(Alas, Shamrock’s pleas for Diaz to "mellow out" were all in vain. Photo courtesy of SI.com)
Strikeforce’s first offering on Showtime yielded some pleasant surprises and some totally unpleasant non-surprises. We turn now to the arbitrary numerical ranking system of the Potato Index to tell us who’s up and who’s down after this weekend. Giddyup.
Nick Diaz +123
His biggest win in years proves that Diaz is a true main event fighter who deserves to be taken seriously. He beat a slower, but still capable Shamrock in every aspect of the game, and even helped him up afterwards. Now we await the results of his drug test. Please Nick, tell us you didn’t screw that part up.
Frank Shamrock -68
“The Legend” showed a lot of heart, but not a whole lot of skill or endurance. Maybe those surgeries and his advancing years are taking more of a toll than he let on, or maybe Diaz really is that good of a boxer. Either way, if Shamrock can’t do better in the rematch with Cung Le he should seriously consider calling it a career.
Scott Smith +93
A huge comeback victory again proves that “Hands of Steel” may bend, but he doesn’t break easily. This should put him in the top tier of Strikeforce middleweights, but what then? No one’s clamoring for Smith-Lawler III at this point.
Benji Radach -52
He was the better fighter for 95% of that fight, but his suspect chin again proves to be his undoing. As technically sound and exciting to watch as he is, you get the feeling that Radach is always just one decent punch away from losing.
Gilbert Melendez +69
A smart gameplan and patient execution lead to an impressive finish. A committed, focused Melendez could be a tough test for anyone. But can he do it against someone like Thomson? We hope to find out.
Rodrigo Damm -18
We weren’t expecting much and he didn’t deliver much. He took the fight on late notice and showed up in shape, ready to compete, which is about all you could reasonably hope for in this case. Circling into the right hand will always make for a quick night.
“Cyborg” Santos -12
How do you win and still drop in the Potato Index? Easy, you show up woefully overweight, take three rounds to beat an undersized and outmatched opponent, then celebrate like you won the Super Bowl and blame your weight on “girl problems.” There’s not much to like about that. Just fight Gina Carano already, and please, agree on a catchweight that you can both actually make.
Hitomi Akano -5
She fought bravely even though she got bullied around the cage all night. It’s hard not to feel bad for her after she went up in weight for that fiasco. And going for a flying armbar off a jab? That’s guts, right there.
Brett Rogers +61
It wasn’t over quite as quickly as well expected, but once he stopped grabbing Humphrey’s dreads he was able to put his thai clinch to good use. The man has serious power. Now can we finally see him against a quality opponent?
“Abongo” Humphrey -32
He proved he can take a shot, but that will only get you so far. Just making it to the second round might have been a moral victory. Those are never as good as actual victories, though.
Scott Coker +75
The one promoter no one has anything bad to say about baby-steps his way into the big time and pulls off a successful show. Saving the Santos/Akano bout is proof that sometimes a little diplomacy and tact goes a long way. We sure wish some other promoters would learn that lesson.
Gus Johnson -23
Anyone get a final count on how many times Gus used his “old lion/young lion” observation to put the main event in context? We get it, man. Now give it a rest.
Mauro Ranallo -79
His M.O. is KO’s? Really, Mauro? With lame prepared material like that it’s hard not to picture him up late at night scribbling them on hotel stationery and feeling really proud of himself. How about just calling the action without all the stupid puns?
Pat Miletich +84
The most competent member of Showtime’s announcing team mixes technical insights and sound, sober analysis far better than we expected. By all means, make Miletich a regular at the broadcasting table.