Strikeforce returned to the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California tonight with one of their biggest events to date at Strikeforce/M-1 Global: “Fedor vs Werdum.” The card was headlined by a heavyweight bout between “The Last Emperor” Fedor Emelianenko and Fabricio “Vai Cavalo” Werdum.
In other action, middleweights Cung Le and Scott “Hands of Steel” Smith squared off for a second time, while Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos defended the Strikeforce Women’s Middleweight Championship against Jan “Cuddles” Finney. MMARising.com has live play-by-play for the event.
Fabricio “Vai Cavalo” Werdum vs “The Last Emperor” Fedor Emelianenko
Werdum opened the fight with a leg kick and the fighters exchanged punches. Emelianenko dropped Werdum with two big punches, but Werdum locked on a tight triangle choke from his back. Emelianenko held on for quite some time, but was unable to escape. He tried to roll to his side and could not, and was forced to tap out to the combination triangle and armbar. Incredible upset victory for Werdum, who hands Emelianenko the first legitimate loss of his storied career.
Winner: Fabricio Werdum by Submission (Triangle Armbar) at 1:09 of round one. He improves to 14-4-1.
Cung Le vs Scott “Hands of Steel” Smith
Smith immediately rushed forward and Le circled to his side with a right hand counter. Smith kept the pressure on and backed Le up to the cage. The fighters exchanged knees in a clinch and Smith just missed with a right hand. Le backed away and Smith kept him on the defensive. Le landed a combination and a one-two. Smith answered with a lunging left and a head kick.
Le wobbled Smith with a left cross, which prompted Smith to dive for a takedown. Le sprawled and landed knees to the shoulder. He added punches to the ribs as Smith tried to get back to his feet. Smith clinched with Le against the cage and landed a flurry. Le mixed it up with punches and kicks, but Smith held on and fired back with a combination. Le dropped Smith with a pair of knees to the body and he threw punches until the bell. 10-9 Le.
Smith looked to land a combination in round two, but Le punished him with a variety of kicks. He landed a spinning heel kick that sent Smith off-balance. Le dropped Smith and threw hard punches on the ground. Smith turtled and recovered, then worked back to his feet. The fighters separated and Le floored Smith with a spinning back kick to the liver. He threw follow-up punches before referee Jason Herzog rescued Smith.
Winner: Cung Le by TKO (Spinning Back Kick & Punches) at 1:46 of round two. He improves to 7-1-0.
In between fights, MMA legend and Strikeforce commentator Frank Shamrock entered the cage to announce his retirement from mixed martial arts after over 15 years in the sport. He thanked the fans, the HP Pavilion and Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker for allowing him to continue to be part of the sport.
Strikeforce Women’s Middleweight Championship
Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos vs Jan “Cuddles” Finney
Both fighters traded big punches to begin the fight and Santos clinched against the cage. She landed knees to the legs and Finney punched free of the clinch. Two looping punches dropped Finney, but she got back to her feet. She was dropped again by a knee, but again stood up. Santos clinched and backed a bloodied Finney up to the cage. Santos floored Finney for a third time, but Finney dove for a single-leg takedown.
Santos stood and allowed Finney to get to her feet. More punches scored for Santos and Finney fell once again. Santos landed knees to the body and punches as Finney turtled. Referee Kim Winslow called a timeout and penalised Santos one point for illegal punches to the back of Finney’s head. The fight resumed and Finney threw a combination. Santos clinched and the fighters exchanged knees.
Big punches landed for both fighters and Santos backed up. She threw another combination and Finney fell to her back against the cage. Santos battered Finney with big punches from the top as Finney turtled. Finney attempted to grab hold of Santos’s leg and continued to spin around to defend the punches on the ground. Would be a 10-8, but 9-8 Santos due to the point deduction.
Finney opened round two with a big right hand and Santos immediately answered with a flurry and two kicks. Finney fell to her knees and Santos fired away with punches. Santos worked from side-control, then stood again and stepped out of a heel hook attempt from Finney. Santos landed a combination as Finney’s face continued to swell. Santos clinched and the fighters exchanged knees.
