Strikeforce middleweight champion Luke Rockhold wasn’t able to finish Tim Kennedy, but he did earn a second defense of the belt Saturday night in the main event of Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Kennedy. Rockhold was awarded a decision victory from Portland, Oregon.
Rockhold spent plenty of time with wrestling aces Daniel Cormier and Cain Velasquez at American Kickboxing Academy in preparation for Kennedy, and it showed. Through the 25-minute battle, Rockhold fended off six of Kennedy’s eight takedown attempts.
“That was one of my main focuses in this camp,” Rockhold said. “Kennedy is a great wrestler. I knew I couldn’t sit still for a second.”
Rockhold, who defeated Keith Jardine in his first title defense since claiming the belt from Ronaldo Souza last year, improved to 10-1. He landed 60 of 176 total strikes, and out-landed Kennedy in power strikes, 34-16.
“I controlled the pace and defended the takedowns for the most part,” Rockhold said. “Hard work pays off.”