by Ricardo Mendoza – MMAWeekly.com

Frank Shamrock vs.
Nick Diaz


Former Strikeforce middleweight champion Frank Shamrock
faces off with brash Cesar Gracie trained Nick Diaz in the main event as
Strikeforce debuts on Showtime. The fight is being billed as a revenge fight. Diaz
will look to avenge his trainer’s loss to Shamrock on Saturday night.


This will be Shamrock’s first fight in more than a year. He returns
from a broken arm injury, which he suffered during his last fight against Cung


Neither fighter seems to have a big advantage over the other,
as they are very even in every aspect of the fight. Diaz would have the
technical edge on the feet with his boxing ability, but Shamrock has been
working hard on his boxing technique in the past couple of years and has
improved as evidenced in his most recent fights. If the fight goes to the
ground then neither fighter would have much of an advantage. Shamrock would
probably have an edge when it comes to wrestling, while Diaz would have an edge
in submissions and reversals.


Most would have expected Shamrock to have a reasonable size
advantage over Diaz, who usually fights at welterweight, but word is that he
has been bulking up for the fight and may be as big if not bigger then Shamrock
come fight night. Diaz will look to simply outwork Shamrock on the feet with
his usual high volume of strikes, while Shamrock will look to land the power
shots. Shamrock’s best option at winning the fight will be to take the fight to
the ground and control the action from top with solid ground and pound.


This one is sure to be a barnburner and the crowd will be
electric with excitement.


Gilbert Melendez vs.
Rodrigo Damm


Former Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez
faces off with Sengoku veteran Rodrigo Damm. Damm is a late replacement for current
Strikeforce lightweight champion Josh Thomson, who was scheduled to fight
Melendez but was forced out due to a broken leg. This fight will be for the
Strikeforce interim lightweight championship, as Thomson will be out for an
undisclosed amount of time to recover from surgery.


Melendez is known for pushing the pace of the fight and it
should be no different this time around. He’ll be putting constant pressure on
Damm from beginning to end. He’ll have the edge when it comes to wrestling
ability and conditioning. His hands have been developing, but his signature
strike is his huge overhand right. Damm will no doubt have the advantage in
submissions and has shown that he is more than able to bang it out on the feet.


Melendez will be pushing the pace of the fight and will
pressure Damm for the duration. He will look to turn the fight into a brawl,
which is what he excels at. Damm will need to slow the pace of the fight and
impose his technical will on Melendez. Either way, don’t be surprised if this
fight turns out to be the fight of the night.


Scott Smith vs. Benji


Former EliteXC middleweight title challenger Scott Smith
faces off with IFL veteran Benji Radach. Both fighters are known for their ever
exciting stand-up wars and big time knockouts. This fight should be no
different and there is a little more at stake as the winner will move closer to
a probable title shot in the near future. These two will be going headhunting,
so don’t expect the fight to go the distance.


Smith will have the small advantage on the feet with
technique, but the bigger advantage that he enjoys is the power that he packs
behind his punches. Radach has been developing his boxing technique, but it
would be in his best interest to take the fight on the ground where he would
enjoy a distinct advantage because of his wrestling ability. Cardio could come
into play as both fighters do like to push the pace of the fight.


Smith would like nothing more to turn the fight into a brawl.
If the fight is a slow technical battle, it would benefit Radach, as he would
not be exposing himself to Smith’s power. Radach’s best bet will be to take the
fight to the ground and work from there, while Smith will want the fight to
turn into a brawl to get the knockout.


Chris “Cyborg” Santos
vs. Hitomi Akano


Striking sensation Chris “Cyborg” Santos faces off with former
Smackgirl champion Hitomi Akano in an highly anticipated women’s bout. Santos
has become one of the more recognized women in mixed martial arts and will face
her first big test in Akano, who is a more then capable fighter on the ground.
Look for the crowd to be into this fight as they have warmly embraced women’s
fighting over the last year.


Santos will have the big advantage on the feet with her
vaunted Muay Thai ability, and a vast size advantage, likely weighing nearly 20
pounds more than Akano at fight time. Akano enjoys the advantage on the ground
with her submission ability. If the fight stays on the feet, Santos should be
able to put pressure on Akano and finish her off with strikes. If Akano is able
to get the fight on the ground, expect a much more competitive and exciting


One X-factor in this one, however, is the debacle over
Santos failing to make weight. She tipped the scales Friday afternoon at seven
pounds over the contracted weight. She lost enough weight to gain clearance to
fight, but negotiations between her Chute Boxe camp, Akano’s camp, and
Strikeforce officials drug on to 2 a.m. on Friday night. So it is unclear how
the stress of the situation will affect each fighter.


Brett Rogers vs. Ron


EliteXC heavyweight prospect Brett Rogers faces off with
Iron Ring participant Ron Humphrey. Both fighters are undefeated and have finished
all of their opponents either by knockout or via strikes. These two will get
the night started with a bang, but don’t expect the fight to last too long.


Neither fighter will be taking the fight to the ground and
both will be swinging away. Rogers has faced the better competition of the two and
has more big fight experience. Humphrey will be making his debut on a big
stage. Rogers should also have the advantage on the feet with more technical
striking and power behind his strikes.


This is a very good way to get the Showtime telecast started,
as they will surely give the viewing audience a dose of guilty pleasure as they
watch two guys slug it out. More than likely the winner of the fight will be
the first one to land the big shot and its likely that Rogers will be that