The talking is done, the agreed upon weights have been ignored, and the Stockton Heybuddy’s have been thrown out. That means there’s nothing left to do now but fight. All you lovers of crazy antics needn’t worry though, because if there’s one thing that’s almost guaranteed in a bout between Frank Shamrock and Nick Diaz it’s poor sportsmanship.
We’ll be liveblogging all the action tonight, so grab a cold one, make sure your CAPS LOCK key is disengaged (you know who are you are) and let’s all jump right in and have ourselves a time. Remember to hit refresh often. We’ll get started any minute now.
Before we begin, anyone want to take a crack at an over/under for how many times the Showtime broadcast will remind us that Hitomi Akano is giving up a ton of weight to fight “Cyborg” Santos’s undisciplined ass? No way it’s less than four times. Five if you count Akano’s memorial service.
The opening montage is not bad. But Frank “The Legend” Shamrock vs. Nick “Bad Boy” Diaz? Those nicknames seem too, I don’t know, easy. Still, something about having all those EliteXC fighters and their video library to pull from really bolsters Strikeforce’s credibility.
Christ, Mauro. Calm down, man. I understand that you’re excited, but please don’t yell at me when there aren’t even any fights happening yet.
Oh great, now we’ve got to sit through another rules overview for the unitiated Showtime audience that has stumbled upon this thing. At least it’s better than having them wonder why these guys don’t just headbutt one another in the groin.
Miletich’s announcing contribution is already what we expected. While Gus Johnson goes on and on about Brett Rogers, Miletich adds simply: "He’s a big man." Thanks, Pat.
Brett Rogers vs. Ron “Abongo” Humphrey
The Mohawk/mustache combo that Rogers is rocking is pretty sweet. Humphrey looks a little chubby in the midsection to still be giving up so much weight.
After an unfriendly staredown, Humphrey takes the center of the cage and is keeping Rogers at bay with low kicks. Humphrey is pushing a frantic pace. Makes you wonder if he can keep it up. Humphrey has taken a couple decent shots, but is dealing well with Rogers’s power. Rogers goes down off a slip, but it’s no biggie. Rogers lands a good knee in the clinch, and then later a right hand that hurts Humphrey. Rogers gets warned twice for grabbing Humphrey’s dreadlocks (dreadful locks, Mauro calls them). A third hair grab causes Herb Dean to take a point away from Rogers. Humphrey uses the opportunity to grab a rest. Rogers finishes the round with some uppercuts in the clinch. Score it 9-9 after the dreadful locks incident.
Rogers looks for the clinch and uses it to put his weight on Humphrey, which will tire you out, according to Miletich. Good knees in the clinch from Rogers. Herb Dean continues to warn him about grabbing the dreads. I’m getting the feeling that someone grabbed Herb’s dreads in the past, and maybe he’s overly sensitive about it. Rogers is just pounding him with knees. Humphrey drops, and that’s it. His face looks a mess. Ranallo points out the 23 knees from Rogers and adds, “State are like swimsuit models: they show a lot but they don’t show everything.” He’s going to regret using all his prepared material in the first fight.
Brett Rogers def. Abongo Humphrey via TKO (knees) 1:38 of round 2.
Hitomi Akano vs. Cris “Cyborg” Santos
Wow, pyrotechnics! Strikeforce is sparing no expense. I love it. I do not love, however, Mauro’s suggestion that Akano wants to change the U.S. Constitution so that it reflects her right to bar arms. Goddammit. I was expecting it to be bad, but not this bad.
And we’re talking about Cyborg’s weight problems for about the third time already. Mauro wants to cut Cyborg some slack for being a woman, but Miletich tells it straight: missing weight by seven pounds is bullshit, whether you have a vagina or not.
Cyborg comes right after Akano and is teeing off against the cage. It looks like a girl from the mean continuation high school pushing around a third grader. Cyborg slams Akano down, showing a willingness to play the ground game and almost getting herself armbarred before they get back to the feet. Cyborg is just flinging Akano around, battering her on the feet, putting her on her back and then letting her back up. And…the round is over. Freaking three-minute rounds.
Cyborg immediately resumes her bullying of Akano. Akano is hanging tough and taking shots, so you can’t question her guts. Cyborg jabs and Akano tries for a flying armbar off it. Because why not, right? Cyborg takes to ground and pound against the fence, and Akano is just suffering through it. Another three-minute round in the books.
This just seems unfair. Cyborg is smashing poor Akano and shrugging off all her attempts to get the fight to the mat. A right hand hurts Akano and Cyborg follows with a knee and a vicious punch combination. Akano is done. Josh Rosenthal steps in to end this assault, thankfully. Cyborg celebrates as if she didn’t just take two + rounds to put away an opponent who she held a huge weight advantage over. Yeah, great work.
