Strikeforce Live Blog: Jacare Souza vs. Luke Rockhold Updates

CINCINNATI -- This is the Strikeforce live blog for Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza vs. Luke Rockhold, a middleweight title bout on tonight's Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Kharitonov event at the U.S. Bank Arena.

Souza (14-2), coming off a submission win over Robbie Lawler in January, is making his second title defense. Rockhold (7-1) has won six straight fights under the Strikeforce banner.

The live blog is below.


Round 1: Souza flicks out a kick to start and Rockhold comes forward behind a couple low kicks of his own. Rockhold tries a knee off a Souza takedown attempt, but then gets caught with a hard right that sends him reeling across the cage. Souza follows, looking for the takedown. He struggles to get Rockhold down, but can't do much more than hold him there. Rockhold tries to wall-walk and Souza punishes him with right hands for his trouble. Rockhold finally works to his feet and Souza nails him with a good knee in the clinch before letting him slip free. Rockhold showing some redness around his eyes, and Souza adds to it with another right hand that lands cleanly. Rockhold opens up with one flashy kick after another in the final 30 seconds, catching Souza with the second one. MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9 for Souza.

Round 2:
Spinning heel kick to the body by Rockhold to start round two. He opens up with several kicks to the head and legs right afterwards, keeping Souza on the defensive. Huge right hand from Souza wobbles Rockhold. He's in trouble. Souza goes after him and nails him with a couple more rights, but Rockhold hangs on and recovers with remarkable quickness. Another switch kick from Rockhold is mostly blocked. Souza ducks under a Rockhold punch and grabs a clinch. Rockhold works some knees to the thigh in close before Souza reverses the position. Rockhold comes forward with a nice straight left. Souza answers with another of those nasty looking rights. The horn sounds and MMA Fighting scores it 10-9 for Souza.

Round 3:
Rockhold comes forward with a couple of kicks and Souza backs up to avoid them before firing off one of his own. Rockhold tosses out a left and then a low kick that nails Souza solidly in the groin. Referee Dan Miragliotta pauses it to give Souza a chance to recover. The fight restarts and Souza ducks under a Rockhold punch in search of a takedown, which he eventually gets. Rockhold scrambles up and Souza thinks about a standing kimura, but it was a little ambitious even for him. Rockhold winds up for a couple more kicks, but Souza can see them all coming and covers up to block. Rockhold stings Souza with a left, but Souza comes right back with another right hand that lands behind Rockhold's ear. Rockhold spins all the way around hoping to surprise Souza with one last kick before the round ends, but no dice. MMA Fighting scores it 10-9 for Souza.

Round 4:
Rockhold slams Souza with a kick to the body in the early going of the fourth. 'That hurt him!' Rockhold's corner shouts. Souza fires back with a right hand that shows he's not too badly damaged. Souza dives in with a hook that misses, then settles for a clinch where he can fire off a nice knee before Rockhold reverses and puts his back against the fence. They separate and Rockhold misses with a hook, leaving an opening for Souza to come in behind a big right that grazes Rockhold. Souza shoots for a double-leg, but Rockhold defends well, even though he seems to be slowing down a little. Rockhold tries a spinning back heel kick and Souza grabs his leg, looking for the takedown. Rockhold defends and lands a knee in the clinch in the final seconds of the round. MMA Fighting scores it 10-9 for Rockhold.

Round 5:
Rockhold's corner warns him that Souza is going to "come on strong" to start the final round, and they send him out with one word of advice: "Keep your hands up." Souza doesn't start any more aggressively than usual, however, and it's Rockhold who's on offense early. He backs Souza up with those long kicks and lands a nice left on a tired Souza. Souza moves into another clinch behind a right hand, and eventually gets Rockhold down. Rockhold soon works back to his feet without absorbing any damage, then goes on the attack with a couple punch combos that have Souza backing up. Rockhold follows after him and Souza snaps a front kick into his face, sending sweat flying in the final minute. Both men are tired, but Souza presses forward with a looping right and they end the fight leaning on each other in the clinch. MMA Fighting scores the round 10-10.

Luke Rockhold def. Ronaldo Souza via unanimous decision (50-45, 48-47, 48-47)

Well, that's surprising. Just about every round was close, but I'm not sure how you give Rockhold every one of them.
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