Smith rallies late to stop Le in Strikeforce show

BY foxsports • December 19, 2009

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.

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