Sobral beats Lawler at Strikeforce show

Published Jun. 17, 2010 1:00 a.m. EDT was at the Nokia Theatre breaking down Strikeforce's show on Wednesday night. Here's the recap from the main card.

Renato "Babalu" Sobral vs. Robbie Lawler

Round 1: John McCarthy is your ref. Both guys did a feeling out process to begin, but Babalu quickly moved in for a clinch and worked for a takedown. Lawler got his back against the cage to guard against it. Sobral hit a nice knee while clinching. The fans start booing the lack of action, and McCarthy breaks it up for a restart. Lawler lands a big left hook that dazes Sobral, but Sobral quickly clinches. Lawler reverses the clinch and gets away. Sobral misses two punches and Lawler misses one. Lawler is really staying on the outside of Babalu’s range here, likely to prevent a takedown. Sobral shoots and gets the takedown and tries a guillotine, but Lawler escapes. Sobral gets a takedown and tries a D’Arce, but Lawler gets away again. Sobral gets in a good leg kick. Light heavyweight champ Muhammad "King Mo" Lawal is standing in front of me and he’s angry about something. Sobral misses a looping punch but gets a clinch. Lawler gets away cleanly. The round ends. The fans are getting quicker to boo a perceived lack of action. And now they’re booing King Mo.

Round 2: Sobral hits a strong leg kick. Lawler is pressing forward much more than he did in the last round, looking for the KO. Sobral tries a takedown, but Lawler catches his leg and lands a few uppercuts before Sobral can get away. Lawler lands a nice straight. Lawler seems pretty tired. Sobral lands a big leg kick. Lawler then fakes like he’s tired to lure Sobral in, but gives us a smile when Sobral doesn’t fall for it. Sobral pushes forward with a strong head kick. Sobral’s stand-up game looks good, while Lawler just wants the big highlight reel knockout. Sobral lands a head kick, but Lawler catches it and throws him down, then lets him back up. Lawler’s entire game now seems to be attempting to sucker Sobral in for a big knockout punch, but Sobral isn’t falling for it. Sobral with a stiff left jab that snaps Lawler’s head back. Babalu does some dancing, but Lawler drills him with a big right. They’re exchanging big punches. The crowd is chanting for Babalu now. The round ends. Lawler’s strategy of luring Sobral in for a knockout shot isn’t working, but he’s actually going to need one in the third round to win this.


Round 3: Lawler starts pressing the action. He’s gotta sense that he needs a finish to win this. Sobral misses a takedown and Lawler lands an uppercut in the process. Sobral misses another takedown and Lawler spins away. Lawler lands a big body hook. The crowd is very quick to boo now. These guys are exchanging a lot of punches and they’re still booing. Another Babalu chant from the crowd. Lawler misses a right uppercut. Babalu tries a spinning back fist, but Lawler blocks it. Lawler tries a head kick but misses, then follows it with two wild missed punches. Sobral with a straight right to the body. Babalu throws a nice combination, then Lawler finally lands a big left hook. He lands another left hook. Sobral is using a good front kick to keep Lawler at bay. Lawler finally gets in a couple of good power punches, but he’s being incredibly sloppy with them. Lawler drills Sobral with a great right as the round ends.

Renato Sobral d. Robbie Lawler by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Strong showing from Sobral. Lawler’s punches were much harder -- as evidenced by Sobral’s face -- but he wasn’t able to land enough of them to make it count. Sobral says he wouldn’t mind fighting King Mo, but he would rather fight Dan Henderson. The crowd likes this idea. That would leave Lawal free to face Rafael "Feijao" Cavalcante on the Houston show in August.

