Diaz, Zaromskis Cleared for Strikeforce 'Miami'

By Brian Knapp Jan 29, 2010
The main event participants in the first Strikeforce show of 2010 have cleared their last remaining hurdle.

Nick Diaz and his trademark scowl hit the scales at 169.5 pounds for his five-round welterweight title bout with Marius Zaromskis (169) at Strikeforce “Miami” this Saturday at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Fla. The eight other fighters booked to compete on the main card -- including women’s lightweight champion Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos (144.5) and her challenger, Marloes Coenen (143.75) -- also met their mandatory requirements without incident at Friday’s official weigh-in.

Diaz has rattled off five straight wins, all of them finishes, since his 2007 defeat to former EliteXC lightweight champion Karl James Noons. The 26-year-old Californian last appeared in June, when he submitted fellow UFC veteran Scott Smith with a third-round rear-naked choke. A Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt under Cesar Gracie, Diaz has delivered 17 of his 20 career wins by knockout, technical knockout or submission. Victories over one-time UFC middleweight champion Frank Shamrock, former EliteXC middleweight titleholder Robbie Lawler and American Top Team’s Gleison Tibau anchor his resume.

Spawned by the London Shootfighters camp, Zaromskis will carry a five-fight winning streak into his promotional debut. The 29-year-old Lithuanian roared through the Dream welterweight grand prix last summer, as he finished Hayato “Mach” Sakurai and Affliction veteran Jason High on the same night to win the tournament. Feared for his devastating high kick, he has secured 10 of his 13 victories by knockout or technical knockout. He turned out Myeon Ho Bae’s lights with a head kick in a non-title affair at Dream 12 in October.

Strikeforce “Miami,” which airs live on Showtime at 10 p.m. ET, will also feature the professional mixed martial arts debut of 1982 Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker (214.25), as he locks horns with two-fight Rage in the Cage veteran Greg Nagy (210.5).

One of college football’s greatest players, he led the University of Georgia to an undefeated season and national championship as a freshman in 1980 and won the Heisman Trophy two years later. He rushed for 5,259 yards and 49 touchdowns in 33 games as a collegian and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1999. After a stint in the now-defunct United States Football League, Walker spent 12 seasons in the NFL with the Cowboys, Vikings, Eagles and Giants. The Wrightsville, Ga., native still ranks eighth on the all-time list with 18,168 all-purpose yards, ahead of such hall of famers as Marcus Allen, Thurman Thomas, Tony Dorsett and Jim Brown.

Walker, who trains at the American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, Calif., will donate his entire purse to charity.

Strikeforce: Miami
Saturday, Jan. 30
BankAtlantic Center
Sunrise, Fla.

Strikeforce Welterweight Championship

Nick Diaz (169.5) vs. Marius Zaromskis (169)

Strikeforce Women’s Lightweight Championship
Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos (144.5) vs. Marloes Coenen (143.75)

Herschel Walker (214.25) vs. Greg Nagy (210.5)
Robbie Lawler (185.75) vs. Melvin Manhoef (185.75)
Bobby Lashley (252.25) vs. Wes Sims (258.25)
Jay Hieron (170.25) vs. Joe Riggs (170.5)
Pablo Alfonso (139.25) vs. Marcos da Matta (139.75)
Hayder Hassan (170.5) vs. Ryan Keenan (168)
Sabah Homasi (171.5) vs. John Kelly (170.5)
Michael Byrnes Jr. (154.5) vs. Dave Zitanick (154)
Craig Oxley (144.75) vs. David Gomez (144.5)
John Clarke (169.75) vs. Joe Ray (169.75)
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