“Strikeforce: Heavyweight Grand Prix Final” took place Saturday inside HP Pavilion in San Jose, California.
Josh Barnett and Daniel Cormier headlined the extravaganza by meeting in the finals of the Heavyweight Grand Prix. The 265-pounders battled it out to win this monstrosity.
Lightweight king Gilbert Melendez completed his trilogy against Josh Thomson in the night’s co-featured contest.
Here are the official results and play-by-play from tonight’s action:
Bobby Green Defeated James Terry via Split Decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
(Showtime Extreme 8PM ET/PT)
Quinn Mulhern Defeated Yuri Villefort via Split Decision (30-27, 28-29, 29-28)
1stRound: Villefort catches a Mulhern kick and throws him down on his back. Mulhern eats a big legkick on his lead leg, but scores an early takedown. Villefort lands an elbow from the bottom that causes some blood to start trickling down. Mulhern is now on his back as Villefort lands some ground and pound as the round ends. 10-9 Villefort.
2ndRound: Left hook lands for Villefort, but gets taken down seconds later. Mulhern advances into a full mount, but Villefort escapes and takes Mulhern down. Mulhern secures a omoplata, but Villefort avoids the submission and almost ends up in an arm triangle before getting back into Mulhern’s full guard. 10-9 Mulhern.
3rdRound: A visibly spent Villefort fights off a Mulhern takedown attempt and goes for a takedown of his own. Mulhern stuffs Villefort’s takedown and gets one of his own and passes into side control. Villefort eats a few elbows before exploding back to his feet. Mulhern gets Villefort down again and gets Villefort back as the fight ends. 10-9 Mulhern.
Gian Villante Defeated Derrick Mehmen via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
1stRound: Villante lands a big right hand uppercut that drops Mehmen. When the fighters get back up, Villante starts to work on Mehmen’s lead leg. A huge overhand right lands for Villante that gets the crowd’s attention. Villante throws a right headkick that just grazes the top of Mehmen’s head. 10-9 Villante.
2ndRound: The first half of the round looks like a full speed sparring session until Villante gets poked in the eye that causes a brief break. Mehmen’s sense of urgency has picked up, but is unable to land cleanly. Villante throws a leg kick that sweeps Mehmen’s off his feet. Villante lands a few stiff jabs as the round ends. 10-9 Mehmen.
3rdRound: Villante is timing Mehmen’s attacks well and lands a pair of uppercuts before Mehmen rushes back with a flurry of punches, but again fails to land anything significant. Straight right lands for Villante. Mehmen scores a takedown as the round ends. 10-9 Villante.
Guto Inocente Defeated Virgil Zwicker via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
1stRound: Inocente clocks him with a head kick, but gets taken down for his efforts. Inocente attempted a guillotine choke for a brief moment. They get to their feet. Zwiker eats a spinning back kick. Inocente is giving him the business. Amazing Zwicker is able to survive the onslaught. He picks Inocente up and slams him to the mat. Inocente, 10-9.
2ndRound: Zwicker catches a kick and takes him down. Inocente wiggles free and continues his kicking exhibition. Inocente wrestles him to the ground and is unloading some nice GnP. Zwicker eats a nasty spinning back fist. Both are gassed. Inocente, 10-9.
3rdRound: Zwicker catches a high kick and tags him with a big right hand. The action was fast and furious early, but they are clearly winded in the final frame. Zwicker is still coming forward despite being on the receiving end of several highlight reel strikes. Inocente unleashes a jumping knee to the dome. Zwicker, 10-9, but likely loses the fight, 29-28.
Isaac Vallie-Flagg Defeated JZ Cavalcante via Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
1stRound: After unloading some leg kicks, Cavalcante plants him on the canvas. He tried to take his back, but now moves to a guillotine choke attempt. Flagg gets up and eats a couple of punches for his efforts. Flagg connects on a jumping knee to the body. Cavalcante clobbers him with a big right hand and Flagg answers with a knee to the face. Cavalcante, 10-9.
2ndRound: Cavalcante gets a takedown less than 30 seconds into the stanza. Flagg fights his way up and marches forward with a one-two combination. Flagg is starting to find his groove and is connecting with more consistency. Flagg, 10-9.
3rdRound: Flagg is the more aggressive fighter in the opening minutes. Cavalcante appears to be much more winded. The Brazilian eats a short elbow in the clinch. Now a front kick to the face. Flagg is scoring with an assortment of strikes while in the clinch. Flagg, 10-9, and probably rallied to take the scrap, 29-28.
