Strikeforce Crowns a New Champion at "Destruction"
Strikeforce had their last show of the year, which was aptly titled "Destruction" on Friday night at the HP Pavilion in San Jose.
The night was filled with exciting action and quick knockouts.
In front of 8,152 raucous fans, Renato "Babalu" Sobral defeated Bobby Southworth to win the Strikeforce World Light Heavyweight Title. Sobral won by TKO due to a cut suffered by Southworth after a vicious elbow by Sobral near the end of the first round.
Southworth was able to finish the first round, but the ring side doctor called for the fight to end after checking out the damage to Southworth's right eye in between rounds.
The crowd was in disbelief at the sudden ending of the championship fight which was scheduled for five rounds. The fans booed Sobral after the win and during his in-ring interview. They were probably booing him because Southworth is the local favorite who trains out of San Jose at the American Kickboxing Academy.
Although Sobral was the heavy favorite to beat Southworth, no one expected this kind of ending. Many expected Sobral to use his jiu-jitsu skills to beat Southworth.
Southworth has not endeared himself to fans due to his last few fights being very boring, but he showed a lot of ability and skill tonight. He controlled Sobral for most of the first round and had Sobral on his back.
Unfortunately, the fight was cut short, but Southworth definitely deserves a chance to get his title back, and a rematch should be in order.
In the post-fight press conference, Sobral was asked if he would like to fight Tito Ortiz, and he said he would definitely welcome a fight with the Huntington Beach Bad Boy. For that fight to happen, Ortiz would have to be healthy as he is still recovering from back surgery, and he would have to sign with Strikeforce.
In the co-main event of the night, Scott "Hands of Steel" Smith knocked out Terry Martin in 24 seconds. Martin was aggressive in the beginning and pressed the action, and Smith countered with a devastating right hand which dropped Martin to the mat immediately and ended the fight.
Everyone expected a stand-up war and the fans got what they came to see. After the fight, Smith said he would like to continue fighting for Strikeforce, and that he is open to fights with Frank Shamrock or Cung Le.
A fight between Smith and either of these opponents would be very entertaining. Smith is a dangerous striker and would be a threat to both Shamrock and Le.
In another exciting fight, Kim Couture destroyed Lina Kvokov, and won by TKO in the first round. The fans were really into this fight as Couture dominated her opponent with vicious knees and punches. The female matches on Strikeforce shows always brings the crowd to its feet and on this night, it was no exception.
This fight was one-sided and short but the fans were extremely loud and appreciative of Couture's efforts. Fans loved the aggressiveness of Couture and women's MMA in general.
Hopefully Strikeforce can have more than one women's fight in their future shows. A lot of fans are hoping they can sign the face of women's MMA, Gina Carano, and have her fight for the organization once again. Carano was on hand to cheer on her friend, Couture, much to the delight of the many fans who snapped pictures of her.
In other fights on the main card, Joe Riggs got back on the winning trail by defeating Luke Stewart by TKO due to strikes in the second round, and Duane "Bang" Ludwig beat Yves Edwards by unanimous decision after three uninspiring rounds.
It was a very controversial decision by the judges as many fans felt Edwards would be declared the winner. The fight did not have as much action as expected but Edwards clearly did enough to earn a win.
Edwards was supposed to challenge for the Strikeforce Lightweight Title currently held by Josh "The Punk" Thomson, but Thomson was forced to pull out of the fight due to a broken toe suffered while training.
Overall, the fights were very entertaining and the fans left the arena happy and satisfied because they got to see many thrilling knockouts and entertaining fights.
Strikeforce always puts on great cards and once again, they delivered.
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