Two new champions were crowned at Saturday’s “Strikeforce: Houston” event, as Rafael Feijao scored a third-round TKO of light heavyweight champ “King” Mo Lawal and Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza topped Tim Kennedy to win the vacant middleweight title.
Feijao escaped Lawal’s early takedowns and the fighters spent much of the first two rounds on their feet, where they each had their moments, though neither dominated a pair of close rounds.
The third was a different story, however, as Feijao rocked Lawal with an early flurry then dropped the champ before finishing him off with elbows as he struggled to survive just over a minute into the round.
Despite being among the world’s best in jiu jitsu, “Jacare” edged Kennedy in a hard-fought standup battle that rarely hit the canvas to win the middleweight title vacated by Jake Shields, who recently left for the UFC.
Souza failed to convert on his limited takedown attempts, but bloodied Kennedy with more-effective punches throughout to earn a deserved unanimous decision win.
The Showtime-televised main card got off to a dismal start, as heavyweight Bobby Lashley was stopped by Chad Griggs at the end of the second after being stood up from mount, while KJ Noons stunned Jorge Gurgel after the first round bell before putting him away with a seemingly illegal knee early in the second.
The official “Strikeforce: Houston” results were:
- Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante def. champion “King” Mo Lawal via TKO (strikes) – Round 3, 1:14
Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Championship
- Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza def. Tim Kennedy via unanimous decision (49-46, 48-47, 48-47)
Strikeforce Middleweight Championship (vacant)
- KJ Noons def. Jorge Gurgel via knockout (strikes) – Round 2, 0:19
- Chad Griggs def. Bobby Lashley via TKO (referee stoppage) – Round 2, 5:00
- Daniel Cormier def. Jason Riley via submission (strikes) – Round 1, 1:02
- Andre Galvao def. Jorge Patino via TKO (strikes) – Round 3, 2:45