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411’s Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Cormier Report 5.19.12

May 20, 2012 | Posted by Mark Radulich

Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Cormier
HP Pavilion
San Jose, CA

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MAIN CARD (Showtime)
Josh Barnett (248) vs. Daniel Cormier (238) – heavyweight-tournament finals
Champ Gilbert Melendez (153) vs. Josh Thomson (153) – Lightweight Title Fight
Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante (206) vs. Mike Kyle (203)
Nah-Shon Burrell (170) vs. Chris Spang (169)

PRELIMINARY CARD (Showtime Extreme)
Gesias “JZ” Cavalcante (156) vs. Isaac Vallie-Flagg (156)
Virgil Zwicker (204) vs. Guto Inocente (205)
Derrick Mehmen (205) vs. Gian Villante (205)
Quinn Mulhern (170) vs. Yuri Villefort (170)
Bobby Green (155) vs. James Terry (156)

Well this is the end, the end my friend, the end. After more than a year, we have finally come to the end of tournament that started with a lot of hope and very quickly became and afterthought. Actually, I prefer to think of this show as less a standalone event and more of the preliminary card to next week’s all heavyweight UFC PPV. Things being what they, what else can it be? It certainly can’t be an opportunity to bring new life back to Strikeforce. It’s a highly touted loose end, nothing more.

That said, the main event should be a fun fight and win, lose or draw at least it will mark the beginning of Daniel Cormier’s (hopefully) long and fruitful career with the UFC as that’s where he will be heading once this is all over (and the silly plus 1 fight). It may all be an opportunity for Barnett to redeem himself and return to the UFC from exile. Either way, let’s just hold hands and get through this night so we can move on to better things.

Oh and if Melendez doesn’t murderize Thomson in the first round of this fight can we just stop with all of the UFC talk already? Seriously, you want to be in the UFC so badly Gil then you shouldn’t have RESIGNED with Strikeforce. Yeesh.

Anywho…I didn’t come here to tell you that so without further dudes, let’s make with the fussin’ and a fightin’.



We are live from the former home of Strikeforce, the HP Pavilion in San Jose, CA!

Your hosts are Mauro Ranallo, Frank Shamrock (sigh) and Pat Miletich.

Lightweight bout: Bobby Green (155) vs. James Terry (156)

NOT TELEVISED Bobby Green beats James Terry via split decision.

OFFICIAL RESULT: WINNER – Bobby Green by split decision.

And now on to the TELEVISED fights.

Welterweight bout: Quinn Mulhern (170) vs. Yuri Villefort (170)

ROUND ONE Mulhern kicks, it is caught and he is tossed to the ground. Mulhern throws a series of overhand rights. Villefort responds with a leg kick. The fighters clinch and exchange knees against the fence. They move back to the center. Villefort is throwing heat. Hard leg kick from Villefort. Another but it is checked. Mulhern shoots and he kind of takes him down. Villefort kind of sat as a defensive move. Mulhern and Villefort scramble for position on the ground. Mulhern finally rests in half guard. He stands up, attempting to pass the guard. Mulhern takes his back. Villefort stands up and they finish the sequence with Mulhern pressing Villefort against the fence. Villefort bullies Mulhern to the mat. Mulhern stifles Villefort in full guard. Villefort content to just pound on Mulher’s chest. Elbows from the bottom from Mulhern. Elbow from Villefort ends the round.

SCORECARD: Mulhern 10-9

ROUND TWO Villefort comes forward with a series of strikes. Mulhern counters with a leg kick. Mulhern takes Villefort down and presses him against the fence. Villefort stands up and knees Mulhern in the belly. Mulhern takes him down again. He eats an elbow. Mulhern passes into side control, then north-south and finally gets to full mount. Villefort reverses, takes his back and slams him down. Villefort tries to pass but is stuck in full guard. Mulhern throws elbows from the bottom. Mulhern attempts an omaplata. He converts to an arm triangle but Villefort escapes and stands up. Ranallo reminds us that you can in fact attack from the bottom…all of this is true. It’s a close fight but I think Mulhern is winning this by virtue of his grappling.

