Herschel Walker vs. Brock Lesnar??? Walker MMA Debut (VIDEO)…Diaz shares spotlight…

Herschel Walker MMA Debut

Diaz shares spotlight with Walker at Strikeforce: Miami

Josh Gross

SUNRISE, Fla. — In front of a subdued crowd that seemed more suited for Tokyo’s cavernous stadiums than America’s raucous arenas, Nick Diaz put his stamp on the Strikeforce welterweight division with an impressive first-round stoppage of Dream champion Marius Zaromskis.

Saturday’s main event at the BankAtlantic Center before 8,156 fans — and preceded by Herschel Walker’s MMA debut — capped an uneven night for Strikeforce, the Calif.-based promotional company with ties to Showtime and CBS attempting to put on consistently compelling events in the face of heavy competition from the industry-leading Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Walker, the 1982 Heisman Trophy winner and former U.S. Olympic bobsledder, earned a victory in his pro debut. At 47, few outside of Walker’s camp and promoter took his foray into the cage seriously. But unlike Johnnie Morton or Jose Canseco, who both badly lost in their MMA efforts, Walker showed over the course of two-plus rounds against Arizonan Greg Nagy (1-2) that he was sincerely interested in putting his best foot forward.

Walker, whose purse went to charity, has not decided whether this is a one-time affair, but the former NFL All-Pro deserves credit for stepping into an unforgiving arena and making the most of it. The victory came at 2:17 of the third.

In the main event, Diaz, a UFC veteran who at the age of 26 is in his ninth year as a professional, made smart use of height and reach advantages against Zaromskis before referee Troy Waugh saved the dangerous Lithuanian striker 4:38 into the opening period.

It was apparent from the opening exchange that Zaromskis, 29, was going to have a difficult time finding Diaz’s chin. And considering he stepped into his U.S. debut facing a significant submission deficit against an innovative Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, it was imperative for the London-based welterweight to do his damage as Diaz stood in front of him.

Save one stiff right hand, things never materialized for Zaromskis (13-4) the way did in his last three fights, all high-kick knockout victories. Diaz, one of the best body punchers in MMA, pounded his challenger for the vacant Strikeforce 170-pound title, both to the head and gut with punches, moving beatifully and upping the combinations as the round wore on.

This was a mature Diaz, now 21-7, not the hot-headed kid from Stockton, Calif., that loved brawling for the sake of engaging in fisticuffs.

“He’s a passionate fighter but uses his brain more and more each time,” said the new champion’s longtime training partner Gilbert Melendez, who along with Diaz and middleweight Jake Shields gives Cesar Gracie three Strikeforce titleholders.

“Diaz has ups and downs and people like to count him out,” Melendez said. “But he knocks out Robbie Lawler, gogoplatas Takanori Gomi, knocks out Frank Shamrock and puts away Marius Zaromskis. He’s one of my favorite fighters to watch, as a fan.”

1 Comment

  1. Note to the rest of the world. Don’t type stupid titles and don’t type stupid articles that only reveal how little insight you have to the skill level it takes to compete at the highest level in MMA. A 215 lb Hershel would be tossed around like a rag doll by Lesner. Too funny.


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