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Scott Smith comes from behind to finish Cung Le (Photo Gallery)

Scott Smith, aka “The Comeback Kid”, aka “Hands of Steel”, did it again last night during “Strikeforce: Evolution” as the man known for coming back from the brink of defeat absorbed a cyclone of punishment at the hands of former Strikeforce middleweight champion Cung Le for two and a half rounds before bouncing back with a flurry of punches for the comeback victory.

Below is a series of photos from the battle courtesy of Strikeforce and Esther Lin (click any of the pics to enlarge) Make sure to pay close attention to the second pic, as if you look close, neither fighter is touching the ground with either foot:

Cung Le vs Scott Smith

Cung Le vs Scott Smith

Cung Le vs Scott Smith

Cung Le vs Scott Smith

26 COMMENTS
  • nate says:

    goddamnit. great performance by both men. im a little sad cung lost. but its ok. im still a fan of his.

  • H3ro says:

    I’ve always thought Cung Le was overrated and got bashed many times for it, but this fight proves he is overrated. A 5 to 1 favorite, this was Cung Le’s first real competition. Do you really think he was a champ after beat a 5 year past his prime opponent? It just shows how weak SF is compared to UFC.

    Cung probably has one of the hardest kicks in MMA, but what else does he possess? He says his commitment is to MMA, than why is he going out and doing D rated movies? I think Cung knew he wasn’t as good as he was thus doing movies instead and hiding from real competition.

    I think Cung Le would do great at K-1. I wonder why he doesn’t go there along with Cheick Kongo.

  • JabCrossHook says:

    Cung Le was out of the ring for 2 years and is 37 years old. I have no doubt in my mind that a Cung Le in his prime would’ve finished Scott Smith in the first round. Overrated? Did you see how many times he made Scott Smith miss? He got tired and fell for a feint, and that was all it took. He had great head movement for most of the fight, making Smith miss a lot of his punches.

  • xtreme_machine says:

    that was one of the best comebacks i have ever seen

    and it was great that the world now knows that Cung Lee is over rated and would get destroyed by any B level middleweight in the UFC

  • Rich S. says:

    PLEASE don’t start that “He’s overrated and should retire” garbage..
    Every time someone takes ONE loss to a VIABLE opponent, all of a sudden they’re a horrible fighter..
    That’s the one thing that really pisses me off on MMA forums..

    Let’s not forgot that Le is the one that was dominating the fight..

    On another note, I’m starting to think that Scott Smith pulls these third round MIRACLE knockouts on purpose.. He certainly has all the power to finish the fight in the first round, why does he take constant shots and all of a sudden connect in the third every time? I think he realized that that’s the new most exciting thing that can happen in a fight, and now he continues to do it for the fans..

  • JabCrossHook says:

    Yeah I guess he didn’t plan on getting knocked out by Lawler in the first round if he had that strategy.

  • Makington says:

    Rich S.: PLEASE don’t start that “He’s overrated and should retire” garbage..
    Every time someone takes ONE loss to a VIABLE opponent, all of a sudden they’re a horrible fighter..
    That’s the one thing that really pisses me off on MMA forums..
    Let’s not forgot that Le is the one that was dominating the fight..On another note, I’m starting to think that Scott Smith pulls these third round MIRACLE knockouts on purpose.. He certainly has all the power to finish the fight in the first round, why does he take constant shots and all of a sudden connect in the third every time? I think he realized that that’s the new most exciting thing that can happen in a fight, and now he continues to do it for the fans..

    Amen. If Cung had won, the same people who hate him would have been all over him. His striking was amazing. He had a home for those spinning back kicks all night, and I think he knocked Scott down 4 times with him. I personally thought it was his cardio that let him down rather than he was just terrible.

    Agreed on Scott as well. When Cung had him on the ground, Scott literally took like 30 blows without moving. He just kind of sat there and took them and when the ref said they were going to stop the fight he just stood up, no trouble. Why in the hell would he take those first 30 shots if he got up so easy?

    Dave Andrest said it best during the predictions I guess. Scott Smith has an uncanny ability to set up KO’s with about 40 shots to the face.

  • neijia says:

    go to K-1? Where do you think he came from? multiple K-1 championships. Le owned Smith for 2.5 rounds. Have you ever seen so many spinning kicks land? Smith flew into the fence. Le is unfortunately already 37 but still does have a little bit of time left to learn to pass the guard and deliver some real gnp. Those hammers looked like Lesnar’s first few fights’ hammers. That’s probably why Smith could take them – no damage delivered… If Le can improve a few facets of his game here and there he can potentially win back the SF MW championship and at least put on some exciting fights. Of course Hendo is probably gonna take the belt first.

    Smith on the other hand has the proverbial heavy hands and that was the proverbial “puncher’s chance” to pull out the big comeback win. Smith vs Hendo (also got the “heavy hands”) would be a great bout as well.

