\Frank Sinatra is forced to share tonight as the city of Chicago has become the MMA community’s “kind of town” thanks to “Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Henderson”, a card peppered with talent and as juicy from top to bottom as a steak from the Windy City’s Capital Grille.
Headlined by formerly unbeatable Russian heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko taking on American Olympian and current Strikeforce light heavyweight champ Dan Henderson, the lineup also features a female title-fight in the form of 135-pounder Marloes Coenen defending her belt against Miesha Tate, as well as a pair of bouts with implications on top contendership with hard-hitting nap-lover Robbie Lawler trying to put legitimate hero Tim Kennedy to sleep and British brawler Paul Daley duking it out with undefeated grappler Tyron Woodley.
Fans were given an incredible night of action including the first time Emelianenko had ever been stopped by strikes, as well Tate delivering the only submission loss of Coenen’s career. Other results included Woodley using his superior wrestling to outpoint Daley in spite of the explosive striker’s improved grappling defense in addition to Kennedy doing enough to come away with a win over Lawler.
Read below for results from “Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Henderson” including PBP and commentary for televised fights:
Gabriel Salinas-Jones def. Bryan Humes via Submission Round 3 (D’Arce Choke)
Derek Brunson def. Lumumba Sayers via Submission Round 1 (Rear-Naked Choke)
Alexis Davis def. Julie Kedzie via Unanimous Decision
Tyler Stinson def. Eduardo Pamplona via Knockout Round 1 (Strikes)
Gesias Cavalcante def. Bobby Green via Split Decision*
* – Cavalcante actually forced Green to tap in the third round but referee Herb Dean missed it and allowed action to continue
Tarec Saffiedine vs. Scott Smith
ROUND ONE: The fighters start out circling for the first minute while feeling the other out with Smith acting as the aggressor. Saffiedine clinches with “Hands of Steel” and throws a few solid knees to the midsection. The two battle for position before Saffiedine eventually decides to back out. They go back and forth between exchanging strikes and clinching with Saffiedine almost landing a stiff kick to Smith’s head. A minute later another headkick is thrown perhaps indicating Saffiedine’s desired knockout blow. The frame expire with Saffiedine landing a spinning heel-kick to the crowd’s approval. 5 OZ scores it 10-9 for Saffiedine.
ROUND TWO: Saffiedine comes out firing with punch/kick combos. He lands another headkick and scoots in for an over-under clinch. Similarly to the first, he decides to back out and reset his striking. He lands a combo of punches that puts a little grease under Smith’s heels, wobbling him and nearly resulting in a finish. Saffiedine rushes in with a flying knee and keeps the pressure on. However, Smith seems to have recovered even though he absorbs some short-elbows from the clinch in the process. Saffiedine hits a beautiful headkick and lands a few straight shots forcing Smith to shoot a takedown in hopes of recuperating. Saffedine works some on the ground, slides onto Smith’s back, and then goes for a Rear-Naked Choke. Smith slips out and takes things back to the world of stand-up. Saffiedine starts unloading but still can’t finish Smith who is CLEARLY hurt at this point. Easily Saffiedine’s round.
ROUND THREE: “The Sponge” keeps working combos mixing in different levels of attack. He lands some hellacious hooks. Smith’s face is busted up as this point, though history has shown he’s still dangerous even when on the ropes. Saffiedine throws another successful spinning heel-kick and keeps pouring it on Smith. Thirty seconds remain and Smith decides to throw caution to the wind. He starts throwing heavy leather and headkicks but can’t muster up any magic. Fight ends with Saffiedine running away from Smith and running away with the decision.
Winner – Tarec Saffidine def. Scott Smith via Unanimous Decision
Paul Daley vs. Tyron Woodley
ROUND ONE: Daley keeps his stance low in anticipation of Woodley’s takedown and stuffs the former amateur wrestler’s first attempt. Woodley keeps working, pushing Daley up to the cage and going for a better position, but ends up catching a knee to the groin and has to recompose himself. “Big” John McCarthy warns Daley and action resumes. Woodley shows he’s not afraid to strike and throws a combo including an attempted headkick. “T-Wood” then shoots in but Daley defends and once again ends up in Woodley’s clinch. The British brawler tries to circle off the fence but Woodley stops him, then drips down to try and get a single-leg but Daley stays standing. McCarthy separates them and restarts the fight. Daley pushes forward with an uppercut, then defends another takedown attempt that puts him up against the fence. Daley is able to spin out this time and the two talented welterweights go back to striking. Round ends with Daley up against the cage with both throwing knees. Hard frame to score. Let’s hope it doesn’t go three rounds in order to avoid any questionable scoring. If forced, 5 OZ gives it to Daley based on defense and aggression.
ROUND TWO: More clinching to start the second but Daley again escapes. “Semtex” then grabs hold of Woodley and initiates the clinch. Unfortunately for Daley, Woodley is able to pull a leg out from under him and puts the stand-up specialist on his back. Woodley works from guard delivering a few elbows and punches but isn’t able to pass. He postures up for a second nearly giving Daley an opportunity to escape. Woodley finds a hole and almost gets half-guard but Daley adjusts and returns things to the “full” variety. McCarthy has seen enough and resets them with 30 seconds left. Daley stuffs a takedown and ends the round on top. Definitely Woodley’s round on the scorecards but he didn’t win over any fans with his approach.
