Two-time NCAA All-American wrestler Woodley (7-0) is one of a few homegrown stars out of Strikeforce. Heading into his sixth fight for the promotion, Woodley will be coming off the biggest win of his career, a first-round knockout over Andre Galvao last October at Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Noons. Saffiedine (10-2) out of Team Quest in Temecula, Calif. is 2-0 on Strikeforce cards and last September scored a win over UFC veteran Brock Larson at Shark Fights 13.
The live blog is below.
Round 1: They collide in clinch. Quick trade of punches and knees. Woodley presses Saffiedine against the cage to work for the takedown. Woodley turns Saffiedine over and scores the takedown. Saffiedine wall walks back into standing clinch. An exchange of knees to the body. Woodley lowers for a single-leg. Saffiedine sneaks his leg out but he's back to trying to work out of clinch. The referee separates them and Woodley reacts as if he has been poked in the eye. Woodley back in clinch and Saffiedine defends a takedown. Woodley goes back to trapping Saffiedine against the fence. 10-9 Woodley.
Round 2: Saffiedine lands a right hook and they clinch. Saffiedine scores with knees to the thigh. Woodley takes Saffiedine down with an inside trip at the 3:30 mark. Saffiedine throws up a triangle and then an omoplata but they both quickly slip off. Saffiedine with a deep halfguard and then is pressed into full guard. Saffiedine gives up his back. Although this is a slow fight, give Saffiedine credit here for actively trying to escape. 10-9 Woodley.
Round 3: Dirty boxing in clinch and we're back to Woodley smothering Saffiedine against the cage. Saffiedine turns Woodley against the fence. Woodley uppercuts and they separate. Woodley shoots and Saffiedine sprawls. Saffiedine stands up and craftily walks around to take side control. Woodley escapes and they're back in clinch. Woodley ducks a head kick and tackles Saffiedine down. Saffiedine puts himself in a position for potentially a kimura or an armbar. Saffiedine almost pulls Woodley's arm out for the kimura but Woodley quickly slips out. Woodley presses Saffiedine against the cage and the referee wastes no time in restarting them. They clinch 15 seconds later when Saffiedine defends a takedown. Woodley shoots for the clinch. Saffiedine taps a head kick and the fight is over. Closest round of the fight. 10-9 Saffiedine.
Not a pretty fight, but Woodley did what he had to do to shut down Saffiedine's stand up advantage. Tough loss though for Saffiedine since he was the only one really looking to finish.
Tyron Woodley def. Tarec Saffiedine via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)