Dan Henderson's dominating first-round knockout of Renato "Babalu" Sobral topped off a night of wild and exciting finishes on a Strikeforce card on Showtime.
Despite being matched up against a free UFC Ultimate Fighter Season 12 finale on Spike TV Saturday night, Strikeforce supplied some sensational fireworks to close out the year for the second-tier MMA league. Only the first fight of the evening left anything up to the judges in St. Louis on Saturday night.
The 41-year-old Henderson (26-8-0) stalked and clubbed down Sobral (36-9-0) in just seven seconds short of two minutes in the main event. He set Sobral up for a fall with his trademark overhand right that landed right on the button. Henderson never let up, dropping Sobral to the canvas where he finished the fight with furious ground and pound.
The co-main event featured welterweight Paul “Semtex’’ Daley (26-9-2) of Nottingham, England against Scott “Hands Of Steel” Smith (18-8, 1 NC), of Elk Grove, California. Smith and Daley spent nearly the entire fight on their feet trading blows with Daley landing the more flush and stunning shots, finally connecting with a counter left hook that sent Smith face down onto the mat and into dreamworld. The end came at the 2:09 mark of the first round.
A bearded and burly "Ruthless" Robbie Lawler (18-6, 1 NC), of Granite City, Illinois, took just 50 seconds to demolish Matt “The Law” Lindland (22-8), of Oregon City, Oregon in a middleweight match. a looping right hand dropped Lindland to the mat first, where he made the mistake of turning onto his back to face Lawler and a diving right hook that crashed into his jaw and put him to sleep.
Antonio “Big Foot’’ Silva (15-2), of Coconut Creek, Florida, by way of Brazil, battled back from being pummeled early in the fight to beat Mike “Mak’’ Kyle (18-8), of San Jose, California, in a heavyweight showdown earlier in the night. Silva's head seemed to be made of pure cement as Kyle slammed punch after punch down onto his grounded opponent through much of the first round. Somehow Silva weathered the storm and came out in the second round with a better game plan. Instead of Kyle coming away with the knockout, Silva unleashed his own heavy handed punches to TKO Kyle at 2:49 of the second frame.
Former University of Tennessee linebacker Ovince St. Preux (9-4) of Knoxville, Tennessee was the only fighter of the night to win by decision. He dominated Benji “Razor’’ Radach (19-6, 1 NC), of Laguna Beach, California to notch his sixth victory in a row Saturday. The light heavyweight (205 pounds) contest led off the card but didn't set the tone since no other fighter would make it to the final buzzer the rest of the evening. Still, it was a fight full of energy and excitement despite being so one-sided. St. Preux showed his complete cage fighting game in manhandling and pounding out Radach, who miraculously survived it all with few positive moments to look back on.
Strikeforce ended the year on a high note with this card, creating another highlight reel of fantastic fight finishes to add to their knockout video library. Their next show will come to Nashville, Tennessee on January 7, 2011.
PHOTO GALLERY (Esther Lin/STRIKEFORCE)
St. Preux vs. Radach:
Silva vs. Kyle:
Lawler vs. Lindland:
Daley Vs. Smith:
Henderson Vs. Sobral: