Strikeforce prelims: Gian Villante wins quick, shaky stoppage against Trevor Smith

Steve Cofield

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Villante punch to the back of Smith's head (Tracy Lee)

LAS VEGAS - After wading into deep water a little soon in his career, Gian Villante is finding his way in the Strikeforce light heavyweight division. The former Hofstra football player rose to the occasion by swarming Trevor Smith and taking him out in less than 70 seconds.

He'll take the win, but the way it went down was little questionable.

Smith, a former wrestling star at Iowa State, had trouble from the start defending himself on the feet. Fighting from a low wrestling stance, he got rocked by a short left hook. The stunned Smith backed up and then tried a sloppy right kick. Villante caught the kick and pushed forward to land a right, and dropped Smith.

On the ground, he got off 13 shots. The last two drilled Smith in the back of the end. That's when referee Kim Winslow stepped in to stop things. A confused Smith began to work a single-leg on the ref. It was all over in just 65 seconds.

Villante (9-3) has won two straight while Smith drops to 9-2. Villante lost his Strikeforce debut against 235-pound heavyweight Chad Griggs and dropped his second against top-level 205-pound prospect Lorenz Larkin.

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Villante right hand that drops Smith (Tracy Lee)

Strikeforce undercard results:

Estevan Payan def. Alonzo Martinez via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Ricky Legere def. Chris Spang via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Nah-Shon Burrell def. James Terry via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)

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