Although you could likely be watching this on your own television for free, given that it’s on network television (CBS), I’m going to be live-blogging tonight’s Strikeforce Saturday Night Fights from Nashville, Tennessee.

Keep checking back for updates.

Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Championship
challenger: “King Mo” Muhammad Lawal
champion: Gegard Mousasi

Interesting pre-fight video, whereby “King Mo” said he felt like he was in a video game, comparing Gegard Mousasi to a (end of level) boss.

The entrance for King Mo Lawal looked entertaining, but CBS cut to commercial in the midst of it.

King Mo with a 2 inch reach “advantage”.  That’s like one inch each arm, let’s call that even.

Interesting that they help preview the fight by showing footage from the EA Sports “MMA” game, similar to how sometimes the NFL uses footage from the Madden games.  I wish the person playing the game would’ve been a little more proficient as a gamer.

Lawal is 6-0 with 5 knockouts.  Not bad, but he looks a bit short on experience against 28-2-1 Mousasi (17 KO’s, 9 Subs).

Fun little chant with some people chanting “King” and then others following up with “Mo”.

Round 1

Terrible camera angle to start, staring at Lawal’s back for about 10 seconds.  Mo with a decent overhand right.  Decent flurry attempt by Lawal, nice dodging from Mousasi.  King Mo goes for a single-leg, Mousasi with a punch of rapid-fire shots as he stands his ground.  King Mo finally turns it into a takedown.  Good defense from Mousasi.  King Mo gets into side control, some decent strikes here and there.  Mousasi very relaxed, Lawal back to his feet, Mousasi working the up-kicks, King Mo trying to avoid it.  Lawal moves back in and tries to get into good position, going for strikes, Mousasi blocking nicely.  Lawal with some really good strikes.  Mousasi curls around and gets back to his feet with a minute left.  King Mo tries to shoot in again, doesn’t work, and Lawal eats a lot of shots from Mousasi.  King Mo gets another takedown and with less than 30 seconds to go there’s some posturing on the mat. Lawal gets up, Mousasi gets back up, 10 seconds.   Nice head-kick by Gegard Mousasi that catches a little bit.  Round 1 done, not sure how to score it, probably for Lawal.

Round 2

King Mo gets Mousasi to the ground, but he does a lot of damage to King Mo with long strikes with the sides of his fists directly to Lawal’s head.  King Mo moves in and tries to get something, but Gegard fends him off.  Lawal backs up and watches, has a tough time trying to figure out what to do.  Both men back to their feet, Mousasi with a nice left hand, but King Mo takes Gegard Mousasi back down to the mat.  Gegard works nicely from the mat, as Lawal can’t do anything with him while down.  90 seconds left in the round.  Mousasi with tons of great shots to King Mo’s head.  Back up to their feet.  Mousasi misses a huge uppercut.  Stat:  Mousasi has landed 49 strikes in round 2, Lawal:  9.  Another takedown, Mousasi with nice shots, Gegard Mousasi nearly gets an armbar, but Lawal gets free.  30 seconds left.  Mousasi up, King Mo on the ground, both men back up, 15 seconds.  King Mo in trouble as Mousasi gets his back, takes him down with a modified bulldog (not really, but sort of the same concept) and then King Mo gets saved by the bell.  I would give that round completely to Mousasi.  The takedowns were decent, but Lawal is a fool for doing it, because Mousasi is dominating him once he’s on his back.

Round 3

King Mo is tired as the round starts.  Stand-up for the first 45 seconds.  Lots of failed attempts.  King Mo changing stances, nobody getting much this round.  Mousasi with a nice shot, then a knee.  Lawal with some wild punches, not quite as effective as they could’ve been.  Lawal gets taken down backwards by Mousasi into Gegard’s guard.  Mousasi attempts more swinging fists.  Halfway through the round, Mousasi is in control on the mat despite being on his back.   King Mo trying to get a side guard, landing some decent shots to the head and gut.  Lawal is controlling Mousasi’s hands.  Nice forearm from King Mo, now some decent ground and pound.  Mousasi doesn’t look to be in trouble, but he’s taking some punishment.  King Mo with the opportunity to take Gegard’s back, but he’s not taking it.  15 seconds left, Mousasi with decent defense, but I’m thinking that round is definitely to Lawal.

Nice between-round commercial for EA Sports “MMA” game, featuring decent footage from characters created for tonight’s card’s fighters.

