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‘Strikeforce: Evolution’ Live Results + Commentary

(Pace yourself, Josh, this isn’t a posing competition. If it was, Lindland would have already taken Physique of the Night. Photo courtesy of Strikeforce.)

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.

Via MMA Junkie: A preliminary card bout between Bobby Stack and late replacement David Douglas has been pulled from the card due to a "post-weigh-in medical problem" with Douglas. Tonight’s card now has just three preliminary bouts and four main card fights. So no quick stoppages tonight, alright guys? We need to give the fans their money’s worth.

Mauro Ranallo comes out aggressively, telling us that Scott Smith hopes to be the Grinch that steals Cung Le’s Christmas. Frank Shamrock is wearing one of the greenest ties I’ve ever seen. His lips are glossed and his braces are twinkling. As always, Stephen Quadros looks like Kevin Bacon’s wax dummy. Whoever did his makeup should be fired immediately.

Cris Cyborg is in the crowd. Dare we say she cleans up…nice? One of Herschel Walker’s personalities is also chillin’ in the house, and so is a very smiley Dan Henderson.

Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal vs. Mike Whitehead

Round 1: Lawal looked a lot better at light-heavyweight. But he makes first contact with some leg kicks. Mo lands a left straight and dodges Whitehead’s shot. He lands another power punch and Whitehead tries to clinch again. Whitehead with a very clumsy takedown attempt. Leg kick MW. Mo looks loose, and snaps a counterpunch after dropping his hands for a while. Lawal wants to make this a boxing match. He absorbs a couple more leg kicks. Mo drops Whitehead with a right hand and quickly finishes him with punches from top. Mo goes to 6-0. Whitehead needs to start his diet immediately. Mo gets warned by the officials for spraying two entire cans of energy drink all over the mat.

Lawal def. Whitehead via KO, 3:08 of round 1. Quadros asks Mo if he’ll stay at heavyweight, and Mo explains that he’ll stay at "moneyweight."

Matt Lindland vs. Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza

Round 1: Lindland tries a high kick and Souza counters with a punch. Souza trying some jabs. Body kick Lindland. Souza misses a kick and Lindland grabs him, but Souza squirms out. Hard leg kick from Souza. Looping left from Lindland. Souza sticks a right, then a body shot. Lindland grabs him again and takes him to the mat. Souza looking for an armbar from the bottom, but transitions to an omoplata when Lindland defends. Souza starts punching Lindland and is warned for shots to the back of the head. Lindland escapes the hold and briefly threatens Souza with an armbar. Souza on top now. Souza drops a big punch down on the Law and gets into half-guard. Jacare looking for an arm-triangle choke. He latches it on and Lindland has to tap.

Souza def. Lindland via submission (arm-triangle choke), 4:18 of round 1. "Strikeforce is my new home now," Souza says. Quadros tries to get him to chant "ZSHU-ZSHITSU!" but Jacare respecfully declines. Did they say earlier that Jacare can climb a rope with one hand without using his legs? That’s freakin’ awesome.

And here we are, with only two more fights left on the card. Ranallo describes NASCAR as "fast, violent, it’s MMA on wheels."

Josh Thomson vs. Gilbert Melendez
The Punk getting a surprising amount of boos. No love for the real champ? And he’s a San Jose native, no less…

Round 1: Nice leg kick from Melendez to open things up. Melendez shoots and misses. Thomson makes him pay with a head kick. Melendez shoots again and gets stuffed. Melendez kicks, Thomson catches it and throws him down. Melendez bounces up and escapes a clinch. Thomson throwing bombs, and Melendez is on his heels. Leg kick Thomson, and a punch follow-up. Melendez shoots and Thomson defends but eats a hard right. Leg kick Melendez. El Nino chasing with his jab. Leg kick Thomson. Leg kick Melendez, and he lands a good shot in a wild exchange. More big shots from Thomson to the horn. 10-9 Punk in a great first round.

Round 2: Thomson lands a leg kick but gets jacked to the mat with a right. Thomson springs up. Melendez puts on the pressure, but Thomson fires back just as hard as he’s getting. Thomson takes a clinch-knee to the nuts in a fast-paced striking exchange, and the action is paused. They’re back. Thomson working his kicks. Melendez shoots and Thomson stuffs, throwing some punches after they separate. Melendez fails again with the takedown. Melendez catches a kick from Thomson, kicks Thomson in the leg and bulls him against the fence. Thomson gets out and lands a punch. Another hard leg kick from Melendez. Good left body hook from Thomson, and a left hook to the head. Both fighters go balls out with punches and Thomson’s chin is the first to give. He hits the deck and Melendez swarms him. Thomson slows him down with rubber guard. He’s warned for elbow strikes on the ground, which you can’t do here. The round ends. It’s probably 10-9 Melendez.

