MMA roundup: Cormier scores upset
In a series of dominant performances the finals of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix was determined on Saturday night as Daniel Cormier and Josh Barnett can now prepare to do battle early next year.
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Cormier pulled off an upset as he owned Antonio Silva for the duration of their fight, nearly finishing very early on with a vicious series of strikes. He utilized a perfectly landed uppercut to drop the giant and then got the referee stoppage with two devastating hammerfists.
Cormier improved his flawless record to 9-0, though, by far Silva was his most impressive win to date. His opponent will be somebody who brings a much flashier approach with him into the cage as former UFC heavyweight champ Barnett had zero trouble disposing of Sergei Kharitonov.
After Barnett and Kharitonov boxed their way through the opening minutes of their bout, Barnett began executing his gameplan. His first takedown of the fight turned out to be all he needed as he worked his way to yet another triangle choke submission victory.
In other action Saturday night Luke Rockhold won the Strikeforce middleweight title in fight against Jacare Souza that went the distance. King Mo and Pat Healy were also successful Saturday night.
The big news coming out of Birmingham, England, was Jim Wallhead outpointing UFC veteran Frank Trigg to secure a stunning upset in the main event of BAMMA 7. A member of the Rough House training camp who has also produced top British strikers such as Paul Daley and Dan Hardy, "Judo Jim" was a late replacement for the organization’s injured middleweight champion Tom "Kong" Watson. He came close to finishing the fight in the first round when he caught Trigg with a left hook and proceeded to press the advantage on the ground with short punches and elbows. Even though Trigg recovered he could never get fully back into the fight, with Wallhead being the stronger and quicker fighter throughout. In the third, Wallhead was even able to takedown the former Oklahoma wrestlers. While Trigg had the ring smarts to make it close on the scorecards, there was no doubting that Wallhead had emerged the clear winner.
On the undercard, teammate Paul Daley had a mystifying night, as the heavy handed striker found himself up against a man in Jordan Radev who just couldn’t be knocked down. Over three rounds of quite staggering action, Daley hit Radev with literally everything in his disposable … hard elbows to the face, brutal punches to the head and body, vicious kicks both high and low and a barrage of knees to the body, to the head and even flying knees! But nothing Daley could do could get Radev to the canvas, and indeed by the second round "The Bulgarian Zombie" was walking through Daley’s shots and mounting offense of his own. After losing the first two rounds, he was even able to take the third thanks to securing a takedown midway through, a consolation round victory that added to his gritty display.
Bellator kicked off their fifth season Saturday night with an impressive event that showcased the opening round of competition in the welterweight tournament. It opened up with Douglas Lima proving to Steve Carl that you can indeed win a fight with leg kicks. Lima controlled the pace of the fight by keeping Carl at bay with leg kicks and used cage control with a smothering ground game to earn the unanimous decision victory.
Luis Santos and Dan Hornbuckle also battled to decision in a bout that saw Santos utilize his impressive Muay Thai striking and pressing ground game on his way to a victory. Chris Lozano left it all in the cage after picking up an exciting win over Brent Weedman by decision. Weedman had Lozano trapped in a tight body triangle early in the first round and could have ended it with a rear naked choke, but Lozano battled through it and fought back with an array of strikes and takedowns to get the win.
Perhaps the most impressive performance of the night, however, came from UFC veteran Ben Saunders, the only fighter on the main card to win by stoppage. Saunders dominated Chris Cisernos in all aspects of the game in the first two rounds and eventually knocked out his outclassed opponent in the third round after a flurry of knees and punches. Lima, Santos, Lozano and Saunders all advanced to the semifinals of the welterweight tournament.
The fighters of Bellator return to action next week with Bellator 50, where eight men will do battle in the quarterfinal round of the middleweight tournament.