SCORECARD: Mulhern 10-9

ROUND THREE Villefort throws an overhand, Mulhern ducks and counters. Mulhern goes for a takedown and they both collapse. They stand up and clinch against the fence. Villefort tries for a takedown but Mulhern sprawls and reverses. Mulhern moves to north-south and then to side control. Villefort gives up his back and tries to sweep but Mulhern sticks to him. Mulhern is in side control. Villefort sweeps, stands up and is punched in the face. Mulhern pulls guard. Mulhern attempts a heel hook. Villefort escapes again. Mulhern attempts an omaplata. Villefort looks pretty gassed out. Mulhern gets to full mount. Villefort flips over and gives up his back. Mulhern softens him up with punches. A final rear naked choke attempt ends the fight.

SCORECARD: Mulhern 10-9

OFFICIAL RESULT: WINNER – Quinn Mulhern by split decision (30-27 Mulhern, 29-28 Villefort, 29-28 Mulhern).

Time for Strong Island to represent!

Light Heavyweight bout: Derrick Mehmen (205) vs. Gian Villante (205)

ROUND ONE Villante comes out with punches and kicks. Overhand right from Villante. Villante knocks him down and moves in for the kill. Mehmen covers up so Villante takes his back. Villante holds him against the fence and knees him in the side. Mehmen is trying to punch his way out of trouble but Villante is won’t let him go…whoops, spoke to soon. Villante lets him up. Mehmen is using his jab. Villante lands a uppercut. Villante follows with a leg kick. They clash and Villante gets the better of Mehmen with a series of punches and knees. Villante smashes him with a haymaker! He pushes him against the fence. He bounces for a bit before rushing forward and landing more strikes. High head kick from Villante. Villante has used a lot of boxing blocking throughout the round. He kind of laughs him off before the round ends. Easy round for the Long Islander.

SCORECARD: Villante 10-9

ROUND TWO Mehmen is throwing some potential KO punches but nothing much is landing. Villante wings some hooks at Mehmen that back him up. Mehmen tries and fails a takedown. Villante lands a leg kick. He comes forward with a good combo and finishes with another kick in the thigh. Mehman is trying to get something going with a clinch/dirty boxing but Villante is to fast for him. Villante seems to have been poked in the eye. Mehmen misses with an elbow. Villante responds with a hard leg kick. Villante follows with a superman punch. Mehmen ducks and tries for a body lock but Villante is elusive and won’t let him use his grappling to his advantage. Villante drops him with a low kick. Mehmen strikes from the ground and stumbles but recovers quickly. Mehmen furiously jabs but it’s not working for him.

SCORECARD: Villante 10-9

ROUND THREE Mehmen is circling away from Villante. Mehmen ducks into a punch in the head. Villante lands a leg kick. Uppercut from Villante punishes Mehmen for trying to get in close. Villante lights Mehmen up with a series of shots. Mehmen rushes forward, trying to get something going for himself. Kick in the leg from Villante. Mehmen misses with a combination of rights and lefts. Villante lands punches on teh body. Left hook from Villante. Mehmen slides in and lands a knee before Villante pulls away. Villante lands a straight right. Mehmen attempts a takedown. Villante takes a respite against the fence. He takes his back as the horn blows.

SCORECARD: Villante 10-9

OFFICIAL RESULT: WINNER – Gian Villante by unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27X2).

Nice kickboxing match there.

Light Heavyweight bout: Virgil Zwicker (204) vs. Guto Inocente (205)

ROUND ONE Inocente starts off with a hard leg kick. Zwicker backs him and lands a few hooks. They circle and Zwicker pushes him against the fence. Inocente backs him off and lands a hard shot. Zwicker smacks him back. He misses with a spinning back kick. More kicks from Inocente. Inocente rocks Zwicker with a head kick and takes him down. Zwicker tries to stand up and defends knees to the face. Inocente pursues and continues to light him up! He is literally kicking Zwicker’s ass all over the cage. Zwicker for his part is staying in this but he’s taking a lot of punishment. Zwicker tries a spinning back fist. Inocente lands another head kick and follows with a knee to the face. Zwicker explodes with a nasty take down. Inocente stands back up and escapes. Zwicker is really beat up but he won’t stop coming at Inocente.

SCORECARD: Inocente 10-9

ROUND TWO Inocente comes out kicking again but Zwicker takes him down. Zwicker tries stacking him. He uses some ground and pound. Zwicker lands a elbow but allows enough from for Inocente to escape. Zwicker stands over Inocente. Inocente defends with an up kick and stands up. Inocente lands more punches and kicks. He’s battering Zwicker’s leg. He misses with a spinning back fist. Zwicker is doing a great impression of Jeff Monson…Monson here as he’s taking a lot of punishment but won’t give up. Inocente attempts a takedown and crushes Zwicker against the fence. He nails him with a spinning back fist but Zwicker is like a Korean zombie in there. Inocente controls him against the fence. Inocente lands a knee to the face. Zwicker tries and is denied a takedown.

