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Nick Diaz defending belt against Evangelista Santos in January

The period of debate regarding Nick Diaz’s immediate future in the ring, specifically the weight he would compete at in his next bout due to an anticipated clash with rival Jason Miller, appears to be over. It looks as though Strikeforce’s 170-pound champ will in fact defend his strap against exciting Brazilian striker Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos on January 29 in San Jose, adding a second title-fight to the card with the other involving middleweight champion Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza putting his gold up for grabs against heavy-handed Robbie Lawler.

News of the pairing was reported earlier today by MMAFighting and has since been confirmed by Strikeforce through an official press release.

Santos made a successful debut at welterweight against Marius Zaromskis this past June, knocking the Lithuanian kickboxer out a few minutes into the match-up, and has eighteen career victories with sixteen involving some form of finish. Other than being one-half of MMA’s most-imposing couple, Mr. “Cyborg” is known for his daring delivery in the cage including a 2006 performance against Melvin Manhoef viewed as being one of the sport’s greatest battles.

Whether or not Diaz will choose to engage on his feet with Santos, as he’s shown a willingness to do against previous opponents, remains to be seen. Stockton’s favorite son is currently on an eight-fight win streak including a successful defense of his belt against K.J. Noons in Houston last October. Though he owes more than half of his total victories to strikes, the outspoken Californian is also known for an extremely slick BJJ base cultivated at Cesar Gracie Jiu-Jitsu and has submitted seven opponents as a result of his mastery of the craft.

In addition to the twin title-fights, Strikeforce’s January 29 event is expected to feature a bout between Roger Gracie and Trevor Prangley as well as Herschel Walker facing Scott Carson in the former football star’s follow-up to victory in his MMA debut almost a year to the day of the 2011 show.

PHOTO CREDIT – STRIKEFORCE

28 COMMENTS
  • Right the hell on! This is a great way for SF to kick off the year, two title fights, and a nice card to back them up. I like this match even better than I like Robbie Vs. Jacare. That is a traditional striker vs. grappled match this is alot more of a well rounded fighter vs. well rounded fighter match. Nick may very well have his hands full this time. but then again so will Santos…I love it, great fight.

  • BigDave says:

    Should be a good fight but I really hope that Cyborg destroys the pot smoking loser that is Nick Diaz and while he is at it he can pound on Nick retarted baby brother aswell.

  • JOEgun says:

    Good matchup.

    @BigDave, wow dude you need to lay off the haterade. Did you read the part where Nick is on an 8 fight win streak? So Nick is anything but a loser.

    And who cares if he smokes pot! That is of no threat to anyone. Only ignorant and fearful people have a problem with pot.
    So please get educated or STFU!!

  • fanoftna33 says:

    I would be willing to bet my house that this fight doesnt go to a decision. These two will go hard. Diaz by submission in round 2.

  • JabCrossHook says:

    lol diaz will win, his striking is miles ahead of what santos brings to the table

    cyborg is just like wanderlai but just less devastating, waiting to get countered

  • cocoonofhorror says:

    horrible matchup, Diaz could beat Santos in his sleep.

  • boomnutz says:

    i would match rather see Paul Daley vs Diaz, we all know Diaz could submit him easily but he’d probably stand n bang anyway

  • stone says:

    DIAZ ALL THE WAY!!! Maybe afterwards they can line up the Diaz vs Lawler2 match all true mma fans have wanted for years! Line it up SF!

  • LiverPunch says:

    Nick should win this but Santos is dangerous. I guess Daley will be the next to contend for the SF WW belt or possibly Noons again.
    I hope the fight between Mayhem and Miller happens soon. I think Nick should offer 180. If he wont agree, they should both just forget it and move on. Miller has a lot of possible opponents at 185 and like I said Diaz has the rubber match with Noons and a looming fight with Daley to keep him going until the next WW threat comes along.

  • ByronGiant says:

    This is god awful! This match up pits a top ten WW vs. a fighter who has NEVER beaten a top twenty fighter in his life, and is five losses away from being a 50/50 fighter. His wife vs. Diaz would be a more credible title defense.

