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Evangelista Cyborg Santos Puts up Valiant Fight Against Nick Diaz

Nick DiazNick Diaz is a polarizing character in the MMA world, he is brash, disrespectful and he is very talented. Tonight he successfully defended his Strikeforce Welterweight Championship against Chute Boxe's Evangelista "Cyborg" Santos. Mr. Cyborg was coming into this fight off of a two-fight win streak, with a win over Marius Zaromskis in Strikeforce and Paul Daley's uncertain future setting this fight up for him. Mrs. Cyborg was in the audience to support her husband and the storyline going into this fight was Cyborg had really turned his career around and improved vastly.

The first round was an incredible brawl, with Cyborg's technique dominating early in the round. Cyborg worked a brilliant game plan early on, working the leg kicks and following up with some crisp punches. With Diaz reeling most of the early parts of the round, a right hand from Diaz and a flurry was able to change the atmosphere of the fight. It turned into an all-out brawl afterwards and Cyborg looked as if he was slowing down.

The second round saw neither man looking to give an inch. Cyborg's game plan began to fall apart as he simply started looking to take Diaz's head off. As soon as he stopped working the leg kick the fight began to slip from his grasp. Diaz was starting to take advantage of this and was hurting Cyborg standing up, forcing Cyborg to take Diaz down. This proved to be a mistake, though, as Diaz slipped on an armbar to secure the win.

The night also saw Robbie Lawler put up a good fight against Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza until it went to the ground, with Jacare choking Lawler out, disproving the "Beard Theory." Herschel Walker remains undefeated against hand-picked opponents in Strikeforce, which they'll note over and over again. Roger Gracie showed a well-rounded game, but finished with his grappling against Trevor Prangley.

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Thai Fight 2011 and Isuzu Tournament Update

For those who missed the introduction article, the winner of the ongoing 67 kg Isuzu Tournament in Thailand gets to represent Thailand in Thai Fight 2011, which kicks off this September. The Isuzu Tournament is about set to move from the groups stage to the semi-finals and finals.

There are two more fights scheduled in the groups: Kem Sitsongpeenong vs Kongjak Sor Tuanthong, and Prakaisaeng Sit-Or vs Thanongdet Petpayatai. Kem is heavily favored to beat Kongjak.

Thepsutin Pumpanmuang and Nopparat Keatkhamtorn have already been eliminated from the tournament. Thepsutin picked up a decision victory over Thanongdet, but was stopped by Prakaisaeng's knees in his next tournament bout. Nopparat went up against Kem was knocked out in the third by punches.

Sudsakorn 13 Coins Gym (out of Sor Klinmee camp) and Dernchonlek Sor Sor Niyom have both qualified to the semi-finals with two wins apiece. Sudsakorn beat Kongjak Sor Tuanthong and Kem Sitsongpeenong for his place. Sudsakorn's advancement did not surprise fans, though his win over Kem was considered a slight upset. Dernchonlek, however, was something of an unknown factor going into the tournament. The youngest fighter in the tournament, at 17 years of age, the combination of his height, style, and the weight advantage afforded by his relative inexperience helped him beat Prakaisaeng and Thanongdet.

Though the tournament portion of Thai Fight 2011 kicks off in September, giving the winner of the Isuzu Tournament plenty of recovery time, there will be three events held separately as part of the Thai Fight series. These events are planned for May, July, and December, and Yodsaenklai Fairtex and Saiyok Pumpanmuang are set to participate.

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Ladies and Gentlemen, The Final Promo Package for It's Showtime on March 6th

I feel like we all got to see an amazing work in progress when AFAV released a video of the footage they took of the It's Showtime stars which was to be used for the final video seen below. AFAV released a video a few weeks ago of all of the footage for this Fighting Stars promo, in a way giving us a look behind the curtain for the number two kickboxing promotion in the world's hype package for what will turn out to be the first major kickboxing show of 2011. There have been many note-worthy shows, but for the current atmosphere, if it isn't K-1 or It's Showtime, it just isn't that huge.

Behind the curtain for this video consisted of a few minutes of guys shadowboxing with cool lighting and some text flying around. Honestly, if you were given a behind the curtain look at LiverKick.com you'd see my kitchen table, my laptop and myself shadowboxing (the wine glasses in the cabinet clang against each other when I high kick or feign a flying knee) with words flying all through my mind with Pink Floyd's "The Wall" playing on a near infinite loop to go with my sometimes intentionally lacking grammar. Writing is like music, once you know the rules and master them you can break them and answer to no one but the inner recesses of your mind.

If this video does not excite you for what is gearing up to be an incredible show, I highly recommend you look up the names of some of these fighters on YouTube, as I'm doubting you've seen them fight before. That is how good this is looking.

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Strikeforce in Japan: Why It'll Work and UFC Won't

(C) Dave Mandel/Sherdog.comThere have been rumors since the announcement of the Strikeforce Heavyweight GP that Strikeforce's head honcho Scott Coker had plans on running a leg of the Strikeforce Heavyweight GP in Japan, of all places. He wants this tournament to have a "global" feel to it, and running in a new market like Japan seems like a no-brainer.

I really haven't given this much thought, as it seemed like big plans with no follow-through. Especially after Coker had all of this big talk about running Cowboys Stadium in Texas, a feat that a Manny Pacquiao fight sold 50,000+ tickets to. A bit of insanity if you ask many, as UFC has yet to even approach such a large stadium. Japan, on the other hand, seems to be a very real possibility. On Tuesday night I spoke with MMA Torch about the announcement from the UFC in regards to their "Japanese expansion" and Jamie surprised me with a question about Strikeforce running Japan.

Honestly, Strikeforce has a much better chance of running Japan than the UFC does, this year next year or after. The logic behind this is very, very simple, but also very solid. The big thing is that to run in Japan, you have to be ready to make concessions and promote in Japan. UFC's expansion is, well, underwhelming. They have an obscure pay-TV network they run on and will now feature some mobile video services, but none of this is very interesting to fans in Japan. Without live shows, a broadcast television network and some star power the UFC has no real hopes. Their attitude of "all or nothing" will be their achilles heel in Japan.

Strikeforce, though, seem to know what it means to do business in Japan, and according to ESPN.com's Josh Gross, Scott Coker is planning to meet with Real Entertainment to discuss an April 9th event. When I spoke with MMA Torch, I explained that the only real way for Strikeforce to promote in Japan would be to work with another company, and with FEG's future uncertain, the DREAM partner company, Real Entertainment made perfect sense. Real has fighter contracts (most of the DREAM fighters), production staff, television partners, sponsors and a lot more.

If you take into account fighters like Fedor Emelianenko, Alistair Overeem, Josh Barnett, Antonio Silva, Fabricio Werdum and Sergei Kharitonov, all of these fighters have established name value in Japan. For Fedor Emelianenko this would be a grand homecoming for him. For Alistair Overeem this would be the K-1 and DREAM Champion fighting in his home away from home turf. Also consider that Satoshi Ishii could have a Strikeforce contract by then and that Tatsuya Kawajiri just defeated Josh Thomson at Dynamite!!, so a possible bout between Kawajiri and Gilbert Melendez could be big for Japanese fans as well.

Strikeforce also seems to be considering working with Real Entertainment even more, says Gross. Real Entertainment is going to take some of those fighter contracts that they have and with Strikeforce's help, put on a Lightweight tournament, with our without DREAM. It looks like Strikeforce is taking Japan seriously and are willing to "play ball." Now, if it will pan out financially for them, that is another story for another day (or another site, like FightOpinion.com).

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