Marius Zaromskis vs. Evangelista "Cyborg" Santos

Round 1: Zaromskis spent much of the first minute circling away in fine Houston Alexander style. Both fighters traded some huge punches. Cyborg rocked Zaromskis with a right that sent him back into the cage, but Zaromskis swung away when pursued and was able to get out of danger. Zaromskis landed a right head kick. Cyborg with a big leg kick that wows the Nokia crowd. Cyborg landed a right head kick that sent Zaromskis stumbling, but he recovered and ran after Cyborg with a flying knee. When he did, Cyborg dropped him with a big punch in mid-air and then followed with three shots on the ground before referee Herb Dean could stop the fight.

Cris Cyborg picked up her husband and carried him around the cage. That’s something you don’t see every day. Zaromskis stayed on the ground for a few minutes before finally getting up and sitting on a stool, then exiting the cage. Santos looked a whole lot like his wife (the ferocious style) in this fight, and Zaromskis goes to 0-2 in Strikeforce.

Evangelista Santos d. Marius Zaromskis (TKO, Round 1)

Tim Kennedy vs. Trevor Prangley

Round 1: Kennedy wasted no time in going for a clinch, attempting to get the fight to the ground. Prangley was able to keep it standing until Kennedy threw him, but Prangley got back to his feet and kept resisting the takedown. Kennedy stood up and kept the clinch against the cage. Prangley used a throw of his own, but Kennedy immediately got back to his feet and got a slam for the takedown into half guard. Kennedy passed into full mount and postured up to land some punches. Prangley stood up with Kennedy on this back, and Kennedy locked in a rear-naked choke. Prangley tapped while standing up, then collapsed to the mat after Kennedy let go.

Tim Kennedy d. Trevor Prangley by submission (rear-naked choke, Round 1)

Conor Heun vs. K.J. Noons

Round 1: Heun came out swinging ferociously to begin the round but didn’t land anything. Noons stung him with a couple of crisp punches, so he started thinking about a takedown but couldn’t get it. He was eventually able to land punches here and there, but Noons was much quicker and more technical with his boxing game. Noons caught Heun with a nice right hook that slightly rocked him, but he shook it off and landed a right hook of his own. Heun got a takedown with two minutes left, sunk the hooks in and started working for a choke, but Noons was able to avoid it. Heun moved into the mount and landed some big punches. Noons rolled every which way he could, but Heun was able to maintain top control for a lengthy amount of time and continued landing big punches. Noons rolled into Heun’s guard and was able to stand up with fifteen seconds left in the round.

Round 2: Both fighters are still amped up to begin the second. Heun went for a left head kick, but Noons caught it and tossed him to the ground. Heun’s left eye is red and starting to swell. They’re being a lot more cautious than they were in the first round. Heun has missed about seven head kicks so far. Noons tagged Heun with a couple of punches and a leg kick, but Heun shook it off. Heun tried to goad Noons into a wild brawl, but Noons is remaining patient and using his boxing. And now they’re both landing wild bombs. Heun finally landed a head kick but it had no effect. Noons scored with a beautiful flying knee, but it may have hit the body instead of the chin. Heun landed a knee of his own. Noons seems to be tiring, but he’s still throwing big punches. Heun missed with a spinning back first. Noons tried a leg kick with five seconds left, but Heun caught it and took him down. A very close and action-packed round.

Round 3: Heun has way more energy starting this round. Noons opened with three nice body punches. Heun wanted a takedown but it was stuffed. He’s already thrown three missed head kicks in this round. Noons landed another flying knee, but Heun is fine. Noons is gassed, but he’s holding up well and landing plenty of shots. They butted heads during a Heun takedown. Both guys are just throwing wild, sloppy punches now, but it’s pretty fun. Heun misses another takedown attempt. Noons stuffs another takedown attempt. Heun’s face makes it seems like he’s getting the brunt of the punishment. The Nokia crowd rises to their feet with 30 seconds left. Heun gets a takedown, but Noons scrambles away and as he does, Heun lands a big left hand. The crowd gives both fighters a standing ovation. This is going to be a close decision. It was a sloppy fight, but it was a lot of fun. Heun pressed the action in the third and it may have landed him the win.

K.J. Noons d. Conor Huen by split decision (27-30, 29-28, 29-28)