From one of the sport’s most respected and well rounded veterans taking on a controversial and skilled brawler in the main event to a pair of undefeated heavyweights that have combined to knock out nearly every single one of their opponents rounding out the card, Strikeforce: Shamrock vs. Diaz will undoubtedly feature a little something for every mixed martial arts fan when it’s all said and done.
FiveOuncesOfPain.com‘s very own David Andrest and Cory Brady have combined forces to help add a little additional insight, and a few predictions on what is sure to be one of the year’s more exciting cards.
Frank Shamrock vs. Nick Diaz
Cory Brady: I have a nagging suspicion that this fight is going to end up being a stand up war with the potential to be one of the most electrifying bouts of the year. I feel like it will be Shamrock’s game plan to keep the fight standing, I also feel like it will be up to him as to where the bout ends up. The former Strikeforce and UFC champion will without a doubt be the larger man in this fight. Even though they will most likely end up at the same weight come fight time, Shamrock just has a naturally larger and stronger frame, there’s no getting around that. In a sport where skill routinely out performs size, the difference in the pair’s skill level in nearly non-existent which is sure to tilt things in Shamrock’s favor.The size difference is undoubtedly going to cause a whole lot of problems for Diaz’s chin of granite. While the Stockton bad boy has displayed a unique ability to absorb hard punches from many of the sports top competitors without being stopped, Shamrock will be sure to hit him with more force than he ever has before in his professional career. I’m not so sure that Shamrock will be able to knock out Diaz, so to speak, but I do feel that he is going to be able to stop him by TKO sometime in the second or third round.
David Andrest: Man I just don’t know. I guess I’ll never learn when it comes to fighters moving up in weight. Diaz will not be cutting any weight for this fight. Call me crazy, ( and you might be right) but I see this as advantage Diaz. Assuming he has trained for the fight, it’s not like he isn’t going to be used to working with the extra weight, and furthermore what weight do people actually think Diaz enters the cage at? Last I checked fighters routinely cut 10-15 lbs for weigh-ins. Diaz has simply eliminated that stress from his body. Will Shamrock be heavier? Yeah, come fight night he will. But to describe him as larger is misleading. Diaz will have noticeable reach advantage. Diaz by all accounts is better on the floor, and has proven when he is on his game that he is not to be overlooked on the feet. I may regret this, but I’m picking Diaz to pull off the victory.
Cristiane Santos vs. Hitomi Akano
Cory Brady: While I definitely don’t think that Akano has the skill set to derail Santos this Saturday night, I’m not so sure that she will be knocked out like so many people are expecting. Don’t get me wrong, Cyborg is an absolute she-beast, but the experienced Akano has a track record of surviving the storm against some of the sports most dangerous females. Throughout the course of her career, Akano has waged battle with seasoned, dangerous fighters such as Takayo Hashi, Amanda Buckner, Vanessa Porto and Tara Larosa, and although she has consistently come up on the short end of the stick when she has taken a big step up in competition, Akano has yet to have been finished in her career which has been four years running. As previously noted, the Japanese brawler with an incredibly awesome nick name of “Girlfight Monster” has shown that she has faltered in the past when the going has gotten tough, and her fight with Santos will be no different, as the only monster that will be in the ring on Saturday night will be the fearsome Brazilian known simply, and appropriately, as Cyborg. However, it wouldn’t surprise me if Cyborg is successful in accomplishing what no one else has been able to do up until this point, knocking out Akano in impressive fashion. If it can be done, Santos will be the one to do it.
David Andrest: I couldn’t agree more. Other than the outside chance of a miracle armbar, this isn’t much more than a showcase fight for Cyborg. Yes, I’ve got a nice tall cool glass of the Cyborg Kool-aid beside me as I type this. Say what you will about Santos but she is the only female fighter I know of that doesn’t punch like a female fighter. My guess is she wouldn’t toss a baseball like a girl either. With that said, Cyborg is going to crush the competition until someone technical and tough enough comes along. Akano is not this fighter. The raw power disadvantage is going to be too much for Akano and most of this division to overcome.
