Strikeforce Barnett vs. Kharitonov Play-by-Play: Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza vs. Luke Rockhold

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Ronald “Jacare” Souza vs. Luke Rockhold (middleweight championship)

Round 1: Jacare goes for the takedown right away. Rockhold sprawls out, but gets put on the mat with Jacare controlling. Jacare surprisingly lands several hard right hands to Rockhold’s face. Rockhold tries to get up, but Jacare puts him right back on the mat, sitting up, back to the cage. Jacare peppers him with more punches. They work back to standing, but Jacare unloads a knee to Rockhold’s head, then keeps pressing him to the cage. Jacare lands another knee before they separate. Rockhold goes for a left body kick, but eats a counter right hand from Jacare. Rockhold lands a couple low kicks and then misses with a jump kick. He hurts Jacare with some punches, but Jacare shoots and ties Rockhold up until the bell. scores round one 10-9 for Jacare.

Round 2: Rockhold opens with kicks, but gets tagged by a hard Jacare right hand that buckles his legs. He doesn’t go down, but Jacare follows up with several more punches. Jacare presses him to the cage, landing another jarring right hand before they separate. Rockhold regains his senses and starts returning fire in the form of kicks and punches, but he’s firing one-off shots, most not landing. Jacare clinches and presses Rockhold to the fence, but Rockhold reverses position, landing some knees to Jacare’s thighs. Jacare then reverses and lands the short right hand to the head. they split apart and move to th center of the cage. Jacare lands the right hand, but Rockhold fires right back. scores round two 10-9 for Jacare.

Round 3: Rockhold trying to find a home for the high kick, but Jacare doing a good job evading and blocking. They exchange punches, Rockhold snapping Jacare’s head back with the jab. Rockhold lands a low kick square to Jacare’s groin, halting the action for a few minutes. Rockhold immediately more aggressive with his punches, but Jacare shoots, ties up, and then trips Rockhold to the mat. Rockhold, however, returns quickly to his feet. Rockhold firing off lots of punches and the front push kick, not much steam on them, but some are getting through. Rockhold continues pressing the action in this round, trying to find a solid opening for his punches, mixing in kicks, catches Jacare with a couple left hands. Jacare lands an inside leg kick, but keeps eating punches from Rockhold, although they’re not very damaging at the moment. scores round three 10-9 for Rockhold.

Round 4: Good right-left combo by Rockhold. Jacare finally starts firing back, landing several punch combinations and front kicks. Rockhold’s hands going down, down, down. Looks like he’s getting very tired, which would be expected coming off of more than a year and a half layoff. Rockhold shoots, but doesn’t get the takedown. Jacare unloads a flurry of punches. He shoots, but Rockhold sprawls it out and they’re right back to their feet. Rockhold lands hard left hand, but Jacare takes it. Jacare is slowing quite a bit now too. He eats one kick to the body, catches another, but can’t score the takedown. They clinch up and Rockhold quickly takes control of the clinch and lands a driving knee. scores round four 10-9 for Rockhold.

Round 5: They both come out swinging, neither landing right away. Rockhold starts using his reach, landing individual punches, and follows with a head kick. Jacare is having trouble getting anything going in this round. Rockhold isn’t doing much damage, but he’s landing his jab. Rockhold sweeps across landing a body shot, but Jacare presses him to the cage, landing a knee to Rockhold’s jaw. Jacare scores the takedown, trying to maintain control, but Rockhold works his way out and back to his feet. Rockhold starts throwing punch combinations, moving Jacare back. Jacare looks like he’s all but out of steam, while Rockhold doesn’t have much more, but keeps firing while Jacare backpedals. Jacare finds some steam in the last 10 seconds, but runs out of time. scores round five 10-9 and the fight 48-47 for Rockhold.

Luke Rockhold def. Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza by Unanimous Decision (50-45, 48-47, 48-47), R5

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