Strikeforce: "Evolution" is set to go down tonight (Dec. 19, 2009) from the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif., airing live on SHOWTIME at 10 p.m. ET
"Evolution" will feature a main event between former middleweight champion and San Jose favorite, Cung Le, making his return to competition after more than a year and a half layoff. He'll lock horns with hard-hitting brawler, Scott "Hands of Steel" Smith.
In the co-featured fight, lightweight champion Josh "The Punk" Thomson and interim division kingpin, Gilbert "El Nino" Melendez, will square off in a long awaited rematch to decide the promotion's undisputed 155-pound leader.
MMAmania.com is providing LIVE blow-by-blow, round-by-round coverage of "Evolution" below in stride with the SHOWTIME telecast RIGHT NOW. In addition, up-to-the-minute quick results of all the other under card bouts have already been recorded.
Many of our readers check-in before, during and after the event to share their thoughts on the action. Therefore, feel free to leave a comment or many more before you leave and chat with all the other Maniacs during the show -- it always turns out to be a great discussion.
Keep in mind that we will also be the spot for the latest news, recaps and post-fight analysis after "Evolution."
Without further delay, see below for the latest Strikeforce results. (Note: This will go from the bottom up; therefore, scroll toward the bottom for the latest detailed round-by-round action!
STRIKEFORCE QUICK RESULTS:
Scott Smith defeats Cung Le via technical knockout (strikes) in round three
Gilbert Melendez defeats Josh Thomson via unanimous decision to become the undisputed Strikeforce lightweight champion
Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza defeats Matt Lindland via submission (arm triangle choke) in round one
"King" Mo Lawal defeats Mike Whitehead via knockout (strikes) in round one
Antwain "The Juggernaut" Britt defeats Scott Lighty via technical knockout (cuts) in round one
Justin "The Silverback" Wilcox defeats Daisuke Nakamura via unanimous decision
Bobby Stack vs. David "Tarzan" Douglas
Alex Crispim defeats A.J. Fonseca via unanimous decision
STRIKEFORCE PLAY-BY-PLAY LIVE MAIN CARD COMMENTARY:
Mania, here. Let's get crackin.'
Cung Le vs. Scott "Hands of Steel" Smith (185-pound limit)
Round one: No touch of gloves in this one. Le starts the action with a patented side kick. And another. Smith is looking to drop one, but he can;t get close. He leans in with a jab, but Le floats away. Le uncorks a spinning back kick that crumbles smith to the mat. Le hops on top and is dishing out unanswered hammer fists to the side of Smith's head. Smith is doing nothing to improve his position. Finally he gets back to his feet when the referee tells him he's about to stop it. But he has to be hurt. Le drops him again and Smith falls like a sack of potatoes. Le lands a round house kick to the face of Smith. He stays upright this time. Smith charges in and looks to drop Le ... he's looking for that one punch. Not there ... yet. Another round house from Le makes Smith take a few steps back. Smith finally closes the distance, but it's too little, too late. Round ends. Le utterly dominated Smith in the opening frame.
Round two: Smith looks determined to land a shot on the elusive movie star, unleashing a high kick of his own that misses its mark. High kick from Le is blocked by Smith. But the low kick is not. Another spinning back kick drops Smith, but he seems okay this time. Le works top position from full guard and chokes Smith, but it's not effective. Here come the elbows. Referee stands them up. And here comes Smith! Le, however, avoids all of his punches it seems. Up against the fence now and Le attempts to toss Smith, but he's able to remain on his feet. Foot stomps now from Le. They work their way back to the center of the cage. Smith looks surprisingly fresh, Le looks to be fading. Smith explodes with a few strikes and nearly takes his head off with an uppercut at the bell, which grazes Le.
Round three: Le opens up the third with a barrage of kicks -- high and low -- for which Smith has no answers. Another spinning back kick lands for Le. More kicks from Le, using them as a jab to keep the distance. Smith stalking Le again, but can't seem to land anything. Le now opens up the boxing and peppers in a spinning back fist. He goes for a slam and gets it! What the hell. Smith is able to get to his feet quickly. Le flicks the front kick as they head back toward the center of the cage. Smith drops him with a BIG left! Le is hurt ! Another huge left! A straight right! Le is face down on the mat! Mauro Ranallo is going bananas! He did it again. Wow. Le is a bloody mess.
Final result: Scott Smith defeats Cung Le via technical knockout (strikes) in round three
Strikeforce Lightweight Champion Josh "The Punk" Thomson vs. Gilbert "El Nino" Melendez (155-pound limit)
Round one: Time to unify. The long overdue rematch is here. starts the action with a few jabs that don't do much. He goes for a takedown, but Thomson isn't there by the time he gets there. Melendez whiffs on another attempt. He goes for a body kick, which Melendez catches and uses as a takedown. Quick submission attempt is no go and the two fighters have a BIG exchange in the center of the cage. Seemed pretty even. Nice action. Thomson lands a nice leg kick and then follows it up with a nice combination to the grill of Melendez. They back off and circle for about a minute, looking for openings. None yet. Melendez pumps a weak left hook that doesn't land. But an uppercut does! Big punch, but Thomson does not seem affected much if at all. First round ends with yet another exciting flurry. Great action-packed first round.
