Sunday, August 22, 2010

Strikeforce: Houston Quickshot

Strikeforce: Houston earned it's own chapter in the annals of fight history last night with a spectacular showing of mixed martial arts. Brazilians Rafael 'Feijao' Cavalcante and Ronaldo 'Jacare' Souza, both Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt and members of the esteemed Blackhouse fighting team, walked away with championship belts. Meanwhile, underdog Chad Griggs (9-1) led a second round triumph over previously undefeated professional wrestling superstar Bobby Lashley(5-1), and KJ Noons proved his striking prowess against UFC vet Jorge Gurgel.
  •  In his first Light Heavyweight Title defense, Muhammad 'King Mo' Lawal found himself in a fierce striking exchange with Team Blackhouse representative Rafael Cavalcante. Lawal withheld his wrestling game and kept it standing against Cavalcante, who is known for his powerful stand-up. King Mo held is own on his feet, landing some rib-breaking body blows in the second round, but it wasn't enough to stop the Cavalcante freight train that used a pair of knees, a flurry of punches, and stabbing elbows to force the stoppage at 1:13 into the third round.
  • The co-main event was a story of two warriors engaged in battle. Ronaldo 'Jacare' Souza won a hard fought, 5-round war against Army Green Beret Tim Kennedy for the previously vacant Strikeforce Middleweight Championship Belt. Jacare, a five-time world BJJ champ and 2005 ADCC champ, abandoned his highly skilled ground game, opting for a stand-up match with Kennedy. Iraq War veteran Kennedy did not back down, beating Souza in punch-stats as he pressed his opponent, even pulling off a textbook body-lock takedown just before the final bell. Effective striking from the BJJ black belt was enough to convince the judges as Ronaldo Souza earned the Strikeforce Middleweight Championship Title via unanimous decision.
  • KJ Noons meant business, using his boxing to defeat tough-as-nails Jorge Gurgel. Fans no longer have to wonder why Noons flops between MMA and boxing as he showed Houston and the world the power of his hands. Noons' left jab was enough to keep any Gurgel attack at bay. Despite taking a questionable left hook (right on or after the bell) at the end of the first round that sent him dazingly to the canvas, Gurgel was back up and ready to go for the second round. Once again, Noons put on a boxing showcase in the second round as he plummeted Gurgel with punches. A right-left combo put Gurgel on the floor, looked to the obviously confused referee who was slow and hesitant to stop the bout. As the ref finally stepped between the two fighters Noons came in with what would have been a skull-crushing knee to put the icing on the cake. Nevertheless, this battle ended 19 seconds into the second round, and KJ Noons moves back up the lightweight contention ladder.
  • Forget that he's a NAIA wrestling champion, or that he was a hulking professional wrestler. Last night against true underdog Chad Griggs, Bobby Lashley just didn't have it. Despite a handful of earthquake-like takedowns, Bobby Lashley wasn't able to finish the fight on the ground, and found himself gassed going into the second round. Griggs weathered the takedown storm by following an old, but not forgotten rule--just keep punching. Griggs punched away from his feet to the floor with every takedown, eventually opening a blinding gash under Lashley's left eye. Griggs took full advantage of a wheezing Bobby Lashley who, resorting to his wrestling skills, shot in for a desparation, telegraphed single-leg. Lashley clutched Griggs' leg as if holding for dear life as Griggs rained down the hammerfists until the second round bell. Following the bell, Lashley remained on the canvas, unable to return to his feet. Referee Jon Schorle stood by as the cage physician stepped in and within seconds the hand wave came, signalling the early stoppage--Griggs via TKO due to retirement.

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