Strikeforce hits the ground running in 2012 as it dishes out MMA action this Saturday night from the Hard Rock Cafe and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. The California-based promotion’s veterans welcome new faces to the main card and hope to stake their claim within their respective divisions. Knockout artist ”The Evolution” Tyler Stinson (22-7) takes on “The Sponge” Tarec Saffiedine (11-2) in the main card’s opener. One of the welterweight division’s top dogs, “T-Wood” Tyron Woodley (11-0) collides with the fast rising Jordan Mein (22-6). “The Monsoon” Lorenz Larkin (11-0) takes a step out from the Strikeforce: Challengers series to face his stiffest test to date, “King Mo” Muhammed Lawal (8-1). Just as many who watch NASCAR hope to see a crash, the casual MMA observer comes to watch someone get knocked out and with Adlan Amagov (2-0) and “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler (18-8) suited against each other, the crowd should be on the edge of their seats. Middleweight gold is up for grabs in the main event when champion Luke Rockhold (8-1) defends his newly earned title for the first time against “The Dean of Mean” Keith Jardine (16-9-2). Strikeforce has stepped up its game over the past several years, and if this card is any indication of what’s to come, fans are in for an exciting year.
—MAIN CARD (Showtime)—
Josh Barnett vs. Sergei Kharitonov: Barnett via Submission (Arm-Triangle Choke), Round 1, 4:28
Daniel Cormier vs. Antonio Silva: Cormier via KO (Punches), Round 1, 3:56
Ronaldo Souza vs. Luke Rockhold: Rockhold via Unanimous Decision (50-45, 48-47, 48-47), Round 5, 5:00
Roger Gracie vs. Muhammed Lawal: Lawal via KO (Punch), Round 1, 4:33
Maximo Blanco vs. Pat Healy: Healy via Submission (Rear Naked Choke), Round 2, 4:27
Amassing nearly two dozen wins in his five-year career and going undefeated thus far in his four bouts in 2011, one of Canada’s top welterweights has finally been signed to a major promotion. Sources close to the signing have announced and confirmed that 21-year-old “Young Guns” Jordan Mein (21-6) has signed a multi-fight contract with Strikeforce.
The signing comes as no surprise to those who have followed Mein’s career and witnessed his current eight-fight winning streak, including victories over UFC veterans “Diesel” Joe Riggs (33-14) and “People’s Warrior” Josh Burkman (21-9). Mein’s most recent match-up saw him go the distance with DREAM Welterweight Champion “Whitemare” Marius Zaromskis (13-5) at Score Fighting Series in June, where he earned the judges’ nod.
An intriguing welterweight battle projected to send ripples through the 170lbs. division in both Strikeforce and the UFC is set to commence tonight at Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Daley. The main event sees heavy-handed Brit and UFC castaway “Semtex” Paul Daley (23-10-2) facing off against Cesar Gracie protege and reigning Strikeforce Welterweight Champion “Diablo” Nick Diaz (23-8) in a bout that will potentially determine the pecking order in the welterweight division of not only Strikeforce, but also its new sister company the UFC. Since both men have previously fought under the UFC banner where they found moderate success, tonight’s match-up is an opportunity to eliminate competition they would’ve otherwise faced later in their road to the top. In Diaz’s case this may be as far as he wants to go as long as his teammate Jake Shields (26-4-1) wins against the seemingly perpetual UFC welterweight king “Rush” Georges St. Pierre (21-2) in their UFC title bout April 30. In any case, with the very real potential that the UFC and Strikeforce may do some roster jockeying, Nick Diaz now more than ever must concrete his position as one of the world’s two most elite 170lb. champions.
Strikeforce is set to take over Showtime this Saturday night with another full card of promising fights. Kicking off the main card, the master of flying submissions Shinya Aoki (19-5) returns to take on Lyle Beerbohm (15-1) who seeks to get back in the winner’s circle after tasting defeat for the first time back in February. UFC veteran “The Dean of Mean” Keith Jardine (15-9-1) steps in on a week’s notice to take on current DREAM Light Heavyweight Champion “The Dreamcatcher” Gegard Mousasi (24-3-1). The lightweight title is up for grabs when “El Nino” Gilbert Melendez (18-2) faces beloved Japanese grappler “Crusher” Tatsuya Kawajiri (26-5-2). With San Diego saturated with already main-event worthy fights, British slugger “Semtex” Paul Daley (23-10-2) hopes to get his hands on another professional title when welterweight champion “Diablo” Nick Diaz (23-8) greets him in the headlining match. Capturing the title will prove Daley to be truly one of the top players of the game but with the recent tear Diaz is on, winning is easier said than done. Will it be a successful sophomore effort in Strikeforce for the lethal British brawler or will the native of “the 209” add another win to his growing streak? Let’s have a closer look at this match-up.
