An intriguing match-up of two strikers kicked off the main card of Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Henderson last night (July 30, 2011) as durable but fading veteran Scott Smith took on the upstart Team Quest kickboxer Tarec Saffiedine.
Scott Smith badly needed a victory to rejuvenate his downward spiraling career, but he didn't even come close against the faster and considerably more technical "Sponge."
"Hands of Steel" was hoping he had one last miracle comeback in his arsenal, but it wasn't meant to be.
There wasn't a whole lot to analyze about this beatdown, but we break it down briefly and figure out what's next for both men after the jump.
Scott Smith started out strong, pushing the pace and keeping Saffiedine on his heels, but that lasted about 30 seconds until the Belgian turned the tables and began pounding him with a diverse array of strikes.
Over the course of the next three rounds, Saffiedine unloaded everything but the kitchen sink on the comeback artist, blasting him with hook kicks, spinning back kicks and several punching combinations.
Smith's defense was to absorb everything the Belgian had and hope he tired himself out the point where he could be toppled over with a slight shove. That didn't happen and when "Hands of Stone" finally woke up with 90 seconds left in the fight, he couldn't catch Saffiedine with anything, who was on to his game
For Scott Smith, he's nearing the end of the road. He's now lost three in a row and a late career drop to welterweight was too little too late to revitalize his career. If he continues fighting, it'll be in a smaller promotion, somewhere that enjoys hiring guys who aren't afraid to slug it out, perhaps the MFC? Fans should rightfully be concerned about Smith though, he's absorbed a tremendous amount of punishment in his career thus far and that's only going to get worse the longer he continues to fight.
For Saffiedine, this was a tremendous opportunity to display his talent and he got a chance to show off against Smith, who appeared content to be a human punching bag for 13 minutes. Saffiedine couldn't finish Smith, but again, the veteran is always most dangerous when his opponents drop their guard while going for the kill. He fought smartly and efficiently.
There has been talk about Saffiedine fighting Woodley for the vacant welterweight title, but they just fought this past January and Woodley was able to neutralize him for three rounds with his wrestling. It would make more sense for "Sponge" to continue to get some more seasoning against someone like Bobby Voelker or Evangelista Santos to prove himself before earning a rematch.
So what do you think Maniacs?
After a dominant victory, where does Saffiedine stand in Strikeforce's depleted welterweight division? Is Scott Smith done?