don’t believe the hype

Plenty of Finishes but Anticlimactic Main Event at Strikeforce: Destruction by caseyly16

Originally written for Kakutougi magazine by Casey Ly(That would be me!!), on 11/22/08

SAN JOSE, Calif. — In a night full of spectacular finishes, Renato “Babalu” Sobral was crowned the new Strikeforce world light heavyweight champion due to a cut above Bobby Southworth’s eye at the end of the first round. While Southworth controlled much of the action early by controlling Babalu on the ground, a well placed elbow by Sobral at the ten second mark of the first round opened two cuts above the champion’s eye. The bout was immediately halted and the ringside physicians were brought in to check the cuts, and the fight was allowed to continue. However, the cuts were re-examined again between rounds and the doctor deemed them too severe, effectively ending the match.

And despite heavy protesting from the crowd and a disappointed Bobby Southworth, Renato “Babalu” Sobral became the new Strikeforce light heavyweight champion of the world.

In a stark contrast to the anticlimactic ending of the night’s main event, Scott “Hands of Steel” Smith delivered an impressive knock out of the always-explosive Terry Martin. The fight began as quickly as it ended, with Martin backing Smith into the cage in attempt to close the distance only to be knocked out. Although Smith’s game plan involved “lots of left switch kicks,” all it took was a solid straight-right to the temple of Terry Martin to end the night.

“For some reason I just felt that left hook, straight-right hand. So I pawed that left hook out there a couple times, and it set it up perfectly.”

This victory was Scott Smith’s first since his unanimous decision loss to former EliteXC champ, Robbie Lawler. He was scheduled to fight in EliteXC’s November 8th event, which was cancelled due to the collapse of the EliteXC organization. Luckily, Scott’s managers were able to nab a single fight deal with Strikeforce for this fight. Even though the contract was only signed for this one fight, Smith was open to making a return to Strikeforce.

“Frank Shamrock would be a great fight,” said Smith, “Obviously Cung Le. There are a lot of great 185-pounders out there that would make for a fun fight.”

In what was arguably one of the biggest draws of the entire fight card, Kim Couture fought in her second professional bout against a heavily outclassed Lina Kvokov. The difference was apparent as soon as the introductions began, as Lina slightly tripped while walking to the cage and gave the audience an embarrassed smile. Couture, on the other hand, was all business as she stormed out looking as fierce as ever.

As soon as the bell rang signifying the start of the fight, Couture came out in a whirlwind of fists and knees as she overwhelmed her opponent, who looked like she wanted to find a way to climb out of the cage. After her initial onslaught, “Sugar Free” Couture controlled the pace by securing a Thai clinch. As Kvokov began to turn away, Couture commenced her attack, working diligently for clean shots, but Kvokov had her head turned. Even with the lack of solid shots, Lina was dropped to the mat, ending the match in less than two minutes. Kim was ecstatic in her first professional victory, even jumping up and giving her husband, ex-UFC heavyweight champ Randy Couture, a gigantic hug after the fight.

“Overall I felt great,” said Kim Couture, “It’s just that experience that will make me better.”

One of the more disappointing fights of the night was between the two stand-up veterans Yves Edwards and Duane “Bang” Ludwig. Instead of the expected kickboxing battle, Edwards opted to look for takedowns at every opportunity, causing a bit of a stalemate. The fight was repeatedly booed by the San Jose crowd, who was expecting a quick and fiery contest. By the third round, Edwards was tiring from his takedown attempts and Ludwig landed crisp strikes, which eventually earned him the decision victory.

UFC veteran Joe “Diesel” Riggs survived an early onslaught from the dangerous challenger Luke Stewart to unleash a flurry of his own, rendering Stewart defenseless in the second round to nab the win by technical knock out.

Looking for his first professional victory, Ryan Schwartz managed to survive two point deductions to knock out Lamont Davis at 2:22 of the third round with a precise right hand in the under card. The crowd, desperately waiting for a knock out in this see-saw battle, roared in appreciation as newcomer Schwartz finally connected with a legal strike, ending the bout.

Many big-name mixed martial arts veterans were also in attendance, including Randy Couture, Gina Carano, Paul Buentello, Cung Le, and Frank Shamrock.


Bobby Stack def. Cyrillo Padilha via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)

Eric Lawsen def. Tony Johnson via submission (rear-naked choke) — Round 1, 1:28

Kurt Osiander def. Josh Neal via TKO (punches) — Round 1, 2:16

Brian Schwartz def. Lamont Davis via TKO (punch) — Round 3, 2:22

Scott Smith def. Terry Martin via TKO (strikes) — Round 1, 0:24

Renato “Babalu” Sobral def. Bobby Southworth via TKO (cut) — Round 1, 5:00

Duane Ludwig def. Yves Edwards via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Kim Couture def. Lina Kvokov via TKO (strikes) — Round 1, 1:44

Joe Riggs def. Luke Stewart via TKO (strikes) — Round 2, 2:05

Luke Rockhold def. Nik Theotikos via submission (rear-naked choke) — Round 1, 3:06

Darren Uyenoyama def. Brad Royster via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Alvin Cacdac def. Jose Palacios via submission (rear-naked choke) — Round 2, 3:10

Zakary Bucia def. Adam Steele via submission (guillotine choke) — Round 1, 0:35


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