clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Beyond the Octagon: UFC vet Scott Smith, PRIDE's Cyborg and Krazy Horse in action

New, comments

Keeping up with big-show veterans on the regional circuit

The fight-results bonanaza continues, beginning with PRIDE veteran and former Strikeforce contender Evangelista Santos.

Better known as "Cyborg," Santos (20-16, 1-3 Strikeforce, 1-1 PRIDE) is the ex-husband of current Invicta champion Cyborg Justino. Over the course of a nearly ten-year long MMA career, Santos has made a reputation for himself as a vicious, go-for-broke brawler--a style that hasn't yielded the most consistent results but has made him always exciting to watch.

After taking 2015 off from competition (a decision no doubt aided by his brutal knockout loss to Melvin Manhoef), Santos returned to the ring for a headlining bout with Artenas Young (10-10-0) at Legacy FC 50. The time off seems to have done Santos some good, as he out-dueled Young to a unanimous decision victory. Santos is 2-1 since his last major appearance (a TKO loss to Jordan Mein in Strikeforce). Young has now lost four straight.

Watch Santos vs. Young here.

Fellow PRIDE veteran Charles Bennett also turned in a successful rebound performance recently. Now apparently going by the nickname "Felony," he last month dropped a contentious split-decision but made a quick turnaround for a co-main event bout with Terrell Hobbs (9-11-0) at Virginia's Elite Warrior Challenge 9. Bennett found victory in the first round, by way of heel hook, of all things.

In the night's main event, TUF 19 finalist Matt Van Buren (7-4, 0-2 UFC) made a successful return to the regional circuit, choking out Derrick Weaver (3-5-0) in the second.

And at West Coast FC 16, Scott Smith (18-11, 1-3 UFC, 3-5 Strikeforce, 1-1-1NC EliteXC) took to the ring for the first time in nearly three years for a fight with Justin Baesman (18-8-1, 0-1 WSOF, 2-3 Bellator).

Smith produced one of the greatest comeback victories, if not one of the best knockout victories, in UFC history at the TUF 4 finale, where a brawl with Pete Sell looked just about finished after "Drago" folded Smith up with a body shot in the third. Yet, as Sell lunged in for the kill, Smith rallied for one final blow--a haymaker to the jaw that knocked Sell out cold. The win would remain Smith's lone UFC triumph. Despite a losing record in the Octagon, however, Smith's notoriety was set, and after his release from the UFC in 2007 he found himself in a string of exciting, high-profile fights, including victorious performances against Kyle Noke and Cung Le, as well as fights with Robbie Lawler, Nick Diaz, and Paul Daley. Unfortunately, Smith's defense was as porous as his hands were heavy--between 2010 and 2012 he lost four straight fights in Strikeforce, pushing him back into the regionals. A 2013 win at West Coast FC 6 would be the last fight fans would see of Smith, until this year.

The opening round of Smith vs. Baesman was contended mostly in the clinch, where Baesman scored with knees, hooks, and uppercuts. As has often been the case, Smith seemed stunned several times by strikes to the body, but avoided any fight-ending punishment.

The two employed different strategies to start Round 2, with Baesman throwing a variety of kicks at range and Smith showing much more initiative as he pressed forward with combinations. Smith's approach would wind up being his downfall, however--with Baesman backed up against the fence, Smith eagerly pursued, leaving himself open for the straight left that would send him to the mat. Baesman followed up with strikes on the ground, soon forcing the referee to halt the fight.

Smith slips to 1-1 since his last major appearance while Baesman improves to 3-2.

Watch Smith vs. Baesman here.

UFC veterans struggled throughout the card, including Christos Giagos (11-5, 1-2 UFC) in his first post-UFC bout. Opponent Josh Emmett (9-0-0) nearly finished him in Round 1, but Giagos survived and, as Emmett seemed to tire, he began to turn things in his favor. The two continued to dish out heaps of punishment for one another until, in Round 3, a big right from Emmett pushed Giagos over the edge and crashing to the mat.

Emmett vs. Giagos can be seen here.

Finally, in the main event, David Mitchell (19-6, 1-4 UFC) looked to put himself back in the win column with a victory over Max Griffin (12-2-0). Mitchell would be promptly turned away, though, with Griffin knocking him out cold within the first minute of the fight. Mitchell has now lost two in a row following a two-year, seven-fight win streak. Griffin has won two straight.

Check out Griffin vs. Mitchell here.