by Ken Pishna – MMAWeekly.com

courtesy of FighterPortraits.com)


Tim Kennedy isn’t accustomed to losing, but confused or not,
that’s just where he found himself after fighting Ronaldo “Jacare” de Souza at
Strikeforce: Houston on Saturday night.


“I don’t know what happened,” he said after the judges’
scorecards were read. “The best grappler in the world couldn’t take me down. My
hat is totally off to Jacare. It was an absolutely frustrating fight.”


As often happens when two fighters who have strength on the
ground – Jacare is a submission specialist and Kennedy a strong wrestler –
a stand-up fight broke out.


Both Jacare and Kennedy attempted takedowns at various
points in the fight, but neither was able to implement it as a key portion of
his attack.


For his part, Jacare appeared to want to keep this fight on
the feet, an area where most felt Kennedy would have the advantage. One of the
most decorated grapplers in the world, Jacare displayed a tremendous
improvement in his stand-up game.


The Brazilian, although the punch count may not have backed
it up, seemed to beat Kennedy to the punch more often than not, and just had a
better overall rhythm and control of the action over the course of the fight.
It didn’t hurt that he also opened a serious cut over Kennedy’s left eye midway
through round three.


It was a close fight, and a fight that doesn’t end in a
finish is always open for argument, but Jacare’s hand was raised after five


“I don’t like judges and this is what happens when I go to
them,” Kennedy said.


The Strikeforce middleweight belt, vacant since the exodus
of former champion Jake Shields, is vacant no more.


The strap now resides around Jacare’s waist, as he joins
fellow Black House fighters Anderson Silva and Jose Aldo in the championship ranks.