Round 4

More of the same.  Lawal with a takedown, Mousasi controlling things on the mat.  Mousasi looking to be attempting to fight for the fifth round, trying to tire out Lawal with failed strikes, but it’s looking better for King Mo right now.  Mousasi with a nice up-kick on Lawal, but King Mo gets back down into position for ground and pound.  Flurry of shots from Lawal, but nice defense from Mousasi.  2 minutes left, the referee stands it back up.  Lawal goes for a single-leg, Mousasi defends it, hits a bunch of shots, then gets taken down.  Mousasi with some shots to the ribs as Lawal tries to get side control.  Nice knee strikes from both men.  With 1 minute left, Mousasi still playing defense.  Nice hammer fists by Gegard Mousasi.  Lawal with plenty of control, but he’s not doing anything with it – aside from getting pounded in the head with long reaching strikes.

Commercial: Ridley Scott / Russel Crow teaming up for Robin Hood?  Sounds great to me.

Round 5

Mousasi needs to do something in this round, as the announcers say it seems like the judges might have it completely in favor of Lawal.  HUGE double-leg takedown from King Mo.  4 minutes left in the fight, Mousasi working the up-kicks, and his 15-fight winning streak is in trouble.  Decent hammerfists from Mousasi, but they’re not doing enough against King Mo Lawal.  Now 3 minutes left, referee calls timeout as Mousasi does an illegal up-kick, as Lawal had a knee on the ground.    Lawal asked if he needs a doctor, but he refuses.  Referee takes a point away from Mousasi, and we’d better see a fast 3 minutes from Mousasi if he doesn’t want to lose his championship.    Mousasi lands a ton of hammerfists, but Lawal keeps him grounded.  2:15, looked like a potential Triangle Choke attempt, but King Mo blocks it.  2 minutes left, attempted Kimura, no go.  Gegard back up at 1:45, tries to keep his feet.  90 seconds, still on their feet, Mousasi needs to do something big.  Takedown by Lawal.  Great fight for (amateur) wrestling fans.  1 minute left, back on the ground.  Mousasi needs to get up.  I hate to see a championship change hands like this.  30 seconds left.  Standing them back up.  15 seconds left, still nothing.  ANOTHER takedown by Lawal.  Time to see what the judges say.  Mousasi should be a little embarrassed that he didn’t do more to retain his championship, even if somehow the decision goes his way.  King Mo’s left eye is CLOSED due to all those shots.

Decision:  King Mo Lawal wins by unanimous decision (49-45)

Stat totals don’t favor Lawal in any way aside from Takedowns (9/12 to Mousasi’s 0/0) and Dominant Positions (Mo: 3, Gegard: 1).  Standing Arm Strikes – 42 (of 66) for Gegard Mousasi, only 21 (of 59) for Lawal.  Standing leg strikes 8 (of 12) for Mousasi, 0 for Lawal.  Total strikes, Lawal landed 72 from a non-standing position.  Mousasi had 127.

Had this fight continued indefinitely, Lawal would’ve been beaten, but the rules say 5 rounds, and Mousasi couldn’t do enough to get the win.  Congratulations to the new champion – he’d better hope there’s no rematch.

Strikeforce Lightweight Championship
challenger: Shinya Aoki
champion: Gilbert Melendez

Round 1

Feeling out stage for the first minute.  Aoki goes for a kick and Melendez almost takes him down to the ground but fails to do anything.  Crowd booing as we near the end of the second minute as not much is happening.  Melendez took a finger to the eye, back to the action.  Action really gets going, Aoki takes him down, goes for the armbar, Melendez gets out of it, now gets back to his feet.  Huge kick attempt by Shinya Aoki misses, and Melendez almost lands a huge follow-up.  Shinya to his back, a couple shots by Gilbert Melendez, Shinya scrambles back up.  That was a victory by Melendez, surviving on the ground and getting Aoki to WANT to get back up.  Under a minute left.  Aoki looking for some kicks, but not too effective.  Nice knee to the body by Melendez.  First round ends.

Round 2

Gilbert Melendez testing his jab early on, and Aoki’s got a bloody nose so far.  Shinya going for some takedowns, grabs wrist-control on Melendez, but Gilbert with some nice strikes.  More posturing on the mat.  Back to their feet as the referee stands things up.  3 minutes left in the round.  Lots of strike attempts, but nothing really lands.  Takedown attempt from Shinya Aoki, blocked, and Melendez with plenty of great strikes.  Gilbert trying to control Shinya’s feet, but Aoki swimming and avoids it.  Referee stands them back up, another takedown, not much happens on the mat.

Round 3

More of the same.  Posturing, attempted shots by Melendez, decent defense by Aoki.  2:30 left, nice shot by Melendez.  Back down on the mat, Shinya going for the Triangle choke, Melendez blocking it and landing some shots. Gilbert landing some nice shots, Aoki nearly getting an armbar, nice shots landed by Melendez again.  One minute left in the round (5 rounds for all championship fights).  Fight stopped at 30 seconds to move back to their feet.  Gilbert Melendez with some nice rights and lefts from his feet, decent knee from Aoki which doesn’t truly find its mark.  Time expires in the round.

