What a long, strange trip it's been.
The Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix Tournament, which started well over a year ago and lost Alistair Overeem somewhere along the way, will finally wrap things up TONIGHT (Sat., May 19, 2012) at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif., live via the Showtime network.
Set to headline the card are tournament finalists Josh Barnett vs. Daniel Cormier, who will compete for the grand prix championship and the right to challenge one more fighter under the Strikeforce banner before the promotion eliminates the 265-pound division for good.
Also getting their hands dirty (again) are Gilbert Melendez vs. Josh Thomson for "El Nino's" 155-pound belt. Their upcoming rubber match will settle a longstanding feud that began nearly four years ago.
MMAmania.com will provide LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the main card action TONIGHT (Sat., May 19, 2012), which is slated to air at 10 p.m. ET on Showtime. The latest quick updates of the live action will begin to flow earlier than that around 8 p.m. ET with the "Prelims" bouts on Showtime Extreme.
Many of our readers check-in before, during and after the televised action to share their thoughts on all the exciting action. Therefore, feel free to leave a comment before you leave and chat with all the other Maniacs during the show -- it always turns out to be a great discussion.
Keep in mind that we will also be the spot for the latest news, recaps and post-fight analysis after the event.
Without further delay, see below for the latest Strikeforce: "Barnett vs. Cormier" results. (Note: This will go from the bottom up; therefore, scroll toward the bottom for the latest detailed round-by-round action.)
STRIKEFORCE: "BARNETT VS. CORMIER" QUICK RESULTS:
Main Card (Showtime):
155 lbs.: Strikeforce Lightweight Champion Gilbert Melendez def. Josh Thomson via split decision
205 lbs.: Rafael Cavalcante def. Mike Kyle via submission (guillotine) at 0:33 of round one
170 lbs.: Chris Spang def. Nah-Shon Burrell via KO at 1:35 of round one
Preliminary Card (Showtime Extreme):
155 lbs.: Isaac Vallie-Flagg def. Gesias Cavalcante via split decision
205 lbs.: Guto Inocente def. Virgil Zwicker via unanimous decision
205 lbs.: Gian Villante def. Derrick Mehmen via unanimous decision
170 lbs.: Quinn Mulhern def. Yuri Villefort via split decision
STRIKEFORCE: "BARNETT VS. CORMIER" PLAY-BY-PLAY LIVE MAIN CARD COMMENTARY (SHOWTIME):
(Heavyweight Grand Prix Championship Bout) Josh Barnett vs. Daniel Cormier (265-pound limit)
Round one: Barnett gets things started with a couple of quick jabs. Barnett throws a kick and slips but gets right back up. Barnett clinches up and throws a knee but lets go. Back to center. Big right hook by Cormier. Cormier with a huge combo, snapping Barnett's head back. Cormier starting to really get off. Cormier with another big combo. Barnett with a jab and then he moves in to tie him up. Cormier able to get loose and throws another big combo. Cormier is landing at will. Good knee to the body by Barnett. Three minutes left. Good right but Barnett but is answered by Cormier with a quick 1-2. Barnett throws a big elbow. Cromier with two stiff jabs in a row. Two minutes left. Good knee by Barnett as Cormier is moving backwards. Barnett ties him up but is unable to do anything with it again. Cormier continues to win almost every exchange. Big overhand right by Barnett partially lands. Cormier with a big right again. Front kick by Cormier. Barnett wraps him up and lands a couple knees. Front kick by Cormier again. Cormier throws a kick. Barnett catches it, rushes in and lands a big knee. Round ends with the fighters tangled against the fence. 10-9 Cormier.
Round two: Barnett with a jab and then an inside leg kick. Good combo by Cormier. Cormier with a looping overhand left. Cormier again with the combo. Barnett with a kick to the body. Fighters continue to trade combos, but Cormier gets off last, almost every time. Big right hand by Barnett. Knee to the body by Barnett as Cormier bounces off the fence. Cormier with a combo, but almost every punch is blocked. Good left hook by Barnett. Outside leg kick by Barnett. Barnett rushes in and ties him up. Cormier reverses and lands an uppercut. Barnett rushes in again, Cormier drops down or a single leg and gets the takedown. Barnett working off his back. Good elbow by Cormier. Elbow to the top of the head from the bottom by Barnett. Cormier answers with a hard elbow from the top. Barnett throws a leg up and is actively working for something from the bottom. Barnett is now badly bleeding, apparently opened up by one of Cormier's elbows. Less than a minute to go. Another elbow in the mouth by Cormier. Cormier is really teeing off with elbows and Barnett's face is turning into a mess. Round ends with "DC" on top. 10-9 Cormier.
