Image via Esther Lin for Showtime Sports.
Luke Rockhold defeated Tim Kennedy by unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 49-46)
Luke Rockhold put together a workmanlike performance to retain his Strikeforce middleweight title by taking a unanimous decision over Tim Kennedy. He controlled the pace throughout, coming forward and staying busy on the feet while doing his best to fend off Kennedy's takedown attempts. He dropped Kennedy in the fourth, but that was really the only moment where the fight was close to ending. Kennedy just didn't fight with enough aggression to win over the judges.
Rockhold started the fight by tying Kennedy up against the cage. Rockhold was the one walking Kennedy down and strafed him with a couple of rights, and tied him up against the fence again. Kennedy reversed and scooped him up for a takedown. Rockhold looked for a kimura from the bottom but Kennedy pushed through it and moved to side control. Rockhold got up against the cage and landed a right hook late.
Rockhold landed a head kick immediately, which led to Kennedy shooting in. Rockhold reversed it and took Kennedy's back. Luke looked to soften him up with punches but Kennedy landed a back elbow and got up. Rockhold walked Kennedy down again and landed some rights. Kennedy landed a right as Rockhold advanced. Rockhold fell back from a Kennedy takedown attempt and tried an armbar, but nothing was there and he popped back up. Rockhold landed first and Kennedy countered effectively.
Kennedy worked the start of the third against the cage until he landed a low knee. Rockhold was warned for grabbing the cage. Rockhold landed a big right hook after the restart. Kennedy landed some leg kicks and ducked in for a takedown but Rockhold defended. Kennedy finally locked Rockhold up against the cage and took his back. He wasn't able to sink hooks though, and Rockhold broke free.
The fighters exchanged kicks early in the fourth. Rockhold continued to stalk Kennedy but neither man was putting together any sustained offense. Finally Rockhold landed a right hook that dropped Kennedy with two minutes to go. Rockhold got to mount, but Kennedy quickly escaped and got up. Kennedy tried to work against the fence late and got Rockhold's back. Rockhold reversed into side control.
The final stanza saw Kennedy look for a takedown but he got stuffed. He looked for another one and an extended scramble saw Rockhold end up on top briefly. Kennedy continued to show zero urgency, despite obviously being down on the cards. They threw down a bit late but it wasn't anything too exciting.