NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Jake Shields successfully defended his middleweight title by taking an unanimous decision over former Olympic wrestler Dan Henderson in a Strikeforce mixed martial arts fight Saturday.
Henderson started strong, knocking Shields down twice in the first round.
“I was hit hard and disoriented,” Shields said. “That’s probably the hardest I’ve ever been hit.”
But Shields (21-4-1) dominated the other four rounds, keeping the former Greco-Roman wrestler on the canvas for much of the time.
“He covered well on top, and he just stayed there,” Henderson said.
Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal also won an unanimous decision against Dutch fighter Gegard Mousasi in a light heavyweight title fight. Lawal (7-0) used his wrestling skills to keep the defending champion Mousasi (28-3-1) on the canvas for much of the final three rounds.
Gilbert “El Nino” Melendez (18-2) retained his Strikeforce world lightweight championship, defeating Japan’s Shinya Aoki (23-5) in an unanimous decision.
Former NFL star Herschel Walker attended the card and said he is hoping to schedule another fight, even though he has not found an opponent.
Walker stopped Hungarian fighter Greg Nagy in the third round in January to win his MMA debut.
“My last fight I never showed any stand-up. Greg wanted to go to the ground, and I still thank Greg for giving me an opportunity to fight,” Walker said.
Walker was the 1982 Heisman Trophy winner while at Georgia and played professionally for Dallas, Philadelphia, Minnesota, the New York Giants and the United States Football League’s New Jersey Generals.