SCORECARD: Inocente 10-9

ROUND THREE Zwicker throws caution to the wind and does something many in his position right now usually won’t do…FIGHT WITH URGENCY! Zwicker is looking for a KO! He catches a kick from Inocente and crowns him! Inocente locks him up and pushes him against the fence. Zwicker tries a takedown but he’s denied, more due to fatigue than anything else. Inocente still lighting him up but he’s lost a lot of the starch he had from round 1. Inocente lands a light knee to the face while in the clinch. Inocente is easily landing kicks but they aren’t doing much at this point. Inocente does a spinning knee type move. Zwicker lands an elbow and follows with a straight right. Inocente is circling away from him. Zwicker lands a straight and eats a jump knee to the mush! Amazingly he stands long enough to take this baby to a decision.

SCORECARD: Inocente 10-9

OFFICIAL RESULT: WINNER – Guto Inocente by unanimous decision (29-28X2, 30-27).

Zwicker made that a brawl! It wasn’t pretty but it was fun to watch.

Lightweight bout: Gesias “JZ” Cavalcante (156) vs. Isaac Vallie-Flagg (156)

ROUND ONE Feature attraction of the Showtime Extreme card…which is another way of saying main event…moving on. Both fighters are exchanging punches until Cavalcante rushes VF and tackles him. Cavalcante takes his back looks for the rear-naked choke. VF escapes and lands a few straights on Cavalcante. Cavalcante tries a head shot and lands it under the arm. VF misses with an elbow. Cavalcante is trying to shove is jab down VF’s throat. Push kick from VF. Cavalcante his a kick to the side of the body but then eats a jumping knee. VF with a liver kick. Cavalcante smashes VF! VF lands another jumping knee. VF knocks Cavalcante down and then he gets up with a hard right to end the round.

SCORECARD: Vallie-Flagg 10-9

ROUND TWO They share a few exchanges before Cavalcante takes him down. Cavalcante works from half guard. VF escapes and stands back up. There’s an exchange of knees and VF clips him with a looping hook. Vallie-Flagg lands a series of strikes. Hard right counter from Cavalcante. Cavalcante tries a half-hearted takedown attempt and VF shrugs him off. VF is starting to land shots at will. They clinch up. VF pushes him to the fence but is turned around. He muscles out. VF looks to clean Cavalcante’s clock with an overhand right. Cavalcate hits him after the horn…by accident.

SCORECARD: Vallie-Flagg 10-9

ROUND THREE VF keeps coming at Cavalcante, he smells blood in the water. They grapple against the fence. They trade position against the fence as well as knees. VF hits him with an uppercut. VF cracks him with an elbow. He hits him with another. Front kick to the face from Vallie-Flagg but Cavalcante stays on his feet. VF lands a right, a left and finally a knee. Vallie-Flagg is putting on a clinic against a very tired Cavalcante. Flying knee from Vallie-Flagg! He looked like Pete Pan in there! Cavalcante doing the Zwicker dance! Horn blows and that’s all she wrote.

SCORECARD: Vallie-Flagg 10-9

OFFICIAL RESULT: WINNER – Isaac Vallie-Flagg by split decision (29-28 Cavalcante, 29-28X2) Vallie-Flagg .

Split decision? Whatevs…

And now off to the main card on Showtime!


Welterweight bout: Nah-Shon Burrell (170) vs. Chris Spang (169)

ROUND ONE They immediately clash. Burrell throws a few jabs. Spang lands a leg kick. Spang lands a head kick. He pushes Burrell against the fence. Spang lands a knee to the belly. Spang tries a takedown but he can’t get Burrell off of the fence. He gives up and resumes kickboxing. Spang drops Burrell! He recovers but eats a bunch of knees to the face! Spang is turning on the violence. He’s caving in Burrell’s face with knees with and uppercuts! Burrell finally collapses in heap! Chris Spang, the first round finish club salutes you (or at least she would but she’s asleep until Melendez-Thomson starts).

OFFICIAL RESULT: WINNER – Chris Spang by TKO (knees) at 1:35 of round 1.