Round two: Thomson starts off the action with a lazy low kick and Melendez counters with a huge right hand. He hits the deck, but pops up quick. He responds by coming after Melendez. It looks like that shot really woke him up. The pair clench in the center of the cage and Melendez drills him with a knee to the balls. He peels off in pain and the referee stops the action. He's given time to recover and the action restarts. Thomson goes back to the leg kicks almost immediately. Melendez attempts another takedown, but he just can't finish it. Thomson tries another kick, which Melendez catches and bum rushes him into the cage. He drills Thomson with a knee on the break. Back to the center of the cage. Melendez lands a big kick to the lead leg of Thomson. Thomson responds with a huge combination. Melendez is hurt. Thomson comes in looking for the kill, but Melendez is still in the fight. Here we go again! Punches are flying. Thomson lands a another big punch, but Melendez responds with his own. Thomson is hurt! Melendez pounces, but Thomson instantly pulls guard. He seems to have recovered. Wow. Great action. That's how the round ends, with Melendez in Thomson's guard.
Round three: Thomson looks fresh to start the third despite getting stunned early and late in the second. Melendez lands a nice jab. Thomson is now chasing Melendez, who side steps and drops in little punches to keep him at bay. Spinning back kick from Thomson misses. A low kick from Melendez does not. Thomson responds in kind. Melendez lands a nice knee to the body and follows it up with a punch. Nice little uppercut from Melendez lands and Thomson gets crazy legs for a minute. He lands a low kick and both fighters hit the canvas. Back up again. Front kick from Thomson lands and then he shoots in for a takedown. He's got the single leg, but Melendez pushes him off. Melendez lands a left hand behind the ear of Thomson, then two jabs and a low kick. Round over.
Round four: Here we go. Thomson needs these final two to keep it close. He misses early with a head kick. More kicks from Thomson, but none of them land. He goes for a takedown, which Melendez stuffs. He tries again and gets it, but Melendez gets to his feet almost immediately. They trade punches. More kicks from Thomson. Left hand, right kick from Melendez. That's his bread and butter all night. Thomson is stalking Melendez, but Melendez is doing a good job of making him pay. Thomson throws another kick and Melendez catches it and tries to chop the other one out from under him. Another flurry from both fighters. Melendez works his way out by painting him with that left jab. Thomson still moving forward and he connects with a nice shot. Melendez responds with an uppercut. And a knee to the face. As Thomson moves back he catches an inadvertent finger in the eye. He takes a few seconds to recover and the round ends shortly after he is able to return.
Round five: Thomson starts off the final round with a nice overhand right. Melendez seems unfazed. Thomson closes the distance and goes for a takedown, but it isnt there. Here comes another flurry! Wow. What an exchange. Thomson is putting it all on the line. Melendez clips him and he backs off. Thomson looks gassed, but he's leaving nothing in the cage. Melendez drills him with a right that puts Thomson down. He follows it up with another big punch. Thomson is able to get his bearing and eventually works his way to his feet. He's throwing the leather again! Melendeznow looks fatigued. Melendez charges in with a big knee. Thomson does the ole' Matador and gets a takedown. He's working a submission, but just can't get it. Back to their feet. Final flurry! What an exchange in the final 15 seconds. It ended just the way it started. Amazing fight. Action-packed from bell-to-bell.
Final result: Gilbert Melendez defeats Josh Thomson via unanimous decision
Matt "The Law" Lindland vs. Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza (185-pound limit)
Round one: This is either going to be really good or really boring. Let's see how Lindland handles the insane grappling of Jacare.Both fighters touch gloves to start the action then paw jabs to calculate their distance. Lindland scores with a kick to the belly, but misses with a wild left hook. He attempts a takedown, getting the Brazilian's back, but he somehow squirms out and they head back to the center of the cage. Jacare lands a straight right. Lindland ducks under and gets a takedown. Scramble and Lindland gets in half guard, but Jacare goes for an armbar. It's tight! Lindland somehow escapes, but now the crafty submissions specialist works a kimura. Lindland rolls out, but Jacare is now on top working the ground and pound. Man he's fast. He gets to his feet and drops a big flying forearm on Lindland's forehead while he's on his back. Jacare, now back on top, quickly angles for an arm triangle choke. Lindland is in trouble. He's trapped. And rather than take a nap, he decides to tap. Wow. What a clinic Jacare just put on.
Final result: Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza defeats Matt Lindland via submission (arm triangle choke) in round one
Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal vs. "Iron" Mike Whitehead (265-pound limit)
Round one: Here we go. It's clear that Whitehead has big weight advantage ... let's see if Lawal can use it to his advantage. Whitehead goes for a takedown, which Lawal stuffs and connects with a clean left hook on the break. Whitehead misses with an overhand right, but hits him with a stiff left jab. Lawal now stings Whitehead with a jab of his own. Crowd begins to boo because of the relative lack of action. Whitehead lands a low kick, but Lawal drops him with a one-two combination. Whitehead slowly falls to the canvas. Lawal pounces and unleashes with a barrage of unanswered strikes on the ground. Whitehead is not defending. Head bouncers galore. He's out! Lawal has knocked out Whitehead. Great killer instinct. And the crowd is no longer booing.
Final result: "King" Mo Lawal defeats Mike Whitehead via knockout (strikes) in round one