Round three: Barnett comes forward with a good combo. Cormier lands a couple of big punches in an exchange. Barnett ties him up and tries for a single leg takedown. Cormier defends against the fence. Barnett keeps control. Cormier uses an elbow to break free. Back to the middle of the cage. Big right by Cormier. Big combo by Cormier. Barnett with the inside leg kick. Cormier drops down, grabs a leg and slams Barnett to the mat violently! Cormier transitions immediately to side control. Cormier using elbows to inflict punishment from this position. Barnett escapes and is back up. Very nice transition. Halfway through round three. Head kick by Barnett. Big one two combo by Cormier. Big straight right hand by Cormier. Barnett just looks a step behind in every aspect. Cormier rushes in for a shot and almost eats a big knee to the head. Head kick by Cormier lands. Barnett turtling up. Cormier is all over him. Barnett is up against the cage defending. Cormier spins, takes his back and will look to possibly suplex him to the mat. Barnett trying to stay upright. Thirty seconds left. Round ends with Cormier controlling Barnett against the fence. 10-9 Cormier.
Round four: Barnett coming forward, seemingly knowing he is way behind and needs a finish. Barnett with a couple of punches and then a knee to the head. Barnett has him tied up on the cage. Cormier reverses and gets free. Good jab by Cormier. Good left hook to the body by Cormier and then again. Good right to the head by Barnett. Barnett gets off with a combo but Cormier responds in kind and finishes with a big uppercut. Head kick by Cormier. Then again. Barnett just seems to never see any of these strikes coming. Barnett rushes in, ties him and lands a knee to the body. Barnett controlling against the fence. Cormier spins and escapes again. Barnett is really having zero success anywhere. Very rare to see him so drastically outmaneuvered by another fighter. Cormier ducks under a punch, shoots for a takedown, but thinks better, pops back up and lands an uppercut. Cormier shoots again and Barnett allows him to take him down, rolling for a kneebar. Barnett has his leg. Cormier is able to slip free and now he's on top inside Barnett's closed guard. One minute left. Elbows by Cormier. Barnett's face is a complete mess. Barnett looks for an arm for a kimura but Cormier defends well and then lands another elbow. Cormier stands and lets Barnett back up. Barnett comes forward and lands a big knee. Barnett pins him against the cage. Barnett with a good knee to the body. Horn sounds. 10-9 Cormier.
Round five: Body kick by Barnett. Front kick by Barnett. Another front kick by Barnett. Barnett comes forward and lands a good combo. Time is called as there is apparently a slick spot on the mat. Barnett charges forward throwing a combo and lands an uppercut. Barnett ties him up on the fence. Barnett with the elbow inside the clinch. Barnett with an elbow and then a nice straight left. Cormier escapes. Back to center. Barnett with a good combo. Head kick by Cormier, partially blocked. Barnett fakes a punch and then lands a good body kick. Cormier fighting very reserved, fighting a safe fight and appearing content to win the decision. Spinning backfist by Barnett misses badly. Cormier shoots under and gets the takedown. Cormier picks up Barnett for a big slam, but Barnett is able to regain his balance and gets his feet back underneath him. Cormier controls on the cage. Just over a minute to go. Barnett really needs to do something wild here if he wants to have any chance but he just looks helpless. Cormier has him pinned on the fence as the time ticks down. Cormier backs out. Barnett comes forward but is unable to land anything before the horn sounds. 10-9 Cormier.
Final results: Daniel Cormier via unanimous decision
- end -
(Lightweight Championship Bout) Gilbert Melendez vs. Josh Thomson (155-pound limit)
Round one: Fighters touch gloves and we're underway. Thomson with a couple of combos in a row. Melendez comes forward throwing punches. Thomson ducks under and tries to take him down but Melendez defends. Melendez with the knee to the body. Melendez pushes the pace and Thomson gets off another good combo. Melendez shoots for a double leg takedown and he gets it. Melendez ties up the legs with one arm while softening him up with punches from the other. Thomson uses the fence to try and wall walk his way back up bu Melendez is keeping him down by continuing to control the legs. Thomson is finally able to get back to his feet. Fighters exchange combos. Just over two minutes to go. Good uppercut by Melendez who then clinches up and lands a good knee. Back to center. Front kick by Thomson, misses. Melendez throws a big straight right. Thomson clinches up and lands a knee to the body. Melendez with a good combo. Good jab by Melendez. Inside leg kick to the instep by Melendez. Melendez with a decent combo. Twenty seconds left. Big combo by Thomson that finishes with a head kick. Melendez answers with a big strike that wobbles Thomson. Melendez pounces on him and lands a big hammerfist as the horn sounds. 10-9 Melendez.
Round two: Melendez comes forward jabbing. Thomson shoots but is defended. Melendez shoots in and is met with a sprawl. Thomson with a good combo and then a front kick to the chin. Big head kick attempt by thomson is blocked. Melendez is stalking. Melendez with a hook to the body. Thomson clinches up to avoid further punches up close. Back to center. Melendez working the jab. Thomson throws a wild head kick that misses. Good jab then left hook by Melendez. Thomson rushes forward with a nice combo. Good body punch by Thomson. Melendez answers with a leg kick. Incidental eye poke by Melendez. Thomson takes a second. Back to action. Thomson comes forward jabbing, Melendez counters with a nice right hand. Big uppercut by Melendez and these guys are throwing big combos at each other now. Melendez shoots in for a double leg and he scoops him up for a big slam. Melendez on top against the cage with 52 seconds left. Big takedown for "El Nino." Thomson is wall walking to get back to his feet. He gets back up but Melendez lands several quick punches on the way back up. Thomson shoots, but Melendez defends and lands several big elbows. 10-9 Melendez.
