The San Jose-based MMA promotion, STRIKEFORCE heads east to St. Louis, Missouri on June 6 with STRIKEFORCE: LAWLER vs. SHIELDS. It will only be the promotion’s third time since their March 2006 inception to hold an event outside the state of California.
PRO MMA (promma.info) was notified by the company today that Stockton bad boy, Nick Diaz will be fighting Scott “Hands of Steel” Smith in a special 180-pound catch-weight bout on the June 6th “Lawler vs. Shields” under card. The event will air live on Showtime from the Scottrade Center.
Both Diaz and Smith, are coming off impressive victories from STRIKEFORCE’s April 11th Showtime debut. Diaz fought “The Legend” Frank Shamrock in a one-sided main event beat down that left Shamrock crumpled against the cage and unable to continue 3:57 into round number two.
On the same card, Scott Smith battled Benji Radach in one of the most entertaining bouts of the year. The middleweight fight went back and forth with Radach taking Smith to the brink of defeat. However, Smith showed he not only had “hands”, but also had a “heart of steel” as he was able to hang tough and at 3:24 into round three, he put Radach away with a KO.
25-year-old Nick Diaz commented on his match up with Smith, “I think this is a great fight for me, but I really hate that (Smith) brings his kids to every one of his fights because now I’m going to be made out to be the bad guy or some sort of villain after I beat him up. At the end of the day, I’m going to do what I have to do though and take him out.”
Scott Smith, now at 29 years of age, has a professional MMA record of 15-5. He knocked out 13 of his 15 victims. His other two wins were submissions; no decision victories for this man.
Diaz’s record sits at 19-7 with 11 (T)KO’s, 5 submissions, and 3 decisions. Although Diaz is a Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt, he is also a professional boxer and is known for his untiring combinations.
Now that STRIKEFORCE has picked up Pro Elite’s top assets and has a television deal that rivals the UFC, fighters like Scott Smith who were included in the takeover, have extra incentive to take full advantage of this unique opportunity.
“I’m pretty much 100 percent right now, other than some stitches I have that are tender. I usually take a few weeks off, get out of shape and go up to about 210 pounds and wind up spending a few weeks just getting back in shape, but I decided I wasn’t going to do that this time. I’m 195 pounds right now and I feel great,” Smith said.
Scott Smith realizes the level of fighter he will face when he steps in the cage with Diaz but also knows what he himself is capable of, “Diaz is a great fighter. He’s going to come in there and out grapple me and out strike me so what I have to do is go in there and beat him up. I actually think this is more of a dangerous fight for him than it is for me.”
The match up of styles between Diaz and Smith is a sure-fire recipe for excitement that could just as easily be the main event as Lawler vs. Shields (if it Lawler vs. Shields were not a title fight).
Other match ups tentatively scheduled for the St. Louis card on June 6 include “The New York Badass” Phil Baroni (13-10) vs. Joe “Diesel” Riggs (29-10), Rafael Cavalcante (7-1) vs. Jared Hamman (10-1), and Joey Villasenor (26-6) vs. Evangelista Santos (16-12). Rumors of a possible heavyweight title fight between champion Alistair Overeem (29-11) and Brett Rogers (9-0) are also being talked about.
Originally scheduled for the June 6 card was a light heavyweight title fight between Renato “Babalu” Sobral (32-7) and Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante (7-1). Sobral pulled out of the fight because the due date of his child being born was too close to the fight. Cavalcante will remain on the card although, an opponent has not yet been named.
Tickets for Strikeforce: “Lawler vs. Shields” are on sale at the Scottrade Center box office as well as at all Ticketmaster locations (800-745-3000), Ticketmaster online (www.ticketmaster.com), and Strikeforce’s official website (www.strikeforce.com).
By: Jack Bratcher