Dan Henderson Beats Fedor Emelianenko, Cements Legacy

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Strikeforce Heavyweight Main Event
Dan Henderson (28-8) TKO RD 1 (Strikes) Fedor Emelianenko (31-4, 1 NC)
Official Time of the Stoppage:  4:12 RD 1

Well you knew that when these two legends of the sport met up in the cage excitement would happen.  But, damn if these two greats didn’t give us one round of pure MMA gold.  Things started off at a blistering pace as Emelianenko came out guns blazing, clipping Henderson who was able to scramble out of the way.  Henderson immediately countered with a wicked left hook that wobbled Emelianenko and had the Russian looking to clinch. 

After some clinch work against the cage, Emelianenko would again rally back to stun Henderson who fell to his back with Emelianenko raining down shots looking to end the fight.  While things looked bad for Henderson, the Team Quest founder was able to scramble to his feet and land the most vicious right uppercut one has ever scene from behind Emelianenko.  Emelianenko crumpled like a sack of bricks and after Henderson mercilessly battered the heavyweight legend with some ground and pound the fight was waived off by referee Herb Dean.  

Strikeforce Women’s Bantamweight Championship Co-Main Event
Miesha Tate (12-2) SUB RD 4 (Arm Triangle) Marloes Coenen (19-5)
Official time of the Submission:  3:03 RD 4

When anyone ever questions the legitimacy of women’s MMA they should be forced to watch this fight.  To say that Tate and Coenen gave their all in the cage would be a gross understatement.  This fight was a grueling war of attrition.  Tate started things off the way many predicted by closing the gap and using her wrestling to control Coenen on the ground in the opening round.  Coenen dominated the second stanza on the ground by taking her back and trying desperately to sink in a rear naked choke. 

Credit has to be given to Tate for fighting off the choke for over three minutes to survive the round.  Things got competitive in the third round as Coenen started off things successfully while standing landing some hard leg kicks on Tate.  If Coenen has one weakness it is her takedown defense as Tate was able to take her down fairly easily.  Tate would exploit this weakness in full effect in the fourth round as she controlled Coenen in side control before deftly sinking in the arm triangle to capture the title. 

Strikeforce Middleweight Fight
Tim Kennedy (14-3) UD 3 Robbie Lawler (18-8, 1 NC)
Scores:  30-27, 30-27, 30-27

At this stage in his career conventional wisdom states that Robbie Lawler’s fighting repertoire should not be growing.  However, against Kennedy, Lawler displayed some beautiful takedown defense that left his opponent coming up short on numerous attempts.   Unfortunately for Lawler, Kennedy is the definition of tenacity and he never gave up his attempt to take down Lawler.  Eventually, Kennedy was successful and while Lawler landed some hard shots while the two were on their feet, in the end it was Kennedy’s never-relenting ground and pound salvos that enabled him to grind out a decision. 

Strikeforce Welterweight Fight
Tyron Woodley (9-0) UD 3 Paul Daley (27-11-2)
Scores:  29-28, 29-28, 29-28

Going into this fight you knew the exact game plan for each fighter.  For Woodley, the plan was simple, take the fight to the ground and use his wrestling to ground and pound out his opponent.  For Daley, the plan was to land one of his trademark bombs to the chin of Woodley and hope the collegiate wrestler would crumble like a house of cards.  However, in this contest it was Woodley’s wrestling that was too much for Daley to overcome.  Woodley did not play coy, from the opening bell he was there in Daley’s chest looking for the takedown.  However, credit to Daley for stuffing Woodley’s takedowns over and over again. 

Still, despite Woodley having to work harder than he has ever had to before to secure a takedown, he was able to show some evolution in his game as he landed a number of strikes against the striker.  Things got close in the third and final round as Daley was able to finally open up his assault and pummel Woodley on several occasions throughout the round.  Still despite Daley closing the fight out strong it was Woodley’s guile that carried him to victory. 

Strikeforce Welterweight Fight
Tarec Saffiedine (11-3) UD 3 Scott Smith (18-9, 1 NC) 
Scores: 30-26, 30-27, 30-27

Scott Smith is tough as nails, but then again, you knew that.  However, at his age and the number of wars he has been in, it’s tough to not think that Smith is in the twilight of his career.  Against the younger and faster Saffiedine, Smith looked like he was walking in wet cement.  Saffiedine simply beat Smith up over three one-sided rounds.  Saffiedine used combos, perfect clinch work, and highlight reel head kicks to put the beatdown on Smith.  Smith was never in the fight and appeared overwhelmed with the array of attacks Saffiedine was assaulting him with.  Needless to say, it was a fantastic win for Saffiedine who puts his name in the hat as a contender in the Strikeforce welterweight title picture. 


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