And the Spang’s are 1 and 1 this weekend.

Light Heavyweight bout: Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante (206) vs. Mike Kyle (203)

ROUND ONE Feijao lands a left AND OH MY GOD!!! He damn near knee’d Kyle’s head off! He jumps on him with hammer strikes. Kyle tries to get up and run away but Feijao leaps up and locks in a guillotine. He tries a slam to get free but no dice. Feijao vs Mousassi coming this August I suspect. Mr. Cavalcante, you may join Spang in the First Round Finish Club’s Killer Circle. GOOD GAWD!

OFFICIAL RESULT: WINNER – Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante by MDK submission (guillotine) at 0:33 of round 1.

Can we see another first round finish here…lordy I hope so.

Lightweight Championship bout: Champ Gilbert Melendez (153) vs. Josh Thomson (153)

ROUND ONE Thomson is using his speed to his advantage to start. Melendez is jabbing but Thomson is evading. Thomson attempts a takedown but Melendez is right back up. The two lightweights clash and separate. Melendez shoots and gets the takedown. Thomson uses the cage to get up and there’s a quick exchange of strikes. Melendez body locks Thomson and knees him in the gut. Thomson slides in, clinches and releases. A lot of feeling out in this round for two guys who know each other as well as they do. Melendez grabs a kick and dumps Thomson as the round ends.

SCORECARD: Melendez 10-9

ROUND TWO Melendez picks up the pace to start off this round. He tries a takedown. Thomson kicks him in the chin. Melendez blocks a head kick. Melendez backs him up and punches Thomson in the body. Thomson clinches, releases and gets back to the center. Thomson misses with a kick. Thomson wings punches at Melendez, which back him up. They exchange a few times and Thomson is poked in the eye. He gets over it and we’re back. Melendez is finding his range and lighting Thomson up. A kick from Thomson. Melendez shoots and dumps him again. He holds him down and then releases him. He sends him away with a few hard punches to the face. Thomson presses Melendez against the fence to end the round.

SCORECARD: Melendez 10-9

ROUND THREE Thomson throws another head kick. He throws another. Melendez shoots for a takedown, gives it up to work him over with strikes. Thomson defends and retaliates! Melendez shoots again. Lots of fighting in the clinch agains the fence here. Thomson has been susceptible to the uppercut tonight. Thomson with a trip takedown but Melendez comes right up. Right hand to the body from Melendez. Melendez evades a ton of shots from Thomson. Melendez is punishing Thomson with strikes. Thomson smacks him back. And we have another eye poke. Thomson and Melendez trade a few times and Thomson fails a takedown attempt. Melendez continues to out box Thomson to conclude this round. Off to the championship rounds we go.

SCORECARD: Melendez 10-9

ROUND FOUR Melendez sticks his jab in Thomson’s face and follows with and overhand right. Thomson lands a hard straight right! Melendez comes back with a series of shots, shoots for the takedown whammo! Thomson is slammed. Thomson recovers, escapes and stands up. Melendez and Thomson throw and counter a bit before Melendez shoots in. No takedown this time but he does leave Thomson a parting gift on his chin. Thomson gets a trip takedown. Uh oh. Thomson pursues with hammer strikes. HOLY CRAP! Thomson takes his back and locks up a rear-naked choke! Melendez is defending but he isn’t going anywhere. Thirty seconds to go and Melendez is in trouble! He barely makes it to round five. Not good buddy.

SCORECARD: Thomson 10-9

ROUND FIVE Melendez is taking it to Thomson. He’s looking for a big KO punch. He gets a takedown! He takes his back but Thomson escapes anyway. Thomson catches him with a right hook. Thomson lands another. Melendez is giving this one away. He’s getting caught every time he tries to come in on Thomson. Melendez is circling away from Thomson. Oh Christ…eye poke number 3. The fighters are throwing leather! We have a brawl! Melendez shoots but he’s stuffed and battered by Thomson! Thomson takes down Melendez! He’s smothering him! Thomson takes us to the judges score cards. Wow. I know I have it 3-2 Melendez but watch the San Jose judges go with a draw here…or even better, a split decision. Melendez vs Thomson IV?

SCORECARD: Thomson 10-9

OFFICIAL RESULT: WINNER – Gilbert Melendez by split decision (48-47 Thomson, 48-47X2 Melendez).

He mentions the friggin UFC I’m going to throw a shoe at my TV.


