Posts Tagged ‘Tim Kennedy’
Strikeforce: Houston was an event with upsets and bad refs.
In the upsets, challenger Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante scored a third-round TKO of Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal to take the Strikeforce light-heavyweight championship, and former professional wrestler Bobby Lashley was beaten by unheralded Chad Griggs.
Another title was on the line when Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza defeated Tim Kennedy for the middleweight belt via unanimous decision.
The Lashley fight featured some of the questionable refereeing that plagued the event, which was held at the Toyota Center in Houston and was televised by Showtime.
Lashley was all over Griggs for the better part of the first two rounds, despite suffering a gash under his left eye that spewed a considerable amount of blood. With Lashley mounted on Griggs and 33 seconds left in the second round, time was called the ringside doctor was brought in to assess Lashley’s cut. At the restart, the fighters were standing, rather than being put back into position, and Griggs took advatage. Griggs watched the gassed-out Lashley attempt to take him down, and peppered him with hammerfists to the head as Lashley attempted to hold on.
As the round ended, the fight was called off and Griggs had secured the upset.
The next fight was even worse.
K.J. Noons ended up knocking out Jorge Gurgel 19 seconds into the second round of their lightweight tilt but easily could have been disqualified.
Noons, who also boxes professionally, appeared to have a slight advantage through a close first round when, at the end of an exchange and clearly after the bell, he floored Gurgel with a left. As Gurgel made it back to his feet, his cornerman was waking him up and explaining what had just happened.
Still dazed, Gurgel answered the bell for Round 2 and met a devastating right-left combination that left him floored again, this time instinctively crawling for Noons’ leg. Noons looked at the referee, who was not stopping the clearly finished Gurgel, and proceeded to deliver more fists and then, inexplicably, an illegal knee to the head of the fully downed opponent.
Jacare’s win over Kennedy to take title vacated when Jake Shields left for the UFC featured little drama in the cage until announcer Jimmy Lennon, Jr. read scores from the judges. Kennedy was disappointed when the Brazilian was given the title by all three judges, but despite the lofty prize it was the least eventful bout of the televised card.
On the undercard, former US Olympic wrestler Daniel Cormier won his third fight in three weeks, beating Jason Riley in 62 seconds with ground and pound. Andre Galvao beat late replacement Jorge “Macaco” Patino in the third round on what appeared to be a very quick stoppage due to ground strikes. Vinicius Magalhaes defeated Rocky Long via unanimous decision.
Elsewhere, Artenas Young beat Chad Cook by unanimous decision, Chad Robichaux won by split decision against Humberto DeLeon, Reynaldo Trujillo finished Jose Santibanez in the first round with strikes, and Adam Schindler submitted Keir Gooch in the first round with a rear naked choke.
Tim Kennedy is the most dangerous man in the world.
While Ranger Up’s ad campaign might capitalize on his background in a light-hearted manner, Kennedy has more than earned the right to that label.
After all, in addition to destroying his enemies inside the cage, the Strikeforce middleweight contender spent several years of his mixed martial arts career also conquering a much deadlier battlefield as a Green Beret in the United States Army.
“Every second that I’m working as a SF operator (I’m) 100 percent focused,” Kennedy told Joe Rizzo and Jeremy Fullerton on Rear Naked Choke Radio on the MMA DieHards Radio Network. “That doesn’t change when I come to MMA. The environment is different. The end result is different – thank god that nobody is going to be dying on Saturday night. But I still approach this with total focus, total discipline and prepared to go.”
Kennedy’s professional fighting career is almost nine years old, but his full-time military duties prevented him from achieving greater recognition and getting the really big fights, until now.
MMA fans got their first real glimpse of Kennedy’s talent in the now-defunct IFL, where he picked up wins over Dante Rivera, Ryan McGivern and Elias Rivera. Following more than a year away from the sport brought on by his military commitments, Kennedy roared back onto the scene with a set of victories on Strikeforce’s Challengers series, which ultimately led to his promotion to the organization’s bigger events.
He made the most of the opportunity, submitting Trevor Prangley in the first round of their bout at “Strikeforce: Los Angeles” in June. The win put Kennedy near the top of the list of contenders in Strikeforce’s 185-pound division.
Following the defection of then Strikeforce middleweight champion Jake Shields to the UFC, Strikeforce considered a number of options to crown a new champ and finally settled on a matchup pitting Kennedy against Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza for the vacant belt.
“I’m disappointed not to be fighting a defending, legitimate champion,” Kennedy said of the letdown at not getting to face his former Pit teammate for the title. “But, at the same time, I’m fighting Jacare and that’s going to be an exciting fight. I’m fighting for the championship. Everything considered, this really is the best case scenario.”
Kennedy and Souza will square off at “Strikeforce: Houston” on Aug. 21. While the title is important to him, the bigger thrill for the former soldier is the challenge of fighting a skilled opponent.
“I fight for me,” Kennedy said on the show. “I don’t care about the championship, the venue, the promotion. All I care about is the guy. I’m just excited to be fighting a really good guy.
“(Souza) just knows I’m going to be bringing a five round fight to him,” Kennedy added. “I hope he’s prepared.”
Kennedy will definitely come prepared.
The three-time Army Combatives champion started training in mixed martial arts long before entering the service. His roots lie in San Luis Obispo, where he trained at The Pit alongside Chuck Liddell and former Strikeforce middleweight champion Jake Shields.
These days however, Kennedy is branching out. He still trains at The Pit, but it’s just one stop on a tour of camps that also includes visits to Greg Jackson’s in Albuquerque and the Competitive Training Center in Kennedy’s current hometown of Austin, Texas.
