Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Complete Play By Play Breakdown Of Strikeforce: Evolution

From Sherdog.com

Muhammed Lawal vs. Mike Whitehead
Round 1

Lawal vs. Whitehead.Whitehead comes out jabbing, while Lawal ducks outside with his hands down. Lawal lets go of a three-punch combo, and Whitehead is pushed away on a takedown attempt. Lawal lands a stinging right hand. Lawal lands a short left as Whitehead wades in. Lawal continues to switch from southpaw to orthodox, and back again. A restless crowd begins to boo as Lawal continues to look to counter a fairly inert Whitehead. Whiteland putting some leg kicks into the meat of Lawal’s leg. As Whitehead begins to gain some confidence, he walks face first into a right cross counter from Lawal that puts him on the deck, damaged,. As Lawal jumps into the supine Whitehead’s half guard, he pounds away with vicious right hands that take the fight out of the UFC veteran, Referee Jon Schorle steps in to save the crushed Whitehead at 3:08 of the first round. Lawal celebrates by shaking and cracking open what appears to be an energy drink, which explodes in a flume of colored liquid.

Matt Lindland vs. Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza
Round 1

D. Mandel/Sherdog.com

Jacare vs. Lindland.The rematch from the 2003 Abu Dhabi Combat Club submission wrestling world championships is refereed by “Big” John McCarthy. The southpaw Lindland comes out kicking, but ceases throwing when he sees multiple stiff jabs from Souza, who shows off some vastly improved wrestling. Lindland catches a rear waistlock, but the judo black belt stops his lift expertly, and breaks his grip. An awkward Lindland continues to struggle with Jacare’s improved hands, being stung on just the end of jabs and right straights. Lindland ducks for a takedown, and Jacare rolls through. Lindland secures top, but is immediate caught in a slick armbar. Though Lindland is able to start his defense, Jacare effortlessly turns into an omoplata. Jacare bangs on Lindland’s face as he sits up, forcing him to roll out, giving up top position.

Jacare stands up in the guard, and dives to the side with a forearm into an attempt to gain side control. Lindland regains guard, but this time Jacare makes a more concerted effort to pass this time. As quickly as Jacare dedicates himself to attack, he sets up an arm-triangle choke and passes to the side. Lindland attempts to hang on, but turns away from the choke and the Olympic silver medalist is forced to tap out at 4:18 of the first round.

After the most consummate and outstanding performance of his young career, Souza celebrates by doing the alligator chop, but abstains from doing the trademark full alligator walk on the canvas.

Josh Thomson vs. Gilbert Melendez
Round 1
Josh Rosenthal gets the assignment for the lightweight title rematch. Melendez lands the first significant strike of the bout with a hard leg kick into Thomson’s lead leg. A Thomson head kick is blocked, but he lands a pair of sharp right hooks in a flurry. Melendez’s serious shot is blocked by Thomson. Thomson trips Melendez off a kick attempt, and gets a front headlock in the scramble, lands one knee, and releases. As the pair begin winging punches, it Thomson the cleaner puncher with his right hand, like the first bout. Thomson lands another crisp one-two. Thomson with a sharp leg kick. Melendez lands a right cross, and finally lands a clean right hook in another winging exchange. Thomson rips a four-hook combo at the end of the round, but not landing cleanly.

Jordan Breen scores the round 10-9 Thomson
TJ De Santis scores the round 10-9 Thomson
Brian Knapp scores the round 10-9 Thomson

Round 2
The second round gets started in a major way, as Melendez quickly drops Thomson right hook counter that puts him on the deck. Thomson is able to recover and scramble up, but Melendez stays all over Thomson, flurrying with crosses and hooks, Thomson slips to his knees, but gets back up before absorbing any serious damage. At Melendez lands another right, the pair clinch, and Melendez lands a brutal knee to the groin that grants Thomson a brief reprieve. After the restart, Thomson cracks Melendez with two stiff body kicks. Thomson blocks another Melendez single-leg. Thomson shoots for a single-leg takedown, and Melendez pivots out. Melendez with a sharp low kick to the lead leg. Thomson lands a left hook to the body, and a hard two-piece combo that backs Melendez up. The two degenerate into savage swinging against the fence, complete Rock’Em Sock’ Em Robots, until Melendez corks Thomson with a right hook and an uppercut that puts him on the deck. Melendez dives into guard, but Thomson traps him with rubber guard until the horn goes, ending the best round of the seven that Thomson and Melendez have fought in the two fights so far.

Jordan Breen scores the round 10-9 Melendez
TJ De Santis scores the round 10-9 Melendez
Brian Knapp scores the round 10-9 Melendez

Round 3

D. Mandel/Sherdog.com

Melendez vs. Thomson.Melendez charges with an overhand right, but tails with a stiff leg kick. Melendez continuing to jab, and kick the front leg of Thomson diligently. The pair now showing some more technical boxing, as Thomson flicks the jab, and Melendez counters with his right. Another jab-low kick combo for Melendez. An inside low kick for Melendez scores. Thomson looking to play the counter game, but is hesitant to throw. A low kick for Melendez lands, but the pair both slip backwards on what appears to be a very slick canvas. Thomson now reaching Melendez with his jab, but can’t land his overhand right. Thomson lands a teep, then shoots for a single-leg takedown that Melendez thwarts, then landing a right cross as he pushes “The Punk” away. Melendez ends the round with the familiar jab-jab-low kick that is turning the tide of the fight for him.

