Strikeforce Evolution Preview: Le vs. Smith

Cung Le

Age: 37 (Born May 25, 1972)
Nickname: Doesn’t have one, doesn’t want one
Height: 5 ft 10 in
Weight: 185 lbs

Fighting Style: Sanshou, Taekwondo, Muay Thai, limited Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Fighting Out Of: San Jose, CA
Affiliation: American Kickboxing Academy
Weight Class: Middleweight (185 lbs)
Organizations Fought In: Strikeforce

Fight Odds: Not released yet (subject to change)
Fight Odds Movement: N/A
Overall Record: 6-0
Record in Last 5 fights: 5-0
Record in Major Organizations of MMA: 6-0
Last Fight: def. Frank Shamrock via TKO (Broken Arm) – Round 3, 5:00 – Strikeforce: Shamrock vs. Le, March 29, 2008

Notable Wins: Frank Shamrock
Notable Losses: N/A

Interesting Trivia: Has a major motion picture deal. Le was seen in two movies released earlier in 2009 and has another two coming out soon. The roles have been in science fiction, and not surprisingly, martial arts films.

MMA Accomplishments: Former Strikeforce Middleweight Champion (vacated due to filming obligations)
Non-MMA Accomplishments: Three-time world champion kickboxer (22-0), four-time national champion Sanshou competitor (17-0), undefeated K-1 competitor (3-0)

Strengths: Standing strikes – inclusive of kickboxing, Muay Thai, and Sanshou which is primarily a combination of kicks, punches, and throws

Keys to Victory: Avoid the ground, and completely turn the fight into a kickboxing fight. Although his opponent is primarily a striker as well, Le is more technical and is regarded as one of MMA’s most prolific kickboxers. As a result, Le will likely prefer to trade with Smith on his feet. Overall, his Muay Thai is solid, as is his ability to catch kicks and perform simplified leg sweeps, so he’ll look for this to gain points with judges. The caught leg kicks also occasionally set up a quick barrage of punches to the downed opponent before backing off for a restart on the feet. He used the same strategy to completely dominate Frank Shamrock in their fight last March.

* Versus *

Scott Smith

Age: 30 (Born May 21, 1979)
Nickname: Hands of Steel
Height: 6 ft 0 in
Weight: 185 lbs

Fighting Style: Mauy Thai, wrestling
Fighting Out Of: Elk Grove, CA
Affiliation: Capital City Fighting Alliance
Weight Class: Middleweight (185 lbs), but has fought at Light Heavyweight and even at Heavyweight earlier in his career
Organizations Fought In: Strikeforce, EliteXC, WEC, UFC, International Fighting Championships, Gladiator Challenge

Fight Odds: Not released yet (subject to change)
Fight Odds Movement: N/A
Overall Record: 16-6
Record in Last 5 fights: 3-2
Record in Major Organizations of MMA: 7-5
Last Fight: def. by Nick Diaz via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) – Round 3, 1:41 – Strikeforce: Lawler vs. Shields, June 6, 2009

Notable Wins: Pete Sell, Benji Radach
Notable Losses: Nick Diaz, Robbie Lawler, Ed Herman, Patrick Cote, David Terrell, James Irvin

Interesting Trivia: Best known for his stunning KO of Pete Sell at The Ultimate Fighter 4 Finale, as well his gassy appearance on the reality show.

MMA Accomplishments: Former WEC Lightheavyweight champion (with one successful defense), vacated that title to move down in weight to fight for the UFC
Non-MMA Accomplishments: Former wrestler at Sacramento City College

Strengths: Aggressive striker, heavy hands, strong chin, good cardio

Keys to Victory: Although the heavy-handed Smith normally likes to stand and trade, he may not want to utilize that strategy against the technical striker in Le. Smith was a college wrestler, and because of that, should look to take down his opponent when the likely limited opportunities present themselves. Should Smith score the knockdown or takedown, Le’s limited ground experience may provide opportunities to control the pace, tire his opponent, and inflict some damage in an effort to pull the upset.

Additional Strikeforce: Evolution Fight Previews

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