Strikeforce: "Miami," from the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Florida, is officially in the books after kicking things off for the San Jose-based promotion in 2010. And despite still having 11 months to go, it's gonna take a monstrous effort to top this one.
The much ballyhooed fight card featured what was billed as an exciting and explosive main event between Nick Diaz and Marius Zaromskis -- and the battle for welterweight gold certainly didn't disappoint.
From the staredown to the referee's stoppage late in the first round, nothing but fireworks were on display. Despite being rocked and sent to the mat midway through the opening frame, Diaz controlled most of the action using his reach and accuracy.
While the fight never went to the ground where Diaz held a clear advantage, he proved to be too much for the Lithuanian fighter on the feet as well after earning a first round TKO victory.
In the co-main event, Strikeforce asked Women's Champion Chris "Cyborg" Santos to put her 145-pound title on the line against Marlos Coenen. Though many people gave Coenen very little chance of pulling off the upset, the challenger was more than up to the task early in the fight with her aggression and technical striking.
Unfortunately for Coenen, Cyborg's strength and unlimited cardio proved to be the deciding factor once again. Her explosive and powerful strikes often found a home and in the end, the referee (and Coenen) had seen enough, calling a stop to the fight in the third round.
In his much anticipated MMA debut, Herschel Walker showed everyone why he was once, and maybe still is, one of the best athletes in the world. Despite lacking a polished stand up or ground game, Walker used his strength and athleticism to overwhelm opponent Greg Nagy on way to a third round TKO victory.
Walker controlled the action from the get go, and though he let a few submission opportunities slip away, he had enough wherewithal to remain in a dominant position throughout the fight.
It will be interesting to see where Walker's MMA career goes from here.
In what has to be considered the front runner for KO of the year, Robbie Lawler stunned Melvin Manhoef -- and everyone watching -- with a come-from-behind knockout victory in round one.
After the two brawlers finished feeling each other out in the early moments, hands and legs started flying, mostly from Manhoef. The punishing kicks of "Marvelous" had Lawler limping midway through the first round.
It looked as though at any second Manhoef would land that final shot to put Robbie away. Instead, a memorable night for Lawler was to be had.
After Manhoef landed an inside leg kick and followed it with a left hook, Lawler ducked, came up swinging, and landed a huge right hand that instantly sent the Dutchman to the mat unconscious.
A shocking turn of events.
The night's opening match served as yet another stepping stone for Bobby Lashley in his young MMA career. Wes Sims, a late replacement for the pro wrestler, showed up like he was just offered the fight a week ago (which he was). Though an in-shape Sims probably wouldn't have stood a better chance, the fight was a complete mismatch as Lashley ground and pounded his way to an early TKO victory in round one.
Lashley will surely need a step up in competition for his next fight in order to be considered a legitimate heavyweight threat.
It was a great night of fights full of knockouts, comebacks, and dominating performances. Two belts were either won or defended as Nick Diaz and Cris Santos walked away victorious in the two main events.
What fighter showed you the most tonight? Will Lawler's knockout of Manhoef go down as one of the best ever? Is Cyborg unbeatable, by women at least? Let's hear it Maniacs.