EDITORIAL | A look at who's next for a shot at Rockhold's belt
On Saturday night Luke Rockhold defeated Tim Kennedy via unanimous decision. The AKA standout used his reach, improved takedown defense, and kicking to keep Kennedy guessing. At one point it looked as if Rockhold was going to finish Tim, but Kennedy quickly recovered. Luke controlled the center of the cage and forced Tim to fight off the fence for the majority of the fight. It was a hard fought and well deserved victory for Rockhold.
Kennedy was billed as Luke’s most dangerous challenger to date. He certainly showed he had heart and took the fight to the champion on several occasions. With Tim’s loss it opens the door for the fighters waiting in the wings. Looking ahead now it is difficult to decipher who Strikeforce will put in front of him after dispatching Kennedy. Let’s take a look at the obvious prospects.
Ronaldo Jacare Souza lost the Strikeforce Middleweight Championship to Luke in September of 2011 by unanimous decision. It was a good fight and one that certainly warranted another encounter by the two. With Jacare’s last fight being a notch in the win column it wouldn’t be a stretch for this to be Luke’s next fight. If anything it puts Jacare one away if not next.
Larkin is technically undefeated in Strikeforce. Of his four wins his last was his most impressive. On Saturday he defeated Robbie Lawler by unanimous decision in impressive fashion. Before that he had a knockout loss to Muhammed Lawal, but this was overturned when Lawal tested positive for Drostanolone. 4-0 is certainly worthy of a shot at the belt by most accounts. I expect Larkin to be the next challenger.
He’s 3-0 in his Strikeforce career. He lost in another organization, but that doesn’t mean anything really. What counts is that he won three in a row for them, and that puts him in the mix.
Maybe it’s too early, but hey he’s out there. Gracie demolished Keith Jardine for three rounds. He controlled him wherever they went, and even won the overall striking war. He’s tall and good on the ground and that may be what it takes to get the job done against Luke.
He’s 2-0 in Strikeforce and one or two wins away, but like Gracie he’s in the mix.
He’s 2-2 in Strikeforce, but his wins were his last two fights. He has one of the scariest looks in the division, and I think if he wins one more it might be a possibility.
Rockhold will have to sit and wait for his next challenge to present itself as will we all.