Strikeforce held their final event Saturday night at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Okla. The event aired live on Showtime and was headlined with a welterweight title bout between champion Nate Marquard and no. 1 contender Tarec Saffiedine.
Marquardt looked amazing in his welterweight debut last July as he gave Tyron Woodley his first loss to win the Strikeforce 170 pound title. It so happens Woodley was the last person to defeat Saffiedine back in 2011, but styles make fights and Saffiedine's quickness and technical striking made all the difference as he chopped Marquardt down with vicious un-checked leg kicks over 25 minutes that left the UFC veteran hobbling around the cage.
Marquardt somehow gutted it out and landed the occasional punch, but Saffiedine stuffed his takedown attempts and picked him apart with the better boxing, footwork and kicks to win the unanimous decision and the Strikeforce welterweight championship -- and likely a ticket to the UFC.
The rest of the card held few surprises as Daniel Cormier and Josh Barnett defeated obscure opponents Strikeforce shipped in for what amounted to showcase bouts for their stars. Also, Gegeard Mousasi submitted Mike Kyle, and "Jacare" Souza submitted Ed Herman to round out the main card.
The fight of the night had to go to Ryan Couture and KJ Noons, who headlined the preliminary card on Showtime Extreme. It was a highly entertaining bout that went the distance and ended in a somewhat controversial split decision win for Couture. Maybe these two will get a rematch inside the UFC Octagon.
The full "Strikeforce: Marquardt vs. Saffiedine" results are as follows:
- Tarec Saffiedine def. Nate Marquardt by unanimous decision (48-47, 49-46, 49-46)
- Daniel Cormier def. Dion Staring by TKO (ground and pound) Rd 2 (4:02)
- Josh Barnett def. Nandor Guelmino by submission (arm triangle choke) Rd 1 (2:11)
- Gegard Mousasi def. Mike Kyle by submission (rear-naked choke) Rd 1 (4:09)
- Ronaldo Souza def. Ed Herman by submission (kimura) Rd 1 (3:10)
- Ryan Couture def. KJ Noons by split decision (29-28, 27-30, 29-28)
- Tim Kennedy def. Trevor Smith by submission (guillotine choke) Rd 3 (1:36)
- Pat Healy def. Kurt Holobaugh by unanimous decision (29-8, 30-27 x 2)
- Roger Gracie def. Anthony Smith by submission (arm triangle choke) Rd 2 (3:16)
- Adriano Martins def. Jorge Gurgel by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
- Estevan Payan def. Michael Bravo by TKO (strikes) Rd 2 (4:01)
After seven years and 63 MMA events, the mixed martial arts world says goodbye to Strikeforce. You will be missed.