Smith rallies late to stop Le in Strikeforce show

Scott Smith spoiled Cung Le’s return to MMA by stopping him late at

Strikeforce’s event Saturday in San Jose, Calif..

Le was completely dominatant for the first 13 minutes of the

three-round fight, until Smith turned the tables and put away the

stellar kickboxer.

Le nearly finished Smith in the first round with spinning

back kicks. At one point in the first, referee “Big”

John McCarthy seemed very close to ending the contest when Le was

hammering Smith on the ground.

After a round that could have gone 10-8 to Le in the

judges’ scorecards, and a second round that was not much

better, Smith entered the third needing a stoppage win.

And that is exactly what he got when a huge punch dropped Le

shortly after the three minute mark. Smith did not hesitate and

continued to put on the pressure, bringing about a stoppage.

Earlier, Gilbert Melendez defeated Josh Thomson for the

lightweight title. Thomson started off strong, outboxing Melendez

in the first round and raising his fist to the crowd after the

round ended.

However, the tide turned when Melendez managed to clearly

outclass Thomson in the second round. That was followed by another

round that went Melendez’s way. The fourth was close a struggle.

The fifth round featured some exciting exchanges, but Thomson

did not get the finish he was looking for, as Melendez walked away

with the belt after a unanimous decision.

In a middleweight matchup, Jacare Souza rolled to an easy win

over Matt Lindland.

After a successful, but short stint in the stand-up game in

the early part of the first round, the action transferred to the

floor where Jacare started throwing on the submissions.

After surviving an armbar and an omoplata, Lindland was

thrown into an arm triangle choke, causing him to tap out. 

Also on the card, Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal obliterated Mike

Whitehead in the first round of their heavyweight bout.

A sharp hook sent Whitehead to the mat where Lawal went to

work with highly effective ground and pound to get the win.