By Jaime C. Feal
The last Strikeforce in history was wildly entertaining as four of the five fights ended in a finish. A trio of first round submissions started off the main card, and then Daniel Cormier remained unbeaten with a dominant performance over underdog Dion Staring in the co-main event. In a 5 round clinic, Tarec Saffiedine controlled Nate Marquardt with the outside leg kick to earn an easy decision victory. With the win, Saffiedine goes down in the history books as the final Welterweight champion of the Strikeforce promotion, and it will be interesting to see how far the young prospect can go inside the UFC. Also of major interest is how Daniel Cormier fares in the UFC heavyweight division, although he has stated he refuses to fight his AKA teammate, and current champ Cain Velasquez.
Catchweight Bout (193 lbs.):
Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza (16-3) vs. Ed “Short Fuse” Herman (20-8)
Herman misses with a leg kick. Jacare backpedaling, then clinches and knees. Souza breaks and then shoot for a double. Jacare nails it and dumps Herman on his back. Herman tries for a leglock, then illegally upkicks Souza. Fight restarts on the feet, and Souza lands a big right hand. Herman, who took the fight on short notice, is getting hit by strikes and then again put on his back. Souza is in side control and looking for a kimura. Jacare deftly locks up Herman’s arm behind his own back, torqueing it painfully and forcing the tap.
Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza wins by submission (Kimura) at 3:10 of Round 1.
Light Heavyweight Division (205 lbs.):
Gegard Mousasi (32-3-2) vs. Mike Kyle (19-8-1)
Mousasi begins jabbing then lands a hard outside leg kick. Kyle tries to rush forward with punches but misses. Kyle now jabbing, and looking to land a right hand. Kyle clinches and lands two good knees, Mousasi looking for a double leg. Kyle shrugs him off. Good one-two from Kyle. Mousasi shoots in for a double, and this time he gets Kyle down to the mat. Mousasi inside the guard starting to work punches. Good elbows from Mousasi. Kyle gives up half guard. Mousasi methodically controlling him. Another good elbow from Mousasi, passes to full mount. Mousasi starting to reign down punches. Kyle is turned over, big time hurt, Mousasi is terrorizing him with heavy shots. Now Kyle gives up his back, and Mousasi quickly sinks in a fully locked up rear naked choke. Kyle taps shortly thereafter.
Gegard Mousasi wins by submission (Rear-Naked Choke) at 4:09 of Round 1.
Heavyweight Division (265 lbs.):
Josh Barnett (31-6) vs. Nandor Guelmino (11-3-1)
Barnett immediately clinches and gets a takedown. Barnett in full guard, looking to pass. Barnett postures up and tries for a leglock, but Guelmino gets up. Barnett takes him back down and has the back. Guelmino stands up, Barnett still all over him. Barnett gets a beautiful trip takedown into mount. Barnett locks up an arm-triangle with ease choking Guelmino with his own arm, Guelmino taps out about 3 seconds later.
Josh Barnett wins by submission (Arm-Triangle Choke) at 2:11 of Round 1.
Heavyweight Division (265 lbs.):
Daniel Cormier (10-0) vs. Dion Staring (28-7)
Staring eats a head kick. Staring with his hands dangerously low. Cormier clinches but lets go. Cormier again clinches up with Staring, and manhandles him down with a toss. Cormier in side control, working elbows. Cormier spins to the back, but Staring gets back to his feet. Cormier tags Staring with a series of hooks and punches. Staring is reeling backwards, Cormier comes in and tosses him down into side control again. Cormier all over Staring, working short elbows. Staring gives up his back, and stands up. Cormier clunches up with Staring again, pushes him against the cage. Cormier drags Staring down, this time into full mount. Cormier starting to open up with ground and pound, and punches. Round ends with Cormier landing a big left punch. 10-9 round for Cormier.
Staring comes forward and clinches up with Cormier. Staring briefly has Cormier against the cage, but Daniel reverses the position. They break and Cormier lands a couple jabs. Back in the clinch, and Cormier gets an inside trip takedown. Cormier passes to side control. Staring gives up his back. Staring rolls back to side control. Cormier landing big shots with the right hand. Staring is hurt, and gives up his back again. Cormier lands big hammerfists now. Back to the elbows goes Daniel. Now in full mount, Cormier is throwing bombs, ref John McCarthy taking a close look. Cormier continues the onslaught, culminating in Staring giving up his back, and Cormier landing brutal hammerfists that force McCarthy to stop the bout.
Welterweight Division (170 lbs.):
Nate “The Great” Marquardt (32-10) vs. Tarec “Sponge” Saffiedine (13-3)
The fighters paw with the jab to try and find range. Low kick from Saffiedine. Hard leg kick from Marquardt. Inside leg kick from Nate. The welterweights trade leg kicks. Head kick from Saffiedine. Marquardt trying for a takedown, eats a couple knees to the body. Good left body kick by Saffiedine. Marquardt rushes in with a right hand, Saffiedine clinches up with him. 10-9 round for Saffiedine.
Leg kick from Saffiedine. Very dull fight so far; crowd growing restless. Marquardt working for a single leg, Saffiedine hoping to defend. Marquardt gets the takedown after a struggle. Saffiedine gets back up quickly. In the clinch again, the fighters trade knees on the cage. Ref breaks the fighters for inactivity. Hard outside leg kick by Saffiedine. Inside leg kick by Saffiedine, then an outside leg kick follows. “Sponge” stuffs a takedown attempt. Marquardt not giving up on it, still working to dump him. Good counter right from Tarec finds the mark. 10-9 round for Saffiedine.
Good counter straight right from Marquardt. Tarec responds with another hard outside leg kick. Marquardt misses with a haymaker. Crowd begins booing again due to inactivity. Marquardt tries a flying knee that misses. Saffiedine clinches him against the cage again. Nice right hook on the break by Marquardt. Outside leg kick from Saffiedine. Nice straight right from Marquardt. Good right hand from Saffiedine now. Action picking up a tad, Marquardt with a jab. Saffiedine throws a left head kick that lands with decent force. Saffiedine is punishing Marquardt with outside leg kicks. Three heavy outside leg kicks in a row have Maruardt’s leg swollen up bad. 10-9 round for Saffiedine.
Saffiedine goes back to the leg kick attack. Marquardt is staring to buckle every time he gets kicked now. Marquardt is getting chopped down. Maruqardt oppress forward, swinging for the fences. Marquardt missing wildly, eats another hard leg kick, crowd goes wild. Marquardt’s leg is grotesquely swollen now, has no left leg whatsoever. Saffiedine has just destroyed his leg with kick after kick, and all the damage is paying off now. Good right hook to the body by Saffiedine. Marquardt badly limping, gets caught by several punches. Uppercuts from Marquardt, another outside leg kick from Saffiedine in the exact same spot. Round ends with Marquardt limping to his corner, red bright pink and swollen. Marquardt is also cut on the face. 10-9 round for Saffiedine.
Marquardt trying to step up the intensity, looking for a big punch. Saffiedine remains patient, going to the kicks again. Marquardt gets buckled again by a low kick. The pattern continues, and Marquardt is very limited in movement. Saffiedine has dominated the fight start to finish with the outside leg kick. Good hands now from Saffiedine, punctuated by some knees. Now Saffiedine lands a double leg takedown, an emphatic statement. Saffiedine is in half guard, landing good elbows. Ten seconds to go and Saffiedine finishes strong with punches.10-9 round for Saffiedine.
The judges score the fight 49-46, 48-47, and 49-46 for the winner by unanimous decision, Tarec Saffiedine.