New champ, vicious KO among many highlights at 'Destruction'

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SAN JOSE -- At the HP Pavilion on Friday night, Scott "Hands of Steel" Smith earned his nickname once again by knocking Terry Martin out just seconds into their main event fight in Strikeforce.

Martin came in strong trying to close the distance to keep away from the taller fighter in Smith. As the two fighters exchanged near the cage, Smith threw a left followed by a right cross that hit Martin perfectly on the side of the head sending him crashing to the mat.

Smith resisted to strike at Martin anymore as he fell to the canvas and referee Herb Dean rushed in to stop the fight at only 24 seconds into the first round.

"That felt really good," Smith stated about the knockout. "This was really big, I changed a lot of things in my training, Frank Shamrock said in my last fight that I was fat so I made sure I wasn't going to come in pudgy this time. I lifted a lot of weights, I'm stronger and hitting harder than ever."

If Smith comes back to the promotion he will once again have another deep division of middleweights to choose from in future fights, topped by champion Cung Le.

Strikeforce crowned a new light heavyweight champion on Friday night in San Jose, but not the way any promotion wants to change title holders as Bobby Southworth was forced out of the fight after a huge cut was opened over his right eye from an elbow strike in the first round.

Renato "Babalu" Sobral got the championship after the fighters clinched against the cage and the Brazilian landed a big elbow strike that split Southworth open just above the nose over his right eye.

The blood started to flow from Southworth's head, and while the fight was paused during the round to allow referee John McCarthy to check the cut, the action was allowed to continue. In between rounds, doctors had the chance to check the cut and they determined the damage was too severe and Sobral was declared the winner.

"Now it's my belt, come and take it," Babalu said after getting the light heavyweight title.

With the disappointing ending, Sobral said "anytime, anywhere" to the invitation to a rematch with Southworth in the future.

Stepping in on short notice, Duane "Bang" Ludwig made the most of his opportunity by picking up a unanimous decision win over Yves Edwards in a catch-weight fight.

Edwards got control early in the fight with a takedown while working to pass Ludwig's guard, and stayed there for the biggest part of the first round making his opponent work off his back.

The second round saw Ludwig gain momentum with some good strikes that seem to put Edwards off balance, while he tried to take the fight back to the ground to avoid the strength of Ludwig's stand-up game.

When the final round began it looked as if Edwards was starting to wear out a bit as Ludwig became the aggressor eventually scoring a takedown of his own, going for strikes and starting to control the pace of the fight. When it was all over, Ludwig got the win, as Edwards seemed a bit despondent with the decision.

"It's not about me fighting people, I don't care about titles or fighting certain people, but I do need to find someone that wakes me up," Ludwig said after the win. "Yves Edwards scared me, he's a tough sucker, it woke me up."

Before her second pro MMA fight, Kim Couture had stated that she planned on being much more aggressive against her next opponent, Lisa Kvokov, and that strategy worked to perfection as she picked up a TKO win early in the first round of their bout.

Almost at the onset of the fight, Couture came out guns blazing pummeling her opponent with punches that forced her to retreat against the cage, turning away at points to avoid strikes.

Couture followed up with a good Muay Thai clinch landing knees to the body before the fighters separated again and the Las Vegas based fighter followed up a series of right hands that once again forced Kvokov to turn away as the referee moved in to stop the fight. Kvokov crumbled to her knees from the strikes as Couture picked up her first professional win.

"It feels good to work that hard and finally get to this day," said Couture after the win. "I'm just happy to be back in here and be healthy."

After an up and down career at welterweight while fighting in the UFC, Joe "Diesel" Riggs made his return to 170 pounds with a TKO win over tough ground fighter, Luke Stewart on Friday night.

Stewart was able to control the fight in the early going, taking Riggs down twice in the first round, while working consistently to improve position, but never really throwing any strikes while moving inside of Riggs' guard.

The second round saw Riggs take control, picking up a takedown of his own before stunning Stewart with a forearm shot followed by punch after punch until referee "Big" John McCarthy stepped in to stop the fight.

In the opening bout of the evening on HDNet, Luke Rockhold pulled off a first round submission over Nik Theotikos to get the action going.

After an early guillotine attempt by Theotikos, it was Rockhold who gained a dominant position before taking his opponent's back and shortly thereafter sinking in a rear naked choke to cause the tap and pick up the win.

The attendance at the show in San Jose peaked at 8,152 fans in the HP Pavilion to catch the action.