Photo by Esther Lin/Forza LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images.
The main event of the Strikeforce: "Rockhold vs. Kennedy" event that took place tonight (Sat., July 14, 2012) at the Rose Garden in Portland, Oregon, featured a middleweight championship bout pitting titleholder Luke Rockhold against veteran Tim Kennedy.
The Surfer vs. The Sniper. The Champion vs. The Challenger. The Guy Who Wants To Fight In UFC But Can't vs. The Other Guy Who Wants To Fight In UFC But Can't. Who would prevail?
The Surfer, that's who.
Rockhold was better from bell to bell. Save for a few instances of Kennedy jumping his back and briefly flirting with a submission attempt or two, Rockhold controlled the action. He also scored a knockdown and was far superior exchanging punches.
In the end, the judges agreed and scored it for the champion via unanimous decision, 49-46 across the board.
Rockhold, who looked bigger inside the cage, came out with a vengeance, looking to land bombs early and end this thing quick. But Kennedy had other plans, surviving long enough to duck down for a takedown.
Eventually, Kennedy advanced position but Rockhold was able to get back to his feet and end the round in superior position, pushing his opponent against the fence.
To the surprise of many, it was Rockhold who got off with his grappling game early in the second. He jumped Kennedy's back and tried to wrap around but the Army vet stayed poised and turned over to get back to standing.
Unfortunately for him, he didn't have much success there. The champion looked just like one, outclassing Kennedy and hurting him with his strikes.
The third round came and Rockhold's power was starting to frustrate Kennedy. In the clinch, it didn't even look close. Kennedy was getting tagged while Rockhold was picking his spots.
Finally, Kennedy found some offensive success with a takedown and back control for a brief period. He never quite threatened with the rear-naked choke submission he was looking for but at least he was finally scoring some points.
Kennedy looked for uppercuts early in the fourth. He wasn't successful, though, and Rockhold again took over, landing the far more meaningful strikes.
That includes a big reaching punch that knocked Kennedy down and had him reeling. He survived but the points scored likely put him behind enough that anything less than a finish in the final frame would mean losing the fight.
It never came.
Remember, too, to check out MMAmania.com's complete coverage of the entire Strikeforce: "Rockhold vs. Kennedy" event by clicking here.