On July 30, two all-time greats in the sport of mixed martial arts stepped into the cage at the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, Ill., as “The Last Emperor” Fedor Emelianenko took on current Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Dan Henderson in a heavyweight superfight. Since the bout was scheduled to be fought at heavyweight, Henderson’s title was not on the line. Also featured on the card, Strikeforce women’s bantamweight champion Marloes Coenen looked to defend her belt against Miesha Tate.

Henderson KO’s Fedor; Legend’s future now in question

In the most anticipated superfight in Strikeforce history, 40-year-old Dan “Hendo” Henderson earned the biggest win of his career by defeating arguably the greatest mixed martial artist ever, Fedor Emelianenko.

Having been a dream match-up waiting to happen in many MMA fans’ eyes, Henderson did not disappoint those desires by knocking out Fedor in the opening round of the bout.

Both men came out early looking to strike with one another. After a clinch by Henderson against the cage, the two legends went at it once again, landing numerous punches.

A big right hand by Fedor landed, dropping his opponent to the ground. However, Henderson was able to use his wrestling ability to reverse the position, land a huge uppercut while taking the back of Fedor, and finish him with punches.

The stoppage time clocked in at 4:12 of the first round and was ruled a TKO due to punches.

In the post-fight interviews, the focus was primarily on Fedor, who adds a third straight loss to his record. Hopefully this will not be the end for “The Last Emperor,” but it is a possibility.

Tate submits Coenen; Wins bantamweight title

Strikeforce women’s bantamweight champion Marloes Coenen was unsuccessful in defending her belt on Saturday, as Miesha Tate took a page out of the champ’s book by submitting her in the fourth round.

Many words were said between the two in the days leading up to the fight, which made this bout exciting from the beginning.

Both women came out strong. Tate was able to use her clinch game to press her opponent against the cage and eventually take the champion to the mat. However, Coenen is no stranger with the ground and nearly finished Tate with a choke attempt in the first round.

Round two is all Coenen. She managed to stop the takedowns from Tate and earn top position the majority of the round.

The third round was very close and could have gone either way. Tate had more control over the round, but wasn’t doing damage in Coenen’s guard.

Entering the championship rounds, the fight was up for grabs. Tate appeared to be a bit winded, but landed a solid, double-leg takedown to put Coenen on her back once again. From there, Tate was able to move into side control, transition to the opposite side, and lock in an arm-triangle to force the champion to tap out.

Tate will now defend her belt against Sarah Kaufman in the near future.

Bloodied Kennedy takes all three rounds in win over Lawler

In a middleweight showdown, Tim Kennedy was able to earn a big win over “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler that could propel the former U.S. soldier into title contention.

The first round proved to be Kennedy’s. He was the more aggressive fighter, both standing and on the mat.

Action slowed for a bit in the second until Lawler landed a big uppercut to Kennedy, causing him to bleed from his nose. However, Kennedy didn’t let it affect him and edged Lawler to take round two as well.

The final round went to Kennedy also, as he took control of the fight from bell to bell.

The judges’ scorecards came back all the same (30-27) for the winner by unanimous decision, Tim Kennedy.

Woodley takes unanimous decision over top contender Daley

In a big fight in the welterweight division, former amateur wrestler Tyron Woodley used his wrestling ability to his liking against the British striker Paul Daley, earning a decision victory.

The importance of this fight results from the recent vacating of the Strikeforce welterweight title by Nick Diaz, who has shifted to the UFC to challenge Georges St-Pierre. With the belt open to anyone in the promotion, the showdown between Woodley and Daley quite likely holds title implications.

Both Woodley and Daley knew this fight could make or break them.

Woodley stepped into the cage and executed his game plan as prepared: Slow the striker down and use the cage as leverage to get Daley to the ground.

The fight played out much like Woodley expected, but the Brit made a strong comeback attempt late, desperately trying to knockout the wrestler.  However, Woodley proved not to be a favorable match-up for “Semtex.”

The judges awarded Woodley the victory by unanimous decision (29-28).

Saffiedine out strikes Smith; Earns clear-cut decision win

This fight was made lopsided right from the beginning as Tarec Saffiedine simply outclassed Scott Smith on the feet the entire contest.

Smith gassed midway through the fight, which made him drop his hands, and Saffiedine took advantage of it by landing his jab numerous times.

One judge scored the bout 30-26, while the others had it 30-27, all for Saffiedine.


Dan Henderson def. Fedor Emelianenko by TKO (punches). Round 1, 4:12

Miesha Tate def. Marloes Coenen by submission (arm-traingle choke). Round 4, 3:03 (Wins Strikeforce women’s bantamweight championship)

Tim Kennedy def. Robbie Lawler by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Tyron Woodley def. Paul Daley by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Tarec Saffiedine def. Scott Smith by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27)


Gesias “JZ” Calvalcante def. Bobby Green by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)

Tyler Stinson def. Eduardo Pamplona by KO (punch). Round 1, 0:15

Alexis Davis def. Julie Kedzie by unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)

Derek Brunson def. Lumumba Sayers by submission (rear-naked choke). Round 1, 4:33

Gabriel Salinas-Jones def. Bryan Humes by submission (brado choke). Round 3, 1:19

Photo: Fedor Emelianenko (L) faces off against Dan Henderson (R) (Strikeforce)