Luke Rockhold Beats Jesse Taylor at Strikeforce Challengers

Jesse Taylor, the former Ultimate Fighter cast member who was kicked off the show for misbehavior and dropped by the UFC after a loss in the Octagon, suffered another setback in losing to Luke Rockhold on a Strikeforce Challengers Series card in Fresno Friday night.

Taylor, a former wrestler, immediately shot for a takedown and kept working for it until he finally got Rockhold on his back a little over a minute into the first round. But going to the ground turned out to be a mistake: Rockhold showed superior Brazilian jiu jitsu skills, getting Taylor's back, controlling him with a body triangle, and making him tap with a rear-naked choke.

It was a solid showing for Rockhold, who is now 6-1 in his professional MMA career, with all six wins coming by submission. He's a rising star in the middleweight division, a division in which Strikeforce is developing some strong talent.

As for Taylor, he deserves credit for staying in shape -- he appears to be in better condition than he was on The Ultimate Fighter -- and for staying active, as this was his eighth fight of 2009. But after winning his first six fights of the year, Taylor has now lost two in a row since signing with Strikeforce. With the loss, Taylor falls to 13-5, with four losses by submission. Taylor has enough of a recognizable name that Strikeforce will keep him around, but he has a lot of work to do before he can be considered a complete mixed martial artist.

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