Jordan Breen scores the round 10-9 Melendez
TJ De Santis scores the round 10-9 Melendez
Brian Knapp scores the round 10-9 Melendez

Round 4
Jab-jab-low kick for Melendez lands again. Thomson throws a crescent kick that is blocked. Thomson shoots a double-leg takedown and gets Melendez on the floor, but Melendez snakes up the fence. Another winging shootout, with nothing firm landing. The pair trade jabs, Melendez follows with two glancing rights. A Thomson teep is countered with a Melendez two-punch combo. Thomson lands a low kick, but looks fairly lost at this juncture in the fight. Melendez lands consecutive one-twos. A Thomson body kick is caught, and Melendez kicks his leg out again, but the AKA product gets back to his feet quickly. A fatiguing Thomson continues to initiate wild exchanges, but can’t land anything substantial. A weak shot from Thomson is blocked. A left hook to the body from Thomson is his best strike in quite some time, but Melendez returns with a two-punch combination, and a stiff uppercut. Melendez lands a single knee form a clinch to end a winging exchange. As the round winds down, Thomson catches an inadvertent poke to the eye as Melendez posts his hand out, halting the bout momentarily. Josh Rosenthal tells Thomson plainly that if he can see, he’s got to resume fighting immediately. The last 12 seconds of the round are without incident.

Jordan Breen scores the round 10-9 Melendez
TJ De Santis scores the round 10-9 Melendez
Brian Knapp scores the round 10-9 Melendez

Round 5
The fifth and final round begins slowly, with a relatively inactive 60 seconds to start. A Thomson shot is blocked, but he lands a left to the body. Thomson crushes Melendez with a two-hook combo that stumbles him, and again initiates a reckless exchange, without dividends. Thomson seems keenly aware he is likely behind on the scorecards. The last winging exchange has seemingly exhausted Thomson. As he throws a lazy kick, an overhand Melendez right drops him to his back in slow motion. Melendez secures top position, but Thomson shrimps to the fence, and gets to his knees. Thomson walks forward with four punches, landing only one, and Melendez returns with a right. Melendez lands another low kick that turns the torpid Thomson around. Thomson lands a massive knee to the body out of nowhere that gives him a flicker of hope, as he pushes Melendez to his back and takes the mount momentarily, but Melendez bucks and snakes out. As the final 10 seconds tick away, the two engage in another right-left-right-left-right-left punchfest, with Thomson landing better, if not to much effect, as the horn ends a fantastic 25-minute bout.

Jordan Breen scores the round 10-9 Thomson (48-47 Melendez)
TJ De Santis scores the round 10-9 Melendez (49-46 Melendez)
Brian Knapp scores the round 10-9 Melendez (49-46 Melendez)

Judge Cecil Peoples scores the bout 48-47, while Nelson “Doc” Hamilton and Steve Morrow see it 49-46, all for the winner by unanimous decision, and once again Strikeforce’s lightweight champion, Gilbert Melendez.

Scott Smith vs. Cung Le
Round 1
Smith races out with an errant head kick. Le throws some body kicks, none of which gets past the elbows of Smith. A spinning hook kick by Le misses its target. However, a wheel kick audibly cracks Smith square in the chin, and drops him to the mat. Le gets on top and begins to chop away with heavy hammerfists. Le not looking expert on top, but the fetal Smith looks helpless on bottom. Referee “Big” John McCarthy implores Smith to fight back. As Le begins to smash with right hammerfists harder, Smith gets to his knees, and walks up the fence to escape the threat. After Smith throws some aimless punches, Le throws another wheel kick that drops Smith to his back without even making serious contact. Le lands a right high kick across Smith’s face. Smith lands a right hand, and misses a head kick. Le lands a left hook, and a kick to the chest.

Jordan Breen scores the round 10-8 Le
TJ De Santis scores the round 10-8 Le
Brian Knapp scores the round 10-8 Le

Round 2
Le starting to work all levels of Smith’s body with kicks — side kicks, low kicks, and head kicks. Smith lunges with a glancing right cross. After some pulled punches from Le, he rips off a spinning back kick to the guts that puts Smith on the deck again, though it seemed to push him onto his backside rather than crumple him. From full guard, Le is warned for digging his thumbs into the windpipe of Smith. Neither fighter has anything to offer on the floor, and so McCarthy stands the pair up. Smith races forward with crosses, but can’t trap Le on the fence. Smith gets an underhook off of a punch rush, and barrels Le into the fence. Le steps his leg outside Smith’s, looking for a hip throw, but can’t hit it. Smith lands a right uppercut, and Le returns with a low kick seconds later. The pair clinch up against the fence again. Smith launches an elbow, and a volley of punches from the clinch to punctuate the round, but can’t land anything firm on a fatiguing Le.

Jordan Breen scores the round 10-9 Le
TJ De Santis scores the round 10-9 Le
Brian Knapp scores the round 10-9 Le

Round 3
The third round begins with another wheel kick from Le that smashes Smith in the face, and Le follows with another as a clearly hurt Smith retreats to the cage. Le lands two body kicks, but Smith is able to absorb them and regain his bearings. Le lands a spinning back kick to the body, and is content to turn the bout into a spotfest of kicks. Smith stalking the circling Le, but can’t get close enough to land any punches, following rather than cutting Le him off. A Smith uppercut glances. Le puts Smith back to the cage, and lands a right cross, a spinning back fist, and a spinning back kick to the body. He attempts to hit a crotchlift on Smith, but blows the takedown, and Smith gets back to his feet. After a slow minute, Smith launches a three-punch combo that misses. Smith feints, and drops Le with a baby left hook. Le gets back up, but Smith is all over him, launching desperate, winging punches at him. A left hook knocks his head up, and Smith continues wailing until he drops Le against the fence with a right cross. An exhausted, battered Le flops onto his face, and Smith follows with right hands until McCarthy dives in to halt the bout, giving Smith yet another improbable comeback victory in his career at 3:25 of the third round.

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