Results from Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Werdum
Fedor Emelianenko's 28-bout unbeaten streak is over. Fabricio Werdum forced Emelianenko to tap out with an armbar and triangle choke in the first round of their Strikeforce heavyweight bout tonight at HP Pavilion in San Jose.
Emelianenko, who has spurned offers to join the lucrative Ultimate Fighting Championship, had knocked down his Brazilian opponent but lost the advantage and was forced to submit.
That leaves the 33-year-old Russian with a record of 32-2 while Werdum improves to 14-4-1. He said the discomfort from the triangle choke more than the armbar forced him to tap out.
"I made a mistake," said Fedor, who hadn't lost since 2000. "I'll try to figure out and analyze why it happened."
He said he knows he has "another fight" with Strikeforce, but Strikeforce announced before the fight that Saturday's winner would get a shot at heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem.
Fedor was apologetic in his postfight interview: "I hit Fabricio and wanted to finish, and I made a mistake. Certainly, there were several moments when I could escape, but I relied on myself too much and I paid for it.
"I'm really very sorry, and it's a pity I disappointed so many people who believed in me. God has a plan for everything."
Strikeforce women's middleweight champion Cris "Cyborg" Santos scored her eighth technical knockout in nine fights earlier, disposing of Ohio's Jan Finney in the second round.
Santos battered the tough Finney, out-striking her 141-23 and ending the bout by delivering a hard knee to Finney's head and a final flurry of punches to the head that caused referee Kim Winslow to stop the fight at the 2:56 mark of the second round.
"Cyborg" (11-1) had a point deducted in the first round when she struck a lying Finney in the back of the head three times, but it mattered little because she thoroughly dominated.
Cung Le, the former Strikeforce middleweight champion, just scored a second-round TKO over Scott Smith in a rematch of their December fight that Smith won by third-round kockout.
Le's defining shot was a spinning leg kick to Smith's gut that knocked Smith down. Le pounced, landing punches until the referee stopped it. Le (7-1) dominated the first round with kicks and impressive stand-up combinations.
Earlier, Josh Thomson (17-3) of San Jose wowed his hometown crowd at HP Pavilion by getting Pat Healy to tap out in a chokehold with 33 seconds left in the final round.
-- Lance Pugmire
Photo: Fedor Emelianenko has top position on Fabricio Werdum during their heavyweight bout on Saturday night at HP Pavilion. Credit: Jeff Chiu / Associated Press