Cung Le returns from Hollywood, lightweight champ Josh Thomson tries to make it 2-0 against interim belt-holder Gilbert Melendez, Matt Lindland and Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza battle for middleweight contendership, and King Mo takes on another heavyweight for some reason — all in all, not a bad night for Strikeforce’s mid-level stars. Round-by-round results from the Showtime broadcast are after the jump; refresh the page every few minutes for all the latest.
Related: Only one undercard fighter missed weight for tonight’s Strikeforce event. Also, Mike Whitehead will have a 43-pound weight advantage over King Mo in their heavyweight scrap. CagePotato.com’s liveblog of the Showtime broadcast kicks off at 10 p.m. ET. Don’t be a stranger.
(Yep, another awesome Bas Rutten story from Fight Magazine. The lesson this time? When the opportunity to grab a broomstick presents itself in a fight with a bunch of Swedish bouncers, don’t pass it up.)
- Almost everybody makes weight for WEC 45. (MMA Mania)
- Josh Koscheck calls Natasha and Logan "dog shit." (Twitter)
- Houston Alexander rationalizes his Kimbo strategy. (MMA Weekly)
- Beth Franklin on life as an MMA fighter’s wife. (Men’s Fitness)
- Matt Lindland has not set up his voicemail inbox. (The Rumble)
- Cung Le’s looking to pick up where he left off. (MMA Madness)
- MMA’s 10 signature moments of the last decade. (SI.com)
- Mike Whitehead complains about being an underdog. (MMA Fighting)
- WEC’s Reed Harris takes a shot at Strikeforce’s matchmaking. (Cagewriter)
- B.J. Penn says he’s really gotta stop licking other people’s blood. (Fighters Only)
Since Cung Le came to MMA in 2006 via the untraditional route of San Shou, many fight fans are still unfamiliar with his early work. Well, that ends right here and now. As part of our attempt to get hyped for Saturday night’s Strikeforce: Evolution event (which we’ll be liveblogging, natch) we’re taking a look back at some of Le’s finest moments in the cage.
We begin with his MMA debut against Mike Altman in a 2006 Strikeforce event. Take note of color commentator Ken Shamrock‘s stunned disbelief at Altman’s game plan. Shammy is blown away that Altman decides to stand and trade with Le, and his concern proves to be well founded. Le picks Altman apart with ease before putting him to sleep late in the first round, proving once and for all that in all matters not related to finance, workout "supplements," and appropriate expressions of rage, you should probably listen to Ken Shamrock’s advice. Hope you’re paying attention, Scott Smith.
The Cung Le knockout-apalooza continues after the jump.
Stanton said she received a call from a UFC executive on Tuesday, informing her that her contract would not be picked up for another year.
"I was like, ‘Wait, what? Are you breaking up with me?,’" Stanton said jokingly. "It totally took me by surprise. Natasha actually texted me a little bit before I got the phone call. She was like, ‘The UFC just dropped me,’ and I was like, ‘What? Why?’ I was confused about that. So when he told me he had bad news, I was like, ‘Oh, I already know.’ And then he pulled that one on me. And I was like, ‘Wow.’ I was kind of in shock at the time. I even said, ‘Ok, thank you. Bye.’ I was lame. I just said thanks. I really didn’t know what to say to him. I was kind of upset for a minute. I teared up. And after that, I just became a little angry."
Since his submission loss to Anderson Silva at UFC 82 last March, Henderson has gone 3-0, scoring victories over Rousimar Palhares, Rich Franklin, and Michael Bisping. Shields most recently picked up his 13th straight victory with a workmanlike decision over Jason Miller, but finished his eight previous fights, which included submission wins over Nick Thompson, Paul Daley, and Robbie Lawler. Compared to Shields, Henderson is larger, has fought more elite-level opponents, and has an obvious power advatange with his punches, but it’s hard to count Jake out when you look at the dominant run he’s had over the last four years. At any rate, it’s a great matchup, and it only makes sense for Strikeforce to put their new star into a title fight right away.
(Using real settings instead of a cheap green screen? Matt Lindland wouldn’t do that.)
It’s been too long since we’ve had Matt Lindland‘s particular brand of no-nonsense bad-assery in MMA. That’s partly because his last fight ended in a 37-second knockout loss to Vitor Belfort, resulting in a frightening few moments for the 39-year-old Lindland immediately afterwards. Turns out he was fine, just got caught, and all the other typical post-fight clichés, but the good news is "The Law" returns to action at Strikeforce: Evolution this Saturday night, and we couldn’t be happier about it.
Lindland is sort of like the ornery grandfather of the MMA world. He isn’t about to put up with your bullshit, isn’t impressed with the way you’ve chosen to waste your life with internet porn and video games, and he isn’t going to lie to you about any of it. Tomorrow night he goes from facing one tough Brazilian opponent to another, as he takes on Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza in what ought to be an intriguing clash of styles. Will Lindland’s suffocating wrestling attack and awkward, orangutan-like striking style be enough to pull off the minor upset? Or is Souza too young and too skilled on the mat for him?
What you may or may not know is that these two already met once in the submission grappling arena back in the 2003 ADCC. It was six years ago and there was no punching or kicking, so it’s not necessarily comparable to an MMA fight, though one man was clearly superior on that day. Check out the video after the jump, then let us know whether you think it’s a harbinger of future doom or just an irrelevant footnote.
(You know Donald, at some point the hat ceases to be an accessory and starts being a prop.)
MMA fans face a very minor conundrum this weekend. On Saturday night both the WEC and Strikeforce will venture back into the cage and onto TV screens, and even in the age of the DVR that allows us to never miss a fight or a re-run of “Designing Women” ever again, we still have to decide which is worth watching live and which gets mostly fast-forwarded on Sunday morning.
But again, this is only a minor conundrum. One look at the respective fight cards tells us that Strikeforce has more must-see quality fights, although the WEC still has a couple of scraps worth watching and maybe even losing some money on, assuming your gambling habit has been upgraded from ‘problematic’ to ‘compulsive’ by now, and we have every reason to believe that it has. Why don’t we look at some odds then, courtesy of BestFightOdds.com:
"In the final analysis I do think we have to regulate this. In this society there are certain things that I might not agree with but the best way to deal with these is to regulate them. That’s what we’re doing and I think a two-year deal is the best way to do that."
Reacting to the news, UFC general counsel Lawrence Epstein told the Vancouver Sun, “We’re very pleased with the result. It’s important for this issue to be considered. Once people understand what this sport’s all about, they generally reach this conclusion.”
Following two successful events at Montreal’s Bell Centre, the UFC has long had an eye on Vancouver, and now plans to hold an event at the 19,000-seat GM Place (home of the Vancouver Canucks) in June 2010. And after that? “Ontario’s an important market for us and we’re hopeful we’ll get some momentum from what’s happening in British Columbia today,” Epstein said.
("…and I better not catch you standing up peeing. You sit down when you pee, you got that?" Photo courtesy of USA Today.)
What, you thought the UFC 108 curse had taken a break for the holidays? Bitch it’s just getting started. NWITimes.com broke the news last night that Sean Sherk has been forced to withdraw from his January 2nd bout against Jim Miller, becoming the eighth fighter to drop off the card. According to MMA Weekly, Sherk sustained a cut over his right eye in training that required several stitches, and his replacement will be UFC/Strikeforce vet Duane "Bang" Ludwig (19-9). Ludwig most recently scored a first-round submission-via-punches victory over Ryan Roberts two weeks ago at a Ring of Fire event in Denver, and picked up consecutive wins against Sammy Morgan and Yves Edwards before that; he’s also responsible for the fastest unofficial knockout in UFC history.