The day has finally arrived. Tonight the Strikeforce heavyweight Grand Prix will come to an end and Daniel Cormier and Josh Barnett take to the cage in the finals. Not only that but the often talked about Gilbert Melendez vs. Josh Thomson III will conclude the trilogy while inhabiting the night’s co-main event. The Strikeforce heavyweight Grand Prix finale takes place in the once home of the promotion, San Jose, CA and can been seen live on Showtime Extreme (preliminary card) and Showtime (main card). If you don’t get those channels or cannot watch it live, follow all of the night’s action right here at MMAValor.com.
PRELIMINARY CARD (Not Televised)
155 lbs.: Bobby Green vs. James Terry
Round 1: Fight started out slow as the two threw mainly leg kicks fro the outside. Green stalked Terry, who was on his horse early getting in and doing damage and getting out before taking any. Green might have talked more in the round than actually doing damage but the nose of Terry is a bit red.
Round 2: Terry was much busier this round, landing several good strikes that Green would shake off as if saying “no that didn’t hurt,” even though by doing that we know it did. Green is landing his shots though and the proof is on the face of his opponent.
Round 3: The face of Terry is looking pretty battered heading into the final round, while Green looks clean. Cuts or not, Terry is still hitting Green hard enough to make him shake his head no. the fight ends with a flurry but its now in the hands of the judges.
Bobby Green defeated James Terry by Split Decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
PRELIMINARY CARD (Showtime Extreme)
170 lbs.: Quinn Mulhern vs. Yuri Villefort
Round 1: Right off the bat Villefort catches the leg of Mulhern and throws him back onto the canvas. Two minutes in Mullhern dives in and gets the double leg takedown and briefly moves to side control before going to the back and losing top control. From the clinch Villefort gets the fight to the ground with under a minute left in the round and ends the round him Mulhern’s guard.
Round 2: Mulhern gets the fight to the ground right away but is not doing much with the position as he is now bleeding pretty good from the nose. Villefort tries to scramble and ends up in full mount before escaping and taking Mulhern down. Mulhern almost reverses things with a submission attempt but Villefort escapes and remains up top as the round ends.
Round 3: Villefort is looking tired heading into the final round. Mulhern stuffs a takedown and ends up in north south position before ending up in side control. Mulhurn is grinding elbows across the face on Villefort before he escapes and get earns top position in the scramble. That doesn’t last long and with a minute left Mulhern gains top control and takes the back of Villefort, but time runs out and the fight goes the distance.
Quinn Mulhern defeated Yuri Villefort by Split Decision (30-27, 28-29, 29-28)
205 lbs.: Derrick Mehmen vs. Gian Villante
Round 1: Villante comes out trowing leather, landing a flurry that was finished with an uppercut that dropped Mehmen. Villante pounces against the cage, does minor damage but cannot close the deal before Mehmen gets back to his feet. Mehmen is bleeding from the right ear and is pressing things as he tries to win back the round.
Round 2: Mehmen is avoiding the big shots better this round but hasn’t landed anything significant yet against Villante. A kick to the back leg of Mehmen drops hims to the canvas briefly but a leg lock attempt allows him to get back up without taking any damage.
Round 3: The outside lead leg of Mehmen is looking very red as the round starts and Villante continues to work that spot. Straight left by Villante stops Mehmen in his tracks and blood begins to run for his mouth after the strike. Mehmen drives in for a takedown at the 30 second mark, gets it and moves to the back as the final sounds.
Gian Villante defeated Derrick Mehmen by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
205 lbs.: Virgil Zwicker vs. Guto Inocente
Round 1: Zwicker is looking to end this thing early with some wild punches, but none really land. Inocente working the legs and body kicks that are hurting Zwicker who in turn resorted to a takedown attempt that was easily swept by Inocente. Zwicker is breathing heavy out the moth and bleeding from the nose but slams Inocente down when he got too wild with his strikes.
Round 2: Zwicker gets an early takedown, avoids a triangle attempt before doing minor damage. Inocente tries for a slam but ends up with Zwicker against the cage where he lands heavy shots to the face and another outside leg kick. The outside lead leg of Zwicker has taken a lot of damage and he is walking gingerly on it but that doesn’t stop him from charging forward.
Round 3: Both fighters looking tired as they leave the stools to begin the final round. Zwicker continues to come forward though and neither gets a big takedown 90 seconds into the round. Inocente doing most of his work in the clinch these round, landing knees to the head but Zwicker can take a punch. Zwicker continues to come forward as the round nears its end and signals Inocente to come on.
Guto Inocente defeated Virgil Zwicker by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
155 lbs.: Gesias “JZ” Cavalcante vs. Isaac Vallie-Flagg
Round 1: They start fast and JZ gets an easy takedown and begins fishing for a choke. Vallie-Flagg gets up but eats a knee on the way up. Things slow down for a few before JZ lands a head kick with under a minute ago before slipping just before the bell goes off.
