Round 1 - Our championship bout is underway. Rockhold works low kicks but doesn't commit. He avoids a body kick from the champ. Souza shoots, but Rockhold fends it off. But he's tagged on the way, and Souza chases after him before clinching against the cage. Souza works him down to the mat. Rockhold remains in a seated position, and the pace slows. Souza finally lands some solid punches as Rockhold tries to improve his position. The punches keep coming, but Rockhold finally gets back up. Souza, though, quickly trips him back down. Rockhold works his way back up, but Souza clings to him, delivers knees to the body and then one to the kisser. Rockhold finally breaks free and resets. Rockhold works low kicks but eats a right. Rockhold works body kicks and then avoids Souza's lunging punches. Rockhold snaps off another nice low kick. He then tries a switch kivk that is blocked but unloads a quick flurry and continues the assault until Souza gets a needed takedown. Rockhold is quickly back up, and the round ends there. Rockhold finished strong, but Souza takes it on the MMAjunkie.com scorecard, 10-9.
Round 2 - Rockhold tries a spinning back kick but misses wide. Rockhold then chases after him with low and body kicks. Souza catches and stuns Rockhold with a straight right. Rockhold quickly recovers, but Souza swarms and delivers a barrage as they're clinched against the cage. He then pops him with a few elbow strikes. Souza checks a head kick and then another switch kick from Rockhold. Rockhold throws some straight punches and seems fully recovered now. Rockhold works some more low kicks and then pushes forward with a high kick. Souza checks it, clinches, and puts the challenger against the cage. Rockhold reverses and works knees to the thigh. Souza reverses and returns fire. They break and reset. They trade heavy blows, and Rockhold gets through a solid right. Souza checks a head kick, and Rockhold does the same. Souza partially lands an overhand right and whiffs on the next. Rockhold finishes the round with some nice lunging shots. It's closer, but Souza did the damage early to take the round, 10-9.
Round 3 - Rockhold works body kicks, but Souza checks them and resets. Rockhold works straight punches and becomes the aggressor early in the round. Souza pops him with a right and a body kick, but Rockhold returns fire. Rockhold lands an accidental kick to the junk that draws the ire of Souza, who gets a timeout. The fighters trade punches with Rockhold the aggressor. Souza ducks and shoots, but Rockhold balances out of it from one leg and delivers punches before Souza takes him to the mat. Rockhold scrambles to his feet, which the crowd applauds. Rockhold with a nice combo. Rockhold with a nice front kick. Souza checks a head kick. Rockhold continues pushing forward with kicks and punches, though Souza avoids most of it. Rockhold tries low kicks and follows with a nice left. But Souza lands a flush shot on the next exchange. Rockhold is growing confident and dictating the pace now. Both fighters seemingly taunt the other, but Rockhold halts the stalemate with a couple straight punches. Rockhold tries a spinning kick before the round ends. MMAjunkie.com scores it 10-9 based largely on his aggression.
Round 4 - A firefight erupts, and Rockhold is content to sit in the pocket and chase. Souza fires off a low kick. Rockhold lands a body kick, but Souza counters with a right to the chin. Souza telegraphs a front kick that misses wide. The fighters trade blows, and Rockhold eats a stiff right to the face that he seems unfazed by. BSouza works low kicks, but Rockhold returns one of his own. Souza clinches and takes the action to the fencing, but Rockhold revrses and looks for a Thai clinch. He then works for underhooks while avoiding knees. Souza checks an elbow strike from the clinch. Rockhold tries a trip takedown, but Souza balances out of it. He then unlaods punches and catches Rockhold, who eventually resets. Souza shoots for a single leg and goes to his knees. Rockhold wrestles for position, but they're back up and reset. Souza checks a body kick, catches a spinning back kick, lands a couple punches, and then pushes Rockhold into the fencing. Rockhold reverses and lands a nice knee to the head. It's close, but MMAjunkie.com scores it 10-9 for Souza with the early damage.
Round 5 - Rockhold looks for lunging shots as Souza works low kicks. Rockhold partially connects on a high kick and follows with a solid left. Souza, though, is avoiding the big blows. Rockhold avoids a front kick. Souza chases with front kicks, but Rockhold resets in the center. Not a ton of action two minutes into this round. Souza clinches and puts his opponent against the cage. He looks for the takedown, but Rockhold fights it off. Souza scores the trip takedown and works from half guard. Rockhold scrambles from the bottom, but Souza clings to him. Rockhold eventually gets back up and breaks away for the restart. Rockhold unloads some lunging shots, and the crowd cheers him on. Souza counters with a nice front kick. Rockhold, though, keeps throwing and lands some solid shots. Souza keeps distance with front kicks but takes a spinning back kick to the gut. Rockhold keeps charging forward with punches. Souza tries to answer with kicks but lands a stiff right to the chin. Rockhold is still the aggressor. Souza, though, gets the better of the final exchange. It's a close round to close a solid fight, but MMAjunkie.com scores it 10-9 for Souza for a 49-46 win. Luke Rockhold def. champ Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza via unanimous decision (50-45, 48-47, 48-47) - becomes new middleweight champ