Round 4

A lot more action here in this round.  Attempted shots by both guys, though not a lot landed.  Shinya nearly gets a grapevined leg on Gilbert’s arm on the ground (not quite a traditional armbar), but Melendez avoids it.  Referee gets it back up to their feet, Shinya looks for a takedown, and Gilbert Melendez nails a nice knee to the chin which rocks Shinya… but Gilbert doesnt follow it up.  Good call from the announcers – there’s not too much “sense of urgency in this one”, though it’s starting to pick up.  Shinya on the mat, Gilbert backs up, and Shinya tries to goad him into moving in on him.  Gilbert too smart for that.  Back on their feet.  90 seconds left in the round.  Aoki shoots in, doesn’t even touch Gilbert, Melendez doesn’t do anything, so Shinya scoots in after him.  Referee Mario Yamasaki tries to stand things up just as Gilbert Melendez shoots in and knocks Shinya Aoki backwards, great work, but the referee made a mistake so he slows it down and separates them.  Things restart and Shinya again goes for the takedown, Gilbert evades, then a huge strike.  Shinya saved by the bell.

Round 5

The first minute is typical for this fight, and Shinya is complaining that he got poked in the eye.  Things get started again, and after some more distancing, Shinya slips, Gilbert shoots in, Shinya locks Melendez in and tries for a submission.  Gilbert Melendez pushes it into the cage and then starts nailing some strikes.  Nice striking continued by Melendez after a short lull, and now Gilbert is inviting Shinya Aoki back to his feet.  More than half the final round is done.  Decent strike by Gilbert Melendez at 127 seconds left.  Shinya runs, then tries another takedown, and Gilbert forces him to get up.  90 seconds left, more circling by Aoki.  Shinya gets control of Melendez on a takedown attempt and Shinya locks in both arms, but Gilbert escapes.  Aoki shoots in again, nice takedown defense by Melendez, and Gilbert forces them back to their feet.  20 seconds left, Gilbert going for lots of strikes.  Melendez the huge aggressor, Aoki ends the fight on his back.  Given a few more seconds, he might’ve had the knockout.  I’ll be very surprised if Gilbert Melendez doesn’t win this fight.

Decision:  Gilbert Melendez by unanimous decision, and it sounds like Gilbert Melendez won each and every round, which I’m not surprised by.

After the fight, Melendez was asked if he thinks he should be the top rated Lightweight fighter in the world after this fight, and I agree with his answer, as he says he should be considered top 3.  I’d say BJ Penn and probably Frankie Edgar should be ranked higher than him, maybe KenFlo.  A fight between Melendez and either of those three from UFC would be great.

Seven minutes left and we still have the main event to go… something tells me it was pre-taped and they know that it’s not a long fight.  Makes me think that Dan Henderson is likely the new champion.

Strikeforce Middleweight Championship
challenger: Dan Henderson
champion: Jake Shields

Announcer tells us it’s Showtime… which is funny because we’re watching on CBS and Strikeforce is typically shown on “Showtime”.  Irony?  Maybe a little bit.

The Strikeforce fans on Facebook are largely saying it won’t last 2 full rounds.  Let’s see if they’re right.

Round 1

Kick by Shields.  Low kick follow up by Shields.  Now a middle shot.  Henderson avoids too much damage and uses his hands to take shields WAY down.  Henderson can’t do much pounding, and Henderson tries to lock in a submission.  Shields with a submission attempt of his own on the ground.  Very exciting so far.  Kick by Shields, no damage.  Leg kick by Shields.  Another hard right by Hendo stumbles Shields backwards.  Not even 2 minutes in, and this is hugely exciting.  Hendo comes in with tons of shots, Shields is down again, but he has some decent defense.  Henderson tries some serious ground and pound, but Shields maintaining.  Back to their feet, Shields needs to do something to get this on his terms – meaning NO MORE STRIKES!  2 minutes left in the first round, an echoing “HENDO” chant from the crowd.  Standing clinch, decent knees by Shields, nothing substantial, referee splits them up.  Shields with his first single-leg shoot-in, but Henderson wiggles around, stands it up and pushes against the cage.  Now it’s Henderson with some nice knees.  Shields could be doing a lot more with some body shots, but he’s looking a bit shaken.  Nice Hendo elbow attempt right at the bell.