Round 3: Leg kick Thomson, then a push kick. Melendez returns the leg kick. He looks like he wants to re-break Thomson’s bones. Bad intentions. Thomson tries a reverse kick. Melendez with another leg kick. And another, and a right straight. Thomson fires a punch combo. Leg kick Melendez, and a 1-2 punch assault. Melendez kicks Thomson in the leg so hard that they both fall down, but they’re quickly back on their feet. Leg kick Thomson. Knee from Thomson. Thomson shoots for a single and runs Melendez into the cage, but Melendez escapes. There’s the third horn. 10-9 Melendez in a slower round.

Round 4: We’re into the championship rounds. Hard leg kick from Melendez. Thomson launches some kicks of his own. Melendez tenaciously pursues the takedown and gets it, but Melendez springs up. They trade punches and separate. Leg kick Melendez. Leg kick Thomson, and Melendez counter-punches. Melendez catches a kick from Thomson and sweeps him down, but Thomson bounces back. Another shootout. Melendez jabbing. Front kick Thomson. Great body/head combo from Thomson, but Melendez returns an uppercut. Thomson eats a point-blank knee then gets poked in the eye. Another brief stoppage, but Rosenthal wants him to sack up and get back to fighting. The round ends as soon as it’s re-started.

Round 5: The crowd cheers them into the last round. Thomson looks amped, but Melendez is stoic, very close to avenging his last loss. Thomson clinches and throws in a knee. Thomson blasts Melendez with a right in another fierce punching exchange. They’re firing everything now, and Thomson is wobbled again. The chins on these guys, my goodness. Thomson gets dropped with a right and Melendez is on top once more. Thomson crawls to the cage in an attempt to muscle his way to his feet, and does so. Thomson eats another punch on the way out. Thomson doing his best to look for a late knockout. Melendez lands a leg kick that seems to hurt Thomson. Melendez comes in with a knee, but Thomson clinches and takes Melendez down. He tries to take Melendez’s back, but Melendez escapes to his feet. More slugging and Melendez backs out. Both guys fire the rest of their arsenals in the closing seconds, and both manage to stay upright. An amazing fight that Melendez should take on points. Bring on Thomson/Melendez III.

Gilbert Melendez def. Josh Thomson via unanimous decision (49-47, 49-46 x 2) Melendez says "Fuck Yeah!’ a few times in triumph, and says Thomson is probably the toughest opponent he’ll ever face.  

In a cageside interview, Bobby Lashley says he’ll be all business in Strikeforce, not a pro wrestling showman. Dan Henderson says he’ll be sticking at middleweight for the time being. He doesn’t know why people keep talking about a fight between him and Fedor, but if it happens, he hopes the fans will enjoy it as much as he would.

Turns out that Carano vs. Cyborg is the Strikeforce rematch that viewers would most like to see, closely followed by Diaz vs. Noons. Come on, Brett Rogers just got caught!!!

Cung Le vs. Scott Smith

Round 1: They don’t tap gloves. Smith comes right at Le. Le lands a side kick. He misses a head kick. Smith chasing, but not landing. Le throws a reverse head kick, brushing Smith back. Le drops Smith with a spinning back kick and starts throwing down right hands down on Hands of Steel. Smith is just covering up. He might be badly hurt. Le is firing punch after punch with his right hand, holding Smith down with his left. Smith ain’t doing dick. This has to end soon. But Smith explodes to his feet. Le knocks Smith down with another flashy kick, but Smith pops up quickly. Le smacks Smith in the face with a right roundhouse. Smith charges forward with punches. Another reverse kick to the body from Le, and Smith is shoved backwards. A left hand and a teep from Le. Smith with a right straight. Smith clinches to the bell. That was damn near a 10-8 round for Le. His pregnant wife is lovin’ it.

Round 2: Side kick Le. Le shoots for a takedown, but Smith brushes him off. Leg kick Le, then a body kick. Straight left from Le. Hard reverse kick to Smith’s body and Smith goes down. Le in Smith’s guard. Smith is controlling Le’s hands. Le kind of choking Smith with both hands and Big John tells him to quit it. They’re stood up after a stalemate. Smith pushes Le back with punches.Le with two body kicks. They clinch against the fence. Shamrock says Cung Le is only good up to round three, and he would have beaten him if their fight lasted longer. Le tries to toss Smith to the mat. He shakes out and throws some power punches. They clinch again. Dirty boxing from Smith. They separate again, and Smith fires away to the bell.