Heavyweight bout: Josh Barnett (248lbs 31-5) vs. Daniel Cormier (238lbs 9-0)

ROUND ONE Barnett is throwing fast jabs. He slips throwing a kick. Cormier is countering with nasty, hard hooks. Cormier knees Barnett in the mush. Barnett locks him up, avoiding a hook. Cormier is tossing Barnett around. Barnett keeps trying to tie him up so as to look for that trip down. They lock up and Cormier gets off first with a knee to the belly. Barnett lands an elbow. Barnett comes forward and kicks Cormier in the shin. They clinch and exchange knees. Cormier nails Barnett clean. Cormier throws a front kick but it is batted away by Barnett. Push kick from Cormier. Another hard right from Cormier. Barnett has a chin and it is being tested. Barnett hits him back with a knee to the face. Cormier ties him up to end the round.

SCORECARD: Cormier 10-9

ROUND TWO Barnett keeps putting his head out there and Cormier lights it up every time. Barnett counters Cormier with a nice right. He lands another flush on Cormier’s face. He nearly gets him with a knee. Cormier is pushing the pace. They lock up and Cormier lands a vicious uppercut. Cormier tries a single and gets it. Uh oh number 2. Barnett is throwing elbows from the bottom. Cormier is throwing elbows of his own. Barnett is taking a lot of punishment from those elbows. Barnett attacks the arms and legs of Cormier but Cormier is shutting down his submission attempts. Barnett is all cut open from Cormier’s elbows. It’s looking bad for the Warmaster. Cormier is spurred on by the ref to advance. He says nuts to the and drills Barnett to end the round.

SCORECARD: Cormier 10-9

ROUND THREE Barnett is still coming forward while Cormier is circling away. They clinch against the cage. Cormier scores with a series of lefts. Cormier is out boxing Barnett all night long here. God willing he doesn’t break his hand…again. OH DEAR LORD!!! High crotch body slam from Cormier! Christ that was Hogan-Andre style! Cormier goes for a guillotine but Barnett escapes and stands up. Barnett lands a knee. Barnett eats a jab. Another knee attempt nearly ends with a takedown. Cormier nails Barnett with a shin to the noodle and moves in for the kill. Barnett is covering up for dear life! Cormier takes his back. Cormier has his opponent wrapped around the waist when the round ends. Barnett, finish or you’re done.

SCORECARD: Cormier 10-9

ROUND FOUR Barnett continues to come forward. Barnett lands a knee to the head. He presses him against the fence. Barnett follows his right hand to lock up Cormier. He releases and they resume trading strikes. He pushes Cormier against the fence until Cormier decides he doesn’t want to be there. Barnett misses with a spinning back fist. Cormier scores with two quick right hands. Cormier looks for a takedown but Barnett tries for a rolling knee bar. Barnett tries for a heel hook but Cormier defends and gets back to full guard. Not enough action so they are stood up. Barnett looks like he’s gone through the windshield. Barnett ends the round pressing Cormier against the cage. Now or never Josh.

SCORECARD: Cormier 10-9

ROUND FIVE Here we go! This is the last round of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix! Barnett lands a knee to the belly. Barnett holds Cormier against the fence. Cormier breaks free. Barnett kicks him in the chest. Cormier circles, clrcles, circles and punches Barnett in the face. Cormier gets a takedown. Barnett stands up and nearly gets suplexed. Cormier is content to just kill the clock and press Barnett against the fence. 10 seconds left and Dan Cormier runs it out. The Warmaster has been shut out.

SCORECARD: Cormier 10-9

OFFICIAL RESULT: WINNER – Daniel Cormier by unanimous decision (50-45X2, 49-46).

A star is born. I suspect after JDS dispatches with Mir, he’ll have the winner of Velasquez and Bigfoot and then he has to face Daniel Cormier. If there is any justice in the world, Daniel Cormier’s first fight in the UFC will be against JDS.

Barnett says he broke his hand in the first round. The man has heart and God willing we’ll see him in the UFC soon.

Thanks for hanging with 411 tonight folks. I’ll be back Friday night for Part 2 of Heavyweight May Days as Bellator FINALLY brings us Konrad vs Prindle! Plus our very own Jeff Harris will be LIVE on the scene at UFC 146.

Remember to tune into the 411 Ground and Pound Radio show every Sunday at 11:00 AM. Until we meet again my friends, be safe, be well and behave.


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Mark Radulich
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