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Cagewriter

Saffiedine, Mousasi and Souza shine on Strikeforce’s final night

Maggie Hendricks
Cagewriter

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Strikeforce's last night featured mismatches, impressive performances and ended with a new champion. Saturday night's fights in Oklahoma City were the last for the promotion, and longtime stars of the promotion stood out.

Tarec Saffiedine came up through the Strikeforce system. He fought first in their Challengers system, which was used as a feeder circuit for their main events. Most of his career was in Strikeforce, and now he's walking out as the promotion's final welterweight champion. He beat Nate Marquardt in a five-round decision, with the judges seeing it 48-47, 49-46, 49-46 in Saffiedine's favor.

More than anything, Saffiedine's constant barrage of leg kicks slowed Marquardt down. He had no answer for the leg kicks, and Marquardt's lead leg turned into a tenderized piece of meat. It became bloody, bruised and lumpy as the fight went on. In the final round, Saffiedine ended with a takedown to put an exclamation point on the win.

Daniel Cormier signed his UFC contract before his fight, which ended up going longer than expected. Dion Staring, who is best known for being former Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem's sparring partner, managed to stay in the cage for a round and a half with Cormier, the two-time Olympic wrestler who won Strikeforce's heavyweight grand prix. Cormier used wrestling and striking to wear down Staring until the fight was finally stopped at 4:02 in the second.

Like Cormier, Josh Barnett's opponent wasn't a known entity. Now, Nandor Guelmino is known as the guy with the cool name who nonetheless lost quickly to Barnett. Just two minutes into the first round, Barnett slapped on an arm triangle with little resistance. Guelmino tapped at 2:11. After the bout, Barnett wouldn't say if he was headed to the UFC or not. Professional wrestling is also a possibility for him.

Gegard Mousasi was reportedly sick before his fight with Mike Kyle, but it didn't show in the cage. Mousasi battered the larger Kyle late in the round. He managed full-mount and landed several strikes before Kyle turned over to get away. Mousasi sunk in a rear naked choke, and Kyle tapped at 4:09 of the first.

Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza has world-class grappling, and he used it to take out UFC veteran Ed Herman quickly. In the first round, Herman threw an illegal upkick to a grounded opponent. In explicably, the referee stood the two fighters up. Souza took Herman down, and then used a slick transition to submit Herman with a Kimura at 3:10 in the first round.

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