 3 – Nice jab by Thomson. Headkick by Thomson. Melendez with a legkick. Nice uppercut to the body by Melendez. Melendez with a takedown attempt but Thomson stuffs and Melendez nails Thomson with some hard shots but Thomson staggers Melendez with a straight left. Thomson with some hard shots but Melendez has recovered. Nice counter uppercut by Melendez. Thomson with a footsweep but he doesn’t follow Melendez to the ground and Melendez rolls up. Nice right to the body by Melendez. Thomson throws a combo but Melendez avoids all of the strikes and lands a solid uppercut with some solid elbows. Thomson counters though and Melendez backs off. Thomson acts like he’s been hit in the eye again but the referee makes him continue. Thomson with a takedown attempt but Melendez sprawls beautifully and works out. Thomson with a better round but he loses the round late. MMAFrenzy scores the round 10-9 Melendez (30-27).
Round 4 – Bad swelling showing on Melendez’s right eye as we get started. Melendez doubles up on a jab and throws an overhand right that glances off. Thomson with a massive right but doesn’t follow up and Melendez recovers. Melendez with a nice scoop double and slam. Thomson works up. Melendez’s left eye is now damaged as well. Melendez with a double along the cage. Thomson using elbows and pulls Melendez to a clinch. Melendez with a hard elbow on the way out. Thomson rushes forward with a combo. Thomson finally lands the foot sweep takedown he’s been looking for now. Melendes tries to scramble but Thomson takes his back with a minute left. Thomson working a choke with a body triangle but he doesn’t have the chin. Melendez trying to buck him off. Thomson switches grips but loses the choke and the round ends. MMAFrenzy scores the round 10-9 Thomson (39-37).
Round 5 – Crowd is amped up for the final round. Big exchange that Thomson gets the better of. Melendez with a takedown but Thomson scrambles up before Melendez can do anything with it. Jab by Melendez. Headkick by Thomson. Fake foot sweep to right hook by Thomson. Another right hook by Thomson. His handspeed looks much faster but his accuracy is lacking. Big combo by Thomson punctuated by a headkick. Thomson goes for a takedown but is stuffed and Melendez’s reshot is stuffed. Thomson gets poked in the eye again and we have a brief stoppage. Melendez with a strike but Thomson counters and swarms. Melendez is on his heels now with a minute left. The momentum has clearly shifted. Thomson stuffs another takedown and lands a hard shot on the way out. Thomson with a beautiful outside leg sweep takedown into Melendez’s guard. Thomson isn’t able to do much as Melendez peppers with shots from his back as the round ends. Amazing fight. MMAFrenzy scores the round 10-9 Thomson but the fight for Melendez (48-47). Scores could go either way though.
Gilbert Melendez def. Josh Thomson via Split Decision (48-47,47-48,48-47)
Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante vs. Mike Kyle
Round 1 – Kyle ducks an overhand right and eats a massive knee by Feijao drops Kyle and he pounces with some bombs. Feijao with a few strikes to the back of the head but Kyle is back up and Feijao jumps into a guillotine choke. Kyle stands for a minute and then tries to slam his way out of the choke (bad decision) and it just allows Feijao to sweep into mount and Kyle immediately taps. Impressive performance by Feijao.
Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante def. Mike Kyle via submission (guillotine choke) at 0:33 of Round 1