“That’s really what you have to do in MMA right now,” Kennedy said. “Get out there and get with other guys from other schools that are training. Every school has the things that they’re good at. You got to get out there and get that – that thing, whatever that is, from that school. Greg (Jackson) is really good at a whole bunch of stuff. Everybody at The Pit is really good at a whole bunch of stuff.”
“Now I’m just trying to go out there and steal all the best things to make myself a better fighter.”
And what was the best thing he stole?
“I’m going to use it Saturday night,” Kennedy claims.
Apparently, the most dangerous man in the world now has a secret weapon.
With a pair of belts on the line, Strikeforce’s Houston event is an easy win for Showtime.
Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal defends his light-heavyweight title against Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante. The middleweight belt vacated when Jake Shields bolted for the UFC will be handed out to the winner of the match between Tim Kennedy and Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza.
The event starts its Showtime broadcast Saturday at 10 p.m. Eastern (delayed on the West Coast), with a pair of fights streaming live on Sherdog.com prior to that. If you’re near the Houston area and want to catch all the action, it’s at the Toyota Center.
Lawal is 7-0 and makes the first defense of the title he won from Gegard Mousasi when he meets Feijao (9-2), who is coming off a pair of TKO victories, against Aaron Rosa and Antwain Britt. Those followed a shocking loss to Mike Kyle, against whom Feijao was heavily favored. Feijao’s only other loss was via disqualification for illegally kicking Marcio Cruz in an IFL match in 2007.
“I saw Mo’s last fight and I know he’s good at everything, well rounded,” Feijao said. “I knew I had to train for everything for Mo. I think there will be a lot of surprises in this fight. I think Mo has a lot of things to show on Saturday, but so do I.”
In Lawal, Feijao is facing a big step up in opponent. Despite a more brief career in MMA, Lawal is an Olympic-level wrestler with an encyclopedic knowledge of other fighters and their styles. Lawal already has wins over notables Travis Wiuff, Mark Kerr, Mike Whitehead and Mousasi. He has finished five of his fights, all via TKO, and uses his trememdous wrestling to set up all aspect of his game.
“Feijao has been around for a while, he’s a tough fighter,” Lawal said. “He’s experienced and I’m still young in the game. He’s a seasoned vet who is tough and hungry. That’s why I’m the underdog, that’s why I’m not going to take him lightly.”
Kennedy (12-2) gets more accolades for his Army career as a special forces Green Beret than he does for his outstanding MMA skills. A powerhouse who squeezes down to the 185-pound middleweight threshold, Kennedy is an outstanding wrestler with strong submissions, but he loves to strike with his hands and feet.
Kennedy’s two losses both involved cuts – one directly and one not. He fell to Scott Smith in 2001 in his first career fight, which was stopped because of a gash. His other loss came in 2007 against Jason “Mayhem” Miller, when Kennedy suffered a slide across his nose but went the distance in a decision loss. Miller is the only fighter to take Kennedy the distance, having done it in losing their first match in 2003, when Kennedy won.
“I’ve brought in some of the best guys I could get my hands on in Brazilian jiu jitsu,” said Kennedy, a guest of Rear Naked Choke Radio on the MMA DieHards Radio Network on Wednesday. “My fight camp in the last few months has been getting ready for Jacare, who’s one of the best grapplers in MMA history. I’ve done nothing but prepare for Jacare and this fight. It’s been 10 months since I’ve been fighting full time and it’s been awesome. I’m stronger and faster than I’ve ever been.”
Jacare (12-2, 1 NC) has his own rivalry with Miller, whom he beat once and then had the rematch ruled no contest after a cut from an illegal kick. After losing his pro debut in 2003, Jacare ran off 10 straight wins before falling to Mousasi in the Dream.6 Middleweight Grand Prix final. He followed that with the Miller no-contest, then triangled Matt Lindland and survived a three-round war with Joey Villasenor.
“He is a great wrestler, great ground and pound and a strong opponent,” Jacare said of Kennedy. “The belt deserves a good fight, a battle. I know Tim and I are going to fight hard for that title.”
Elsewhere on the Showtime card, K.J. Noons (9-2) meets Jorge Gurgel (13-6) in a lightweight battle and former professional wrestler Bobby Lashley (5-) meets Chad Griggs (8-1) in a heavyweight tilt.
Noons doubles as a professional boxer, so in his MMA fights he is usually expecting his opponent to be diligent on takedown attempts. But Gurgel, despie being a Brazilian jiu jitsu blackbelt, relishes the stand-up game. It has led to many exciting three-round slugfests throughout a distinguished career for the TUF 2 veteran that included a seven-fight stint in the UFC. Gurgel’s girlfriend Zoila Frausto, on Thursday won her opening-round fight in Bellator’s 115-pound tournament.
Noons has a five-fight winning steak in MMA and has the most recent win over Nick Diaz, who is the Strikeforce welterweight champion.
Lashley wrestled at Missouri Valley College before heading to the WWE and TNA. In MMA he faces his toughest test in Griggs, a firefighter from Tucson, Ariz., a former IFL fighter who has finished all eight of his wins, including seven by TKO, and has never gone the distance. His only loss was to Shane Ott, who came, like Lashley, brought a wrestling background.
On Sherdog.com, former Olympian Daniel Cormier fights for the third time in as many weeks when he takes on Jason Riley in a heavyweight match, and welterweights Andre Galvao and Jorge “Macaco” Patino meet. Cormier and Lawal are best friends and act as one another’s main training partner.
On the undercard, Vinicius Magalhaes and Rocky Long meet at featherweight. At lightweight, Kier Gooch takes on Adam Schindler, and Jose Santibanez faces Reynaldo Trujillo. Humberto DeLeon and Chad Robichaux face off at a 130-pound catchweight, and Chad Cook meets Arteneus Young at light heavyweight.