A solid grappling exhibition marked the opening round of Thomson’s return to competition. Healy’s training with Team Quest in Oregon was evident as he pressed and pummeled Thomson against the fence. Thomson used the opportunities to his advantage as the fight went to the ground. Impressive submission attempt transitions from inverted armbars to triangle chokes to heel hooks showed little to no ring rust for the former lightweight champion, who earned a 10-9 round in my book.
Healy’s double-leg takedown to open round two allowed him to go for back control and work from the half mount as both were against the fence. Thomson maintained control as he was dumped and went for a triangle choke. Still, Healy reversed to be in Thomson’s guard, who again went for an armbar. Healy’s well-timed escape and reversal were short-lived, as Thomson again sought submission attempts with little action to end the round. Healy won the round with better takedowns and strikes.
Healy takes the center of the cage and has to withstand Thomson’s strikes in round three. Still, he shoots in and lands the takedown. Thomson gives his back but gets himself out of a dangerous position. After a brief north-south, Thomson secures Healy’s back with a body triangle and rear naked choke to end the bout at 4:27 in the last round. Interesting to note that Thomson’s attempt lasted around a good 30 seconds as Healy struggled to escape the body triangle hold.
Comments from Alistair Overeem regarding who he wants to fight in his next title defense:
“Well, it’s hard to predict. Personally, I hope Fedor will win the fight. I look forward to fighting him myself. I think it’ll be a KO, probably standing up. Whoever wins tonight, I want next.”
Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos vs. Jan Finney
Finney connected early, with Santos responding via straight blasts. Santos pressed forward and pummels to land short knees to Finney’s thighs. Finney breaks free and lands a good jab, but Santos again responds with a straight right and a huge knee. Finney tries to pummel Santos against the fence, but Santos wrestles her in an unfavorable position. Tagging Finney with a right, Santos tries for ground-and-pound. Referee Kim Winslow warned Santos about shots to the back of Finney’s head, leading to a one-point deduction in the round. Fans at the HP Pavilion booed with fury. The fight restarted, Santos swings hard again and pummels Finney against the cage. Both exchange blows, but Santos lands the crisper, more punishing punches. She follows up with more brutal ground-and-pound. The crowd again boos, but this time it appears as if their rancor is aimed at Kim Winslow for the lack of stopping the fight. A 9-8 round (would have been 10-8) because of the one-sidededness of it all.
Finney opens up round two with a solid right hand, but Santos maintains composure as Finney tries for an ankle trip. Again, Santos lands crushing punches on the ground and allows for Finney to stand back up. They tie up briefly against the fence, and in between the pummeling, exchange punches again, with Santos getting the better of Finney. Winslow separates the pair and Santos forces Finney against the fence and lands jab-cross combinations with a knee to the abdomen. Finney falls, and Santos lands more shots, leading Winslow to end the bout at 2:55. Cristiane Santos wins by TKO to retain the Strikeforce 145 pound women’s title.
Scott Smith vs. Cung Le
Smith chases down Le and lands a short right hand, pummeling Le against the fence. Smith keeps chasing down Le, and Le attempts to land a straight left. He catches Smith with it after throwing a lead right hook. Smith is forced to shoot in and Le sprawls nicely to prevent the takedown. Smith walks his way up against the fence as they pummel again. Le again tags Smith with the left and lands knees to drop Smith. Le pauses while sprawled on top as the pace slows to end the first round. 10-9 Le based on better striking.
Smith tries for better head movement, yet Le is unfazed and tries to land good shots. Le lands a spinning back kick and a knee on Smith as he drops him. Le lands knees to the body on the ground, but Smith gets up against the fence. Le again drops Smith with a spinning back kick, follows it up with punches on the ground, and the referee calls an end to the bout at 1:46 of round two.
“I came back and knew that I had to get in shape. I cut out pizza and chocolate for seven weeks! This time, I fought smart and let him come into my power. Last time was his night. This time is my night.”
Fedor Emelianenko vs. Fabricio “Vai Cavalho” Werdum
The pair exchange punches wildly, with Emelianenko apparently dropping Werdum. Werdum closes Emelianenko in the guard as the Russian attempts a ground-and-pound attack. He goes from an armbar attempt to a triangle choke with an arm sunk in. Werdum adjusts the arm from within his guard and submits Fedor Emelianenko at 1:09 of round one.
“I feel very very happy because I know that my team is a strong team. I believe in my family, my friends. Thank you Fedor for the opportunity. Fedor is the best in the world. Tonight, I beat Fedor, but Fedor is the best. Next time, I want a rematch with Fedor, maybe here or maybe in Russia. I like Fedor, he’s the best in the world. Overeem is the champion. Next time, give me the belt.”
“Well, frankly, nothing [is going through my mind] because the one who doesn’t fall doesn’t stand up. I was concentrating on the striking and that’s why I made the mistake. I’ll try to figure out why it happened. I have one more fight [with Strikeforce] here in America.”