Nick Diaz took the war of words in the ring and defeated Frank Shamrock via TKO, while Scott Smith downed Benji Radach in a three-round war to highlight the return of Strikeforce MMA action to Showtime on Saturday night in San Jose, CA.
Diaz was in control the entire fight, peppering Shamrock with kicks, punches and elbows and setting himself up for a high-profile fight later in 2009. Shamrock never really got off any good shots and looked overmatched against the much-younger Diaz.
Meanwhile, Gilbert Melendez took home the interim Lightweight title and Smith and Radach put on a great show for the sellout crowd to set up some potentially awesome fights in the 185-pound division.
For the full running results and analysis, keep reading. true believers as it's the Ropes, Ring and Cage recap of Strikeforce from Saturday night in San Jose, CA.
> Brett Rogers (9-0) def. Abongo Humphrey (5-1) via KO at 1:38 of Round 2
- Humphrey is the Iron Ring Heavyweight Champion?
- I like Brett Rogers...that dude is a complete bad ass.
- Abongo gets a little rough on the glove touch...the crowd responds accordingly.
- The black on the mat makes the cage look a little small, but the arena is very well-lit. It's definitely a different experience than the UFC, where everything seems dark.
- Rogers gets admonished by Herb Dean by grabbing Humphrey's dreads, eventually getting a point taken away. C'mon now...this is annoying. He's not doing it on purpose and it's distracting from the fight.
- Why is Humphrey allowed to rest as the point is being taken away? Is he in that much pain from a hair pull?
- Rogers is connecting with knees in the clinch.
- Good first round, but marred by the hair pull.
- Rogers is landing knees from the clinch that are just decimating Abongo. Knee after knee...Humprhey is bloodied and Gus Johnson wants Herb Dean to stop it. He gets his wish.
- This was a fun fight that would have ended in the 1st if not for Humphrey's dreads.
- 23 knee strikes landed for Rogers.
- As the third man in the booth, Pat Miletich is doing great. Not sure why is play-by-play man Gus Johnson is doing the in-ring interviews...kinda weird.
> Cris 'Cyborg' Santos (7-1) def. Hitomi Akano (14-6) by KO at :35 of 3rd round.
- Gina Carano seems genuinely embarrassed by how many people like her. She is shown about 1,000 times during the fight for extended periods of time. No complaints by me, but just saying.
- Josh Barnett is in Akano's corner.
- Santos doesn't look 23.
- Ref Josh Rosenthal showing off some nice brown pants to go with his black shirt.
- Santos is literally tossing Akano like the proverbial rag doll around the ring. How has this not ended yet?
- Miletich sounds just like Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.
- Akano is completely overmatched.
- I'm surprised that it's going to a third round. Is this more of a Santos thing or Akano?
- Akano wants to go to ground, but fans don't want it.
- Santos is just unloading punches and knees.
- Ok, we get it...Carano is at ringside. Now the amount of shots is getting out-of-hand.
- Akano landed only 24 strikes the entire fight
- Post-fight, Santos blames her weight issues on a 'girl problem'? Now that is interesting.
> Scott Smith (17-5-0-1) def. Benji Radach (19-5) by KO at 3:23 of 3rd round.
- I'm not a fan of the generic entrance music for everyone, but I do like the pyro and the ramp.
- This is the third fight and it's only 11 pm. This is moving along pretty quickly.
- Early on, this is pretty back and forth action with small exchanges here and there.
- Just when Smith looked like he had Radach off a strike, Benji hit a left hook that dropped Smith. This was a packed 30-second sequence. Radach took his time and pinpointed shots instead of rushing in.
- Smith is competeley dazed in the corner
- Johnson: "America has grown to have an affection for Scott 'Hands of Steel' Smith." Really?
- Radach catches Smith again with a left hook and gets him in a standing guillotine.
- Smith is bleeding all over the place.
- People are booing at the 1:30 mark as Radach and Smith are against the cage catching their breath. Why? There was a little amount of stall, but come on. This crowd annoyed me most of the night with their boos.
- Smith could throw a power right hand at any time, so Radach should watch out.
- Smith's face looks torn up...cuts around eyes, swelling...bloody everywhere.
- Smith is showing life early and catches Radach in a guillotine of his own. Radach answers with a big lift and drop takedown.
- Now Radach is bleeding from the right eye. This is a great fight.
- Radach looks worn and tired. He hasn't fought this long since 2004 against Chris Leben. Smith is coming back hard.
- Just like that, Smith catches Radach with a straight right that drops Radach for the win. Radach is bleeding from several places on his face.
- So far, the Fight of the Night. Awesome.
> Gilbert Melendez (15-2) def. Rodrigo Damm (8-3) via KO at 2:02 of Round 2 to win the Strikeforce interim Lightweight Championship
- Melendez gets an early takedown off a strike and just unleashes a ground-and-pound clinic.
- One of the camera mikes is actually stuck in the cage and is touching Damm. That might be a little close, eh?
- Do you know why Damm is getting a title shot? Me neither.
- Fans booing again...this is a terrible and impatient group.
- Melendez catches Damm with a strike (a right set up by a jab) and Damm goes down. Melendez drops a few connecting shots on and it was called shortly after.
- Damm wants up, but the doctors and ref won't let him. He looks f'd up.
> Nick Diaz def. Frank Shamrock at 3:57 of 2nd round via TKO.
- Shamrock is a star...he just knows how to come off like he's THE dude in the room.
- Fans are booing both fighters during the intros...do they want a double KO?
- "Big" John McCarthy!
- Diaz already talking sh*t early with an unorthodox stance.
- Diaz on top early, but Shamrock evades and gets a dominant position for a few seconds.
- Diaz looks very calm...Shamrock isn't really throwing any punches at all.
- Diaz gets a full mount and has a ground/pound, but is not really connecting with any power shots.
- I wonder who is Ken Shamrock cheering for?
- I guess it's ok to fight with braces?
- Diaz still talking sh*t...Shamrock is backpedaling a lot and is now bleeding from the nose.
- Diaz is in full control, going upstairs and downstairs with kicks and punches. He is standing in front of Shamrock and daring him to hit him.
- The pounding is enough and McCarthy calls it a night for Shamrock.
- Diaz stands over him, but instead of talking trash, he picks him up to raise his hand in victory.
- Diaz landed 297 punches to just 80 for Shamrock. The latter's face is pretty beaten up.
- Mickey Rourke, Kevin Randleman, Gina Carano, Tito Ortiz (heavily booed), Andrei Arlovski, Alistair Overeem, Babalu Sobral, Jake Shields, Robbie Lawler and Cung Le were all in attendance.
- Announced attendance was 15,211.
- Next big event is Jake Shields vs. Robbie Lawler on June 6 with a ShoMMA event coming up in mid-May.
- Good production value overall. Funny that the opening had mostly all EliteXC footage, but that will obviously change soon. Graphics and fonts nearly identical to the EliteXC work on CBS.
Josh Nason - josh [at] ropesringandcage [dot com] - has published MMA, wrestling and boxing blog Ropes, Ring and Cage.com since 2007. He joined up with Bleacher Report in 2008 and achieved Columnist status in 2008.