    This is like putting Ross Pointon up against Yushin Okami, or a race between a Ladda and a Civic.

  • mu_shin says:

    Santos is a credible journeyman fighter with experience as a middlweight and as a light heavy. He’s fought mixed competition with mixed results, but in the context of the welterweight fighters available in Strikeforce, I think he presents a legitimate challenge.

    Diaz will have five rounds to pick Cyborg apart, and given Nick’s competent if somewhat less than devastating striking, world class ground game, and his never ending cardio reserves, this should be a good night for the Stockton native.

  • bigbadjohn says:

    another Nick Diaz clinic in store here. I doubt Cyborg takes the constant pitter patter and most likely tries to push the fight – get’s a bad cut or goes for a takedown and plays right into the gracie student’s real strength. I don’t see Cyborg in the championship rounds with Nick

  • MCM says:

    Jay Heiron 7-0 in his last 7…..released.
    Joe Riggs 6-1 in his last 7…..released.
    Evangelista Santos 3-4 in his last 7……..TITLE SHOT!

    Good job Coker.

  • ByronGiant says:

    Santos has no credible wins over anyone of note, except Zaromskis who was annihilated by Diaz, and… maybe Epstein. On top of that I can find no record of him ever even fighting for a title in any organization he’s fought for. This is a bad match up, and looks particularly bad for what is widely considered the number two org. in North America. I wouldn’t put Santos into this fight for the same reason I wouldn’t put Ikuhisa Minowa in the ring with Shogun.

  • Niv says:

    ByronGiant, Santos fought for a title in Cage Rage against James Zikic and lost that fight. You may want to check that fight out as it was an all out war with both guys beating the tar out of each other.

    Santos biggest weakness has never been his ability as much as his gas tank. The guy comes to fight and I expect this to be exciting like most of his fights. I expect Diaz to continue his winning streak as he will most likely ko Santos when he fatigues.

  • ByronGiant says:

    Ah! You are correct! It was listed on KIkic’s profile, but not Santos’. I think I’ve seen that one…. isn’t it the one where Zikic leg kicks the shit out of his opponent?

  • Rece Rock says:

    i’m sure these guys will bang and the fireworks may fly but this is certainly not a main event fight or a fight that should have been next for diaz… it’s like there maximizing the amount of fights they can get him in per year so that they can hope to squeeze every dollar of worth out of him…
    diaz/ daley should have been next. Cyborg is a title challenger after one fight at 170? whatever.

  • BigDave says:

    you guys need to get your facts straight. Diaz as never beaten a top level guy hell he loses the mid level fighters like Joe Riggs Deigo sanchez , sean sherk, and KJ Noons. Cyborg has faced top level guy lossing to gegard mousasi a top 5 guy and shogun Rua who if im not mistaken is a champion and there for #1 in his weight class in the rankings at the moment he also lost to manheof who in his 24 wins has 23 KO/TKO victories. To say this fight is gonna be a walk in the park for Diaz just goes to show your lack of knowledge in the sport and your bias towards a guy just cause you like him.

    I hate nick Diaz and his retarded brother for that matter I think they are horrible ambassidors to the sport but I do Know that they are skilled fighters. This fight will go one of a couple ways. either Santos will come out like a bull in a china shop gas out and get taken down and submitted or Diaz will try to stand and bang and get KO’ed or the last scenario I see coming in is Diaz pitter pats Cyborg and moves out taking a extremely boring decision.

    I would like to see Diaz get KTFO but I think Diaz wins this fight by letting Cyborg gas then getting the rnc round 2 or 3.

  • Rece Rock says:

    “I hate nick Diaz and his retarded brother for that matter I think they are horrible ambassidors to the sport but I do Know that they are skilled fighters.”

    Amen, brother.

  • cocoonofhorror says:

    LMAO @ big dave. get a grip dude. Cyborg is garbage, his “wife” would beat his ass.

