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Shamrock vs. Diaz: An unconventional matchup that makes sense

A lot of people are excited about Strikeforce’s freshly confirmed April 11 main event between Frank Shamrock and Nick Diaz matchup. However, not everyone is a fan. After all, you’re talking about a fight between two competitors, who, in recent times have been separated by an entire weight class. Yet in spite of the unconventional matchmaking involved with Shamrock vs. Diaz, it’s a match that surprisingly makes perfect sense.

Here’s the thing you have to understand about Frank Shamrock: he’s had two different careers. His first career was from 1994-1999 and even though he fought for Pancrase, that era of his career was about sport. However, when he came back full-time in 2006 for the second chapter of his career, it was about entertainment.

So from ’94-’99, you have Frank Shamrock the athlete and from 06-current you have Frank Shamrock the entertainer. Shamrock the entertainer isn’t about chasing titles or worrying about whether he’s ranked as a top ten middleweight. He’s already been there and done that. Now it’s about putting asses in the seats, giving people memorable fights, and feeding his family.

Admittedly, when Shamrock came back I really didn’t understand the logic. But it makes perfect sense considering that Shamrock was the number one pound-for-pound fighter in the world at a time where there was little money to be made in fighting. As far as I am concerned, Shamrock has paid his dues and has every right to chase big pay days.

When you look at things from that perspective, that’s when Shamrock vs. Diaz begins to make perfect sense. Diaz is going to talk smack and get people charged up and Shamrock is going to indulge him. Shamrock is going to sell 5,500-8,5000 tickets in the San Jose market and 2,000-3,000 people will buy tickets and come up from Stockton to support Diaz. It’s going to be a energy-charged main event that will sell well at the box office and come off great on TV. Shamrock vs. Diaz will help start the Showtime-Strikeforce business relationship with a bang.

The bottom line is that Shamrock isn’t going to fight a top contender like Robbie Lawler or Gegard Mousasi at this stage of his career (unless it’s on PPV and he can get a huge payday out of it) and Cung Le isn’t available. Even if you wanted to think outside of the box and promote a rematch with Renzo Gracie, that’s not an option because Renzo apparently isn’t looking to fight right now. So what other options do you have? Jorge Santiago? Joey Villasenor? On paper, those are interesting matchups but will they sell and get people talking?

All things considered, I think Diaz vs. Shamrock is what the promotion needs right now and it’s what Shamrock needs. Coming off last March’s loss to Le, Shamrock needs a win and the fight vs. Diaz represents a matchup he will win easily if it doesn’t hit the ground.

If Diaz can get the fight to the floor, he could shred Shamrock. Shamrock has submissions but he doesn’t have strong traditional Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Frank’s standup is new school but his ground game is old school. Diaz would be too slick for him on the ground and I believe he would submit him.

However, the fight will start on the feet and Diaz is going to want to engage in the standup. He might want to take it to the floor after he starts eating some shots but his pure jiu-jitsu takedowns aren’t going to be enough of a factor to dictate where the fight is fought. Diaz doesn’t have a good single leg, double leg, or upperbody takedowns. And if the fight stays standing, Diaz will be in trouble.

For reasons that are unbeknownst to me, Diaz doesn’t have the punching power he displayed when he knocked out Lawler ar UFC 47 or when he took Takanori Gomi out to the wood shed at PRIDE 33. If he comes in with those pitter-patter punches he’s displayed in more recent times, Shamrock is going to use head movement to avoid them and then use his feet to get inside and then counter with power shots that will rock Diaz.

I see Shamrock vs. Diaz being a classic slugfest and if that’s the case, it’s advantage Shamrock.

  • Sic says:

    Honestly I’m pretty excited for this fight and to see exactly what’s going to happen leading up to things. Neither guy is known to hold back from saying what’s on their mind. Frank sure doesn’t seem to like the Gracie’s much and Nick being a Gracie trained fighter, things could get pretty interesting. Like Sam said this fight really makes sense for Frank at this point in his career and people will come out to watch it.

    Just have to comment on Frank only being an entertainer these days. Just reading an article on another site and Frank was quoted as saying “I’m tired of entertaining for the sake of entertainment. Now I’m just gonna destroy everybody, and people can just be entertained by that”. I really hope that he means it and he can return to the Frank of old. I doubt it but interested to find out. I think he will smash Nick for sure but I don’t think he would fare so well against the majority of top 10 Middleweight’s. But here’s to hoping I’m wrong.

  • Ft. Dub says:

    You’re right Sam…Strikeforce needs to come out of the gates with a big fight as well, and this is a good opportunity for them to do it. They really need some wars to get the buzz going in hopes of building a legitimate strong #2 fight organization. I hope that this fight lives up to it’s potential.

    And you’re also right about Nick’s striking. It’s been super weak for a while and I’m not sure what he thinks he’s accomplishing with his pitter pat punching. He not only isn’t a threat to his opponent, but takes unnecessary damage. Considering his history of cuts, that’s a horrible idea.

  • BigDave says:

    This fight may draw well but im not going to be one of then for a few reasons. these guys are both shit talking punks like bj penn, shamrock is hugely overrated, and the fight wont last more then a minute when diaz rnc frank.

  • ultmma says:

    I know this may be a shock to some MMA fans out there but sports= entertainment

    not every match made has to have top ten implications to get me to watch.

    Shamrock and Diaz have the skills to back up their mouthes this is a good first offering for the revamped SF

    The crowd is rocking everytime Shamrock fights in the HP Pavillion should be one hell of a atmosphere come fight night

  • kidneybeans says:

    Though I don’t like either of these guys, I’m pretty excited for this matchup. I always relish any chance to see a Diaz get beat, and to have them both lose in such a short span would be almost more than I could ask for. So obviously I will be rooting for Frank in this one, and you have no idea how much it pains me to root for a Shamrock.

  • screwface says:

    im a huge diaz fan, win or lose, always have been, always will be. but i think this matchup is stupid. i agree with ken shamrocks comments, frank is the bigger stronger opponent, and he can cut weight and put it right back on without missing a heartbeat if he needed to. this is a not a good situation diaz has put himself into. i know the offers arent floating in like they used too so if you wanna eat you gotta take any opportunity that comes your way. but i dont see nick winning this. maybe if he wears a gi and chokes him out with the sleeve :p either way im rooting for diaz and i really hope he shocks me by pulling this out. but i truly think the size/strength difference will be the deciding factor. good luck nick.


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