Rockhold Meets Kennedy In Strikeforce Title Match
By: Matty Simo
Thursday, July 12, 2012
One week after UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva defended his title for the 10th time against Chael Sonnen at UFC 148, Strikeforce middleweight champ Luke Rockhold will put his belt on the line for the second time against Tim Kennedy in the main event of a card appropriately named Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Kennedy.
Saturday’s Strikeforce action in Portland will feature nine bouts overall, with the prelims scheduled to start at 8:00 p.m. (ET) on Showtime Extreme. The main card fights follow at 10:00 p.m. on Showtime.
Rockhold (9-1) has been mentioned as a possible challenger for Silva somewhere down the road, but he remains a member of the Strikeforce roster until further notice. He has won his last eight fights, including a first-round TKO of former UFC fighter Keith Jardine in Las Vegas back in January. Rockhold won the middleweight championship in his previous fight against Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza last September, a unanimous decision after Souza won the interim title against Kennedy in Aug 2010.
Kennedy (14-3) was originally scheduled to fight Rockhold in March 2011, but Rockhold was removed from that bout and used as a replacement in another Strikeforce event. Kennedy ended up fighting Melvin Manhoef, who he submitted with a rear-naked choke in the first round. He followed that with a unanimous decision win against Robbie Lawler nearly five months later and has not fought since then.
Kennedy has also simultaneously served as a Staff Sergeant in the United States Army, fighting on and off since 2001. He is a +250 underdog against Rockhold who is the 1/3 favorite for Saturday's bout.
In the co-main event, the interim welterweight championship will also be decided between former UFC middleweight contender Nate Marquardt and unbeaten Tyron Woodley.
Marquardt (31-10-2) will be making his Strikeforce and welterweight debuts after getting released from the UFC for failing to meet required testosterone limits prior to a bout with Rick Story. The 13-year MMA veteran decided to drop to welterweight following a unanimous decision win against Dan Miller at UFC 128, with his last four losses coming against Silva, Sonnen, Thales Leites and Yushin Okami.
Woodley (10-0) has seen his last three fights go to the judges, including a split-decision victory against Jordan Mein in Las Vegas this past January on the Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Jardine card. Eight of his 10 wins have come in Strikeforce, with the first three resulting in submissions and four of the past five ending with unanimous or split decisions.
The 30-year-old former University of Missouri wrestler is a +110 underdog against Marquardt (-130).