Scott Smith Defeats Cung Le!

I think that Scott Smith officially earned the nickname of "The Comeback Kid," last night on STRIKEFORCE's Showtime MMA card.  No stranger to stirring comeback victories, Scott "Hands Of Steel'' Smith rallied to knock out Cung Le, Gilbert Melendez regained the STRIKEFORCE lightweight world title
in perhaps the Fight of the Year, and STRIKEFORCE newcomers "Jacare'' Souza and "King Mo'' Lawal triumphed impressively
as STRIKEFORCE closed out an amazing year in spectacular fashion with an
incredible fight card before 9,362 at HP Pavilion Saturday on SHOWTIME®.



Smith (18-6), of Elk Grove, Calif., is known for dramatic victories (see:
Benji Radach on April 1, 2009, at HP
Pavilion and a highlight-reel win over Pete
on  Nov. 11, 2006, to name
two). But the victory over Le (6-1), of San Jose, may be impossible to top.

 Southpaw Le, making his first start in 21 months, had totally dominated
for two-and-one-half rounds. The fight seemed over at least a couple of times
as everything was going Le's way. His trademark spinning back kicks were connecting
almost every time and they were knocking Smith around the cage. At one point,
with Smith on the ground after getting dropped, Le seemed to throw more than 50
consecutive punches. He slammed Smith once.

09_Cung_Le_vs_Scott_Smith.jpgBut there is no quit in the courageous Smith, a proven finisher who
somehow summoned the energy and heart - again - to twice drop Le. After he
connected with two rights hands after Le was down, the referee stepped in and
stopped it.

 "This was one helluva fight,'' Smith said afterward. "He had me the
first two-and-a-half rounds, but I've got a hard head. On the knockdowns, I faked
the right and threw the left. Everyone always looks for my right, but the left
hook is my best punch.

10_Cung_Le_vs_Scott_Smith 3.jpg"Right now, I just want to go home and enjoy Christmas with my kids and
family and friends. It never matters who I fight. I just want these types of
tough fights.''

Le, a former STRIKEFORCE middleweight titleholder who relinquished the
belt to concentrate on an acting career, offered no excuses.

 "He got me with a punch,'' Le said. "I did my best, he did his best
tonight and we both fought our hearts out. This was a great fight. It was not about
focus, or a lack thereof. I just got caught. It is what it is.''


06_Josh_Thomson_vs_Gilbert_Melendez.jpgIn a wildly exciting 25-minute, crowd-pleasing give-and-take slugfest
that featured a bit of everything, Melendez outpointed Thomson by the scores of
49-46 twice and 49-47. Most everybody had rubber match on their minds when it
was over.  "I feel great,'' Melendez said. "I sparred better for this fight than I
did for our first, but Josh is the toughest guy I've fought and the toughest
guy around.''

Said Thomson, who unanimously outpointed Melendez over five rounds on
June 27, 2008, but has not fought since Sept. 20, 2008, due to injuries:  "There are no excuses. It had nothing to do with the layoff. Gilbert was
the better fighter tonight. I'll do whatever STRIKEFORCE wants. I'm up for a third
fight if that's what they want.''

04_Jacare_vs_Matt_Lindland.jpgJacare, a talented, non-nonsense, aggressive-minded sort, who will be an
immediate threat in STRIKEFORCE's deep, talent-laden 185-pound weight class,
submitted the more experienced Lindland, a 2000 Olympic Games silver medalist,
with an arm triangle choke at 4:18 of the first round.

01_Mo_Lawal_vs_Mike_Whitehead.jpgA flamboyant showman, King Mo
was escorted down the aisle and into the cage for the opening bout of the
telecast by six young, dancing ladies and wearing a crown on his head. The southpaw,
who seemingly is willing to fight anybody in any weight class, dropped
Whitehead with a huge overhand right hand, followed with six more punches before
the ref stepped in.  "This
was a good fight for me, but I am ready for anybody,'' King Mo said.

Saturday's thrilling event will re-air as follows:

Wednesday, Dec. 23, at 11 p.m.
ET/PT - SHOWTIME.  STRIKEFORCE: Evolution also will
be available On Demand beginning Tuesday, Dec. 22.

Saturday's non-televised results: Antwain "The Juggernaut'' Britt (9-3),
Virginia, TKO 1 over Scott Lightly (5-1),
San Luis Obispo, Calif., at 205 pounds;
Justin "The Silverback'' Wilcox
(8-3), San Jose, unanimous decision (30-27
twice, 29-28) over Daisuke Najamura (20-12)
of Japan, at 155 pounds; and Alex
Crispim (
4-2), Pleasanton, Calif., unanimous decision (30-27 three times)
over Al Fonseca (4-2), Santa Rosa, Calif.,
at 145 pounds.


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    I am not sure if many people understand the amount of training that goes into martial arts training and for these competitions. It is like playing basketball in the neighborhood and training to play in the NBA, to different levels. It is nice to see MMA making the way to people to get involved and in shape. I am starting a Pleasanton martial arts school for active adults, parents, working parents - we need to make the move to stay active. Fitness isn't a one day thing, or a one week thing, it is life - MIND, BODY, SPIRIT, and LIFE. I hope people continued to get inspired by these athletes to not only watch the fights, but train. Happy Holidays, have a happy new year, and always train hard from the heart.

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