San Diego, California gets its latest taste of MMA action when Strikeforce comes rolling in this Saturday night. The main card offers enough action to entertain even the more casual mixed martial arts fans, covering the full gamut with young up-and-comers, seasoned veterans, aspiring champions, and game competitors. Submission specialist Shinya Aoki (19-5) battles the always dangerous Lyle Beerbohm (15-1). Japanese wonder “Crusher” Tatsuya Kawajiri (26-5-2) comes onto US soil with the goal of taking the lightweight title from “El Nino” Gilbert Melendez (18-2). In the main event, “Semtex” Paul Daley (23-10-2) challenges current Strikeforce Welterweight Champion “Diablo” Nick Diaz (23-8) in a five-round battle. Within the chaos going on, former UFC superstar “The Dean of Mean” Keith Jardine (15-9-1) replaces an injured “MAK” Mike Kyle (14-8-1) to take on 205lbs. contender “The Dreamcatcher” Gegard Mousasi (24-3-1). For Mousasi, every win gets him closer to regaining the light heavyweight title. With Jardine on the opposite end of him, Mousasi better tread carefully lest he wants to become a stepping stone to Jardine’s second change at glory.
Brazilian Chute Boxe practitioners “Cyborg” Evangelista Santos (17-14) and “Cyborg” Cristiane Santos (10-1) could be considered the first couple of MMA. Team Black House fighters “Lil’ Nog” Antonio Rogerio Nogueria (18-4) and “Minotauro” Antonio Rodrigo Nogueria (32-6-1) can be deemed the siblings of submission, and Dan Miller (13-4) and “The Mongoose” Jim Miller (19-2) could be considered the true blue-collar brothers of battle. Now, in the latest edition of families who are making their legacy known in combat, “The Natural” Randy Couture’s (19-10) son, “Natural Light” Ryan Couture (1-0 Professional, 4-0-1 Amateur), is getting set to blaze his path in MMA history. Although Randy made his career known by using his Greco-Roman wrestling to bend his opponents to his will, his son’s legacy in the amateur level is being paved with the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu that has ended each of his five wins via submission. With professional level fighters and trainers alongside him at Xtreme Couture, Ryan might just have the right tools at his disposal to take the lightweight bracket by storm. After a successful first round submission victory in his professional debut last summer, Couture is returning February 18 under the Strikeforce banner hoping to keep the winning streak alive.
Strikeforce presented another Showtime sports event with welterweight champion “Diablo” Nick Diaz (23-8) taking on Chute Boxe fighter “Cyborg” Evangelista Santos (17-14) in the main event in one of two title fights this past Saturday night. Before these two took to the cage at the “Shark Tank” of the HP Pavilion Center in San Jose, California, big names such as Roger Gracie (4-0) of the renowned Gracie family came to not only remain undefeated, but to prove his family is still as much of an influence in MMA with not only instructing Jiu-Jitsu but fighting as well. Herschel Walker (2-0) hoped to master another battlefield when he traded out the gridiron for six sides of steel, and elite middleweights “Jacare” Ronaldo Souza (13-2) and “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler (18-7) met for the middleweight championship.
Hola, icemigos. Okay enough with the small talk, let’s get the Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Cyborg card wrap-up… well, wrapped up.
Roger Gracie apparently doesn’t need no steenking sponsors as he may be the first fighter I’ve ever seen with plain black shorts with not so much as the brand name of said shorts visible. Maybe Spinal Tap sponsored his shorts. ‘How much more black can these shorts be? The answer is none… none more black’. Gracie was able to get in the inside, trip Trevor Prangley and turn it into a Jiu-Jitsu match which was bad news for the veteran Prangley. Gracie was able to wrestle his way to full mount and Prangley did a good job of pushing off the cage to try and spin out and stand up but Gracie stayed stuck to him got his back and a body triangle and the inevitable Rear Naked Choke came soon after.
