Strikeforce has finally whittled their World Grand Prix field down to two remaining men after starting with eight original entrants and a handful of alternates to choose from. In fact, as it turns out, one from each group will be represented after Josh Barnett and Daniel Cormier both cruised to victory Saturday night in Cincinnati.
Barnett emerged with his hand raised after exchanging a few strikes with opponent Sergei Kharitonov in the opening seconds of the fight before grabbing hold of the big Russian, tripping him down to the canvas, and working his always-impressive ground-game to eventually lock in an Arm-Triangle Choke with less than a minute remaining in the first frame. “The Warmaster” improved his overall record to 31-5 as a result and has now won eight straight scraps.
Looking even more impressive than Barnett, Olympic wrestler Cormier hurt hulking Brazilian Antonio Silva with precise, powerful strikes throughout the duration of the four minutes their fight lasted. The knockout victory maintained Cormier’s perfect record at 9-0 and was the fourth strike-based stoppage of his blossoming career.
Also worth mentioning, a new champion was crowned in the form 8-1 Luke Rockhold. The AKA product wowed those in attendance with crisp stand-up and impressive grappling to control former title-holder Ronaldo Souza for five rounds and pick up the decision win.
Here is a complete rundown of Strikeforce GP Semifinals results:
Dominique Steele def. Chris Mierzwiak via Unanimous Decision
Alexis Davis def. Amanda Nunes via TKO Round 2 (Punches)
Jordan Mein def. Evangelista Santos via TKO Round 3 (Elbows)
Rafael Cavalancte def. Yoel Romero via KO Round 2 (Strikes)
Mike Kyle def. Marcos Rogerio de Lima via Unanimous Decision
Pat Healy def. Maximo Blanco via Submission Round 2 (Rear Naked Choke)
Muhammed Lawal def. Roger Gracie via KO Round 1 (Punches)
Luke Rockhold def. Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza via Unanimous Decision
Daniel Cormier def. Antonio Silva via KO Round 1 (Punches)
Josh Barnett def. Sergei Kharitonov via Submission Round 1 (Arm-Triangle Choke)
PHOTO CREDIT – STRIKEFORCE
MMATraining Take: Cormier and Barnett were both incredible impressive. Actually, the entire lineup looked great rather than like a group fighting for a dying promotion. Not mentioned in the above article are a few upsets (Davis over Nunes, Mein over “Cyborg), as well as “Feijao” scoring a brutal knockout and Healy overcoming some early illegalities by Blanco to pick up the victory. Wonderful event from rooter to tooter!