Got 'em all, and in the manner I thought they'd go, for the most part.
Le Vs Smith:
I should have bet on this one, damn it. Smith just wanted it so very badly. He took a brutal beating from Cung's kicks, getting knocked flat at least five times. Smith came through it to land his brute of a left hook repeatedly in the last minute of the bout. Le ended on his face with a couple of goose eggs on his forehead. Smith's unlikely to make a long career of it, based on the lumping he took to win, but man, what a chin and a will to win.
Thomson vs. Melendez
Again, as I called it. Though there was little ground action, it was because both defended so well. The standup was incredible, with Melendez winning because he had been more a student of Thomson than Thomson was of him. They went the full five rounds again. Amazing battle. Can't wait for the third matchup of these two.
Souza vs. Lindland:
Another resent sign for Strikeforce, Souza (The crocodile) is a BJJ specialist who used to have little in the way of strike game. Tonight he came out with a sick arsenal of punches that so rattled Lindland that he was an easy victim for Souza's submission, which was a good example of the jujitsu's ability to knock you out with your own limbs.
Lawal vs. Whitehead:
Lawal did as I predicted. I've never been all that impressed with Whitehead, who looks like a regional fighter more than someone who should be watched on a card with the likes of the rest of the fighters.
Some other observations:
Strikeforce has made some very smart decisions recently in signing a series of fighters I first watched in the Dream tournaments televised in the US on HDNet Fights. Names include Miller, Mousasi, Souza and Fedor. All fighting and earning good money in Japan through the Dream series of promotions.
Mousasi took Souza with an upkick knockout (in Dream 8, I think it was?). All the fighters are something to watch. Every one of these guys was signed at about the same time, to punch up Strikeforce's credibility after the thunderous collapse of EliteXC. They are all also about as good as they come in the international scene.
I noticed Melendez had both Shields and Miller in his corner. Miller is a favorite of mine from the Dream series in Japan. He's known for his showmanship both in the ring and on his approach, something the Japanese audience expects. Interestingly, he had the smarts to tamp down his presentation to make sure that he didn't upstage Melendez on the lightweight's night, to the point of dying his hair all one color.
All this has me looking forward to the Strikeforce fights of 2o1o with a great deal of excitement.