Finney landed a hard right hand and ate a trio of punches in return. The referee separated the fighters and Finney landed jabs. She tried to set up a combination, but Santos answered with a one-two and a vicious knee to the body. Finney collapsed to the mat and the fight was waved off as Santos threw a final flurry of punches.
Winner: Cristiane Santos by TKO (Knee To The Body) at 2:56 of round two. She improves to 10-1-0 and remains the Strikeforce Women’s Middleweight Champion.
Josh “The Punk” Thomson vs Pat “Bam Bam” Healy
Healy threw an early combination and looked to clinch, but Thomson shrugged him off with a right hand. He took Healy down briefly, but Healy immediately got back to his feet. Healy pressed Thomson up against the cage and threw short knees and punches. Healy dove for a single-leg takedown, but Thomson defended and took Healy’s back on the ground. Thomson tried for an armbar, but Healy managed to escape.
Thomson did not let up and quickly secured a triangle choke seconds later. Healy worked to spin out of it and did so. He took top position and struck from Thomson’s guard, but Thomson got back to his feet. Healy slammed him to the ground and took his back. He tried for a rear-naked choke, but Thomson scrambled and attempted a heel hook. Healy got out and took Thomson down, but Thomson stood. Healy clinched and tried for a trip, but wound up on the bottom. Good round. 10-9 Thomson.
The fighters traded power punches in the second round and Healy scored a takedown. He took Thomson’s back and tried for another rear-naked choke. Healy threw punches from the top and continued to keep the pressure on as Thomson rolled over to his back. Healy worked from Thomson’s half-guard and threw more punches.
Thomson scrambled and got back to his feet, only to be slammed down again. He tried for a triangle choke from his back, but Healy escaped. Thomson threw elbows to Healy’s thigh and Healy returned to Thomson’s guard. Thomson spun for an armbar and nearly got it, but Healy narrowly escaped. Healy threw short punches from the top until the bell. 10-9 Healy.
Healy opened the final round with a one-two and followed with a combination, but Thomson answered with a flurry of his own. Healy, bleeding from the nose, caught a kick from Thomson and clinched. He threw an uppercut in close and Thomson backed away. Healy landed a left hand to the body and Thomson countered with a right to the jaw. One-twos scored for both fighters and Healy clinched. Thomson circled free and Healy remained the aggressor.
Healy backed Thomson up to the cage again and tried for a takedown. He got Thomson down and took his back. Thomson shrugged him off and landed in North-South position. He took Healy’s back, but Healy stood. Thomson maintained the choke and Healy fell down. The choke was in very deep, but Healy refused to tap out. Finally, with just over 30 seconds left in the fight, Thomson adjusted the choke and Healy was forced to submit.
Winner: Josh Thomson by Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) at 4:27 of round three. He improves to 17-3-0, 1 NC.
Chris Cope defeated Ron Keslar by TKO (Spinning Back Kick & Punches) at 4:32 of round two. He improves to 4-1-0 with the win.
Bret “The Angry Hick” Bergmark defeated Vagner Rocha by Unanimous Decision (30-26, 30-27, 29-28) after three rounds. He improves to 6-1-1 with the win.
Yancy “Frisson” Medeiros defeated Gareth Joseph by KO (Punches) at 1:19 of round two. He improves to 9-0-0 with the win.
Bobby Stack defeated Derrick Burnsed by Split Decision (29-28, 29-28, 27-30) after three rounds. He improves to 8-1-0 with the win.
Capped off by arguably the biggest upset in mixed martial arts history, Strikeforce/M-1 Global: “Fedor vs Werdum” will be remembered for years to come. Fabricio “Vai Cavalo” Werdum shocked many by handing “The Last Emperor” Fedor Emelianenko the first legitimate loss of his career, and did so in quick and dominant fashion.
(Photo Credit: Sherdog.com)