Round 3: Final round. Reverse kick to Smith’s head sends him stumbling. Le follows up with kicks to the body. Le tossing Smith around with side kicks. Shamrock interjects that Cung Le’s strikes do not hurt, it’s just that you can’t see them. Oh, shut up already. Smith whiffing on some punches. Le snaps a right. Spinning backfist then a back kick from you know who. Smith tries to wrap Le’s head up but Le pulls out. Side kick from Le, then a left hook. Smith lands a right. Smith rocks Le to the mat with a left hook to the jaw! Le tries to get up and is slugged down again with a series of deadly power punches. Smith unloads on the ground and Big John jumps in. Le’s nose is pouring blood. Scott Smith pulls out *another* miraculous come-from-behind victory. Unfuckingbelievable.

Smith def. Le via KO, 3:25 of round 3

Smith calls the KO one hell of a Rockstar Energy finish. Ranallo calls the knockout a Christmas miracle, and says Smith put a lump of coal in Le’s Christmas stocking. Personally, I would have said that Smith lit all eight candles on Le’s chin-menorah, but that’s just me. Holler atcha later, fight fans…

Cagepotato Comments

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Robocop Didnt Tap- December 21, 2009 at 5:31 am
I look forward to seeing Cung Le rebound from this. Maybe it's time to switch camps though. A couple months of training Rex Kwon Do could do him some good.

"Break the wrist and walk away"
robthom- December 21, 2009 at 4:26 am
@ dangadadang,
still waiting...

@ UFCfan,
Aww, we aint homies no more?
steampunk22- December 20, 2009 at 10:26 pm
UFC fan- December 20, 2009 at 8:57 pm
Oh come on dangadadang your response was boring, and no one is ever going to believe that you came anywhere near a vagina. granted I have no love for robthom, but seriously between his bullshit about you being gay and your over acting about getting some, I just ain't buying what both of you are selling......I simply need more.
I want more fight, more cursing, more mean face, goddamn it we need MORE meanface!
Eduardo_Graca- December 20, 2009 at 6:01 pm
curious to see king mo vs babalu next.maybe soko first. and think coker should show him his way to 205 for a more profitable(and solid) career.
think jaca will be a really scary middleweight by his next 3/4 fights.
think le is doing 2 or 3 more spinning fests against one dimensional strikers at max before completely retiring from fighting.
think the kawajari/punk, aoki/melendez LW GP will determine a reasonable hypothetical threat to bj at 155 should it really happen.

DangadaDang- December 20, 2009 at 11:45 am
@ robthom

Instead of getting into an internet war that would likely only serve as a means for you to show your middle school classmates how badass you are, I'll just run through what your next several comments would be:

1st- youd likely start by pointing out any grammatical errors i might have made, then move effortlessly into a series of unconfirmable insults related to my sexual preference or MMA knowledge

2nd-You'd challenge me to a street fight, I'd accept, nothing further would result
3rd-You fade into obscurity amongst countless FIRST commentors and Don Zimmer fight promoters

The saddest thing is that you were likely waiting around all night for me to respond, and saddly i went out after the fights. You're right, you ARE the better commentor between us. Maybe one day you can show me how to add whit to my posts and I'll tell you what a vagina feels like
831 Son- December 20, 2009 at 11:05 am
Whoops, I thought we were just comparing all of the two organizations events, not the "since ufc 100" argument or whatever. Wake and bake= temporary illiteracy. Ill give it to you that 106,103 and 105 weren't really as good. Id say OVERALL though, other than 100, 101, & 104, 102 was better than this.. As to why, I shouldn't really have to explain because it is a given- the fights. This was sort of a mediocre card though, and what made it good was the Melendez/Thompson fight and the unintentional comedy of Le kicking Smith and Jacare's usual BJJ ownage. But yeah, this injury shit is ruining events.

By the way, I hope Frank Shamrock gets shot. Or at least gets the shit kicked out of him. What a fucking tool that dude is.
Yves Latrine- December 20, 2009 at 10:50 am
I'd like to stick Mauro Renallo and Michael Schiavello in a locked room with a lit stick of dynamite.
Disco-Platypus- December 20, 2009 at 10:32 am
@ 831 Son

Your powers of reason are both lucid and impressive - so good day to you, sir.

At any rate, the only sub-par fight on the card was King-Mo/Whitehead, which had to be expected. Other than that, I thoroughly enjoyed Jacare's display of skill and increased striking ability; Thompson and Melendez's very, very entertaining five round battle; and Scott Smith's surprising victory. Overall, this card was better than UFC 106, 105, 103, and 102. Due to injuries, the UFC's only decent cards in the past seven months have been 100, 101 and 104 - and this trend will continue into 108. However, given your intellect which clearly trumps all others on this site, I am interested to hear your reasoning as to why any of those cards were better than this one?

Whether or not Strikeforce has a lesser stable of fighters in entirely irrelevant, as that is not the issue of contention, here.
831 Son- December 20, 2009 at 10:10 am
I watched this and enjoyed it, although I have to disagree that this was a way better card than what the UFC puts on. The Melendez fight was sick, but thats about it.