Round three: Good jab by Thomson. Head kick by Thomson. Inside leg kick by Melendez. Head kick from Thomson. Melendez aggressively comes forward throwing strikes. Melendez feints high then shoots low. Thomsondefends but Melendez nails him with a couple of big shots. Thomson answers with a good combo. Thomson shoots but is defended well. Melendez pushes off and they're back to center. Good combo by Melendez. Good elbow from in close by Melendez. Big uppercut by Thomson. Good jab by Thomson. Thomson uses a trip takedown but Melendez does a backwards somersault and is quickly back up. Uppercut by Melendez. Just over two to go. Jab by Melendez. Good right hook to the body by Melendez. Melendez with good head movement, avoids several big punches from Thomson and then he answers with a couple of big uppercuts. Good combo by Thomson in response. Another accidental eye poke by Melendez. Action resumes quickly. Good knee by Thomson. Thomson shoots but is met with a sprawl. Back up. Front kick to the body by Thomson. Big looping left by Melendez. Round ends a bit anticlimactically as both fighters appear to be gassing a bit. 10-9 Melendez.
Round four: Inside leg kick by Melendez. Melendez coming forward throwing a combo. Good jab by Melendez, followed by an overhand right. Left hook by Melendez. Thomson with a big straight right hand. Head kick by Thomson. Melendez responds with a combo. Melendez shoots for a double leg and slams him to the mat, once again. Melendez controlling the legs. Thomson back up and eats an elbow in the process. Good jab by Thomson. Melendez throws a big combo and then a nice uppercut. Front kick by Thomson. Melendez fakes high then shoots low, once more. Thomson defends. Melendez gives up on it and lands a big elbow on the exit. Thomson rishes in with a several punch combo but Melendez dances out of the way. Thomson uses the trip takedown again and is successful this time. Thomson on top. Melendez scrambles but gives up his back. Thomson goes for the rear naked choke. This is deep. One minute left. Melendez is defending but still not out of trouble. Thomson has the body triangle and is trying to get his arm under the chin of the champion. Thirty seconds left. Melendez rolls. Thomson tries to change the angle and go for the choke again. Ten seconds left. Melendez survives.10-9 Thomson.
Round five: Thomson comes out talking, looking to get Melendez to engage him in a brawl. Melendez comes forward with a big combo. The fighters exchange strikes. Melendez shoots low and gets it. Melendez has his back, momentarily, but Thomson is able to get out and back up. Melendez coming forward working the jabs. Good jab by Melendez. High kick by Thomson is blocked. Right hook by Thomson lands clean. Big combo by Thomson. Good left hook by Melendez. Head kick by Thomson. Thomson with a flurry of punches and kicks. Thomson shoots but Melendez stuffs it easily then lands a good knee. Two minutes left in the fight. Melendez extends his fingers and scrapes Thomson across the face for a third time. Brief pause. Back to action. Jab by Thomson. Thomson throws a wild head kick that misses but then comes forward with a big combo. Both fighters meet in the middle and are throwing furiously. Thomson appears to be winning the exchanges. Melendez shoots looking to steal the round but can't get him down. Thomson gets the takedown. Thomson on top with 35 seconds to go. Melendez throwing punches from the bottom. Thomson essentially just laying on him and holding him down as the round expires. 10-9 Thomson.
Final results: Gilbert Melendez via split decision
- end -
Rafael Cavalcante vs. Mike Kyle (205-pound limit)
Round one: Cavalcante with a big overhand right, then a huge knee. Kyle looks hurt. Kyle is down but gets back up. As he pops us, "Feijao" grabs a hold of guillotine. It's tight! Kyle slams him to try and get free but he only makes it tighter! Kyle is tapping! It's over! Wow. If you blinked, you may have missed that one. Next.
Final results: Rafael Cavalcante via submission (guillotine) at 0:33 of round one
Nah-Shon Burrell vs. Chris Spang (170-pound limit)
Round one: Spang with a big combo. Burrell throws one of his own but Spang definitely landed bigger. Burrell the aggressor thus far, working the jabs. Spang with the high kick, which is blocked. Burrell with a decent combo, ending on a right hook. Spang with a nice outside leg kick. Sidekick to the body by Spang. Fighters exchange combos in the center of the cage. Burrell clinches up and brings Spang to the fence. Spang reverses and then drops to try for a takedown. Burrell defends. Good elbow and a left hook on the exit by Spang. Back to center. Big left hook by Spang and Burrell drops to the mat. He's back up but he's rocked! Spang is going off with big knees inside the clinch. Burrell is not answering. Spang lands a big uppercut. Burrell looks to be in huge trouble. Just under two minutes to go. Spang lands another monstrous knee. Burrell drops to the canvas again and the referee steps in to save Burrell from further damage. It's over!
Final results: Chris Spang via KO at 1:35 of round one