Luke Rockhold retained the STRIKEFORCE middleweight championship Saturday night by clearly outpointing Tim Kennedy in the main event from Rose Garden in Portland, Oregon.Â
Rockhold (10-1) earned his second defense of the 185-pound title by outworking the challenger, earning a unanimous decision after five hard-fought rounds.Â Rockhold had the better striking and grappling and was able to control Kennedy (14-4) in most areas throughout a fight scored 49-46 by the three cageside scorers.Â Rockhold remains undefeated in the STRIKEFORCE organization.
After a 16-month layoff, Marquardt (32-10-2) made a loud statement about his return with a brutal knockout win over Woodley at 1:39 in the fourth round of an exciting and fast-paced slugfest.
Marquardt made himself a contender for Knockout of the Year with his fourth-round stoppage of the previously-undefeated Tyron Woodley in the co-main event. Marquardtâ€™s wrestling held up to Woodleyâ€™s throughout the fight and allowed him to keep it a standing affair, where he was able to pick Woodley apart.
Woodley had some surging moments of his own and had Marquardt in trouble in the third round, but he wasnâ€™t able to capitalise and Marquardt was ahead on the cards when they went into the fourth round. Putting pressure on, he threw together a combination that brought to mind his finish of Wilson Gouveia at UFC 95.
Several elbows, including a diagonal overhand version, badly hurt Woodley against the fence before a body shot took his attention low. As he went to defend the body, Marquardt hit him in the jaw with a right hand that knocked him out for one of the yearâ€™s most impressive finishes so far.
In other fights on SHOWTIME, Roger Gracie (4-1), who fought for the first time in his MMA career in the middleweight division, won a three-round decision over veteran Keith Jardine (17-11-2) and middleweight Lorenz Larkin (13-0, 1 NC) remained undefeated with an impressive three-round decision over Robbie Lawler (19-9, 1 NC).
In live undercard fights on SHOWTIME EXTREME:
Pat Healy (30-17) won a three-round unanimous decision over Mizuto Hirota (14-5-1) in a welterweight bout
Ryan Couture (5-1) son of MMA legend Randy Couture, took a three-round split decision over Joe Duarte (10-3) by the scores of 29-28 twice and 28-29 in a welterweight bout
Jorge Masvidal (23-7) recorded a three-roundÂ split decision over Justin Wilcox (11-5, 1 NC) by the scores of 30-27, 29-28 and 28-29 in a welterweight bout
Jordan Mein (25-8) earned a three-round decision over Tyler Stinson (23-9) in a welterweight bout.
On the non-televised undercard, Jason High (16-3) impressively submitted Nate Moore (7-3) in an exciting fight to begin the night with a 26-second finish in round one with a guillotine choke.
STRIKEFORCE returns to SHOWTIME on Aug. 18 with a card headlined by female star and current bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey, who takes on former bantamweight champion Sarah Kaufman live at 10 p.m. ET/PT.Â Â