Following every UFC and Strikeforce event, The MMA Corner will break down the event and suggest fights the promotion should make in the future. This week, our focus is on Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Kennedy, which took place on July 14 from the Rose Garden in Portland, Ore.

Luke Rockhold vs. Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza

In the main event on Saturday, middleweight champion Luke Rockhold successfully defended his belt for the second time with a win over veteran Tim Kennedy.

The underrated champion is proving over and over again why he should be considered one of the best middleweights in the world after putting on a good show against Kennedy.

But the former champ, Ronaldo Souza, is hungry to get back his belt.

“Jacare” fell to Rockhold last year to lose the belt, but since then Souza has bounced back with a submission win. The Brazilian will take on Derek Brunson on Aug. 18, and if victorious, there’s no reason why he doesn’t deserve a rematch against Rockhold.

Rockhold-Souza 2 will be yet another great match-up for Strikeforce, and “Jacare” won’t overlook Rockhold the second time around.

Nate Marquardt vs. Tarec Saffiedine

Former UFC contender Nate Marquardt made two different debuts on Sunday—first and foremost at a new weight of 170, but also in his first appearance in Strikeforce.

Marquardt looked impressive in the co-main event, capturing the vacant Strikeforce welterweight title by defeating Tyron Woodley via knockout in the second round.

The weight cut didn’t seem to hurt Nate “The Great,” and he will now look to defend his title against Strikeforce’s top fighters.

One contender that may be next on Marquardt’s radar is Tarec Saffiedine, who, if it wasn’t for a decision loss to Woodley in 2011, could have been the one fighting Marquardt for the vacant belt.

Many people are discussing Jason High as the next contender, but High is still working his way up, while Saffiedine has a more accomplished resume in Strikeforce.

Saffiedine is a similar fighter to Woodley, having a good ground game and also having never been submitted.

Roger Gracie vs. Lorenz Larkin

Two middleweights impressed in the main card on Saturday night, as Roger Gracie and Lorenz Larkin picked up big wins.

Gracie took on “The Dean of Mean” Keith Jardine, and dominated the veteran for all three rounds to earn a clear-cut unanimous decision.

Before Gracie had his hand raised, feared strikers Larkin and Robbie Lawler went toe-to-toe, with Larkin outstriking the veteran Lawler to claim his first win at middleweight.

It only makes sense to match these two up, and it would be an intriguing fight. Gracie’s striking is improving, but it will be tough to handle a striker with the knockout power of Larkin. But if Gracie takes down Larkin like he did Jardine, it could prove to be a long night for Larkin.

Pat Healy vs. Gilbert Melendez

This event’s preliminary card was arguably the best ever in Strikeforce history. It was one that even included many top contenders.

One of those many fighters was Pat Healy, who edged out former Deep lightweight champion Mizuto Hirota by unanimous decision.

Healy has been considered the next contender in line to fight for the Strikeforce lightweight championship, but with an unimpressive performance against a debuting Strikeforce fighter, is he deserving of a title shot?

My answer is yes.

After his win over Caros Fodor, I expected Healy to fight the champion Gilbert Melendez next. However, Josh Thomson was given a third fight with Melendez, which forced Healy to fight once more.

His win may not have been spectacular, but a win is a win, and Strikeforce should grant Healy his long-awaited shot at Melendez.

Photo: Luke Rockhold (Phil Lambert/The MMA Corner)

About The Author

Corey Adams
Staff Writer

Corey Adams didn't grow up watching mixed martial arts, considering the UFC was just getting started the year he was born, but in his teenage years, witnessed the action and has fallen in love with the sport. Corey was the first to join The MMA Corner staff -- other than founder Josh Davis -- and has been writing for the site ever since. Corey attends Austin Peay State University, where he majors in Communications with a focus on journalism. When he's not covering MMA, Corey is still writing on many sports with both local and campus newspapers. His favorite sports teams are the Atlanta Braves and Denver Broncos. Follow him on Twitter at the link below.