Strikeforce: ‘Barnett vs. Cormier takes place tonight from the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California. The event airs live on Showtime at 10pm ET/. The prelims will precede the Showtime broadcast at 8pm ET on Showtime Extreme.
In the main event, the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix finally comes to a close as Josh Barnett takes on Daniel Cormier.
The Strikeforce lightweight title is on the line as Gilbert Melendez defends his belt in a rubber match against rival Josh Thomson.
Light heavyweights Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante takes on Mike Kyle.
And rounding out the main card, Nah-Shon Burrell takes on Chris Spang.
Results and recap after the jump.
- Daniel Cormier def. Josh Barnett via Unanimous Decision (49-46, 50-45, 50-45)
- Gilbert Melendez def. Josh Thomson via Split Decision (47-48, 48-47, 48-47)
- Rafael Feijao def. Mike Kyle via Submission (Guillotine Choke) at 0:33 of Round 1
- Chris Spang def. Nah-Shon Burrell via Knockout (Punches and Knees) at 1:35 of Round 1
- Isaac Vallie-Flagg def. Gesias “JZ” Calvancante via Split Decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
- Guto Inocente def. Virgil Zwicker via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
- Gian Villante def. Derrick Mehmen via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
- Quinn Mulhern def. Yuri Villefort via Split Decision (30-27, 28-29, 29-28)
- Bobby Green def. James Terry via Split Decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
Josh Barnett vs. Daniel Cormier: In the main event, Josh Barnett and Daniel Cormier opened up the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix finals like it was a kickboxing match. Cormier, being the quicker of the two, hit “The Warmaster” with heavy hooks, quick knees, and uppercuts. Barnett countered with jabs and body kicks of his own, while working some clinch work early. In the second round, both men went at it hard again, and it was Cormier who would once again dominate in the striking. Rinse and repeat for rounds three and four, with the exception of a near heel hook by Josh that Cormier slipped out of. In the fifth, up on the cards, Cormier opted to use the Carlos Condit strategy and avoid his opponent at all costs. Of course, Daniel Cormier puts the nail in the coffin in this terrible tournament with scores of 49-46, 50-45, and 50-45.
Gilbert Melendez vs. Josh Thomson: This was the best fight of the three these two men have had against each other. In the first, it was almost too close to call, as Thomson used his superior Muay thai to stifle the striking of Gilbert, who used his strong wrestling game throughout. In the second and third rounds, it appeared to be Melendez’s game that was taking over. Mixing up his solid boxing with takedowns and a little clinch work, Gilbert looked as crisp as ever, and really took it to Thomson. The fourth was perhaps the most dramatic round, as it appeared Gil was starting to fade, while Thomson was ready to brawl. Using his Muay thai again to control the range, Thomson managed to get Gil to the mat, take his back, and even slip in a rear naked choke, which he nearly finished. A bloody Melendez stepped off the stool for what would be a very, very important fifth round. While Gil used his takedowns to try and control Thomson, it was Josh who was the aggressor, putting together some amazing combinations which connected on more than one occasion. After 25 solid minutes, we turned to the judges who scored the fight 48-47 for Josh Thomson, 48-47 for Gilbert Melendez, and 48-47 for the lightweight champion. Gilbert Melendez retains.
Rafael Feijao vs. Mike Kyle: Revenge is a dish best served cold, and it doesn’t get much colder than the beating Feijao put on Mike Kyle. After a jab by Kyle, Feijao threw an overhand right followed by a knee to the head that dropped his opponent, he followed up with ground and pound, and as Kyle got back to his feet, Feijao jumped for a guillotine, and as Kyle tried to slam him down, Feijao rolled and Kyle had to tap. The finish came at 0:33 of the first frame.
Nah-Shon Burrell vs. Chris Spang: It wasn’t a the quickest of starts, but as soon as Chris Spang let loose, this bout was in the books. The brother of Bellator fighter Andreas Spang, Chris absolutely ripped Burrell apart with knees and punches in high volume. As soon as the first blow landed, it was just a matter of time, as Burrell found himself on the mat and being saved by the referee. The stoppage came 95 seconds into the bout.
Gesias “JZ” Calvancante vs. Isaac Vallie-Flagg: I said I believed JZ was just at another level, and in the first round, that appeared to be true. JZ dominated the first round, mixing up strikes with takedowns. In the second, he began to fade and Vallie-Flagg started to mount a major comeback, stealing the round. The third however, was all Vallie-Flagg, and he made JZ look like an amateur. It was the cardio that made the difference as Vallie-Flagg took home a split decision with scores of 28-29, 29-28, and 29-28.
Guto Inocente vs. Virgil Zwicker: This was as ugly as a fight can be. Given the beating that Inocente put on Zwicker, Strikeforce might have its own zombie. Throwing violent head kicks, spinning backfists and elbows, and shot after shot, Inocente looked as if he was trying to kill Zwicker. Zwicker would not be stopped, and he certainly would not back down. Although fatigue was clearly an issue as the bout went on, Zwicker came forward without hesitation and walked through any and all strikes he was faced with. This fight was ridiculous. Inocente takes a hard-earned decision with scores of 29-28, 29-28, and 30-27.
Gian Villante vs. Derrick Mehmen: If there ever was a coming out party for Gian Villante, this was it. Showing massive improvement in his striking, Villante mixed up kicks, knees, and punches, putting together some fantastic combinations for 15 minutes as he just schooled Mehmen on the feet. Mehmen would not be stopped though. He did his best to hang in there and compete with the surging Villante, but it was all for naught, as following 15 minutes of a beatdown, Villante took home the unanimous decision with scores of 29-28, 30-27, and 30-27.
Yuri Villefort vs. Quinn Mulhern: In a close and very exciting affair, Villefort and Mulhern showed why every single aspect of the MMA game is important. Villefort looked very crisp in the first, using his quick striking and strong BJJ to attack. In the second however, Mulhern began to style on his opponent, using his unorthodox submission attacks and wrestling to make his gassing opponent pay. The third was much like the second, with Mulhern in full control, though Villefort was never out of it, and kept busy throughout. In the end, the judges rendered a split decision for Mulhern with scores of 30-27, 28-29, and 29-28.
Bobby Green vs. James Terry: In the only untelevised bout on the card, Bobby Green took on the always tenacious James Terry. Terry used his jabs and leg kicks to keep Green at bay throughout the first two, and even outstruck the colorfully named fighter. Going into the third, and appearing to be down two rounds to none, Green turned it up and started to capitalize on a gassing Terry. Using his own kicks and jabs while pushing the pace, Green took the third. It seemed like a fairly clear-cut decision for Terry, but the judges disagreed, giving Green the split decision with scores of 28-29, 29-28, and 29-28.