ROUND THREE: Woodley opens the third throwing strikes and even cracks Daley with a knee. However, the flurry is short-lived and he takes Daley down less than a minute into the round. He makes his way into half-guard and stays active on the striking front. Daley backs up and tries to wall-walk but can’t get out from underneath the 170-pound blanket on top of him. Daley finally gets back to his feet for a second but can’t seem to unlatch Woodley. He eventually escapes, stuffs Woodley’s subsequent takedown, and starts trying to finish things from the sprawl position. Things go back to standing and Daley delivers more of the same. Daley rolls through and locks Woodley’s shoulder up for a second, teasing the Omoplata, before the Mizzou alumnus goes back to guard. Probably Woodley’s fight but Daley showed much-improved grappling defense and COULD pull off the upset depending on how judges saw things unfold.
Winner – Tyron Woodley def. Paul Daley via Unanimous Decision
Tim Kennedy vs. Robbie Lawler
ROUND ONE: Not a lot of action to start things out with a lot of respect from both in regards to the other’s striking. Lawler bounces around but Kennedy chases him down. Kennedy tries to get a solid hold of Lawler but can’t procure anything substantial. Kennedy steps in and lands a nice left hook. He fakes a punch and scores a double-leg takedown ending up in side control. He works his way into mount but Lawler escapes during an ensuing scramble.
ROUND TWO: A repeat of the first with Kennedy eventually getting Lawler to the ground after absorbing an uppercut that has the Army Ranger’s nose leaking crimson. Lawler is doing a good job defending off his back but is still eating punches from the top. Kennedy maintains his position for the remainder of the second stanza and likely takes another round in the process.
ROUND THREE: The two tap gloves to the crowd’s approval before going back to battle. Lawler looks to be pushing the pace in this round compared to the previous frames, perhaps indicative of both Kennedy’s nose and him potentially being down on the scorecards. Kennedy still working for takedowns but Lawler isn’t having it and, like Daley, continues to show improved grappling defense. More strikes are exchanged but nothing concrete finds the mark. Kennedy locks in a Muay Thai Clinch, then scoops Lawler up and takes him down to close out the stanza. Should be a Unanimous Decision for the Texan (who yells, “It’s just blood!” a few times to the judges after the fight ends).
Winner – Tim Kennedy def. Robbie Lawler via Unanimous Decision
Marloes Coenen vs. Miesha Tate
ROUND ONE: The pigtailed pugilists stay separated for about ten seconds before Tate springs forward with double-underhooks. Coenen fires back with some knees as the two fight for position in the clinch. Neither gets an advantage so they split. Coenen comes in with a left hook that lands and stuns Tate for a second but doesn’t do anything permanent. Tate shoots in but Coenen responds with a choke attempt. “Takedown” keeps working and lives up to her nickname by putting the champ down on her back. Coenen holds onto the choke, tightening it before Tate eventually escapes. Tate works from side control, pinning Coenen’s arm down with her knee and almost locking up a Crucifix position. The challenger stays active and on top for the remainder of the round. 10-9 Tate.
ROUND TWO: Tate immediately secures a clinch and goes back to working for the takedown. Coenen delivers a nice throw that results in her obtaining Tate’s back. She takes advantage of the situation with a Rear-Naked Choke attempt. Tate defends as best as possible and avoids the finish. However, she is still in trouble and Coenen continues mixing up strikes and submission attempts. Tate survives the round. The fight appears to be tied at this point.
ROUND THREE: A little more striking to start out the third with both women obliging the other in the stand-up department. Coenen throws a leg kick but Tate catches it and takes her down. Little is done from the top with Coenen defending well though Tate isn’t surrendering position, posturing up at times and continually staying busy. Coenen gets a Body Triangle from the bottom making it even tougher for Tate. “Big” John stands them up and they go back to exchanging blows. Tate takes the Dutchess down again. Little is done for the remainder of the round until Coenen is able to switch to put Tate on her back as the frame expires. Probably Tate’s round based on the amount of time she spent on top.
ROUND FOUR: More stand-up for the opening minute until Tate drives Coenen into the fence and takes her down again. However, the submission savvy Coenen goes for a choke. Tate escapes and starts working from half-guard. Before long she’s in side control. Coenen tries to escape but Tate isn’t having it, eventually locking up a Arm- Triangle Choke and tapping Coenen out for the first time in her career.
Winner (and New Champion) – Miesha Tate def. Marloes Coenen via Submission Round 4 (Arm-Triangle Choke)
Dan Henderson vs. Fedor Emelianenko
ROUND ONE: Both men come out slugging. Henderson eventually locks up in a clinch with Fedor who is already showing signs of damage in terms of swelling around his eye. The crowd is on fire chanting “USA” at times and “FEDOR” at others. The two icons eventually separate and go back to striking. Emelianenko looks like he hurts “Hendo”, dropping the LHW champ, but Henderson scrambles and lands a nice uppercut from behind the Russian’s back. It stuns Emelianenko long enough for Henderson to deliver a few more shots and earn the TKO finish. After the fight Fedor mentions he felt the stoppage may have come a bit early. He also adds that he has not decided on his future in the ring.
Winner – Dan Henderson def. Fedor Emelianenko via TKO Round 1 (Strikes)
PHOTO CREDIT – STRIKEFORCE