Cagewriter - Mixed Martial Arts

Jay Hieron finally got a big name in his crosshairs and he didn't squander the opportunity, and some people even got to watch it.

Hieron has had a rough couple of years with fight cancellations and bouts that disappeared from television. Tonight, he got to face UFC veteran Joe Riggs and methodically took him apart. Hieron picked up a unanimous decision 29-28, 30-27, 30-27 to move to one step closer to a Strikeforce welterweight title shot against Nick Diaz or Marius Zaromskis.

"Joe Riggs is a tough guy," Hieron told Showtime's Lucia Rijker. "I came to Strikeforce for a title shot. I had to prove I could beat Joe and get my legitimate title shot. I hopes it's Nick Diaz. Let's go!"

Diaz and Zaromskis fight in the main event of Saturday's Strikeforce: Miami card in Sunrise, Fla.

The win didn't come without a few dangerous moments.

Riggs, a heavy hitter, seemed to have trouble getting into a rhythm until he almost knocked Hieron's head off early in the fourth round. With four minutes left in the fight, Riggs (32-12) caught Hieron with a huge right behind his ear. There was a delayed effect as Hieron's legs went out and he fell to his back. The Long Island native showed his experience, sweeping Riggs when he tried to jump into Hieron's guard. He got control of the fight in full guard for the next few minutes. When it got back to the feet with two minutes left, Hieron paid Riggs back with a big left that dropped him to his back. One judge gave the round to Riggs, but the other two gave Hieron (19-4) a clean sweep.

Hieron got screwed a bit in the past when two of his recent fights, scheduled for television, got bumped.

He lost thousands of dollars in endorsement dollars in both cases. That was supposed to be solved this time around. Hardcore fans were angered when the Bobby Lashley and Herschel Walker fights were chosen over Hieron-Riggs for the Showtime telecast. stepped up and offered a free stream of the fight online. That produced mixed results with many folks on the Internet who were unable to get the stream to load. Poor Hieron.

Hieron really wants Diaz, who is one of the most high-profile fighters on the Strikeforce roster. Hieron had an opportunity once Affliction was purchased by the UFC to head over to fight for that promotion, but he passed on the opportunity and joined Strikeforce under his existing contract. Now the question is whether Hieron has any fights left on his contract. There seemed to be some confusion on the part of Hieron, his management and Strikeforce management.

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