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Strikeforce: Scott Smith Vs. Tarec Saffiedine

The following is from our live coverage of Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Henderson. To access our full coverage, click here.

Scott Fischer will be the third man in the cage for this welterweight tilt between Hands of Steel and Sponge.

Round 1: A quick touch of gloves gets us going. Smith in the center of the cage to start, walking down Sponge. Saffiedine with a good leg kick. Another. Saffiedine is out-moving Smith so far, tagging him from the outside. It looks like Smith is loading up on his right when goes after Saffiedine. They clinch with Saffiedine’s back on the fence. Sponge reverses and works from the Thai clinch, landing nice body shots and knees. Saffiedine lands a nice three-punch combination before breaking away. Saffiedine goes back to work from the middle, scoring another nice leg kick. Saffiedine with a glancing head kick, which Smith catches and uses to pin Saffiedine against the cage briefly. Sponge reverses again and puts Smith’s back on the cage. Fischer breaks them up. Some damage beginning to show around Smith’s left eye. Saffiedine is scoring much more frequently than Smith so far, landing more often and with more effectiveness. Sponge lands a spinning heel kick as the round closes. scores the round 10-9 for Saffiedine

Round 2: They touch up again to start the second. Smith is reacting off of Saffiedine’s timing and getting beat to the punch for it. A good left hand-leg kick lands for Saffiedine. Saffiedine works Smith against the cage briefly. Smith is plodding and getting tagged up. Saffiedine hits him with a shot that staggers him and then tries to turn thigns up, throwing a flying knee. Smith posting up against the cage, getting picked apart by Sponge. Saffiedine hammers Smith repeatedly with elbows from the clinch. Smith tries to land a big uppercut as Saffiedine breaks away. Saffiedine hurts Smith again with a big shot and Smith dives for the takedown. Saffiedine won’t have it, he takes Smith’s back. He works both hooks in, but Smith slips out the back door. Smith with an elbow as they briefly clinch on their feet. Saffiedine looks to be slowing, but he goes back to work on Smith, who’s essentially ceased all footwork. They clinch against the fence, resting until the bell. scores the round 10-9 for Saffiedine

Round 3: They touch gloves again for the last round. Saffiedine starts in right away, sticking a few punches before landing a nice leg kick. More of the same to start the third, with Saffiedine landing mostly at will and Smith just looking to hang on. Smith lets go of a right hand that glances off Saffiedine’s head. Bloodied, Smith is staggering after Saffiedine, but Sponge is moving away from his shots and darting back in to land his own. He sticks a straight left and then lands a nice spinning back kick that sends Smith into the fence. Smith is eating most of the shots this round without ill-effect. Smith tries a head kick that’s blocked. Smith goes for a Superman punch and another high kick, but they miss by a mile. Smith is turning it up, chasing Saffiedine down and trying to put Saffiedine away, but he just can’t catch him. Saffiedine lands a head kick. scores the round 10-9 for Saffiedine

Tarec Saffiedine defeated Scott Smith via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27)