(Showtime 10PM ET/PT)
Chris Spang Defeated Nah-Shon Burrell via KO (Strikes) at 1:35 in the 1stRound
1stRound: Spang lands a straight left that drops Burrell and continues to land knees and punches from the muay thai clinch. Burrell is in serious trouble eating knees before the referee finally jumps in to stop the mauling.
Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante Defeated Mike Kyle via Submission (Guillotine Choke) at :33 in the 1stRound
1stRound: Cavalcante comes out like a house on fire. He drops Kyle with a right hand and knee to the dome and pounces. He’s bringing the pain on the ground. The former champ slaps on a standing guillotine choke. Kyle tries to slam him off, but has no choice but to cry uncle.
Gilbert Melendez Defeated Josh Thomson via Split Decision (48-47, 47-48, 48-47) (Melendez retains Strikeforce lightweight title)
1stRound: Melendez scores a takedown for a brief moment. Thomson did a nice job of avoiding damage and gets to his feet. A sparring session has broken out for much of the round. The champ trips him to the canvas and drops a bomb just as the horn sounds. Melendez, 10-9.
2ndRound: Thomson thwarts a takedown attempt. The reported knee he injured heading into the scrap looks just fine so far. Melendez is very methodical in his attack. Thomson takes a finger to the eye and time is called. Game on. Melendez secures a takedown with a minute to go. Melendez, 10-9.
3rdRound: Thomson may have lost the opening two frames, but he is much more competitive than in their rematch. He throws Melendez off on a weak takedown try. Melendez’s hands look sharp. The challenger trips him to the canvas. Great back-and-fourth action. Thomson takes another finger to the eye, but refuses to take time. Melendez stuffs a takedown attempt. Close round to score. Melendez, 10-9.
4thRound: Melendez gets a powerful slam and has him pinned against the cage with three minutes remaining in the stanza. Thomson gets up with no problem. Melendez has him clinched against the fence. Thomson trips him to the mat and takes his back with a minute to go. He’s got a body lock and is attempting a rear-naked choke. Melendez does a great job of fending him off for the rest of the frame. Thomson, 10-9.
5thRound: Melendez gets a brief takedown. Nice one-two combo by Thomson, but he’s gonna need a lot more than that to leave with the strap. Thomson takes another finger to the eye and time is called. Game on. Despite what Melendez’s face looks like, he’s most likely winning. It’s pretty busted up, BTW. Thomson gets a takedown with less than a minute remaining, though there’s not much GnP. Melendez is actually more active off his back. The horn blares and both raise their hands in victory. Thomson, 10-9, but Gilbert retains his title, 48-47.
Daniel Cormier Defeated Josh Barnett via Unanimous Decision (49-46, 50-45, 50-45) (Cormier wins Heavyweight Grand Prix)
1stRound: Cormier is clearly the quicker striker. He unloads a nice flurry that was capped off with a knee to the face. Barnett may have to get this one to the mat if he wants to win. Cormier’s hands look very nice early. Cormier scores with a front kick to the midsection. Barnett comes firing back with a straight right and knee to the body. Cormier, 10-9.
2ndRound: Barnett stuns him with a knee to the grill. Cormier answers with a flurry. The former Olympian connects with several body shots. He puts Barnett on his back halfway through the frame. He’s very methodical with his GnP. Barnett’s face is really bloodied, but it was tough to tell what shot did the damage. Cormier, 10-9.
3rdRound: Barnett comes out with more aggression to start the frame. Cormier picks him up and body slams him to the ground, WWE-style. Cormier is in beast mode tonight. Barnett gets to his feet, but he’s looking slow and old, while Cormier appears so fresh so clean. They are flinging leather, though Barnett’s back is against the fence and he’s receiving more than giving. Cormier, 10-9.
4thRound: Barnett is bloodied to battered as he leaves his corner. It’s not as though Barnett’s not trying, but it’s not nearly enough so far tonight. Cormier leads him to the canvas with the greatest of ease. Barnett working for a leg lock, but Cormier manages to escape and ends up on top. Cormier, 10-9
5thRound: Barnett appears absolutely gassed and Cormier looks like he could go another 25 minutes. Barnett has him clinched against the cage, but can’t muster up enough energy to take him down. It’s pretty amazing how much Cormier has improved in such a short amount of time, particularly when you consider he’s been sidelined with a broken right hand for several months. Not too much action to end the fight. Time to bring Mr. Cormier to the UFC… Cormier, 10-9, and sweeps the cards, 50-45.