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Strikeforce: Tarec Saffiedine Beats Scott Smith

Tarec SaffiedineScott SmithStrikeforce

card, easily winning and handing Smith his third straight loss.

It was a solid performance by Saffiedine, who improves to 11-3 in his MMA career. And it was tough to see Smith, a longtime favorite of MMA fans for his hard-hitting style, fail to land much of anything and get completely outclassed by Saffiedine. Smith, who's 17-9, may be nearing the end of the road.

The first round felt like a five-minute feeling-out period, with both fighters looking a little bit tentative, but Saffiedine seemed to be doing a better job of finding his range, and he deserved to win the round. Smith, perhaps mindful that he was coming off a knockout loss, seemed to be extremely cautious about avoiding getting hit.

Early in the second round Saffiedine landed a good head kick, but Smith shook it off. A combination of punches a minute later, however, had Smith looking hurt and leaning against the cage to get his balance. From there Saffiedine grabbed Smith in the clinch and landed three straight short elbows, and Smith appeared to be in a lot of trouble. Another head kick had Smith wobbled, and Saffiedine took Smith to the ground with two minutes left in the round. Smith was able to break free and get back to his feet, however, and he survived the round despite Saffiedine landing yet another head kick.

In the third Saffiedine looked like he knew he had the fight locked up, and Smith looked like he knew he was beaten. Saffiedine continued to pick Smith apart from distance, while Smith appeared visibly frustrated at his ability to land anything significant. Both fighters clearly knew who had won as the final horn sounded.

Two judges scored the fight 30-27 and one scored it 30-26 for Saffiedine, who earned the biggest win of his career.

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