Round 2

Shields testing his range with jabs early, shoots in, Henderson with nice defense.  Hendo wraps it around, tries to take Shields’ back, gets it, Shields escapes.  Amazing.  I need to show my dad this fight – actually the entire card.  Shields finds top mount, no damage really being done yet, and now Henderson with some decent elbows and hammerfists to Shields’s leg.  Jake gets into a mount position and some nice shots to the head, but Hendo pulls him down for a moment.  Shields back up, punches find their mark, and Henderson rolls to try to evade, but Shields almost catches his back.  Jake gets back into the mount, lands punches to Henderson’s face, 2 minutes left, and Jake Shields is in control.  Nice shots to the face with rights, lefts, and forearms.  Henderson with a decent defense to keep the shots from hitting, but Shields is relentless!  Hendo looks to be in trouble, and this is a great showing for Shields.  1 minute left, and they’re up against the cage.  This round is completely different than the first round.  40 seconds left, more good shots by Shields, who is looking like the champion he is right now.  Hammerfists by Shields, trying to finish the round on top, and Henderson pulls him in and locks up.

Round over, and you can be sure that Henderson is going to try to avoid being locked up in Round 3.  Obviously I’m not qualified to be a judge of these fights, but I’d definitely give that round to Jake Shields.  Announcers agree with me, though.

Round 3

Henderson looking for a big shot on Shields, but Jake avoids it.  Jake shoots in and tries for a double-leg, but Henderson almost pile-drives him.  Back to their feet, Shields with a leg kick.  Decent right hand by Henderson, doesn’t rock Shields.  Now Jake Shields with an attempted takedown, but Henderson controls it and pulls down – almost into a Guillotine.  Shields positions himself on top, and this has to be slightly disheartening to Henderson, who didn’t do well from here in the second round.  3 minute mark.  Shields trying for side-guard, doesn’t get it.  Shields with some strikes to the side of Hendo’s head.  Now more posturing going on, neither man doing much damage at this point.  Shields with some short shots to the ribs and hammerfists to the jaw, but Hendo wraps him up.  70 seconds left in the round.  Jake Shields with the chin-hook, Shields looking for the Guillotine, doesn’t have it in tight enough and Henderson fights out.  45 seconds left, Shields remains in dominant position, getting some shots to the head.  Henderson with some decent blocking.  Shields swings his legs around and rolls, nearly gets an armbar, Henderson mostly saved by the bell.

Round 4

Jake Shields and Dan Henderson bot going for some shots, Shields with a takedown, nothing going.  Back up, Shields with another takedown attempt, not much going, but Henderson ends up on the mat, trying to control Jake.  1 minute mark, a bit of rolling around.  Shields crucifixed by Dan Henderson, but I’m not sure what submission he’s looking for.  Shields holds a leg and keeps Henderson from getting back up.  Fight stays on the ground, more positioning, Shields nearly getting the back.  I can only imagine what people think if they’re tuning in, expecting the 11 o’clock news.  Shields looking possibly for a side-armbar or a Kimura, but no going.  2 minutes left in the round.  Short shots by Jake Shields, again going for the arm submission.  Jake nearly gets Hendo’s back, but again Henderson wiggles around.  You can feel the “underdog” in the champion.  Henderson on his back, blocking a lot, not getting any offense.  Shields AGAIN almost gets Dan Henderson’s back with 45 seconds left in the round, but more defense by Hendo.  Another round in the books, and Dan Henderson will need to keep it on his feet if he wants to win this fight.

Round 5

Announcers say it’s probably Shields with 3 rounds to only 1 for Henderson, and I’d fully agree.  40 seconds into the round and Jake goes for the takedown, takes 10 seconds but he puts Henderson on his back.  Small shots by Jake Shields on Henderson, but he’s in complete control.  First in mount, then to side, then back to top mount.  Nice statistic about Caesar Gracie’s camp controlling three of the championships in Strikeforce (Shields – Middleweight, Diaz – Welterweight, Melendez – Lightweight).

Back to the action, halfway through the round, still on the ground, Shields looking to work over the arm.  I’m looking for some big shot attempts from Henderson here near the end of the round.  90 seconds left, Shields stays in the mounted position.  Jake with the side-choke attempt, Henderson blocking it… Jake nearly gets Hendo’s back.  30 seconds let, and Henderson not showing any signs of getting up, so he won’t win his Strikeforce debut.  Dan tries to get up, but Shields locks in the leg, works on a kneebar, Henderson blocks it but can’t go anywhere.  This decision is very likely to be or Jake Shields, and if it’s not, I’d be shocked.  Shields held 11 dominant positions in this fight, Henderson had 0.  Shields had almost 4 times as many shots landed as Henderson.

Decision:  Jake Shields by unanimous decision, out-working the 39 year old olympic veteran Dan Henderson

WHOA!   End o the night, Jason Miller gets into the ring, asks where his rematch is, there’s some shoving with the guys in Jake Shields’ crw and a brawl ensues.  Very awesome, as Jason “Mayhem” Miller is a punk for doing that.  I hope he doesn’t get a rematch just yet.

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