    The thing I really like about this match is it shows there is still limitless potential in MMA for some vastly improved striking and variety of attacks. Never seen such a video-game like mma fight before, including the kicks and the dramatic turnaround KO ending.

  • xtreme_machine says:

    i was not saying that because he lost. i have been saying that for a while now

    Cung Lee has amazing kicks but that it it
    once people get pass that, you can see all the openings.

    like how he drops his hands after every kick,
    everytime he throws that spinning kick all people have to do is step to the side and throw a straigh right
    also his untested ground work and not very good takedown defence
    and he does not have KO power on his hands or kicks, yes they hurt but they would not KO tough fighters

    Cung has only beaten low level fighters
    and Shamrock his not the same fighter he once was and he could have eaily won that fight had he taken it to the ground but since fans much rather be entertained he stood up and had fun with Lee

    then there Scott Smith who is not a top level fighter
    he has potential and very very tough guy with tons of hearth but he can be easy beaten my half of the UFC’s MW and so can Cung Lee

    guys like Simpson, Sonnen, Dan Miller, Okami, Palhares, McFedries, Mia, Marquard, Leben, Jensen, Lawlor, Herman, Grove, Goveia, Dollaway, Credeur, Cote, Bisbing, Belcher, Almeida, Akiyama, amd of course Anderson Silva oh and Wandy too CAN EASILY BEAT ANY OF THOSE TWO GUYS

  • Makington says:

    I do really like Cung’s kicks but those are some pretty valid points xtreme.

  • Cung has always been overrated in MMA. He has great standup but has yet to be tested by a good grappler. IMO util he fights a good grappler he is overrated.

    Now with that said, hes still a damn good fighter and I dont think he needs to retire at all. It’s too bad Cung has been spending so much time wtih movies because had he spent the last 2 years really working his takedown defense and jiu jitsu he would be one sacary man, even moreso than he already is.

    I would love to see Cung take on Silva. That would be some fireworks right there.

  • Rich S. says:

    First off, Xtreme, half of those guys you listed would have some SERIOUS problems against Le.. and that’s not based off some huge expectation of Le.. That’s based on what I’ve SEEN from Le, and what I’ve SEEN from them..

    Second, how can a fighter be overrated if he’s undefeated?
    Obviously, he’s no longer undefeated, but before last night, he dominated all six of his previous fights and avoided almost all opposing strikes in the process…

    Also, part of being overrated means you get far too much credit for what you do.. When does anyone even talk about Cung Le? I mean, how much credit has he really gotten aside from what he deserves?

    And one more question, how overrated can you be when you don’t even show up on most MW top 10 lists? He’s not even an honorable mention here at 5 oz.

    Face the facts.. The guy’s 6-1, there’s still a load of people that don’t even know who he is.. His striking IS good.. So far, none of his opponents have had an answer to it..
    So, the man DOES deserve a little bit of credit here and there, but last time I checked, nobody’s calling this guy the best MW in the world..

  • that was awesome . Scott does have a way of knock’en em out in the third. Amazing . . he was taking so much punishment from Lee. What worrior.

  • Angry Mike says:

    I don’t really care whether Le or Smith are UFC caliber fighters. That was a dramatic fight with a storybook ending. I swear I thought I was watching “Cinderella Man.” How can you not cheer for Smith? The guy is the ultimate underdog who takes a beating and pulls it out with a few heavy, well placed punches. Great entertainment.

  • xtreme_machine says:

    that is true Angry MIke

    at the end it was a good fight and an Amazing show by Strikeforce

    so i will end it now until we see Lee step into the cage again.

  • H3ro says:

    Cung Le = Overrated. People like him because he is a good kickboxer, not an MMA fighter. Scott Smith would be at the bottom of UFC middleweight and Cung Le can’t even beat him. I have to admit Cung Le is explosive, which excites the fans, but as an MMA fighter, he is way over his head. He has never fought top 10 competition.

  • MMA-LOGIC says:

    Gez you guys give Smith heaps. He is like 17-6 and his loses came to guys that either out weigh him by a lot or dudes like Lawler, Diaz, Terrel, Cote.
    As for whether they are “UFC caliber”. Do you mean like Houston, Kimbo, Yvel, Baroni or ex TUF caliber or Werdum, Arlovski, Sylvia, Hendo, Diaz caliber? maybe Lutter, Leies, Starnes and Junnie caliber. I mean Extreme what do you base that list on? I’ll tell you nothing but your gut feeling.
    What is it that makes guys become better as soon as they enter the UFC or worse as soon as they leave? ie. Arlovski was ranked no.2 in the world when he left the UFC after beating Cruz, O’brian and Werdum he then beats Rothwell and Roy Nelson and after looking good against the best HW there has ever been he gets KOed then again against one of the hottest prospects in MMA, Brett Rogers. Now he is not even rated. WTF!!!!? I wouldn’t mind this but the guys that have taken his top 10 spots are Carwin and Valasquez. Why? Valsquez’s biggest win has been over Rothwell and he is the only top 20 fighter he has faced let alone beaten. Carwin is the same, he has only ever faced one top 20 fighter and was getting beaten up before catching him. If MMA has taught me anything it is that just because a guy looks the part does not mean he is. How about before ranking guys highly they fight good fighters. I know that sounds crazy but that is what I like to call LOGICAL THINKING. I mean if all you need to do is beat no names it would be (is) stupid.
    I know people rank UFC fighters higher just because they are in the UFC, it is 100% true but it is getting out of hand. I mean as soon as Fedor beats somebody that was a big name in the UFC people just say oh he was past it or he is past his prime and he needs to fight Lesnar. Duhh! denial perhaps? too much for your minds world to accept perhaps? Hello! can you not see what you are doing. Why does Lesnar not need to fight Fedor to prove anything? Look I’m not saying that SF is better or anything I’m just saying have you ever noticed that guys like Babalu, Sylvia, Arlovski etc do get beaten out of the UFC when they leave and dudes like Coleman who are rated so lowly when they are out of the UFC come back and surprise you. Think about it. Why is that? hmmmmmmm could it be that the UFC is not a higher standard? no they just suck as soon as they leave the UFC and guys like Aoki have not fought anybody as good as a UFC fighter. Pheww! that was close! I nearly had an OPEN MIND.

  • MMA-LOGIC says:

    Sorry don’t know where that came from. I do think all that but it was not really relevant was it. Don’t worry you will hear that crap again no doubt. I just hope I find a more relevant time and place. Surely it will catch on if I repeat it enough.

    P.S. Speaking of irrelevant… No exclusive contracts=Lesnar v Fedor, GSP v Diaz, Penn v Aoki, Mousasi v Shogun, A. Silva v Jones Jr, Mir v Overeem etc. Don’t let the UFC stop fights from taking place.

  • hindsightufuk says:

    nice posts mma-logic

    persoanlly i think a fit Cung Le would have finished Scott early, that was the worse shape i’ve seen him in a professional fight, he needs to make his choice and not take any more fights with a half assed training camp

  • GassedOut says:

    Well. I for one am still a Cung Le fan. You know what? He lost. It’s okay. Everyone loses. It’s what you learn from the fights you lose that make you better. What should Cung Le learn here? Absolutely nothing about his striking accuracy. That was laser-guided. What he needs to learn is that he needs to work on his power, both in terms of his striking (both kicks and upper-body) and for his ground game. What this fight showed me is that he’s not got as much upper-body and arm strength as he needs for a good ground game at this point. There were points where it looked to me that Scott Smith held Cung Le’s wrists so effectively that he couldn’t move his arms, and I think that’s what depleted his gas tank enough to fall for Scott’s fight-ending feint and get rocked.

    So where does Cung Le go from here? Back to the Gym to work on his power and his timing, and his ground game, which by the way, I have been saying since well before his fight with Frank Shamrock. I don’t think he’s overrated, but I don’t think he’s as well rounded as he could be.

    And for the record, I have been a fan of Scott Smith since he knocked out Drago with his last ounces of stregth when it looked like he was done, too, so don’t be making me out to be a Smith hater. It was a good win.

  • fanoftna33 says:

    All I care about after that fight was that both of thoes guys put on a hell of a show with each lookinf, but man was I frustrated at Smith for most of the fight for seemingly lettint Le kick him with no offense offered, and Le looked so hard to hit for thoes first two rounds, great fight.

  • Guthookd says:

    A great fight…no questions about it.

  • Nick Havok says:

    Thank you once again, Scott Smith.

    Your performance had me up off my couch, running around the room pumping my fists and yelling ‘yes!’ and ‘can you believe that!’ as I went crazy with excitement.

    Not only was that one of the top 5 greatest come-from-behind victories I have ever witnessed in MMA…but it makes the third top 5 turnaround from Scott Smith alone!

    That is just crazy!

    I think Quadros said it best, “hands of steel, heart of steel!”

    I couldn’t agree more. What an awesome fight! What an awesome event!

  • Rece Rock says:

    IMO – this fight was far from awesome… main event?
    Cung Li threw the same few kicks a dozen times… then could’nt finish Smith every time he dropped the kid… chrissy Cyborg throws harder hammer fists than this guy… this fight was disapointing and exposed Cung Li as one dimensional and far from a star… Smith does have heart but I think everybody knows he ain’t doing much… SF needs to continue to deepen the roster especially when exposing there “stars”

  • Rich S. says:

    Yeah, they should drop “Hands of Steel” and just start calling him “Steel” Scott Smith..

    Cause he’s got a chin of steel, and a heart of steel..

  • mohawk009 says:

    Great fight and great heart by both men. But if Cung Le was a true MMA fighter Smith would have been finished in that first round. Strikeforce put on another great card of fights but i keep thinking that too many of their fighters are one dimensional brawlers. I would like to see more well rounded fighters like Mousasi on their roster

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