  • MMA-LOGIC says:

    Gomi ranked no.2 in the world for 1 plus Noons (top 20 and Elite XC champ), Lawler (top 20 and former MW champ), F.Shamrock (top 20 former MW and LHW champ), Sakurai (top 10-15), Tibau (top 20), Neer (top 20), Zaromskis (top 10-15 and Dream champ), Lytle (top 20) and more BigDave. Did you mean he hasn’t fought in the UFC recently. Please don’t bother trying to tell me that those guys he beat sucked or were past it. I’m sure you will. Because they are not in the UFC right?. I’m sure you will say Diaz’s win over Gomi doesn’t count because of the RECREATIONAL drugs found in Diaz’s system. I mean MCM tried to say that weed was performance enhancing because it was a pain killer. Weed is a far less potent pain killer than alcohol and nearly as performance inhibiting.
    I would say Diaz is 1 of the very best at WW in the world, where he actually sits is hard to determin because the UFC WWs are prevented by law from fighting him.

  • BigDave says:

    thank you logic for proving my point only 1 guy arguably top 5 the rest not top 10. I love when someone tries to make my point look better when they are trying to talk against it. MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!!

  • MCM says:

    Gomi was a top fighter.
    Noons was arguably a top 20 but his biggest win happen to be over Diaz.
    Lawler was top 20 when they fought (but that’s was when Lawler was in the UFC, so I’m sure his ranking was all hype).
    F. Shamrock was nowhere near top anything when they fought, (It’s akin to Luigi Fioravanti touting a win over Dave Menne).
    Sakurai was maybe top 20, but nowhere near top 10 when they fought.
    Tibau, Neer and Lytle weren’t top 20 either, but were so long ago, like Lawler, they don’t compare to how they fight now.
    Zaromskis gained his rankings off a couple flash KO’s, kinda like Sokodjou in PRIDE.

    It’ funny how you dog on everyone else for swallowing the UFC hype but you’ve got no problem gulping down the Diaz BS.

    Diaz may very well be one of the best WW’s in the world, but we’ll never know until Strikeforce actually has him fight top WW’s. But their not doing that. Instead their failing to renew contracts and having their other guys fight LW’s.
    Diaz had a bad record at WW earlier in his career and then had a good record at LW, but hasn’t fought top comp since jumping back up. You can try to spin it anyway you want, but those are still the facts.

  • LiverPunch says:

    I’m not sure that he proved your point that he had never fought a top fighter by saying he had beaten world no.2 Dave. I actually think he may have actually been no1 at the time.
    Anyway Diaz is a very good fighter and could match 90% of the worlds WW in a striking duel and has the BJJ to match 95% of the worlds WWs. His wrestling is pretty good but not top level. I would give him top 5 status but I can’t prove it.
    I do get the frustration Logic feels when a few guys seem to be pro UFC and anti Fedor , M1 and Strikeforce. Why attack something so purposefully like non-UFC fighters when all you have to base your thoughts on is a gut feeling.There is far too many instances of people trying to discredit fighters by saying victories don’t count because of one reason or another and trying to say Fedor’s , Mo’s , Shields or Diaz’s victories were worth less because they were out of the UFC or because Arlovski was past it or whatever. I have to say with a few of you it nearly always applies to non-UFC fighters.
    Truth is UFC is just a part of the MMA world. It can not claim to have the best in the world until it involves the rest of the world. It may be the case that Diaz is the very best and would dominate GSP in the same surprising way that Edgar did to BJ I doubt it but you never know and we can not know because of the UFC’s contract restrictions and the reluctance of some of the top MMA fighters to sign such contracts.
    Anyway Diaz is very good and does always provide great fights , whether he would beat the UFC WW top 5 , I don’t think we will ever know. That is a huge shame.

  • 3OAM says:

    Diaz is ducking the real fight…DON’TBESCAREDHOMIE!

  • After Diaz makes Evangelista look silly I want to see Big Dave fight Diaz

  • GIKE MOLDBERG says:

    Man!!-Just look at the interest that Nick diaz incites-If anyone should be brought back to the UFC ASAP-It’s the elder of the Diaz brothers

  • BigDave says:

    I fight dirty I would mike tyson his ass!

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