by Ricardo Mendoza – MMAWeekly.com
(pictured: Duane “Bang” Ludwig lands a crushing blow on Tony Fryklund)
Strikeforce: Cung Le Victorious In Anti-Climactic Fashion & Three New Champions Crowned
An announced attendance of 8,701 braved the cold and rain in usually sunny San Jose, California to see local star Cung Le come out victorious over TUF 2 alumni Jason Von Flue. Although probably not the way he wanted to win, Le came out aggressive throwing an array of kicks as Von Flue looked to get this fight to the ground. Le landed a nice head kick that bounced off the forehead of Von Flue.
Von Flue got the fight on the ground, but they were quickly separated as Von Flue had suffered a deep cut that forced the fight to be stopped by the doctor, only forty three seconds in the opening round. The cut was caused by the aforementioned kick, thus ending a promising fight in anti climatic fashion. Le is now tentatively scheduled to participate in the next Pride USA show in late February.
Frank Shamrock made his way into the cage right before the main event to announce that he will fight Phil Baroni at the next Strikeforce in April. Shamrock touted that the piece of paper in his hand was a copy of the signed contract as it is now official that both fighters will meet in April.
Josh “The Punk” Thomson fought a three round war with up and comer Nam Phan, in what ended up being one of the best fights of the night. Both fighters came out aggressively, with Phan looking to take the fight to the ground. After getting the fight on the ground, Thomson was able to escape and landed a huge push kick to Phan’s face as he came in with strikes before getting a takedown. They ended the round with a beautiful display of grappling as both fighters traded reversals on the ground before rounds end.
Thomson dropped Phan early in the second round and worked on the ground before the crafty Phan got back to his feet. Both fighters continued the fight at a frantic pace as Phan landed a couple of solid shots on the feet at rounds end. The third and final round was all Thomson as he showed his dominance on the feet. Thomson used body kicks throughout the round to soften up Phan and dropped Phan late in the round with a body kick. Thomson mounted Phan and proceeded to pound on Phan. Phan worked back to his open guard but Thomson poured it on at the end, landing some huge bombs up until the end of the fight. Thomson won a unanimous decision to win the Strikeforce United States Lightweight Championship (not to be confused with the Strikeforce World Lightweight Championship, which is a separate title).
In the first ever women’s bout in Strikeforce history, Gina Carrano and Elaina Maxwell put on an entertaining show that had the fans on their feet. Carrano was able to land the cleaner shots of the two fighters throughout the whole fight, while Maxwell took Carrano down throughout the fight nothing would ever amount from, as Carrano would quickly reverse Maxwelll. In the last round, Maxwell fell to her back and secured a triangle choke then got on top of Carrano trying to finish the choke. Carrano escaped and mounted Maxwell, landing blows for the last minute of the fight. At the end, Carrano walked away with a well-earned unanimous decision.
Bobby Southworth became the first ever Strikeforce World Light Heavyweight Champion after winning a lackluster affair against Vernon “Tiger” White. The same pattern would play out through the entire five round fight. On the feet neither fighter would show superiority over the other and Southworth would control the fight on the ground with takedowns and good positioning. The crowd was very restless throughout the entire fight but it was clear at the end of the day that Southworth had done more then enough to earn the win.
In an ultra exciting fight, Duane “Bang” Ludwig returned to his winning ways as he dispatched Tony “The Freak” Fryklund by TKO in the second round. This fight stayed on the feet for most of the time, as Fryklund had no problem trading with Ludwig. In the end that was his undoing as Ludwig was easily the superior striker. Ludwig on several instances dropped Fryklund but credit must be given to Fryklund as he took an enormous amount of punishment through the fight. In the second round, Ludwig landed a head kick and Fryklund responded by clapping his hands as Ludwig came in swinging. After dropping Fryklund, Ludwig landed some vicious shots but Fryklund somehow got back to his feet but was shortly dropped for the last time as the referee stepped in and called a halt to the fight at 3:37 into the second round.
Eugene Jackson won a quick and exciting fight to become the Strikeforce United States Middleweight Champion, submitting a tough Ronald Jhun with a rear naked choke. Jackson dropped Jhun with a flurry then mounted Jhun. In an effort to escape, Jhun gave up his back but Jackson took full advantage securing the choke shortly after at 2:01 into the first round Jackson now improves to 3-0 in Strikeforce.
Paul Buentello took on late replacement Ruben “Warpath” Villreal in a heavyweight bout. Buentello threw everything but the kitchen sink in the first round as he landed shot after shot buy Villareal seemed to be unfazed throughout the entire opening round. After a brief feeling out period to start the second round, Buentello landed another huge punch but Villareal continued on. Villareal’s biggest came near the end of the fight as Buentello threw a kick and slipped but Villareal didn’t take advantage. Shortly after Buentello landed a couple of huge punches that hurt Villareal and then as they were along the fence, Buentello mixed in knees and punches as he was brutalizing Villareal with strikes. Her Dean finally stepped in to stop the fight just as the towel came in flying, giving Buentello the TKO victory 3:56 into the second round.
After a shaky first round, Daniel Puder came back strong in the second round to submit Mike Cook with a rear naked choke. Puder from the start of the fight wanted it on the ground but Cook showed excellent takedown defense throughout the round. Cook was impressive in the first round and Puder seemed in trouble. Puder got the takedown to start the second round and then shortly after got Cook’s back. Puder was finally able to secure the choke, 2:31 into the second round.
Rex Richards opened the main card by easily submitting Kyle Levition with a nasty looking keylock. Richards got the fight quickly to the ground and showed his ground superiority until locking in the submission at 2:02 into the first round
In preliminary action, David Smith defeated Sean Basset by TKO, 1:36 into the third round in what was an entertaining fight.
Scott Graham won a unanimous decision over Drew Dimanlig.
Anthony Figueroa won a unanimous decision over David Barrios.
Raul Castillo opened the night’s action with a TKO victory over Andrew Montanez, 2:10 into the first round.
-Cung Le def. Jason Von Flue by TKO (doctor stoppage due to cut) at 0:43 of Round 1
-Josh Thomson def. Nam Phan by unanimous decision
-Gina Carano def. Elaina Maxwell by unanimous decision
-Bobby Southworth def. Vernon “Tiger” White by unanimous decision
-Duane “Bang” Ludwig def. Tony Fryklund by TKO (referee stoppage) at 3:34 of Round 2
-Eugene Jackson def. Ron Jhun by submission (rear naked choke) at 2:01 of Round 1
-Paul Buentello def. Ruben “Warpath” Villareal by TKO (corner stoppage) at 3:56 of Round 2
-Daniel Puder def. Mike Cook by submission (rear naked choke) at 2:31 of Round 2
-Rex Richards def. Kyle Leviton by submission (keylock) at 2:02 of Round 1
-David Smith def. Sean Basset by TKO (referee stoppage) at 1:36 of Round 3
-Scott Graham def. Drew Dimanlig by unanimous decision
-Anthony Figueroa def. David Barrios by unanimous decision
-Raul Castillo def. Andrew Montanez by TKO (referee stoppage) at 2:10 of Round 1