(Diaz vs. Sakurai. The actual fighting begins about the 3:15 mark. VidProps: YouTube.)
His claims of being the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world are a bit of a stretch, but Nick Diaz did what everyone expected him to do last night at Dream.14, handling Hayato “Mach” Sakurai en route to a first-round submission win. The biggest surprise of the fight was Sakurai’s striking, as he came out throwing enough heavy leather to make the Strikeforce welterweight champ decide he didn’t want none on the feet in the early going.
Aside from a couple of stand-up exchanges however, Diaz smothered Sakurai on the ground, eventually securing an arm bar three minutes, 54 seconds into the first round. For Sakurai, who said earlier this week he wanted to retire as soon as he became an “ordinary” fighter, that time may be now.
Complete Dream.14 results after the jump.
Sakurai looked decent, if a bit wild, on his feet. His best punch of the night was a winging overhand right with 2:48 remaining in the round that seemed to bother Diaz a bit. But with Dream employing the white, European-style rope-cage for this event, Sakurai made the ill-advised decision of shooting for a takedown. He secured it, but a few moments later Diaz locked in the arm bar from the bottom against the cage.
The organization’s prefight hype vignette for Diaz played-up the Stockton malcontent’s bad boy image, using footage of April’s Strikeforce brawl because, you know, the Japanese are into that kind of stuff. After the fight, however, Diaz was the picture of respectability, getting on the mic to thank the Japanese fans because, you know, they like that stuff too.
In other action, Kazushi Sakuraba continued his quest to die in the ring, dropping a decision to Ralek Gracie. It was Sakuraba’s third loss in his last five fights and just Gracie’s third professional win.
Kid Yamamoto got back in the win column by knocking out Fredrico Lopez, also in the first, while Ikuhisa Minowa won yet another freak-show bout, choking out 330-pound Imani Lee 45 seconds before the end of the opening stanza.
Complete Dream.14 results:
Nick Diaz def. Hayato "Mach" Sakurai by first-round armbar submission
Ralek Gracie def. Kazushi Sakuraba by unanimous decision
Hiroyuki Takaya def. Joachim Hansen by first-round KO
Norifumi "Kid" Yamamoto def. Federico Lopez by first-round KO
Akiyo "Wicky" Nishiura def. Hideo Tokoro by first-round TKO
Kazuyuki Miyata def. Takafumi Otsuka by split decision
Kenji Osawa def. Yoshiro Maeda by split decision
Ikuhisa Minowa def. Imani Lee by first-round choke submission