Cyborg Santos def. Hitomi Akano via TKO (punches) at 0:35 of round 3.
Oh, fuck no. Cyborg blames missing weight on "a girl problem." That should effectively set women’s MMA back.
Scott Smith vs. Benji Radach
In case somehow you missed it, both Smith and Radach hit hard. That’s the main point to take away from the last five minutes of fight hype. Got it? Good, let’s move on.
Radach’s pink trunks are described as “fuschia.” Radach seems to have Scott Smith off balance early on. He’s landing effective punches one at a time, but Smith continues pressing forward. Smith looks to be cut around the eye. Smith lands a good shot that sends Radach reeling. He tries to follow up and capitalize but Radach recovers. Smith drops Radach and is trying to put him away, but then Radach comes back and drops Smith. Neither guy seems 100% there, but Radach puts Smith down with a double-leg just before the round ends. Talk about two guys who know how to bang.
Smith comes after Radach and lands a good right. Radach looks for a takedown but settles for a clinch. A punch hurts Smith bad. He’s barely hanging on and Radach comes in to finish him, dropping him with a big right. Smith is still battling and Radach tries for a standing guillotine. Somehow Smith survives. I’m impressed. They finish the round back on their feet with Radach picking Smith apart.
Smith shows signs of life at the start of the third, landing a couple good punches and a kick that has Radach dazed. Smith tries for a standing guillotine of his own and Radach lifts him up for a big slam to get out of it. Back on their feet, Smith stuns Radach with a right hand. Smith backs Radach up and drops a huge right hand that puts Radach down. One more right seals the deal. An unbelievable comeback victory for Smith.
Scott Smith def. Benji Radach via TKO (punches) at 3:24 of round 3.
Smith admits that even he counted himself out in this fight, but credits his hands of steel for the victory. He then thanks his sponsors and his masseuse, Tom Atencio. Awww. How cute.
What the hell is with these CGI skinless dummies demonstrating techniques? Why not just use real people, or at least give the dummies some skin. That’s just bizarre.
Damm tries a low kick and Melendez catches him with a hard right in response, putting Damm on his back. Damm immediately looks for submissions out of the guard. He tries a triangle set-up, then an oma plata, but no dice. Melendez is grinding him into the fence and landing some short punches. A hard right from Melendez catches Damm on the jaw and leads to a guard pass, but Damm recovers. Melendez is tenderizing Damm pretty well with body shots and right hands to the head. Rough night for Damm so far as the first round comes to a close.
Melendez is the one trying to get the fight down to start the round. Damm sprawls well and defends, but as soon as they’re on feet Melendez begins landing big shots. A hard right hand puts Damm down against the cage. Melendez follows with a few more brutal shots before Rosenthal can stop it. Damm is out cold.
Gilbert Melendez def. Rodrigo Damm via KO (punch) at 2:02 of round 2.
We’re reminded that Melendez is now the "interim" lightweight champ. He must be kind of proud.
Mauro Ranallo yells in Cung Le‘s ear for a few minutes and all we learn is that he’s willing to rematch Shamrock, but is surprised to see him back in action so soon after his surgeries.
Ranallo calls the Shamrock’s and Gracie’s "MMA’s version of the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s." This is obviously a stupid statement.
Nick Diaz vs. Frank Shamrock
Frank smiles his way through the introductions, while Diaz mutters angrily. They do not touch gloves.
Diaz is talking trash in the cage right off the bat. Shamrock tries a couple low kicks but Diaz moves in for a takedown without too much trouble. He passes Shamrock’s guard like it’s nothing and moves into side control. Diaz tries for a key lock and Shamrock powers out and gets back to his feet. Shamrock lands some body shots. Diaz mugs and catches a straight right. Diaz puts Shamrock on his back again and goes right to side control, then the mount. Diaz flurries away, but Shamrock covers up and escapes just before the bell.
Diaz is talking shit and landing jabs to start the second. He’s keeping Shamrock on the outside and picking him apart right now. A good right from Shamrock, but he can’t follow up. Diaz is chasing him around the cage and controlling this fight. Shamrock has slowed down considerably. His back is against the cage and he is eating a ton of punches. Diaz is pouring it on. A right hook to the body makes Shamrock sink to the mat. More punches from Diaz and Big John has to stop it.
Impressive performance from Diaz. He actually helps Shamrock up and lifts his hand in the air while flashing a look that says, ‘I’m so high right now.’
Nick Diaz def. Frank Shamrock via TKO (punches) at 3:57 of round 2.
Again Gus Johnson inserts his ‘old lion, young lion’ narrative onto this fight. We get it, Gus. Find a new analogy. Aren’t there any other pack animals that start out young and get older?
Shamrock says the body shots "made me crap my pants." I hope he means that figuratively, but I really can’t be sure.
That’s it for us. Hope it was good for you. Good night and good luck to all the young and old lions out there.