Strikeforce middleweight champ Luke Rockhold made his second consecutive successful title defense Saturday night by posting a unanimous decision win over Tim Kennedy.
Although Rockhold was a significant odds-on favorite to retain his crown, he simply couldn’t put away the military man.
“I could’ve let a couple combinations go,” Rockhold stated. “He does some funky stuff. It’s hard to let things go when you know he’s going to shoot.
“He’s a great wrestler, so tenacious. What he lacks in technique, he makes up for in lack and desire. I knew I couldn’t get stale.”
Rose Garden in Portland, Oregon hosted the festivities.
Favorite (-) Underdog (+)
Luke Rockhold -330
Tim Kennedy +250
Rockhold vs. Kennedy Play-by-Play:
1stRound: After some back-and-forth action, Kennedy manages to take the champion down. Rockhold is attempting a kimura from off his back, but Kennedy has side control and easily slips out. Close round to score. Kennedy, 10-9.
2ndRound: Both middleweights go for high kicks and fall to the ground. Rockhold takes his back during a brief scramble. Kennedy lands a back-elbow. They get to their feet. Kennedy tags him with a right hook. Rockhold starting to do damage with his kicks. Rockhold, 10-9.
3rdRound: Kennedy has him clinched against the cage and is unloading knees. He connects one to the groin and time is called. During the stoppage, referee John McCarthy tell Rockhold he’ll deduct a point the next time he grabs the fence. Kennedy gets a warning for the low blow, as well. Game on. Kennedy gets a body lock and takes his opponent down. He immediately takes his back. Rockhold gets to his feet. Kennedy, 10-9.
4thRound: Straight left followed by a body shot lands for Rockhold. A big right hook drops Kennedy, Rockhold attempts to follow up but he can’t finish. Kennedy tries to take Rockhold’s back but loses position and the frame ends. Rockhold, 10-9.
5thRound: Rockhold avoids the takedown and starts to grind Kennedy up against the cage. Rockhold is controlling the center of the cage with his length. Both fighters exchange elbows as the bout comes to an end. Rockhold, 10-9, and retains his title, 48-47.
Luke Rockhold Defeated Tim Kennedy via Unanimous Decision (49-46, 49-46, 49-46) (Rockhold retains Strikeforce middleweight title)