Benji Radach vs. Scott Smith
Cory Brady: If there’s one thing Scott Coker and Strikeforce know how to do, it’s putting on exciting, relevant fights. I mean, seriously, who doesn’t want to see Scott Smith and Benji Radach slug it out like a couple of cowboys in western saloon brawl? Crickets chirping………..Exactly. There are quite a few parallels that jump out at me between these two middleweight knockout artists. The first being, they’re both knockout artists, that’s the obvious comparison. On top of that, both men recently bounced back from knockout defeats to score impressive knockout victories of their own. Both have been knocked out in the not so distant past, and both have shown an extreme capacity to separate their opponents from consciousness during the course of their beatdown filled careers. When you factor the fact that Radach and Smith have made it perfectly clear that they have every intention to stand up and bang it out, you have the recipe for a thrilling back and forth brawl with the loser taking a quick nap on the canvas. I think Radach’s slight edge in wrestling will be the difference in this one. Even though I think these guy’s are going to bang it out, Radach’s ability to offset the tempo with the threat of a takedown should open up some holes in Smith’s defense, and possibly lead to a Radach knockout. Fights like this are impossible to pinpoint, but whatever happens, it’s going to be fun to watch, guaranteed.
David Andrest: I’m picking Scott Smith. I have no good reason other than a gut feeling. Other than the Cyborg massacre this is the fight I’m looking most forward to. Strikeforce has always had the strange ability to make fights that may not change the P4P rankings, but always seem to deliver the action. If you are a fan of MMA, ( if you are reading this I’d have to assume so) I can’t imagine you are not looking forward to this battle.
Gilbert Melendez vs. Rodrigo Damm
Cory Brady: This is the easiest fight for me to break down for one simple reason, Damm is having to step up on less than a weeks notice to fight a guy that he couldn’t have beaten if he had a years notice. Melendez had been training for the fight of his life leading into this bout with Damm. Originally slated to meet Josh Thomson, the man that had stripped his title from his waist, in a Strikeforce lightweight championship match, Melendez is sure to be badder than ever before and it will not be pretty for Damm. He deserves his respect for taking a fight of this magnitude on such short notice, but let’s be honest guys, Melendez takes this one easy.
David Andrest: While I think you are pushing it a little using the word “easy” to describe Melendez’s route to victory. I can’t argue with the fact that Melendez wins this fight on any normal occasion. Damm is not a fighter to be played with, he is capable, however on such short notice I can’t help but feel it will be just a matter of time before he appears to not be in fight shape. And as anyone who has watched Melendez knows, you better bring 15 minutes of strong cardio or you have lost before the opening bell. Damm will look good until his tank hits E.
Brett Rogers vs. Ron Humphrey
Cory Brady: This is my guilty pleasure bout of the evening. While it’s hard not to get excited about the match ups like Shamrock vs. Diaz, and Radach vs. Smith, it’s something about these big, heavy handed heavyweights that sends a special chill through my body right before the two tap gloves to signify the start of the bout. Something about the impending and inevitable destruction that is sure to come from big, powerful men with track records of leaving their opponents in a heap squaring off in a “somebodies 0 has got to go” match, there’s nothing like it. Rogers has stopped every one of his eight opponents with his fists, while Humphrey has finished all five of his bouts with strikes as well. Translation: Someone’s getting knocked out. You’ve got to love it! While I don’t know much about Humphrey, other than he wrecks fools, I’m thinking Rogers will bring a quick close to this one. He punches like a truck, and I’m really glad to see him finally return to
David Andrest: I’ll be honest, the only thing that will make me happy here is a QUICK KO. I don’t want to hear about working at the tire warehouse. I don’t want to see 9 people unrelated to the sport dancing and celebrating in the cage after a victory. I want a quick KO, look impressive, and leave quietly. Let the brain dead Rob and Big fans try to convince the world you belong in the same sentence as Alistair Overeem. Winner Rogers.