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Strikeforce: Houston Results: 'Jacare' Souza claims middleweight title with decision win against Tim Kennedy

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The fight for the vacant Strikeforce middleweight championship between Tim Kennedy and Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza was an extremely close bout.

After 25 minutes, the three judges though Jacare did enough, awarding him a unanimous decision and the middleweight championship.

Feeling out process to start. Push kick sends Kennedy back. Jacare lands a right hand. Jacare landing some blows here. Kennedy lands a left, almost a slap. They trade against the cage and Kennedy lands a clubbing right that sends Jacare back. Not much happening and then Jacare slips off a Kennedy with about 30 seconds left. They scramble to the feet and clinch agains the cage. The round ends.

Kennedy tries a Superman punch but it's Jacare who lands the better shot off the technique. Kennedy lands a good combo, two of the shots land through Jacare's guard. Jacare lands a nice right. Now they are exchanging and both men are landing with Jacare getting the better of the exchange. Nice leg kick by Kennedy. Jacare lands a nice counter. Now Jacare shoots a double with 1:10 left in the round. Kennedy stuffs it with the help of the cage. Superman punch connects this time for Kennedy. Teep lands for Jacare. Then he lands a right. Kennedy lunges in with a right as the round ends.

Kennedy lands a nice left that sends Jacare spinning backward. Another Superman punch for Kennedy. Jacare three-punch combo is completely blocked by Kennedy. Kennedy is cut over the left eye from a few Jacare strikes. Jacare sees the blood and is looking to be more aggressive now. Left straight for Kennedy and then Kennedy gets a trip takedown with 1:55 left. Kennedy in guard. Jacare pushes Kennedy off and gets up. Kennedy is very bloody now. Kennedy lands a body kick. The round ends.

Into the championship rounds now. Kennedy lands a nice lead leg kick. Kennedy with a counter right. Punch-kick combo lands for Kennedy. Jacare ducks a Superman punch and goes for the takedown but Kennedy goes a great job defending it as it was a great try by Jacare. Nice exchange with both men landing but a Kennedy kick catches Jacare low. And we're back underway after a few minutes of stoppage. Jacare stuffs a single-leg attempt. Not much lands as the round comes to and end. 

Fifth and final round underway here. Kennedy lands a nice shot. Much higher pace to start the round here. Nice left hook for Kennedy. Jacare with a leg kick and a jab. Nice left by Jacare stops Kennedy in his tracks. Kennedy with a left hook. Both men are getting going here. Kennedy with a sloppy single attempt and Jacare makes him pay with a clubbing blow to the side of the head. Kennedy with a knee to the body. They clinch against the cage but that is quickly broken. Less than two minutes to go now and this is a close one. Kennedy with a kick to the body that is partially blocked. Kennedy with a body punch. Jacare swinging wildly. Jacare clinches up and has Kennedy pushed against the cage. Again, they quickly break. Standing switch and Jacare takes Kennedy's back standing with a minute to go but Kennedy spins out with 40 seconds left. Down to the nitty gritty here in a close fight. Jacare lands two big shots with 15 seconds left. Kennedy shoots and gets a big slam as the round comes to an end. Very, very close fight.

The judges see the bout 49-46 and 48-47 all for the new Strikeforce middleweight champion Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza

SBN coverage of Strikeforce: Houston