We’re live at Strikeforce Evolution, headlined by Scott Smith vs. Cung Le and the lightweight title fight between Gilbert Melendez and Josh Thomson.
There are only three prelims scheduled as the fight between David “Tarzan” Douglass and Bobby Stack is off because Douglass had issues after finally making weight last night.
1. Alex Crispim vs. AJ Fonseca
Crispim held down Fonseca for more than half the round, but when they got back on their feet, Fonseca looked good. The first three minutes of this fight were death for the crowd.
Crispim wins round two for sinking in a guillotine and getting the mount, and nearly getting his back. Give Fonseca credit for getting out of it. On the feet, it was close as both were landing. I have Crispim up 2-0.
Crispim looked good in the third. He had another guillotine sunk, and also landed some hard knees while in the clinch up against the cage. One of them was while Fonseca was in a sitting position, so Crispim was warned. Fonseca was trying for the takedown and did get it near the end of the round. Crispim looked to be working both an armbar and a heel hook when the round ended.
Winner: Alex Crispim by way of unanimous decision
All three judges had it 30-27.
2. Daisuke Nakamura vs. Justin Wilcox
Wilcox is jacked at 155. He looks like he’s at least two weight classes above 155.
The round was all on the feet. Wilcox landed the harder shots. Nakamura holds his hands low, as if he’s trying to bait him to trade, but he’s not doing much when Wilcox throws punches. Wilcox threw a jab followed up with a straight right as his main combination. Nakamura tried tro grab an arm bar standing and drop down, but Wilcox’s arm didn’t go with him.
Nakamura reacted early in the round like Wilcox poked him in the eye, but Wilcox acted like he didn’t think he poked him. Round was similar to the first, but Nakamura was definitely more active, though still holding his lead hand tremendously low. Wilcox shot in at the end of the round for the takedown, but had to stay out of harms way because of a kimura attempt.
Third round was again similar, but Wilcox suffered a cut over his eye that was ugly in the end. Near the end of the fight, he was looking bad, but he did enough damage in the third round to win it as well. He’s going to look like hell tomorrow.
Winner: Justin Wilcox by way of unanimous decision
Scores were all 30-27 for Wilcox.
3. Antawin Britt vs. Scott Lighty
This was an odd round. Lightly was getting knocked all over the place, but none of the shots looked too devastating. He was put on the ground and was fighting off Britt in the turtle position but made his way back up. And then Britt hit him again and he went down. He went down two other times though one looked like it was a slip. Easy round for Britt.
Doctor stopped the fight after the round and probably for the best.
Winner: Antwain Britt by way of 1st round TKO.
4. Mike Whitehead vs. King Mo Lawal
The fight was slow as Month tried to measure Whitehead, but not for long. Month missed with a left, but not with the right and Whitehead went down. Mo followed it up on the ground and it was over.
Winner: King Mo by way of 1st round TKO.
5. Jacare Souza vs. Matt Linland
After a couple minutes of missed punches standing, Linland got the takedown and there was some fun ground work. Jacare locked on Linland’s shoulder with his legs and then Linland went for a triangle. The crowd loved the scramble after that. Jacare hit a Rock-like “People’s elbow”. He locked on a tight arm triangle and Linland tapped out. That was fun.
Winner: Jacare by 1st round submission
6. Gilbert Melendez vs. Josh Thomson
Melendez tried shooting in twice and was rebuffed. Thomson caught his leg on a kick and took him down. They had an awesome trade that Thomson got the better of. Melendez just looked slower with his hands, but he was definitely thinking takedown. But in the second half of the round, Melendez’s hands started to land and Thomson took some flush shots. Still, Thomson wins the round.
Thomson threw a left kick and Melendez threw a right that knocked him to the ground. To Thomson’s credit, he got right back up, but does look like he’s stunned. As they were clinched, Melendez gave Thomson a knee right in the bread basket. Ok, it wasn’t the bread basket. It was right in the gonads. Thomson went down and the crowd booed him for not having steel balls. Melendez is waiting for Punk to throw his kick so he can throw his right hand. He landed it again. He’s definitely the cooler customer this round. They had the trade of the year as they were just throwing wide shot after wide shut. Thomson stunned Melendez initially, but then went down from a barrage of punches. Great round and Melendez evens it up on my scorecard.
On the replay, it was two right hands where Punk was staggered. He went to a knee with one, then got back to his feet, and ate an uppercut and went down again. Awesome.
Action didn’t match the first two rounds. Thomson is still trying to get off first, but Melendez is going a great job staying calm and countering Thomson. He landed a lot of leg kicks, though late in the round Thomson scored with a front kick to the chest and went for the takedown, but to no avail. This fight has been all stand-up. I have Gilbert up 2-1.
Thomson finally got a takedown, but ate a knee to the mid-section to get it. These guys are still throwing leather and skin. Thomson’s attack is becoming more predictable as Melendez is able to time him. Melendez wins the round based on his flurry in the last minute. He was simply beating Thomson to the punch. Thomson took an eye poke near the end of the round and is now down 3-1 on my card.
Punk is going all out this round. He’s throwing everything but the kitchen sink at Melendez. He was caught with a punch and went down, but might’ve been more because of exhaustion than because of the punch. He pulled guard and Gilbert tried some ground and pund, but they were back on their feet shortly. Punk is tiring badly, unless he’s somehow trying to draw Melendez in. But he can barely hold his hands up. The crowd is going crazy. There’s a Gilbert chant drowning out the chant for Punk. They ended the fight just as they started it, with a crazy flurry at the end. I’d probably give that round a 10-10.
On my scorecard, I have Melendez winning 49-47.
Winner: Gilbert Melendez by way of unanimous decision
The scores were 49-47, 49-46, and 49-46.
They can probably do a third fight now.
7. Scott Smith vs. Cung Le
Not sure how this can follow the previous fight, but they’re going to try. If they let it go, fans will go home happy. They’re fired up right now.
Le put Smith down with kicks twice. The first was a reverse spin kick to the gut that knocked Smith up against the cage and down, like this was a karate movie or something. He had Smith on the ground and threw over twenty unanswered punches and it looked like Big John was going to stop the fight but he didn’t. Smith made his way back up. If Le had any decent ground and pound, it would’ve been over. Cung Le should make a movie called “Feet Of Fury”.
Le landed another reverse spin kick that sent Smith flying back into the cage and down. Again, Le’s failure to follow up caused him as Big John stood them back up. Le may be getting tired here as Smith was able to get him up against the cage and he’s starting to press him more and try to close the distance so Le doesn’t have the opportunity to throw the kicks. Smith ended some big shots out of the clinch to close the round, but I think the knockdown up against the cage wins the round for Le.
Le looks winded in his corner to start the third.
More crazy kicks by Le. Smith was able to get him up against the cage and hit him, but Le was able to get out of dodge. Le had a big takedown, but Smith landed up against the cage which softened his blow and I’m not even sure he really hit the ground. Smith landed a big right hand that wobbled Le and then a left. Le couldn’t get his hands up and Smith landed another right that put him down. He followed him to the ground and Big John stopped it. Great comeback by Smith.
Winner: Scott Smith by 3rd round TKO
Photo of Cung Le provided by Strikeforce PR from media day