SUNRISE, Fla. -- Nick Diaz
captured the vacant Strikeforce welterweight championship in
dramatic fashion Saturday at the BankAtlantic Center in the
Strikeforce “Miami” main event, which drew 8,156 attendees,
according to the promotion. He rose from an early knockdown and
stopped Lithuanian striker Marius
Zaromskis with a short right hook in the Strikeforce “Miami”
Zaromskis, the reigning Dream champion, succumbed 4:38 into round
one, as Diaz posted his sixth consecutive victory.
Diaz used his length to keep Zaromskis on the end of his punches
but found himself on the wrong end of a clubbing right hand that
put him on his seat midway through the first frame. Diaz avoided
any of the significant follow-up shots Zaromskis lobbed his way and
methodically worked his way back into the fight.
The tide began to turn in Diaz’s favor when he started going to the
body of his fading opponent. The frenetic pace and digging body
shots had Zaromskis teetering on the edge of exhaustion. Any hope
he had vanished when Diaz planted him with the right hand.
Strikeforce women’s lightweight champion Cristiane
“Cyborg” Santos stopped a game but overmatched Marloes
Coenen in the third round of their title match, as she defended
her crown for the first time.
Cyborg defended her
Cyborg was in command throughout the bout, stopping all of her
opponent’s takedowns and negating her perceived grappling
Coenen told reporters she would be more than happy to stand and
trade with the champion, and she lived up to her promise. She
delivered a number of clean, crisp punches, including a number of
lead left hands, but Cyborg walked right through them. The
difference in physicality and punching power was the deciding
factor in the fight.
Cyborg employed a powerful striking game, on the feet and on the
ground, and eventually wore down Coenen. The end came in at 3:40
the third round when Cyborg took up dominant position after a weary
Coenen pulled guard. She pounded away with punches until referee
Ortiz rescued the Dutch fighter.
“I’m very happy,” Santos said. “I prepared myself very much. I
trained a lot.”
Cyborg admitted Coenen was probably her toughest test to date.
“She has a lot of game in her,” Santos said. “She has a lot of
techniques, and she’s got a great heart.”
In his professional MMA debut, former NFL and
college football star Herschel
Walker controlled Greg Nagy and
took home a third-round technical knockout victory by strikes.
Walker displayed an unorthodox striking style, standing upright and
shimmying as he looked for an opening. It would not matter much
because the 1982 Heisman Trophy winner from Georgia repeatedly took
the fight to the ground, where he was clearly more comfortable.
Using a front headlock to wrangle Nagy, Walker transitioned from
North-South to side control and to the back mount at will, punching
his opponent at every opening. At 47 years of age, Walker showed an
impressive fitness level as he outworked his much younger opponent
and eventually wore him out.
Nagy tried to work his ground game, but, ultimately, he could not
keep up and seemed to give up near the end of the second round.
Referee Troy Waugh seemed to be contemplating stopping the bout
late in the frame, as Walker pounded away at Nagy from back
The third round was a near replica of the first two. Walker scored
with the takedown, a slam from the clinch and took Nagy’s back.
From there, he punched his way to the stoppage while Nagy offered
little resistance. The end came 2:17 into the final round.
“This was very tough,” Walker said. “This is the hardest thing I’ve
Walker indicated he would allow his American Kickboxing Academy
trainers to determine whether or not he would fight again.
“I’ve got to come back and train,” Walker said. “They’ve got to
make that decision for me.”
Lawler rescued a spectacular victory from what looked like
impending doom when he knocked out Melvin
Manhoef with a blistering overhand right that froze the
Dutchman and sent him tumbling to the canvas.
Lawler, who was on the receiving end of a vicious leg attack, did
not muster a single meaningful shot until the fight-changing punch.
It appeared as if he was going to be outclassed.
Manhoef stalked him around the cage and repeatedly sent him
pirouetting away after each successive kick to his lead right leg.
Manhoef, known for his explosive striking game, landed at will and
had Lawler on the run when, in an instant, the fight was over.
Lawler, backing away and covering up, exploded with the powerful
right that scrambled Manhoef. Once he hit the ground, Lawler made
sure he would not get back up, as he landed a pair of punches, a
left followed by a right.
“This guy’s a killer,” Lawler said. “He was coming after me. I kept
my hands up, and I knew I was going to catch him. I just didn’t
want to get overextended. I knew I’d have a chance to catch him.
His hands seemed to drop once he goes to finish guys, and that’s
what I wanted to wait for.”
The stoppage came 3:33 into the first round and seemingly puts
Lawler in line for another shot at the Strikeforce middleweight
“I’m going to take this win,” Lawler said. “I’m going to run with
it, rest my leg. He was kicking the crap out of my leg. We’ll see
Lashley dominated an overmatched Wes Sims,
stopping him via strikes midway through the first round of their
heavyweight showdown. Lashley easily took the fight to the ground,
where he controlled Sims and battered him with punches from within
the big man’s guard.
After a rapid-fire series of right hands forced Sims to turn his
back, Lashley finished the job by flattening him out and pounding
away until referee Troy Waugh
saw fit to end the carnage 2:06 into the first round.
Sims, always the entertainer, had tried to goad Lashley, who also
works as a professional wrestler, into a World Wrestling
Entertainment-style clinch to start the match. Lashley refused to
engage and took Sims right to the mat as soon as he could.
“Anytime you go in there and you come out victorious,” Lashley
said, “you have to be satisfied.”