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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Scott Smith KOs Benji Radach - Nick Diaz & Frank Shamrock - Strikeforce Highlights

Scott Smith KOs Benji Radach - Strikeforce

Nick Diaz Dominates Frank Shamrock April 12, 2009
Mixed martial arts made a smashing return to premium network television Saturday with a scintillating fight card that featured heaps of strikes, kicks, drama, unbelievable comebacks and a brilliant, poised, victorious performance by Nick Diaz.In a dominant outing in which he was in control throughout, Diaz (19-7, 1 NC) of Stockton, Calif., made good on his vow, and impressively knocked out legendary MMA pioneer and local favorite Frank Shamrock before an enthusiastic crowd of 15,211 at HP Pavilion. A Cesar Gracie Jiu-Jitsu black belt, Diaz took apart Shamrock with seeming ease. He whipped Shamrock on the ground and at the veteran’s game – on the feet. The fight was stopped at 3:57 of the second round with Diaz reigning punches with both hands on a fallen, helpless Shamrock.At times, Diaz seemed to be toying, even mocking Shamrock. Twice, Diaz, who was moving up to compete at a catch-weight 179 pounds, took side-control, a dominant position, but Shamrock fought his way out on both occasions.Shamrock (24-9-2), however, could not get inside Diaz’ long reach and wound up getting pummeled. How bad a night was it for the hometown favorite? Shamrock may not have even won the battle of introductions in a fight in his hometown. Shamrock will be back, though, he says, and so, of course, will Diaz.In other televised fights, former Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez captured the interim Strikeforce lightweight championship with a second-round knockout over Rodrigo Damm, Scott Smith rallied from the brink of defeat to register a stunning third-round knockout over Benji Radach in a brutal battle of determined, heavy-handed middleweights, Cris "Cyborg" Santos knocked out Hitomi Akano in the third round of a women’s match and Brett Rogers scored a crowd-pleasing second-round TKO over "Abongo" Humphrey in a hard-fought matchup of unbeaten heavyweightsThe event, the initial collaboration between Showtime Networks Inc. and Strikeforce, aired live simultaneously on SHOWTIME and on the World Wide Web (Strikeforce: All Access) at The SHOWTIME telecast aired at 10 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the west coast); the Strikeforce: All Access webcast went at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT. “I used to train with Frank so it’s not like I could hate the guy,’’ the triumphant Diaz said. “He's been doing what I want to do and saying what I want to say for a long time. It always feels good to win."Said Shamrock, “I’m not done. I trained hard. All credit goes to Nick. He kicked my butt. But I am not done entertaining in this sport.’’Melendez dominated Damm, finishing a late substitute for Strikeforce 155-pound world champion Josh Thomson, at 2:02 of the second round.“Josh is the true champion but I definitely want to fight him again,’’ Melendez said. “I lost fair and square the first fight. I know I can do better.’’The spectacular slugfest between Smith (17-5, 1 NC) of Elk Grove, Calif., and Radach (19-5) of Irvine, Calif., may have been the fight of the night – if not the year.After a wildly exciting, close first round in which both were battered, bruised and knocked down, Radach almost finished Smith in the second. But Smith connected with a perfect right hook and that, for all intents and purposes was that.“I had counted myself out,’’ said Smith, who had lost the first two rounds on all the scorecards, including a 10-8 second round on one of them. “There was no way I wanted to come out for the third round. But I felt I owed it to Benji and the fans so I did.’’Said a disappointed Radach: “Damn, I really wanted this one and thought I had him. It was going so good. I hope they give something (money) for fight of the night because it would be tough to top that fight. Scott came out strongly in the third. Obviously, I should have played it better than I did.’’Brazil’s Cyborg (7-1) had an easy time with out-sized Akano (14-6) of Japan, winning by third-round knockout. The ref halted the one-sided action at 0:35 of the round.“I feel very bad I did not make the weight,’’ said the naturally bigger and stronger Cyborg, who towered over the shorter, smaller Akano.Cyborg weighed in six pounds over the contracted limit but lost two pounds so the fight was allowed to go on. “This will never happen again,’’ she said. “I want to be the best women’s fighter in the world. Yes, of course, I want to fight Gina (Carano) next.’’In the telecast’s first bout, Rogers, of St. Paul, Minn., improved to 9-0 and 3-0 on SHOWTIME with a hard-fought 1:38, second-round TKO (knees and punches) over Atlanta’s Humphrey (12-1).“The only thing surprising about this fight is that I was not surprised how tough he was,’’ Rogers said. “I knew he wasn’t going to be a one hit and done type of guy. He was undefeated. I expected this kind of fight. There were lots of starts and stops in my training which may have affected me a little but I am not making excuses. I am very happy with this victory and ready to fight anybody,’’Rogers had a point deducted during a give-and-take first round that featured numerous exchanges of punches and knees for holding Humphrey’s hair and hitting. “Believe me, it wasn’t intentional,’’ Roger said. “He needs to cut his hair.’’Saturday’s will re-air as follows:DAY CHANNELWednesday, April 15 at 10 p.m. ET/PT SHOWTIME TOOThursday, April 23, 10 p.m. ET/PT SHOWTIME TOOIt will be available ON DEMAND beginning Tuesday, April 14.Versatile play-by-play broadcast veteran Gus Johnson called the action on SHOWTIME with MMA expert Mauro Ranallo and MMA superstar Pat Miletich serving as expert analysts.Saturday’s non-televised results: Eric Lawson (9-2), Concord, Calif. 4:54, first-round submission (strikes) over Waylon Kennell (4-2), Los Angeles, 185 pounds; Luke Rockhold (4-1), Santa Cruz, Calif., 4:07, first-round submission (head and arm choke) over Buck Meredith (3-3), Temecula, Calif., 185 pounds; Raul Castillo (6-0), Half Moon Bay, Calif., 1:45, first-round submission (rear-naked choke) over Brandon Michaels (2-3) of Los Angeles at a catch-weight of 187; James Terry (6-1), San Jose, unanimous decision (30-27 three times) over Zak Bucia (3-2), San Francisco, at 170 pounds; and Shingo Kohara (1-0), Foster City, Calif. KO 2 (knee) over Jeremy Tavares (0-5), San Jose, at 135.Mixed martial arts returns to SHOWTIME on Friday, May 15, when SHO MMA: Strikeforce Challengers, a series for up-and-comers patterned after SHOWTIME’s popular boxing series ShoBox: The New Generation, at Fresno, Calif. On Saturday, June 6, Strikeforce on SHOWTIME will offer two of the leading fighters in their respective weight classes. “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler (middleweight) and Jake Shields (welterweight) at a catch weight of 182 pounds in the main event. In the co-feature at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Mo., Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Babalu Sobral will defend against Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante. Tickets for “Lawler vs. Shields,” priced from $30, go on sale this Monday, April 13, at 10 a.m. CT, at the Scottrade Center box office as well as at all Ticketmaster locations (800-745-3000), Ticketmaster online, and Strikeforce’s official website.

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