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Frank Shamrock vs. Nick Diaz set for Strikeforce’s April 11 show

Former Strikeforce middleweight champion Frank Shamrock will make his return to competitive fighting after a one year layoff when he takes on Nick Diaz during Strikeforce’s next event on April 11 at the HP Pavilion and San Jose, Calif.

The matchup had been rumored for the past several days but was able to confirm early Tuesday morning that the fight has been finalized. An official announcement could be made Tuesday during a joint conference call to be hosted by Strikeforce and television partner Showtime.

Shamrock, 23-9-2, fights at 185 pounds while Diaz, 18-7, primarily has competed at 160 and 170 pounds. As such, it was not immediately clear what weight the fight between the two California-based fighters will be contested at. However, Diaz has gone on the record before in interviews and stated that he would have no issue going up in weight if the right opportunity presented itself.

For Shamrock, the fight vs. Diaz will mark his first bout since sustaining a broken arm that forced an end to his Strikeforce middleweight title fight against Cung Le last March following the end of the third round. Despite having received medical clearance to return last fall, Shamrock has not fought since losing the title to Le.

Shamrock is widely regarded as one of the greatest fighters to ever compete in MMA and was the first-ever UFC middleweight champion (later renamed the UFC light heavyweight title). The 15-year veteran holds notable wins in his career over Phil Baroni, Tito Ortiz, Enson Inoue, Jeremy Horn, Kevin Jackson, and Igor Zinoviev.

The 36-year old Shamrock will be giving up 11 years in age when he climbs into the cage to face Diaz. The 25-year old Diaz last competed in July during EliteXC’s “Unfinished Business” event, which was televised as a part of CBS’ Saturday Night Fights franchise.

Facing King of the Cage veteran Thomas Denny in Diaz’s hometown of Stockton, Calif., he was able to TKO Denny at 0:30 of round 2. The win served as Diaz’s third consecutive victory following a disappointing first round TKO loss due to cuts against K.J. Noons during EliteXC’s “Renegade” event that determined the promotion’s first-ever lightweight champion.

Noons was stripped of the title last year after refusing to fight Diaz and Diaz was subsequently signed to challenge for the vacant title against Eddie Alvarez in a bout that had been planned for a Nov. 8 event in Reno, Nevada. However, the event was canceled by EliteXC officials after the company suspended fight operations due to financial problems.

Strikeforce’s April 11 event will air on Showtime as a part of a new 16 event agreement between the two companies. Thus far, the only other reported bout for the show is a middleweight matchup between Scott Smith and Benji Radach. However, sources also inform Five Ounces of Pain that Strikeforce lightweight champion Josh Thomson and former Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez are slated for the card against opponents that have yet to be determined.

  • jj says:

    Their styles should match up well and their trash talking abilities are both legendary. This is just the fight Strikeforce needed to make a statement with to celebrate their new acquirements. While Nick is one of my favourite fighters and someone I’m always rooting for, I think he is going to have a tough time with Frank.

  • Dayzah says:

    Should be a good fight , I think Frank will be too strong for Nick .

    Curious what weight they are gonna fight at.

  • hindsightufuk says:

    never would have guessed at this fight being put together!
    wicked tho, love Diaz, love Shamrock, both entertaining as hell to watch
    cant even begin to picture how this goes down but im looking forward to it?

  • Sergio Hernandez says:

    Um… YES?!?

    Now I gotta call and order Showtime!

    That combined with getting basic HD service and the HD Plus tier to get HDNet AND the Digital Plus tier to get Versus, Charter is cleaning up!

    It’s a pinche racket….

  • Meers311 says:

    I think the fight will never be able to live up to the trash talk that is going to come from these two, and I’ll enjoy every second of it. I gotta think this fight is going to be at 185lbs. Nick had trouble making 160lbs. in EliteXC, and his home is really 170lbs. so 185lbs. shouldn’t be an issue for him obviously. Nick shouldn’t try standing with Frank very long, I know his pride and ego will probably get in the way of this theory, but he should take Frank to the ground as quickly as possible.

  • Brendhan Conlan says:

    I was hoping Shamrock would fight Lawler. I don’t see the point of doing a bout between a guy who typically weighs 160-170 and a guy with comparable skills who has 20-30 pounds of weight on him. I mean yes, the local Cali crowd will enjoy it and I get that Diaz/Shamrock both have some mainstream name value, but I don’t see how it benefits the sport of MMA as a whole. It’s a poor man’s BJ Penn vs. Anderson Silva (and I’m saying this as a fan of Diaz, Frank Shamrock, AND Strikeforce in general).

    One thing I *will* say though is that the trash-talk leading up to the fight is going to be epic in nature.

  • Ft. Dub says:

    Even though I hate Shamrock, I think he’ll wipe the floor with Diaz. Nick has the wackest pitter pat punches that won’t slow down Frank for a minute. On the ground, I just see Frank being way too strong for Nick. Should be entertaining none the less. After Diaz, bring on Lawler for Shamrock.

  • This will be one hell of a test for Diaz who when he is on is very tough and ultra talented. I would imagine these two will meet somewhere between 175-180lbs. Frank will certainly have the strength and experience advantage but Diaz is as tough as anyone and will put a good fight. The biggest thing Diaz has to offer is his subs and I can not see him making Shamrock tap out. The trash talking will be epic and I am sure the fight will be exciting and will be full of non stop action.

