January 29, 2011
Striking, grappling and submissions, Nick Diaz can do it all. The Strikeforce welterweight champ is also as tough as they come.
In absolute war, Diaz ate the best that brawler Evangelista "Cyborg" Santos had to offer on the feet. Then he went into his bag of tricks, turning to his jiu-jitsu.
Late in the second round, a tired Cyborg took the fight to the ground and was submitted via armbar moments later by the versatile Diaz. The 27-year-old veteran retained his belt with the finish at 4:51 of the second in the main event of Strikeforce: 'Diaz vs. Cyborg' in San Jose, Ca.
Diaz (24-7, 5-0 Strikeforce, 6-4 UFC) wasn't surprised that the Brazilian striking dynamo chose to take it to the mat.
"I figured I'd put pressure [on him], he's gonna have to do something," Diaz told Showtime's Mauro Ranallo. "You know, if he didn't want to take anymore, he was going to have to take me down."
Cyborg (18-14) got off to a great start. He fired away with leg kicks and sent Diaz a message, that he had a war on his hands. Cyborg landed 16 nasty kicks out of 26 attempts in the opening round and Diaz just stood in front of him.
Cyborg won the first three and half minutes. He landed some huge rights that Diaz took and kept walking forward. The Californian was able to wrestle control of the round when he landed a huge left that pushed Cyborg back on the cage with 1:36 left.
Diaz, who also competes as a triathlete, has legendary cardio. Cyborg wore himself out with all those early strikes. The final 90 seconds saw Diaz land just about everything he threw. He drilled Cyborg with 36-of-64 punches in the first.
"No, it's just really out of respect for the way he fights," Diaz said. "He came out here to fight me. He doesn't to try to play a game to win. He tries to come out here and get the knockout win, put on a show for you guys."
Cyborg came hard in the first two minutes of the second, but Diaz's relentless volume of punches broke down the Brazilian. With less than a minute left in the round, Cyborg tried to change the pace of the fight and scored a takedown via trip. Once it hit the mat, he found himself in a dangerous place, Diaz's guard.
In his early 20's, Diaz built his MMA reputation as a submission artist. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt showed he's still sick on the ground. Cyborg left himself open and was tapping less than 20 seconds later.
Both fighters threw with reckless abandon and absorbed a lot of strikes. Diaz made good on 75-of-142 (53 percent). Cyborg actually landed more shots, 85-of-173, with 34 of those shots being kicks. The Brazilian has a chance to be a real player in the welterweight division. This was just his second fight down at 170. He was a little small at middleweight. He'll be handful for welterweights in the future.
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