Strikeforce champ Nick Diaz survived a vicious barrage of leg kicks from Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos to successfully defend his welterweight crown Saturday night inside the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California.
The Brazilian came out firing from the jump, landing more than a dozen shots to Diaz’s lead leg in the first five minutes alone. Mr. 209 responded in true Diaz fashion, as he rocked Cyborg with a crisp left hand and peppered him with punches to end the round.
The challenger resumed his assault on Diaz’s legs in the 2ndRound. However, when the shootout went to the canvas with roughly 30 seconds left in the round, it was a wrap for Cyborg. The Cesar Gracie protégé quickly maneuvered for an armbar and secured the submission with only 10 ticks remaining on the clock.
“I should have checked his kicks a little better,” Diaz admitted after claiming his ninth consecutive victory. “I think he tried to put everything into those first two rounds.
“I figured if I put pressure on him, he’d have to do something. If he didn’t want to take more punches, he’d have to take me down.”
Cyborg, a jiu jitsu black belt in his own right, had only been submitted once in 31 professional appearances entering Saturday night’s scrap.
“I respect the way he fights. He doesn’t play around,” Diaz said of his fallen foe. “He came out here and he fought me. He doesn’t [play it safe]. He tries to get the knockout for you guys.”