New Strikeforce light-heavyweight champ Feijao (Esther Lin/Strikeforce)
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.