The former World Extreme Cagefighting light heavyweight champion, Smith (13-5) has not competed since he succumbed to strikes against EliteXC middleweight titleholder Robbie Lawler in a bout that was televised on CBS in July. The 29-year-old Californian, known for the knockout power he carries in his hands, has delivered 11 of his 13 career victories by KO or technical knockout. Wins against Tim Kennedy, Jaime Jara and Pete Sell highlight his resume.
“This is one of those matchups where there’s no chance it won’t be a great fight,” Smith said. “I always thought he’d be an exciting fight for me. I like taking on guys that bring it and like to fight.”
Martin (18-5), meanwhile, made his Strikeforce debut in September when he knocked out Cory Devela with a third-round punch at the Playboy Mansion. The 28-year-old Chicagoan also prefers stand-up encounters, as evidenced by the fact that 11 of his 18 wins have come by KO or TKO. Martin, who has also dabbled in professional boxing, holds notable victories against Chael Sonnen and Jorge Rivera. In fact, he knocked out Rivera in 14 seconds at UFC 67.
“Fighting has always been a part of me,” Martin said. “I come from a fighting family. You have to be aggressive to make it in MMA. I’m aggressive and agile, and I think I have a very entertaining style.”
The Smith-Martin bout helps stabilize a card shaken by the recent injury to Strikeforce lightweight champion Josh Thomson. He was forced to withdraw from his scheduled title defense against Yves Edwards after tearing ligaments in his toe while training.
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