In a bout few saw coming or even considered, Shamrock and Diaz collide Saturday in San Jose, Calif., where Strikeforce offers the first of its beefed up fair on Showtime.
Shamrock, cocky and self-aware, wore UFC gold around his waist when MMA fans couldn't fathom the sport landing on premium television. Diaz, a teenager in the late 1990s when Shamrock shone under an invisible cloak, lives on the edge. He speaks openly of his disdain for all things pop-culture, his need and use of marijuana -- herbal cleansers, he said before the fight, will clear him of commission-assessed drug tests -- and the necessity of a good scrap, which he should find tonight.
Physical builds are yet another thing the pair don't share. Though each weighed 180 pounds Friday, Shamrock is muscle-bound, top heavy. Diaz stands long and lean.
As the fight goes, Shamrock (23-9-2) would seem to have a power advantage. Yet, Diaz is a tough customer. He won't easily go away, and Shamrock's cardio, a strength early in his career, has looked like a liability since he returned to active competition following several extended layoffs. Diaz, a boxer, will pitter-patter Shamrock to death if can. On the canvas, Diaz (18-7-1) would also appear to be the more submission savvy fighter, though it's no sure thing to catch Frank.
Having fought the majority of his career at 170 pounds and lighter, Diaz might be hard pressed to handle Shamrock, a master strategist, on the inside or if he's forced to fight from his back. Bottom line tonight: 15,211 fans have packed the HP Pavilion to watch the pair. Surely, both would agree that is a good thing.
Shamrock recaptures half-guard, but Diaz passes as if he's dealing with a white belt. Many have Shamrock's skills are outdated. We may soon learn the answer to that.
Frank explodes up, they're in the center now. How many times can Frank use his physical gifts without making a fight-costing mistake?
Diaz is still talking to Frank, who offers a punch and kick the kid from Stockton, Calif.
Thus far, the most offensive output from Diaz has from his mouth. A slip, however, sees Diaz on the ground. Mount. Shamrock is taking punches and smiling. The round ends and they jaw at each other. A show for the crowd, which loudly voices its approval.
Frank can't match Diaz from the outside. He's pushing punches while Diaz looks very comfortable. The floor would seem to be a problem area for the former UFc champion.
Diaz has increased his output, and a nice straight left connects from the southpaw.
Shamrock hasn't mounted much of anything. He's winging punches and appears to be having a really tough time figuring out a proper range from which to attack. Punch, punch, punch, punch, punch from Diaz, annoying as gnat.
Frank looks a bit lost now. His back to the cage fence, Diaz is taunting and striking at the same time. Good bpunches from Diaz now. Shamrock's nose is bloody. He's wining punches. A beautiful right hook to the body drops Shamrock, and he's taking heavy shots. It's a matter of time before this thing is called ... and there it is. McCarthy steps in. A resounding performance from Diaz, showing there's plenty of fight left in him. A different story for Shamrock, who was battered and beaten -- verbally physically.
There would appear to be little left for Shamrock, whose skills aren't on par with today's fighters. There was some talk pre-fight that he had hurt his ribs, or torn an oblique muscle. Even if that either scenario turns out to be the case, it probably wouldn't have mattered against Diaz, who took the win at 3:57 of Round 2.