"Strikeforce: Henderson vs. Babalu II" Recap

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ST. LOUIS ? Dan Henderson wasn't about to be left out of the party.

On a fight night that featured some of the year's most vicious knockouts, Dan Henderson scored one of his own in a main-event fight with fellow light-heavyweight Renato "Babalu" Sobral.

The event, "Strikeforce: Henderson vs. Babalu II," took place Saturday at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, and the night's main card aired on Showtime.

The bout actually was a rematch from their fight at a 1999 RINGS event in Japan. Henderson also won that fight, which ended in a majority decision, but both fighters admitted they're no longer the one-dimensional ground fighters they were back then.

Henderson, in fact, displayed the kind of striking that carried him to a pair of PRIDE titles and a couple UFC title shots. It also was the type of striking that was noticeably absent during his disappointing title loss to then-champ Jake Shields.

The first substantial blow to land was a right. Sobral deflected part of it, but the sting was there. Sobral stumbled and was taken to the mat, where Henderson unloaded additional heavy blows. Sobral initially defended but took another big blow, and the fight was waved off at the 1:53 mark.

"My body felt better than it has in a long time," Henderson said. "I was trying to be patient. I knew it was going to come. It was just faster than I expected."

Henderson (26-8 MMA, 1-1 SF) is now 4-1 since a title loss to Anderson Silva back in 2008, and with the win, likely gets a title shot. Sobral (36-9 MMA, 2-2 SF), who once held the title, is now 1-2 over his past three fights.

In the night's co-headliner, Strikeforce newcomer Paul Daley reigned supreme in a battle of welterweight sluggers and scored a stunning first-round knockout of Scott Smith.

Daley, fighting for a major organization for the first time since a post-fight suckerpunch of Josh Koscheck cost him his UFC job, was taunted by fans during Friday's weigh-in. But the British slugger did his talking in the cage. There, after the fighters initially traded wild blows, Daley connected on two quick lefts to Smith's chin. With the third, he got the leverage he needed and dropped Smith face first into the canvas.

Knowing it was a fight-ending blow, Daley simply walked away from his sleeping opponent.

After the fight, Daley called out lightweight/welterweight and sometimes-pro-boxer K.J. Noons, whom he thinks could help propel him to a title shot with champion Nick Diaz.

"Nick's the champ, and I'm going to be the champion," Daley said.

With the win, Daley (26-9-2 MMA, 1-0 SF) is now 7-1 over the past year and a half. Smith (17-8 MMA, 3-3 SF), a former middleweight making his 170-pound debut, now is stuck in a 1-3 skid after hoping the drop in weight would resurrect his career.

Matt Lindland's days as an elite-level middleweight may be over.

The once-top-ranked 185-pounder suffered his third loss in four fights with a quick knockout loss to hard-hitting Robbie Lawler.

Lindland, an Olympic silver-medal wrestler, opted to stand with Lawler, which would prove an unwise decision. While initially able to dodge the heavy blows, Lindland ate a stiff jab and then took a right cross straight to the chin before crashing to the mat.

Lawler followed with an additional punch to his grounded opponent. But with Lindland clearly in a daze and unable to defend himself, Lawler look to the ref, who mercifully halted the bout just 50 seconds after it began.

"I really didn't expect him to stand with me," an exasperated Lawler said after the fight.

Lawler (20-6 MMA, 2-2 SF) notches career win No. 20 and successfully rebounds from a June loss to Sobral. Lindland, meanwhile, falls to 2-4 since a solid 9-1 run from 2004-2007.

For one night anyway, size mattered.

Heavyweight Antonio Silva survived an early onslaught from late replacement and usual light heavyweight Mike Kyle and ultimately scored a come-from-behind second-round TKO victory in a bout crucial to his title hopes.

Kyle, who replaced an injured Valentijn Overeem on just a week's notice, gave up nearly 50 pounds in the fight. However, in the opening seconds, he connected on a vicious right punch that sent Silva crashing to the mat. Kyle spent the next four minutes delivering punches to the head and body, hammerfists to the face, and even some (illegal) headbutts to the gut in an effort to stop by the mighty giant.

Silva, though, survived the round. And after forcing the fight to the mat in the second, he unloaded his own barrage of ground and pound. Once in the dominant mount position, the former EliteXC champion had the leverage he needed to rain down heavy blows. After a few landed flush and crushed Kyle's head into the canvas, the referee was forced to halt the bout.

The end came at the 2:49 mark.

Silva (15-2 MMA, 2-1 SF), who now eyes a heavyweight title shot in 2011, has won eight of his past nine fights; the lone loss came to top contender Fabricio Werdum. Kyle (18-8-1 MMA, 2-3-1 SF), meanwhile, sees a five-fight win streak come to and end and suffers just his second loss in his past 10 official bouts.

In the night's first bout, which was a late addition the card, fast-rising light heavyweight and former University of Tennessee linebacker Ovince St. Preux picked up a signature career win with a dominating unanimous-decision victory over veteran middleweight Benji Radach.

The fight went to the judges' scorecards but should have been stopped midway through the first round. After forcing the fight to the mat, St. Preux enveloped a kneeling Radach and unloaded dozens upon dozens of unanswered blows. Radach could do little but cover up and tried to absorb the blows, which soon came to the ribs and upper body, as well.

Radach amazingly survived that lopsided first round, but the second round played out much like the first with dominant ground and pound. St. Preux avoided potential disaster in the third round when a desperate Radach let his hands fly. However, St. Preux survived the round and closed it out in a dominant top position. MMAjunkie.com scored it 30-26 for St. Preux, and the judges' unanimous decision also boasted dominating scores (30-27, 30-26 and 30-25).

St. Preux (9-4 MMA, 3-0 SF), who scored a unanimous-decision win over Antwain Britt just two weeks ago at Strikeforce Challengers 12, now has won six straight fights. Radach (19-6 MMA, 0-2 SF), fighting for the first time in 20 months, now has dropped three of his past four since his run in the IFL.


Dan Henderson def. Renato "Babalu" Sobral via TKO (strikes) - Round 1, 1:53

Paul Daley def. Scott Smith via KO (punch) - Round 1, 2:09

Robbie Lawler def. Matt Lindland via KO (strikes) - Round 1, 0:50

Antonio Silva def. Mike Kyle via TKO (punches) - Round 2, 2:49

Ovince St. Preux def. Benji Radach via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26, 30-25)


Wayne Phillips def. Fernando Bettega via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)

Justin Lawrence def. Max Martyniouk via technical unanimous decision (accidental illegal kick) - (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Patrick Cummins def. Terrell Brown via TKO (strikes) - Round 1, 2:44

Cortez Coleman def. Lucas Lopes via submission (guillotine choke) - Round 1, 2:04

Matt Ricehouse def. Tom Aaron via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 29-28)

Mike Glenn def. Lee Brousseau via TKO (strikes) - Round 1, 2:00

Booker DeRousse def. Coltin Cole via TKO (strikes) - Round 2, 3:04

J.W. Wright def. Josh Epps via submission (guillotine choke) - Round 1, 1:29

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Looks like Paul Daleys going to get Nick Diaz as well, that should be a brilliant fight. :cool:

TUF Finale :sleep:

8 Decisions

1 KO

2 Sub

Strikeforce :woot:

3 KOs

4 TKos

3 Subs

4 Decisions

Both Strikeforce and TUF went head to head on December 4th TUF won the ratings battle but Strikeforce was an amazing card and had generally better fights.

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