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Strikeforce 36: Ronaldo Souza Vs. Luke Rockhold

The following is from our live coverage of Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Kharitonov. To access our full coverage, click here.

Dan Miragliotta will oversee this middleweight championship fight.

Round 1: They touch gloves and get set to go. Rockhold gets off first with a short leg kick. Rockhold fighting Southpaw, lands a nice knee as Jacare tries for the takedown. He sprawls well but then gets tagged and sent reeling by a right hand. Jacare follows him across the cage, misses a knee but stays on Rockhold and takes him down against the cage. Jacare fighting to keep Rockhold down, he presses him into the fence while on their knees and hammers him with some right hands that have pop. Jacare continually working for the takedown against the fence, working in punches where he can. Rockhold gets to his feet, but Jacare is keeping him mashed against the fence. Rockhold breaks free. He goes for a leg kick and then push kick, both land glancingly. Rockhold lands two kicks but gets clipped by a hard right hand from Jacare. Jacare chasing Rockhold down, but the challenger keeps his composure and starts to turn it on with his kicks. He lands a switch kick and then a nice spinning kick. Jacare goes for the takedown and eventually gets it. scores the round 10-9 for Souza

Round 2: Rockhold gets off with a spinning back kick right off the bat. Rockhold looks a lot looser to start this round and he’s finding a home for most of his strikes know, mainly kicks. Jacare sits Rockhold down with a right hand when he moves in, but Rockhold recovers quickly and moves away to avoid more damage. Jacare finally gets hold of Rockhold and smashes him with an elbow against the fence before they break. Rockhold lands a head kick and then another nice switch kick. Rockhold will back Jacare up with some nice shots, but Jacare continually lands a hard right counter that hurts Rockhold. Jacare gets Rockhold against the fence, but Rockhold turns him. He lands some nice knees to the thighs, but Jacare turns Rockhold and they shortly thereafter separate. Rockhold walking in behind punches, but getting tagged with that right hand still. scores the round 10-10

Round 3: Rockhold pushes Jacare back with a front kick. Jacare eats a jab and then takes a hard high kick on the arm. Rockhold doing well to disrupt Jacare’s offense with his jab. Jacare goes on the attack with kicks and Rockhold fires back. Jacare takes a kick low and sits down for a few to recover. Jacare repeatedly points out that that was the second times he was clipped low. Rockhold goes right back on the attack, backing up Souza with straight punches. Jacare grabs Rockhold’s leg and presses him against the fence. As soon as Rockhold tries to land punches, he trips him hard to the mat. He can’t make much of it though and Rockhold pops back to his feet. Rockhold with a good front kick. Jacare is tiring here. but Rockhold is having somewhat of a hard time really capitalizing on his inactivity. Rockhold is landing more shots than Souza, who’s content to load up on single-shot counters. Rockhold starting to get loose, sensing that he can take the belt from the champ. Rockhold is picking his shots and landing almost at will with punches and kicks. scores the round 10-9 for Rockhold

Round 4: Rockhold comes out intent on continuing his assault and he does so, showing slick head movement in avoiding Jacare’s counter shots. Rockhold keeping his hands low, he backs Souza up with a flurry of punches. Rockhold gets hit square with a right hook and barely moves; looks like Jacare’s punches have lost some mustard. Jacare presses Rockhold into the fence, but Rockhold turns him and returns the favor. Rockhold trying to make space and land some elbows. He goes for a takedown of his own but Jacare avoids and lands some good punches when they return to their feet. Jacare drops for the takedown, but Rockhold sprawls well and gets to his feet. Rockhold taking the momentum on their feet. He shows nice takedown defense when he overextends on a spinning back kick and leaves his leg for Jacare to grab; he uses the whizzer to keep Jacare off of him. Rockhold presses the champ against the cage and knees him until the bell. scores the round 10-9 for Rockhold

Round 5: Rockhold swims in and lands a kick to the body. Rockhold is settling back into his range, landing with straight punches, mixing in kicks to keep Jacare guessing. Jacare explodes from time to time with a punch or kick, but Rockhold is usually a mile away. He moves in behind a pair of right hands to press Rockhold into the fence. Jacare gets the takedown briefly and knees Rockhold on the way up to their feet. Souza hits another takedown, this time getting Rockhold away from the cage. Rockhold scrambling well, but Jacare is staying on him. Rockhold gets to his feet, but Jacare hits him with a right hand and presses him into the cage again. Rockhold gets off the fence and starts to turn it on with his hands and feet. Jacare lands a front kick, but Rockhold just eats it and returns fire. Jacare isn’t exactly giving it up, but Rockhold is taking this round and this fight, avoiding most of Jacare’s shots and landing with most of his own. Jacare bulls Rockhold into the fence at the bell. scores the round 10-9 for Rockhold

Luke Rockhold defeated Ronaldo Souza via unanimous decision (50-45, 48-47, 48-47)

That was a great fight and a big win for Rockhold. He is emotional in victory, delivering his post-fight speech through tears.