Smith sucks, Shields sucks, Le sucks, the whole MW division there blows. Same goes with every division that they have. They have like one good fighter in each division, and they dont have anyone to challenge them.
skeletor- December 20, 2009 at 9:54 am
snicket916- December 20, 2009 at 9:45 am
the city of sac state
Bloodlust- December 20, 2009 at 9:35 am
If you think the lee/smith fight was fixed you're out of your mind. Actually, Smith was basically a hand picked opponent for Cung to dismantle so SF could continue to overhype him. Smith has no ground game, throws wild haymakers, and has the lateral movement of a crocodile. On paper, this makes him almost a perfect match up for Le. However, somehow Scott's heart and tendency to pull victory from the jaws of defeat were overlooked, and I'm glad they were. It sickens me when any organization pulls this kind of crap to build up a fighter rather than truly testing him against the best in his field. It's a kick in the balls for those who truly want to find out who's best rather than who's most marketable.
skeletor- December 20, 2009 at 9:16 am
I think smith saw that second kick coming and got sacred and tried to jump away from it. The ref could have stopped that fight in the first round, and Le would have never been exposed.

Jacare looked awesome i would love to see him fight Hendo next after shields. I also am never going to be happy until we get a King Mo v Rampage.
clutchy hopkins- December 20, 2009 at 9:02 am
ahah when i said fanboy i meant someone who is biased towards anything other than UFC. yeah, great card though. very excited about jacare, what a character
Maine Blazer- December 20, 2009 at 8:48 am
@ clutchy hopkins

I'm a UFC fanboy and I loved the card last night. The first two fights were action packed (albeit over real quick), but the last two fights were amazing. Better card then the UFC has been able to put together since UFC 100.
clutchy hopkins- December 20, 2009 at 8:45 am
i always notice in scott smith fights it seems like hes a bit dramatic. what do i know though, im not the one gettin an ankle in my kidney, but it seems like in all his fights there is some dramatic effects after he gets hit. and cung le's face looked maaaad fucked up right after the KO, i dont think it was staged. and anyone that thought that the ppv was wack is crazy! those were great scraps, only UFC fanboys could find a way not to enjoy one
meanfinger- December 20, 2009 at 8:42 am
smith was sluggish the whole fight, he was probably just tryin to get out the way.. he probably doesnt train with anyone with half the kicking skill as cung le was puttin em together like he was marshal law. LE doesnt have that one punch K.O power, in all his fights he has to pick his opponenet apart and go to work

i didnt see the k.o coming at all, i was gettin my jacket on when it happened.. but i did hear the announcers say " is smith pullin a rope-a-dope here" or something like that in the 3rd..
robthom- December 20, 2009 at 8:32 am
"And not only did the second kick that "dropped" Smith look telegraphed, but Smith looked to be going down well before the kick connected."

I noticed that also.
On that second one he really did look like he was diving towards the floor with the kick. Like he was letting it push him down a little. Very strange.
And actually after the first spin kick they all seemed to be fairly well telegraphed IMO. I saw em coming, I dont know how smith couldn't have.

Could be a job, but before I go ahead and subscribe to that conclusion (that would be unfortunate), I'm laying it at the doorstep of Scott Smith is just garbage at this level of fighting.

And Le is what he is, an aging ex point fighter/aspiring actor.
busted_cranium- December 20, 2009 at 5:03 am
@ Angry Monkey:

You and me both. The whole time I was watching the Le/Smith fight I had this nagging feeling that the fight was a fucking job. If you watch it again there's actually a few moments where it looks like Le and Smith are actually talking to each other. And not only did the second kick that "dropped" Smith look telegraphed, but Smith looked to be going down well before the kick connected.

And what the fuck is with the pyrotechnics during the ring entrances? When did MMA become WWE?
Angry Monkey- December 20, 2009 at 12:22 am
Gotta agree with UFC fan on this one. Pretty lame.

I also get this strange smell of "showmanship" whenever I watch strikeforce...almost as if the outcome is predetermined...weird...?
Sully- December 19, 2009 at 11:33 pm
just goes to prove, a hard fucking head and a decent hook can always win a fight.
Bloodlust- December 19, 2009 at 10:43 pm
Melendez v Thompson was a great watch. The rubber match has to happen, it would be great to have it on cbs as well. Also, loved seeing another unbelievable comeback for Scott Smith. He doesnt look that pretty in there most of the time, but only a fool would count him out before the fight's over. Cung Le was more hype than substance. Aside from his kicking ability, there's a lot of his game that needs improvement.
UFC fan- December 19, 2009 at 10:21 pm
strikeFARCE :)
Loved all those fights, they all proved how utterly fucking lame that company is.
Keep up the good work strikeFARCE.
Richard Tucker- December 19, 2009 at 10:03 pm
@exes: You lost $12. Now pay up.