Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Cormier took place May 19, 2012, at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, CA. Former Olympian Daniel Cormier (10-0) battled Josh Barnett (31-6) in the night's main event to determine the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix champion. In the co-main event, Gilbert Melendez (21-2) put his Strikeforce lightweight title on the line against longtime rival Josh Thomson (19-5, 1 NC). Catch the video highlights below.
For more on Cormier's coming out party, check out the play-by-play from MMA Fighting's own Dave Doyle.
Round 1: Josh Rosenthal is the main-event referee. Barnett with a couple quick jabs, slips throwing a kick. Quick clinch. Cormier goes inside. Cormier clearly not terribly afraid of Barnett's reach advantage. Cormier scores a knee. Another clinch. Cormier tosses Barnett aside and chases after him. Barnett with a jab, Cormier counters with several shots. Another Greco clinch. Barnett narrowly misses with a big standing elbow. Pace slows a bit. Barnett with a low kick. Two minutes left. Big right by Cormier. Cormier more active. Both guys land knees in the clinch. Cormier's punches are crisp. Barnett catches Cormier late with a nice knee and they finish the round cinched along the fence. MMAFighting scoresthe round for Cormier, 10-9.
Round 2: Barnett with a jab and Cormier with a counter flurry. Barnett with a front kick. Barnett rocks Cormier backwards, but Cormier regains his footing. They clinch, and Cormier catches him with an elbow as they break. Shot to the body by Cormier registers. Cormier with a takedown midway through the round. Cormier in Barnett's guard. After a stalemate, Cormier lands an elbow that bloodies Barnett. Barnett goes for a leg lock, Cormier escapes, gets to his feet, then goes right back into Barnett's guard. Thirty seconds left. Cormier lands a couple shots as the round ends.MMAFighting scores the round for Cormier, 10--9 (20-18 overall).
Round 3: They clinch along the fence in the opening minute. Barnett tries for a single-leg, abandons it. Back to center cage a minute in. Cormier lands a 1-2. Barnett misses a running knee. Cormier with a gigantic slam. Cormier has side control. Cormier tries for a choke as they get back up. They're standing. Barnett's face looks like it's been hit with a sledgehammer. He's not even showing hints of backing down, though. Slower pace. Cormier staggers Barnett with a head kick and a big knee. Barnett in trouble but won't go down. Big knee and a roundhouse by Barnett. My god, is Josh Barnett tough. Cormier behind Barnett, wants a big slam, doesn't get the leverage. Round ends with Cormier still hanging on to Barnett. MMAFighting scores the round for Cormier, 10-9 (30-27 overall).
Round 4: Barnett catches Cormier with a big knee early. They clinch, Barnett throws a couple knees. Barnett with a left head kick followed by a right head kick. Barnett with a knee. Two minutes in, they clinch along the fence. Barnett whiffs on a spinning back fist. Cormier goes for a single leg and finishes it with a nifty trip. Cormier goes for either some sort of leg lock (can't quite tell what with a Showtime type standing up directly in front of me). It's very close, but Cormier slides out of danger. Cormier ends up in Barnett's guard. Rosenthal calls for a standup with 30 seconds left. Very close round, Barnett with a sense of urgency. MMAFighting scores the round for Barnett, 10-9 (39-37 Cormier overall).
Round 5: Barnett with a kick to the body. A timeout called as the mat was wet, Rosenthal towels it off and we're back at it. Barnett throws a combo and we've got a positional battle along the fence. They end up back out in the center. Cormier appears content to simply not lose the fight, Barnett isn't yet doing anything to take it. Crowd gets a bit restless. Cormier with a combo. Two minutes left. Barnett with a spinning back first, Cormier scores a takedown and just misses with a slam attempt, as Barnett lands on his feet. The clinch, Barnett's back to the fence. One minute left. Both guys still standing and clinched. Down to the closing seconds. Cormier avoids contact, too many boos from the crowd at the end for a quality fight. MMAFighting scores the round for Cormier, 10-9 (49-46 overall).
Strikeforce Barnett vs. Cormier results: Daniel Cormier wins via unanimous decision (49-46, 50-45, 50-45).