Strikeforce returned to Showtime last night with its “Diaz vs. Cyborg” card, broadcasting live from its headquarters city of San Jose, California at the HP Pavilion for an explosive evening of fights. Up for grabs were both the welterweight and middleweight titles, as well as Roger Gracie of the highly regarded Gracie family (4-0) attempting to stay undefeated in a clash with Muay Thai kickboxer Trevor Prangley (22-7) and crossover superstar Herschel Walker (2-0) taking on Scott Carson (4-2). The crowd was primed and ready to go crazy, and with the event that included exciting finishes and all-out-wars, Strikeforce surely did not disappoint with its latest effort. Here’s how the fights turned out.
—MAIN CARD (on Showtime)—
“Diablo” Nick Diaz vs. “Cyborg” Evangelista Santos: Diaz via Submission (Armbar), Round 2, 4:50*
“Jacare” Ronaldo Souza vs. “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler: Souza via Submission (Rear Naked Choke), Round 3, 2:00**
Herschel Walker vs. Scott Carson: Walker via TKO (Strikes), Round 1, 3:13
Roger Gracie vs. Trevor Prangley: Gracie via Submission (Rear Naked Choke), Round 1, 4:19
—PRELIMS (on Sherdog.com)—
Nate Moore vs. Nathan Coy: Moore via KO (Punches), Round 2, 0:25
Bobby Stack vs. Isaiah Hill: Hill via Submission (Triangle Choke), Round 1, 1:02
Ron Keslar vs. Eric Lawson: Keslar via Submission (Armbar), Round 1, 1:57
Germaine De Randamie vs. Stephanie Webber: De Randamie via Knockout (Knee), Round 1, 4:25
James Terry vs. Lucas Gamaza: Terry via TKO (Strikes), Round 1, 3:26
Jenna Castillo vs. Charlene Gellner: Castillo via TKO (Strikes), Round 2, 3:57
Niko Jackson vs. Ricky Jackson: Ricky Jackson via Unanimous Decision, Round 3, 5:00
Sam Bracamonte vs. Armin Safiari: Safiari via Unanimous Decision, Round 3, 5:00
* “Diablo” Nate Diaz retains the Strikeforce Welterweight Championship belt
** “Jacare” Ronaldo Souza retains the Strikeforce Middleweight Championship belt
Tomorrow night, Strikeforce returns to its birthplace in the “Shark Tank” at the HP Pavillion in San Jose, California with its latest effort in Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Cyborg. The promotion has brought to bear some of the biggest names on its roster for the card, including middleweight king “Jacare” Ronaldo Souza (12-2), former UFC standout “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler (18-6), NFL tail back turned Strikeforce heavyweight Herschel Walker (1-0), WEC veteran Scott Carson (4-1), submission grappling phenom Roger Gracie (3-0), and Shark Fights light heavyweight champ Trevor Prangley (22-6-1). However, the main event honors fall solely on the shoulders of welterweight title holder “El Diablo” Nick Diaz (22-8) and his challenger, the Chute Boxe fighter “Cyborg” Evangelista Santos (17-13). The bout promises to be a fast paced and violent affair with Santos being the perfect example of the well known Chute Boxe brutality and Diaz being an incredibly aggressive member of the vaunted Cesar Gracie team.
On Saturday night, Strikeforce returns to San Jose, California with its much anticipated Diaz vs. Cyborg card, putting two belts up for grabs. Welterweight Champion and Strikeforce golden boy “Diablo” Nick Diaz (22-8) takes on the dangerous Brazilian slugger “Cyborg” Evangelista Santos (17-13) who seems to have found his place at 170lbs. after his brutal KO win over DREAM Welterweight Champion “The Whitemare” Marius Zaromskis (13-4) last June. Also on the main card, former NFL great Herschel Walker (1-0) makes his return to the cage against WEC veteran Scott Carson (4-1), as does undefeated Roger Gracie (3-0) against UFC washout Trevor Prangley (22-6-1). The middleweight title is also on the line as current champion “Jacare” Ronaldo Souza (12-2) the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu ace takes on the American brawler “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler (18-6) in an old school style clash that is sure to have the fans on their feet. Lawler comes in off a vicious highlight reel knockout of “The Law” Matt Lindland (22-8) in early December and looks to string together two wins for the first time since 2007. The champ “Jacare” looks to use his ground game to put away the brawler and continue his undefeated streak under the Strikeforce banner.