There's been some talk of Tyron Woodley facing Strikeforce welterweight champ Nick Diaz in the near future. That hype may need to be dialed down a bit. Tarec Saffiedine didn't win tonight in Nashville, but he showed that Woodley needs a little more seasoning before he faces a top 10 welterweight. Woodley used his wrestling to keep the fight in close quarters and take a unanimous decision, 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28, in the main event of Strikeforce Challengers 13 in Nashville, Tenn.
"Tarec's a very tough guy. He's got some power, got some pop. I endured, I pressed him," Woodley told Showtime's Mauro Ranallo. "The game plan was to be dynamic, in and out."
There wasn't much out as Woodley worked his clinch game throughout the fight. He couldn't get the fight to the ground on several occasions, and Saffiedine scrambled so well off his back that Woodley couldn't take advantage of top control.
Woodley (8-0) got the slight nod in the first two rounds, but all that work along the cage sapped him, not Saffiedine. Originally from Belgium, Saffiedine was able to land the better strikes on the feet in the final round and threatened slightly on the ground as he worked for a kimura from the bottom.
Woodley was tired in the final round and took a lot of sloppy shots. He was also putting himself at risk by dropping his hands. These things happen when you're gassed.
Before anyone gets too down on Woodley, this was probably a case of Saffiedine showing off his own skill-set. He's a versatile kid and proved a lot by grappling on an even level with a former NCAA All-American wrestler.
The 24-year-old fighting out of Dan Henderson's Team Quest camp in Temecula, Calif., is now 10-3.
It was a night filled with decisions.
After a 2010 highlighted by awesome knockouts, Ovince St. Preux ran into a much better challenge than expected against Ron Humphrey. The former Tennessee linebacker still won, but the fight went the distance. It was the third win since the beginning of November for St. Preux, who admitted he may need a little break.
Daniel Cormier (7-0) remained unbeaten, but he also failed to finish veteran Devin Cole.
The night was stolen by the lone female fight as Amanda Nunes destroyed Julia Budd.
Nunes charged hard at the start of the fight and blasted Budd, a Muay Thai specialist, with a straight left. Budd hit the ground hard and her head slammed on the mat. Nunes was a killer. The 24-year-old Brazilian jumped on top and unloaded seven hammerfists. The ref jumped in to save Budd, who had gone limp. All that in just 14 seconds. Maybe Nunes could be a challenger down the road for 145-pound champion Cristiane Santos.
MAIN CARD (results courtesy MMAjunkie)
Tyron Woodley def. Tarec Saffiedine via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Ovince St. Preux def. Ron "Abongo" Humphrey via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Daniel Cormier def. Devin Cole via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Amanda Nunes def. Julia Budd via KO (strikes) - Round 1, 0:14
Rhadi Ferguson def. John Richard via submission (heel hook) - Round 2, 2:00
Thomas Campbell def. Jeremy Wallace via sub (rear-naked choke) - Round 1, 1:26
John Salter def. Casey Huffman via TKO (strikes) - Round 1, 2:59
Dustin Ortiz def. Matt Horning via TKO (strikes) - Round 3, 2:10
Dustin West def. Daniel Schmitt via KO (strikes) - Round 1, 0:09
Charles McTorry def. Krishaun Gilmore via submission (rear naked choke) - Round 2, 3:46
Chris Barnhizer def. Karl Willis via submission (armbar) - Round 1, 2:35
Jason Blackford def. Jeremy Boczulak via submission (heel hook) - Round 2, 1:54
Luke Sanders def. Josh Jarvis via TKO (strikes) - Round 1, 3:15
Stoney Hale def. Gerric Hayes via split decision (28-29, 29-28. 29-28)