Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix Final: Barnett vs. Cormier Results (coverage I provided for gerweck.net)
HP Pavilion in San Jose, CA
– Showtime Extreme Prelims
Bobby Green defeated James Terry via split decision (29-28 across the board)
Quinn Mulhern defeated Yuri Villefort via split decision (30-27, 28-29, 29-28)
Gian Villante defeated Derrick Mehmen via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Guto Inocente defeated Virgil Zwicker via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Isaac Vallie-Flagg defeated Gesias Cavalcante via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
– Main Card
Chris Spang defeated Nah-Shon Burrell via KO @ 1:35 of the 1st Round: Burrell pushed the pace with strikes until Spang dropped Burrell with a left hook. Burrell got up as Spang rushed in and tied up Burrell with a thai clinch and landed several knees to the head of Burrell until he was dropped once more and referee Josh Rosenthal stepped in to stop the fight.
Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante defeated Mike Kyle by submission via guillotine choke @ 0:33 of the 1st Round: Kyle ducked an over hand right from Feijao but got rocked with a picture perfect knee on the chin that sent him wobbling into the cage. Feijao landed eight short punches and applied at standing guillotine choke but Kyle remained on his feet. The choke got tighter and tighter and Kyle lifted him up and slammed him down as a last ditch effort but Feijao held on to the choke and Kyle tapped.
Gilbert Melendez defeated Josh Thompson via split decision to retain the Lightweight Championship (48-47, 48-47, 48-47): This was back and forth fight from beginning to end. It all came down to the first round as it could have gone either way. Melendez Melendez hit Thompson with an accidental poke to the eye at 1:54 of the 2nd round. Thompson went down from another eye poke in the 3rd round but Gilbert’s fist was closed and he voiced this to the referee and the ref in turn told Thompson the fist was closed. Thompson hit a nice leg trip but Melendez rolled through and got back to his feet.
Thompson rocked Melendez in the 4th round with a straight right hand but he never went in to capitalize. Thompson did some effective things with his counter punching but needed to move forward more with his attack. Melendez showed excellent head movement and mixed up his punches to the head and body. Thompson landed another trip takedown but was able to keep Melendez on the ground this time and attempted a rear naked choke but couldn’t get his arm under the chin but controlled his back for the last 1:35 of the fourth round.
Melendez took down Thompson in the fifth round but Thompson got up right away and started winning the punching exchanges. Thompson stuffed a takedown attempt but got hit with a knee to the head. Melendez poked Thompson in the eye, again, and the referee gave Melendez a stern warning. Thompson hit the inside trip with 0:33 left in the fight and hit some very effective punches inside Melendez’s guard until time expired. Melendez’s fiancé looked very concerned. Fans in the arena booed the decision and Thompson could not believe the decision went the other way. Both fighters were true professionals in their post fight interviews. These two are always going to have close fights as they bring out the best in each other.
Daniel Cormier defeated Josh Barnett via unanimous decision to become the Strikeforce Heavyweight World Grand Prix Champion (49-46, 50-45, 50-45): Cormier did a great job of keep Barnett off balance throughout the first round by mixing up his punches, moving his head and changing levels. Barnett hurt Cormier with a knee with 0:20 left and Cormier pushed and held Barnett against the cage to close the round.
Cormier shot for a single leg and took down Barnett in the 2nd round and landed in his guard. Barnett attempted a triangle choke but Cormier postured up and landed an elbow that hurt Barnett. Barnett attempted an armbar but Cormier escaped and landed some more elbows that cut Barnett. Cormier avoided Barnett’s half guard and landed another elbow between the eyes of Barnett to end the round. Barnett’s trainer said during the rest period “You can not let him take you down like that again.”
Cormier got the high crotch and hoisted up Barnett and slammed him down and landed in side control. Barnett scrambles up but lands in a guillotine choke but he easily escaped. Cormier attempted another single leg and Barnett shook it but was caught with a right head kick that hurt and made him back off against the cage. Cormier picked him apart with punches and knees and attempted a german suplex but Barnett prevented that from happening.
The pace slowed down in the 4th round Barnett missed a spinning back fist. Cormier landed another single leg takedown but Barnett rolled his hips and applied a leg lock. Cormier looked nervous for a few seconds but used his right heel to push off and escape.
Cormier rode his bicycle in the fifth round as Barnett went on the attack. Cormier missed a couple of head kicks and landed a 1,2 punch combos. Cormier pinned Barnett against the cage for the last sixty seconds of the fight. Barnett tried his hardest to get off the cage using double under hooks but Cormier’s hips would not move.
Josh Barnett revealed in the post fight interview that he “broke the ever-loving crap” out of his left hand in the first round when he hit Corimer with a left hook. Cormier proved that he is the real deal and looked liked a grizzled veteran through the fight.