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Nick Diaz defending belt against Evangelista Santos in January

The period of debate regarding Nick Diaz’s immediate future in the ring, specifically the weight he would compete at in his next bout due to an anticipated clash with rival Jason Miller, appears to be over. It looks as though Strikeforce’s 170-pound champ will in fact defend his strap against exciting Brazilian striker Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos on January 29 in San Jose, adding a second title-fight to the card with the other involving middleweight champion Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza putting his gold up for grabs against heavy-handed Robbie Lawler.

News of the pairing was reported earlier today by MMAFighting and has since been confirmed by Strikeforce through an official press release.

Santos made a successful debut at welterweight against Marius Zaromskis this past June, knocking the Lithuanian kickboxer out a few minutes into the match-up, and has eighteen career victories with sixteen involving some form of finish. Other than being one-half of MMA’s most-imposing couple, Mr. “Cyborg” is known for his daring delivery in the cage including a 2006 performance against Melvin Manhoef viewed as being one of the sport’s greatest battles.

Whether or not Diaz will choose to engage on his feet with Santos, as he’s shown a willingness to do against previous opponents, remains to be seen. Stockton’s favorite son is currently on an eight-fight win streak including a successful defense of his belt against K.J. Noons in Houston last October. Though he owes more than half of his total victories to strikes, the outspoken Californian is also known for an extremely slick BJJ base cultivated at Cesar Gracie Jiu-Jitsu and has submitted seven opponents as a result of his mastery of the craft.

In addition to the twin title-fights, Strikeforce’s January 29 event is expected to feature a bout between Roger Gracie and Trevor Prangley as well as Herschel Walker facing Scott Carson in the former football star’s follow-up to victory in his MMA debut almost a year to the day of the 2011 show.


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