  • meatloaf says:

    This fight is going to be great Nick was to big for lightweight that’s why Elite made up their own weight class of 160 and he wasn’t at a big strength disadvantage against Robbie Lawler so I don’t think that’s going to be a huge difference.
    I mean yeah Frank is going to have a bigger frame but that’s not going to be the deciding factor. If Frank wins it’ll be because he’s better and I think he’ll win.
    After this I know Frank wants to fight Tito Ortiz maybe we’ll see that fight this summer or in the fall.
    Either way it goes I think both these guys are going to be big pieces for Strikeforce in the future.

  • Rich S. says:

    didn’t see this one coming at all..

    It’ll be good..
    but it really is a shame,
    because Shammy’s chin and sub skills are freaking legendary so Diaz really doesn’t stand much of a chance here..

  • goodguy says:

    I just dropped Showtime! I think that I may have to pick up another job just so I can watch all the fights that I want to see!

  • diazdomain says:

    To win this fight Diaz needs to be the Diaz of old. He has not been the same since he beat Gomi. He has to bring back that cocky swagger he had in UFC and Pride. All his fights in Elite XC were against guys he had much more talent than but Nick looked sluggish and tentative in those fights. It seems like the bigger the name the better he fights so I think he will give Frank a run for his money. Both guys have had a long layoff so we will see how that plays out. Plus Frank destroyed Ceasar Gracie so Nick will probably come out swinging. I say Diaz submits Shamrock and revives his career.

  • Angry Mike says:

    Back when Shamrock faced off with Cung Le people questioned whether his body was up to the challenge, especially his knees. Wonder if he will be 100% physically.

  • dpk says:

    Didn’t we just see a Bigger GSP destroy a smaller BJ Penn. Not that Shamrock and Diaz are that good, but the size difference is comparable. this fight was made, because Frank will talk shit about Diaz, and then Diaz will flip him off and run his mouth back. I have no interest in this fight. Why are we not seeing Lawler v Shamrock, that would make alot more sense, and maybe Josh Thompson v Diaz at a 165 catch weight

  • meatloaf says:

    @ dpk “I have no interest in this fight.”

    LOL! Some people are never happy when there’s a great non-UFC match up that a lot of other people want to see.

  • dpk says:

    @ meatload – I listed two non-ufc match-ups that I really want to see in my post. They just involve these fighters against guys who I think would give them better fights.

  • mu_shin says:

    Frank Shamrock fought well in his last fight with Cung Le, at least until he got his arm broken. I watched that fight and felt like Shamrock had life left in him, had some good fights in front of him if he wanted them.

    I don’t think there is any denying the both Frank and Ken Shamrock have some issues, and that their unusual take on things has affected their business opportunities in the sport of MMA.

    Now Ken has signed to fight a 400 pound monster, and Frank has this fight with Nick Diaz. Whatever you might think about the Diaz personality, Nick is a serious threat in the ring, and has put down some serious competitors. Nick’s punching ability inspires some skepticism, but looking at the records, he has 10 knockouts to Shamrock’s 2.

    Shamrock’s injuries over the years have been the subject of some discussion. Now, it would seem if he is healthy, and if he trains seriously with adequate training partners and dedication, he should present a real challenge for Nick Diaz.

    This is exactly the kind of fight that can help Strikeforce establish itself as a legitimate promotion with strong, well known, big name fighters, and I think this will be an exciting match to watch.

  • meatloaf says:

    @dpk Nice cheap shot.
    It must suck when someone sees right through your obvious hate for this fight because you want everyone aside from the UFC to fail, and when someone points it out you go into attack mode with name calling.
    Nice job.
    By the way if you were interested in a Thomsom / Diaz fight then there’s no reason you wouldn’t want to see this. It’s a much better match up.
    Also if you really think the size difference is going to be as big as you’re making it sound you don’t know a lot about these fighters, because Nick Diaz with the added weight on his taller frame is not going to look as small as Penn did against St. Pierre which was your comparison.

  • dpk says:

    @meatloaf – honestly the “meatload” in the previous post was just a typo. That isn’t how I make my points.
    UFC is the top promotion, but I like Strikeforce, and the way that they operate. I really don’t see how you think Diaz v Shamrock is better than they alternatives. With Strikeforce buying EliteXC, it would make sense to have Champion v Champion matches. Diaz (I don’t think KJ was acquired, so he is the last previous EliteXC champ) v Thompson (Strikeforce 155 champ) would be great. Then I want to see Lawler (EliteXC MW champ) v Shamrock (former Strikeforce MW champ, I’d say Cung Le, but he is making movies now). It just seems like the best way to unify these weightclasses, and make some great fights .

  • mu_shin says:

    Business sense says to me, take the two biggest most well known names available and promote the match most likely to help establish an emerging promotion. Josh Thompson is a good fighter, but does not have the name recognition of either Diaz or Shamrock. Same with Robbie Lawler, who is more well known among knowedgable fans, but not nearly as recognizable as Diaz or Shamrock to the casual fan. I’m a big fan of Cung Le, and I think Le/Lawler would be an excellent match-up. Last video interview I saw with Cung Le he said he had movie commitments through the first half of 2009, and then would consider options in the fight game.


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