Round 2: JZ opens the round with a takedown, really cannot capitalize on it though and Vallie-Flagg gets back up. Vallie-Flagg returns the favor with a clean head kick of his own and goes up one with a knee that follows it up. A cut opens up under the right eye of Vallie-Flagg who has turned the tide late in this round, much to the joy of Greg Jackson.
Round 3: Vallie-Flagg comes and puts JZ against the cage, landing elbows and knees from the clinch. He lands a front kick before putting JZ’s back against the cage again. With a minute left in the round it’s Vallie-Flagg that is pushing the action, throwing flying knees and push kicks at a tired opponent.
Isaac Vallie-Flagg defeated Gesias “JZ” Cavalcante by Split Decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
MAIN CARD (Showtime)
170 lbs.: Naj-Shon Burrell vs. Chris Spang
Round 1: The boxing of Spang was the key as he hurt Burrel, who should a solid chin, over and over again until Burrel couldn’t stand and the referee had seen enough.
Chris Spang defeated Naj-Shon Burrell by 1st rd. KO (1:35)
205 lbs.: Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante vs. Mike Kyle
Round 1: A big knee from Cavalcante put Kyle down and after a flurry of ground and pound, Cavalcante went for a standing guillotine. Kyle tried to shake him off but it was too early and after he slammed Cavalcante down he was forced to tap.
Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante defeated Mike Kyle by 1st rd. Submission (Guillotine) (0:33)
155 lbs. Title Fight: Gilbert Melendez vs. Josh Thomson
Round 1:Thomson goes for a trip early and almost gets the full takedown but Melendez quickly recovers and gets up. Melendez though gets a double leg and puts Thomson on his back, right against the cage. Thomson uses the cage to get back up and the bout continues standing. As the round ends, Melendez catches the leg of Thomson and dumps him on his head but the challengers stands right back up.
Round 2: Thomson is using the front kick an lot and Melendez hasn’t fully figured it out yet. The boxing of Melendez is scoring well but one of those shot had a little more finger and Thomson gets a short break. With under a minute in the round Meledez scores a takedown but doesn’t do much damage.
Round 3: Thomson is turning up the action in this round and the champion is game. Thomson is unsuccessful with a takedown attempt and the fight continues to be a stand up war. Combinations from Thomson is finding their mark as the challenger is having the best round of the fight thus far. The champions right eye is beginning to swell and close as we head into the champion rounds.
Round 4: The biggest shot from Thomson comes one minute into the round as a straight right hands stops Melendez in his tracks. The champion comes back though and gets a brief takedown. A trip from Thomson puts the champion on his back for the first time. Melendez looks to escape but Thomson takes his back and looks for a choke. the champ is in all sorts of trouble but he survives long enough to be saved by the bell.
Round 5: Melendez gets another brief takedown as the San Jose fans are chanting “Thomson, Thomson”. Another flurry from Thomson slows the champion and we are into the final two minutes of the fight. Thomson has the fans behind him and with under a minute in the fight gets another takedown and ends the round with some ground and pound.
Gilbert Melendez defeats Josh Thomson by Split Decision (47-48, 48-47, 48-47)
265 lbs. Grand-Prix Final: Josh Barnett vs. Daniel Cormier
Round 1: Barnett slips on his first kick attempt but Cormier decides not to pounce. Cormier letting the hands go, grabs the head and lands a knee. Cormier looks to be the faster fighter and is beating Barnett to the punch. Barnett is taking some big punches from Cormier but a right hand and a knee late in the round cut Cormier around the left eye.
Round 2: A knee to the gut back up Cormier as the round opens. Exiting the clinch Cormier lands a big right and follows it up with a single leg takedown. In full guard Cormier is picking his spots nicely on Barnett, who’s goin for submission attempts from the bottom. the round ends with Cormier dropping ground and pound that open up the face of Barnett.
Round 3: Barnett drops down for a takedown but is unsuccessful. The left eye of Cormier is beginning to swell now. Cormier goes for a single leg and picks up Barnett for and massive slam, right into side control. Barnett gets up though and Cormier cannot capitalize on the position. A head kick by Cormier freezes Barnett in his tracks and Cormier looks to finish. Barnett throws a knee and the round concludes with Cormier on the back of Barnett.
Round 4: the face of Barnett is not looking too good as he answers the bell for the fourth. Cormier continues to land big shots on Barnett. Cormier gets another takedown but Barnett reverses to a leg lock but Cormier rolls out and escapes with a minute left. The ref stands them up and Barnett is a bloody mess.
Round 5: Things have slowed some in the final round. Cormier knows Barnett needs a finish and Barnett seems to know it too. Cormier puts Barnett against the cage and holds him there for the majority of the round before going for a jog for the last 10 seconds of the fight.
Daniel Cormier defeated Josh Barnett by Unanimous Decision (49-46, 50-45, 50-45)