In the opening fight of the Strikeforce: Tate vs Rousey Showtime broadcast, Scott Smith (17-9, 3-4 Strikeforce) takes on Lumumba Sayers (5-2, 1-1 Strikeforce) in a middleweight bout. Taking place in Columbus, Ohio on March 3rd, Strikeforce will share the weekend with the Arnold Classic. The card goes live on the premium cable network at 10 p.m ET/ 10 p.m. PT (sorry West Coast) with five great fights. This card marks Scott Smith's return to the middleweight division after an unsuccessful stint at Welterweight.
Scott Smith's MMA career has been defined by highlight reel knockouts and come from behind finishes when the cards were stacked against him. A UFC veteran who got a second chance to fight at the top level thanks to the fourth season of The Ultimate Fighter, Smith's knockout over Pete Sell forever cemented his spot in the discussion of gutsiest performances. After being released by the UFC following a 1-2 run in the promotion, Scott Coker and Rich Chou picked Smith up to round out their Middleweight division.
Smith continued to amaze fans with his ability to seemingly come back from the most desperate situations with stunning wins over Benji Radach and Cung Le. Unfortunately the damage had accumulated and his drop to welterweight was unsuccessful, being knocked out by Paul Daley and brutalized by Tarec Saffiedine to a unanimous decision loss. Smith still possesses knockout power in his hands but his ability to take a shot to give one has faded to the point that he was essentially a walking heavy bag in his last outing.
Smith's opponent, Lumumba Sayers is still very young in his MMA career. A mover by trade, Sayers has only been fighting professionally for four years. Not much is known about Sayers as he has only competed twice on the national stage. His submission grappling ability is the strongest aspect of his game as four of his five wins have come by choke. Unfortunately, he's not a strong defensive grappler and has been submitted twice as well. The last time fans saw him, he took on Antwain Britt at Strikeforce: Challengers 20 in Las Vegas. Sayers has never displayed any significant punching power but was able to knock Britt out within :28 seconds in the first round.
This fight should provide excitement to open up the broadcast. Scott Smith has rarely been in a boring fight and was a decently successful middleweight. Lumumba Sayers doesn't possess the punching power to knock Smith out but could pose a significant threat should the fight end up on the ground. I expect for us to see vintage Scott Smith with a stunning highlight reel win.