Cung Le didn't make the mistake of letting his foot off the gas pedal, or allowing himself to get fat and sassy on cookies this time around. The former kickboxer was once again awesome in picking apart Scott Smith and there were no last second heroics costing Le the win. Le landed a nasty spinning heel kick that vaulted Smith across the ring just 35 seconds into the second. Smith got up but was blasted again by another spinning heel kick that landed just below his chest. He went down in a heap holding his side, and Le pounded away with one big punch to the face and two more to the body before referee Jason Herzog stopped it at the 1:46 mark of the second.
Conditioning was a huge difference in this fight. Le entered that first Smith fight with an abbreviated training camp. He was away from the sport for almost 21 months making movies in the U.S. and China. One of his projects fell through in the fall of 2009 so he decided to take the first fight that came his way. It was clear he wasn't in premium shape as he faded down the stretch and was knocked out on a "Hail Mary" punch from Smith with less than two minutes left in the fight. This time he wasn't going to make the same error.
"I came back, I knew I had to get in shape," said Le, who thanked his trainer Javier Mendez and his camp mates. "They pushed me hard. I trained hard. I ate really clean. I cut out pizza and chocolate for seven weeks."
Le also took Smith's strengths a little more seriously this time and tried to take advantage of his weaknesses.
"We went over two gameplans," said Le. "We went over that he was going to come at me and I would pick my shots. Or he was going to let me beat on him (from a distance) again. This time I fought smart, let him come in. He came right into the power and he got caught. Last time it was his night. This time it's my night."
Le set up the win with his hands. Trying to avoid those nasty kicks, Smith tried to close space and stalked Le. The former Sanshou dynamo timed Smith nicely with straight lefts. He buckled Smith's legs with a left with 2:49 left in the first. Smith was hurt enough that he tried to shoot for a takedown. Le thwarted the attempted and beat up Smith sides at he sat down on him. Smith really got crushed in the final minute of the round. He was planted by a nasty knee. Le was vicious from there landing bruising body punches and a couple of big knees.
In the second, once Smith was softened up, Le unleashed the kicks. He dropped Smith early with that first spinning heel kick. On the ground, he wailed away and landed three huge knees to the body. Smith got up but left himself open to the final crushing blow.
Le was in celebratory mode moments after the fight and sounded like he was going to
"I got a big box of chocolate chip cookies," said Le. "You ready for me? I'm gonna eat it all tonight. Every single one of them."
Smith (18-7) took a while to get up. Once he did, Smith was sporting a vicious cut under his left eye that he suffered in the final flurry on the ground.
Le is now 7-1 in MMA, with seven knockouts. With his reputation restored, hopefully Le and Strikeforce push for him to take part in a possible middleweight tournament. Le is no spring chicken at 38 years old, but he still has enough time to capitalize on his star power.